Tapping aluminum (or tapping on wood?)

I got some work done on re-mounting my Y-axis scale on my Sieg X3. Instead of drilling into the cast iron, I'm mounting the scale to a
1.50" wide piece of aluminum. Milled a bit of a relief so the base will fit on the left side of the saddle. This way most of the swarf will stay off the scale. Now that the scale beam is vertical, it again helps keep the beam clean.
Maybe I grabbed the wrong tap... I'll czech it tomorrow. I used a #25 for a 10x24 screw, but all the tap did was spin. All ready for tapping bliss, had the spring loaded tap guide pushing the tap down...
If I grabbed a 10x32 tap, the hole would have been undersized (10x32 needs a #21).
Do normal taps work in 6061 aluminum, or should I go to a thread-former?
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Yes, normal taps work fine in Aluminum. Check to make sure you grabbed the correct drill size, always measure tap drills before using.

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Mechanical Magic wrote:

I try not to machine when in a hurry or frustrated. Instead of making it work, I just unshipped the collet, put away the clamps and cleaned up my mill.
I see that Windex is supposed to be a good tapping fluid for aluminum... Was looking on the web to see who handles Tapmagic in southern Wisconsin... When Beloit Machine Supply closed, there's not much machinist stuff around local...
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Louis Ohland wrote:

You can use any cutting oil. It would only make a difference in production. You can even use spit for Al. No, not kidding!
Nick
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WD-40 works and is available almost everywhere.
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Mike Henry wrote:

Before I can return to the fun stuff, I've got to clear my driveway. Time to fire up my automatic snow shovel... Oh damn, the battery's dead. Where's the idiot stick....
4" of powder in Wisconsin. Tax that, Governor Doyle!
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But, that's what kids are for.

Oh, I'm sure he's working on a way to do that. By the way a leaf blower works VERY well on the fluffy stuff we got overnight.
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So does this, if the link works:
http://picasaweb.google.com/KB1DAL/HomeMadeMachines
Free (dead) tractor, home-made hydraulic loader, this is its 3rd winter.
The other thingie is a sawmill made from a wrecked motorcycle.
Jim Wilkins
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Using a 10x24 tap, it threaded well. I used some LPS lubricant as cutting fluid... I was at Ace today, and there's no cutting fluid by the taps. Some nuclear rocket scientist must have reorganized the store... or they must order cutting fluid...
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WD40, The Wonder Drug. <g>
If you're going to use Tap Magic, make sure it's Tap Magic Aluminum. The older Tap Magic for steel (and maybe the newer stuff -- mine is old) will turn aluminum black, boil and bubble, and eat the threads away. Otherwise, it's just fine. d8-)
Kerosene is the traditional tapping fluid for aluminum. But WD40 probably won't hurt.
-- Ed Huntress
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Louis Ohland wrote:

For aluminium use kerosene or #2 diesel works fine. ...lew...
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Normal taps are OK. Be sure to use the correct cutting fluid. Ace sells some stuff in a white can with black letteribtg abd red trim. Makes the tap almost fall through. I think it is called Tap Magic. Get the stuff for aluminum.
Bob AZ
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Bob AZ wrote:

Odd, search Ace for Tap Magic or Tapmagic, no joy. Whatever.
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Eh, forget the comment about Tap Magic for steel. I see they've changed the formula, and they now say "for all metals."\
The old stuff probably had something in it that gives you cancer and pokes holes in the ozone layer. But man, it was effective.
-- Ed Huntress
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Keywords:

That's actually the "new old stuff". The really old stuff was discontinued in the mid-60's. It was fantastic, worked great on aluminum & steel, and smelled like cinnamon. That's when they switched to two formulas, one for aluminum & one for steel. We used to pick up partial cans at the surplus yard in Los Alamos when I was a kid. We didn't realize they had changed the formula until we tried the "steel" version on some aluminum. It produced purple smoke & ate the tap.
Doug White
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Yeah, it was kind of exciting, wasn't it? <g> I wonder what they put it in. I may still have a can around here.
-- Ed Huntress
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