How can I automatically tap 500 holes in 5/16-18 thread size using a hand drill or drill press?

I've got blisters on my hands from taping 20 holes manually and I have hundreds left to go! What machine or tools do I need to tap 5/16th-18 holes in aluminum? I
am using T slotted 1.5" square tubular aluminum for a lot of projects, ranging from a workshed to a photobooth to a workbench and having to manually tap the ends of this metal is going to kill me! I'm specifically using http://www.8020.net/T-Slot-1.asp this stuff. I bought two specialty taps that are a combination drill/tap bit from www.mcmaster.com part # 2748A43 At $20 each they are pricy and I've already busted them both after only about 6 holes each with a hand drill.
Any help please?
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You need a drill press and a small Tap-Matic, or drill the holes and use a hand tap. But why do you need to tap so many holes? Usually the point of T-slot is that you can use special "nuts" that slide or tilt into the slot.
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thanks for the tips on the tapmatic tools. I love this forum already! While browsing Tapmatics site I noticed tools are often designated 30x, 70x, 90x, etc. What does this number mean? Also I'm wondering if I can get away with a tapmatic that has a max range of 0-1/4", when the tap I'm using is 5/16th? Probably not, but since the drill part is 17/64th that is really really close to 1/4".
It's true the Tslot features are nice, but I still have to tap many ends.
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"There are special machines" Very cool, but what are they called so I can try to buy them?
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If I bougth this procunier #2 tool off of ebay what is the best place to buy the 5/16th collette from? http://cgi.ebay.com/Procunier-No-2-Tapping-Head-for-Drill-Milling-Machine_W0QQitemZ130179513170QQihZ003QQcategoryZ104242QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQcmdZViewItem?_trksid=p1638.m118
Also I remember when I assembled my drill press I fit the chuck on, but what's the best way to remove it now? Just use a crow bar?
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On Tue, 1 Jan 2008 16:45:48 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@rollandelliott.com wrote:

=============More than likely you have a Morse taper shank. To remove these you need a wedge. If you have a large old file and small [#2 MT] you can some times use the shank. You can also break the file when you hit it.
for an example of the right tool click on http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INPDFF?PMPAGEE7&PARTPG=INLMK32 you are looking for "drill drifts and sets." Most mill supplies and mail order suppliers will have these in stock.
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http://cgi.ebay.com/Procunier-No-2-Tapping-Head-for-Drill-Milling-Machine_W0QQitemZ130179513170QQihZ003QQcategoryZ104242QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQcmdZViewItem?_trksid=p1638.m118
That one is a little pricey for one without any collets. $75 is more reasonable.
Ebay collets go out at 8-15 bucks each. Retail on the collets from the usual suspects (msc, mcmaster carr, etc) is 25 or 26 bucks.
If you don't have a morse taper on your drill press, the procuniers also come with a 1/2 in straight shank that you just mount in the chuck. I changed mine to a morse taper because it was too long with the extra length of the chuck.
Paul K. Dickman
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your drill press probably came with a metal wedge, a stamped piece of steel that is vaguely triangular in shape (if it is a taiwan/china drill press) - you lower the spindle and find the slot and tap the wedge into the slot to dislodge the morse taper

http://cgi.ebay.com/Procunier-No-2-Tapping-Head-for-Drill-Milling-Machine_W0QQitemZ130179513170QQihZ003QQcategoryZ104242QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQcmdZViewItem?_trksid=p1638.m118
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Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


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    [ ... ]

    Called a "drill drift". If it is an old one of US origin, it will be forged steel, not stamped steel, and rounded on the top edge to match the end of the slot in the spindle.

    You may have to rotate the chuck (or the pulley on top) to line up the slot in the spindle with the slot in the outer quill. On my drill press, it is typically once every five or six changes that I actually have to rotate it. The rest of the time, it is close enough to get started, and the drift will rotate the spindle enough to fully match.
    There is even a semi-fancy tool which has a drift welded to the end of a shaft with a slide hammer on it -- a little easier to use when you want to devote one hand to catching the chuck or tapping head. :-)
    Given the length of the workpiece (which I think that I read in another branch of this thread late last nigh) -- it sounds as though you might (if a not too heavy import drill press like mine from Taiwan) want to lay it down on the floor, with the base rotated to one side (and probably some 4x4 stacks supporting the column near the head) so you can drill something longer than the column. The trick of the vise on the tilted drilling table still should work.
    Good Luck,         DoN.     
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snipped-for-privacy@rollandelliott.com wrote:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Procunier-No-2-Tapping-Head-for-Drill-Milling-Machine_W0QQitemZ130179513170QQihZ003QQcategoryZ104242QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQcmdZViewItem?_trksid=p1638.m118
JUst crank the quill(shaft the chuck is on) down---there should be a slot in the side of it, into which you insert a tapered wedge& tap gently with a hammer.forcing the chuck out. if you don't have the tapered wedge, better buy one, you'll use it a lot. Jerry
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ATP* wrote:

Take a look at http://www.hitachikoki.com.sg/product_details.jsp?pid 5 I think there are similar products from other vendors.
"Special features: Automatic reversing mechanism backs tap out of threaded hole at high speed"
As in "pull the trigger to tap the hole and don't let go until the tap has backed out completely."
I'm retired now, but when I was working, I saw one of our people using something like this at a job site. DANG if we didn't buy some nice toys!
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Several years back I scrounged a Procunier #2 tapping head off of ebay. It fits into the Morse 2 socket on my drill press and will do what you want all day long.
When you pull down the lever on the drillpress, it drives the tap forward at a one speed. When you lift up on the lever, it reverses and unscrews the tap at a faster speed.
It is a joy to use and I set it up any time I need to tap more than three holes.
If you scrounge one used, make sure you get as many collets as you can. Definitely make sure it comes with the 5/16. Use spiral point taps and kerosene or wd40 for a lube.
Paul K. Dickman
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There are special machines that look like hand drills, but they are specifically made for tapping (slow, high torque, torque limit, reversal).
i

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snipped-for-privacy@rollandelliott.com wrote:

Dewalt cordless drill. With reverse.
There are tapping machines out there, that look like an air drill on a swingarm, for production use.
A tapping head on a drill press, can be got cheap if you have time to shop ebay, or less cheap if needed immediately.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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On Tue, 1 Jan 2008 15:18:47 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@rollandelliott.com wrote:

First off, I don't understand why you need the combo drill-taps. Aren't the holes already in the extrusion, ready to be tapped as required?
I've done a lots of tapping on Item extrusion (though fortunately never as many as 500 holes at one time) and have found spiral flute taps to work best by far. See McM p/n 2529A19. Use an aluminum tapping fluid (e.g., Alumtap), or wax stick lube (McM 1311K1) applied to the tap.
I do the short lengths held in a fixture with a quick acting clamp that mounts vertically to the front of a Bridgeport table. Anything longer than about 3-1/2 feet long would require a hole in the floor.<g> As has been mentioned, a drill press and tapping head would also work, but you'd still run into the length limitation.
A *good* 1/2" reversing drill handles the long lengths. It's touchier and less convenient than tapping on a mill or drill press, but not bad once you get the hang of it, especially with the proper taps and lube.
Let me know if you'd like a photo of the locating fixture.
--
Ned Simmons

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Hi Ned I'd love some pics. re AT rollandelliott.com is my email. You're right the aluminum extrusions are pre drilled so I just need to tap them and you are also right in recommending the flutted taps. I just never knew they exsisted!
I guess my dilemna now is whether I should some how rig up my drill press horizontally with a tapping unit or if I should get one of these fancy handheld drilling units. I've already busted $50 worth of taps so I'm a bit aprehensive about using a handheld tool that introduces wobble and busting more. should that be a concern?
The extrusions I have are 12feet, 8 feet and 4 feet long so if I go the drill press route I'll deffintely need to put the drill press on its side. I hope that won't mess up the tapping unit somehow?
Trevor, thanks for the cordless drill advice but Been there and done that and $50 bucks down the drain :(
Cecil, thanks for the link, at $360 or more I think I'll pass though. I did find a couple used for half that price though.
George, thanks for the link. I'd never be able to remove that chuck with out your knowledge. I guess you just take a hammer and bang on the end of it?
thanks everyone and happy new year!
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snipped-for-privacy@rollandelliott.com wrote:

Well. Dunno what to suggest then.
Work up a set of callusses, maybe. :-)
At least, drill bigger pilot holes. Try to run about 60 percent of the diameter of the tap for the pilot. Most tap drill charts are at about 75 percent, and if you are drilling any smaller hole than 75 percent thread engagement, then slap yourself for making life harder than it has to be. The loss in strength is disproprtionately small, compared to the ease in tapping that you gain.
I've done a pile of holes, mostly 1/4 inch coarse and fine, and a right pile of 10-32 ones with a cordless drill.
Done a pile with a reversing Sioux Air drill too, that was even faster.
You twitchy when holding stuff that's supposed to be steady? If so, work out a way to support yourself for steadiness.
If the volume makes it worthwhile to spend the money, take a look online for tapping arms. Just ar eversing air motor, with an arm that keeps it pointed in the right direction. Pretty expensive, but usefull.
Gunpoint taps shoot the chip ahead of the tip, and are used for tapping through a hole. If you have the clearance behind the hole, use a starting tap and run it down in one shot, fairly fast. Use a lube. The Tapmatic Al. stuff works well, as does beeswax, or the cutting lube sticks.
Have fun!
Cheers Trevor Jones
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On Tue, 1 Jan 2008 18:13:25 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@rollandelliott.com wrote:

The fixture in position for tapping. It mounts in the mill's t-slot with flat head socket caps:
http://www.suscom-maine.net/~nsimmons/news/ItemFixture01.JPG
The 5/16 dowels fit in the extrusions t-slot and keep it aligned. The screw with collar on the right clamps in the extrusion's t-slot.
http://www.suscom-maine.net/~nsimmons/news/ItemFixture02.JPG
The fixture in position on the mill table to cross drill for the fastening sets.
http://www.suscom-maine.net/~nsimmons/news/ItemFixture03.JPG
The dowel pin locates the end of the extrusion to locate the cross drilled hole.
http://www.suscom-maine.net/~nsimmons/news/ItemFixture04.JPG
A detail of the clamping screw. It's a socket set screw with a collar loctited in place. The allen wrench for tightening is visible in the first pic.
http://www.suscom-maine.net/~nsimmons/news/ItemFixture05.JPG

See my response to your other post.
--
Ned Simmons

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On Jan 1, 6:18pm, snipped-for-privacy@rollandelliott.com wrote:

The only reason sharp taps break in correctly drilled holes is because the tap is not square to the hole (or you bottom out the tap - silly mistake).
I've got a large 1/2" drill (corded - tons of torque) with two gear speeds, variable speed, etc (mine's a Metabo, but everyone makes them). I've tapped down to M4 reliably (in high gear) under power without the use of a square, and without breaking the tap with this thing (soft cast iron, mild steel, 4140).
You have to gain a feel for getting the tap in square. It could take several holes for you to get the feel, but.... You basically just gently rock the drill as you start to drive the tap in, and you'll feel it when the tap kinda *slides* in easily instead of getting a lot of reverse torque from the drill - this means you're square. If you don't get this feeling, you're not square and you need to reverse out and try again - do NOT just ram it in! If you're not confident, reverse and do it again. You have about four thread pitches from the tip of the tap to *get it* or else you have gone too far to make any further angular adjustment.
If the holes are quite deep and you're not too concerned about leaving chips inside the hole, use a spiral-point tap (most ideal). Spiral- flute, on the other hand, are good when you want the chips to come out of the hole (blind hole, or you don't want to dig them out) BUT they are weaker and typically more expensive than spiral-pointed taps (not a good situation when you don't have a lot of experience).
Buy a new tap for this job, and don't use it on steel until you're done (steel work will dull the tap much faster than aluminum). Always! use lube when tapping aluminum (and pretty much any other metal).
Remember, you can chuck these taps in a reversing drill press, or milling machine and do the work that way too. It inevitably takes long to do this type of work on a machine as opposed to by hand, but you don't have the issues with squareness.
Good luck. 5/16" taps are pretty strong. You shouldn't be breaking them in aluminum.
Regards,
Robin
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Hey Robin,
Thanks for taking the time to write that detailed post. I've got a new sense of confidence now and I might try the hand drill tapping machine with your advice. mcmaster lists the following spiral point taps. I'm guessing 2 flutes is more ideal than 3 (more room for chips to leave). I'm guessing cheap $4.68 one will do fine unless someone tells me these coatings are worth twice the price?
Tap Material Surface Coating/Treatment Thread Length Overall" #Flutes Each High-Speed Steel Uncoated (Bright Finish) 1-1/8" 2-23/32" 2 2523A412 $4.68 High-Speed Steel TiN (Titanium Nitride)-Coated 1-1/8" 2-23/32" 2 2762A48 $6.41 High-Speed Steel TiCN (Titanium Carbonitride) 1-1/8" 2-23/32" 3 2568A43 $9.75 High-Speed Steel Oxide-Over-Nitride-Treated 1-1/8" 2-23/32" 3 8300A19 $7.83 Cobalt Steel Uncoated (Bright Finish) 1-1/8" 2-23/32" 2 8779A31 $10.65
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