I am working on a project that needs some shallow 1/8- 27 npt holes. There is no way around it there just isn't the space so I am going to use a short projection tap. I will be tapping using a verticle mill with the work held in a vise. Anyone got some advice? Why do npt taps need so much lead? This has bugged me for some years.
I think that that "so much" lead you refer to is because the thread is tapered (1 in 16) so that when the tap is driven into a straight bore hole it has to remove more metal that a straight thread tap would.
You might want to experiment with putting a slight taper (about 1 in 16) in the tap drill sized holes to make it easier for the tap to do its thing.
What Jeff said. Pipe threads rely on a 100% thread in order to seal properly. The tap drill must be smaller than the minor diameter at the tap's full depth so you end up with the required 100% thread.
When tapping with a short projection tap, you must either use a standard tap, followed by the short projection, or ream the proper taper before tapping.
To tap your holes, use a center in your drill chuck to follow the tap as you turn it with an adjustable wrench. A very nice center can be made from the shank of a 3/8" end mill, assuming you have either a toolpost grinder, cutter grinder, or a precision grinder at your disposal. It's important that the center be *on center* so you tap runs vertically. Once you have it, you'll keep it for just such use. I have three in my toolbox. Keep the tap well lubricated, and back it up every 1/4 turn to break the chips. My common practice is to remove the tap at about one turn before full depth and clean out the hole and lubricate well once again, then take the last turn or so as required. That way the finished thread is nice and clean. Stop tapping when you have 5 threads above the finished surface showing on the tap. That will put you in the ball park for a proper thread diameter/depth, assuming you don't have a plug gage at your disposal.
Not really Harold. The common NPT pipe threads rely on some kind of "pipe dope" sealant to properly seal. Permit me to pontificate:
Take a look at the thread form of NPT threads in Machinery's Handbook and you'll see that the crests of the male and female threads don't come to a sharp point, but are flattened. The roots of the threads are closer to a sharp point, so the crests don't fully fill the roots. This is done on purpose to make sure that the flanks of the threads will be sure to contact each other to support axial loads on the joints.
That flattening of the crests of the threads leaves a small trapezoidal shaped path spiraling along the full length of properly torqued engaged threads, sometimes referred to as a "spiral leak path". It's that path which has to be filled up with some kind of "pipe dope" to keep it from leaking, and the choice of what dope to use, paste, teflon tape or sometimes string varies with the pipe's contents and the installer's preference. I still prefer using Rectorseal or a paste type dope over teflon tape for water service.
It's not always easy to make sure the teflon squishes into where it needs go to completely fill the spiral leak path. And, backing off a joint a bit after tightening and then retightening it can displace the teflon so the joint won't seal. That generally doesn't happen to me with paste type dopes while they are still "soft".
NPTF threads are what's called "Dryseal" threads. The last letter in that appreviation, the "F", stands for "Fuel".
When the NPTF thread form was originally developed it wasn't easy to find pipe dopes which would withstand fuels, so a thread which would seal without needing pipe dope was designed. NPTF threads have a sharper crest on the male threads and are designed to create a metal to metal crush seal along the spiraled thread path. They are often found on fittings made of brass, where the mallability of that metal makes it easier for the crush seal to work.
A few lines swiped from Machinery's Handbook describing NPTF threads are say it better than I can:
American National Standard Dryseal Pipe Threads for Pressure-Tight Joints.
Dryseal pipe threads are based on the USA (American) pipe thread; however, they differ in that they are designed to seal pressure-tight joints without the necessity of using sealing compounds. To accomplish this, some modification of thread form and greater accuracy in manufacture is required. The roots of both the external and internal threads are truncated slightly more than the crests, i.e., roots have wider flats than the crests so that metal-to-metal contact occurs at the crests and roots coincident with, or prior to, flank contact. Thus, as the threads are assembled by wrenching, the roots of the threads crush the sharper crests of the mating threads. This sealing action at both major and minor diameters tends to prevent spiral leakage and makes the joints pressure-tight without the necessity of using sealing compound.
All that's well and good if the male and female threads are both manufactured to specs, something that doesn't always happen, particularly with some of the imported junk being sold in the big box stores and elsewhere nowadays.
I have a spring loaded "tap following" center I treasure for just that use so I don't wish for an "extra hand" to work the drill press or lathe tailstock feed to keep the point in the tap's center hole. Looks sort of like Fig. 1 on this page, I think it cost me less than five bucks from a cheapo tool place.
Thanks for the insights. The Short projection tap came in but wasn't short enough for the application, I had only .350" to drill, I took the tap to a grinding house, they ground .150" off and restored a 15 degree 2 thread lead and it did the trick. I was able to thru a few test holes to get the drilled depth down to .300" . That is about the shallow limit I expect for a 1/8-27 npt tapped hole that seals, the testing confirm or dispute this. Do you guys have some idea how it will shake out? Assembly is done with some sort of anerobic sealing pipe dope, testing is helium leak blah blah blah. Harold's suggestion that the hole be tapped with a regular projection tap before going to the short projection tap was a confirmation of my initial thoughts, thanks for that. I used a spring loaded tap follower to do the regular projection tap, the short projection tap didn't have a centering pilot on the end so I just followed the lead of the previous. I agree that the spring loaded is sweet for small taps but a solid center is the only way to go when you are using a tap that you don't have a tap wrench big enough to drive it and must go to a wrench. It happens to me in the
1/4 npt size, I hung a 10 pound bag of shot on the quill lever using a solid center and that worked. Jeff, are nptf threads designed to be taken apart and put back together? Thank you both, when I see posts from you guys I read closely. Regards, Kent
The point is that tapered pipe threads *are* a 100% thread, they do not provide for minor diameters on tapped holes that have clearance. By drilling the proper (undersized) hole, the tap established the diameter, and yields a
100% thread. The length of the tap insures that enough of the hole is removed to generate the full thread. In other words, they are not 75% threads like the typical unified straight thread. The could permit the sealant of choice to be easily displaced by internal pressure. It is very desirable for the clearance, if it exists, to be minimal to prevent that from happening.
If you'll check figure VII.2, page 6 of the Screw-Thread Standards for Federal Services, 1957, Handbook H28 --Part II, you'll see that there is a minor allowance for maximum clearance, but the optimum is no clearance, and a it provides for a fit with a slight interference. That for a standard NPT. It clearly states that the threads, when *properly wrench tightened*, with sealant, form a pressure tight assembly.
I have no quarrel with your statement about the "spiral leak path", but it is a result of mechanics, not a desired affect. Given the ability to produce perfect thread forms easily and reliably, it wouldn't be there. And I fully agree, the intention is for the flanks of the threads to have intimate contact, but that is with a wrench tightened assembly, not a hand tightened one. Even with an interference fit on the root and crest of the threads, that isn't a problem, due to deformation. Again, the H28 handbook addresses that.
The problem is in generating and preserving a sharp V thread form, so both the major and minor diameters are truncated as an offset. There may, or may not, be clearance when two pieces come together.
I, too, have a spring loaded center. Custom made, in fact. Heat treated and precision ground to perfection, with perfect clearance on the telescoping portion, which was precision honed. No slop. That's why I use the solid one I recommended. The pressure of tapping with pipe taps renders spring loaded centers useless, especially when the tap is driven by an adjustable wrench. It's not uncommon for the tap to lean right out of the center, which really screws up your thread. Don't use yours for pipe threads.
Hard to say. Did you try fitting anything in the hole after it was tapped? I'd be concerned that you may have tapped the hole oversized enough that a fitting could bottom out before tightening due to the removal of the end of the tap. Beyond that, sounds like you did good.
Yep! I was very careful to advise the use of a solid center for that very reason.
That is good, because it (the spiral leak path) is there every time.
I do not know, maybe the standard NPT threads "in principle" do not show this spiral leak, but in practice they all do. This makes me think the "principle" being relied in is somehow incorrect for the application.
One can visualize the spiral leak path dramatically by overpressuring a threaded NPT fitting that has had some kind of sealant used during assembly - SWAK, teflon tape, pipe dope, etc.
The Swagelock folks did this as a demonstration (hyrdrostatic test) to show how their fittings would not fail before either the tubing itself ruptured or the thread sealant was ejected from the spiral leak path. That's right, a spiral of teflon thread sealant is squirted out of the NPT male/female joint when the overpressure becomes sufficient.
You can create mass spec helium leak tight NPT joints without that much trouble. I do it regularly with plain 'ol teflon tape.
1) be sure the threads are in good condition and clean of any previous application of sealant.
2) place two and exactly two wraps of teflon tape around the male fitting. Be sure to have it wound the correct direction, ie, so it tightens upon assembly. (hold the tape in your hand and screw the fitting into it)
3) leave the first thread on the male fitting untaped.
4) work the tape into the male threads with your fingers before assembly.
5) do not over tighten.
Sounds like it would be pretty easy to create a leak-proof joint, considering the most you're dealing with is atmospheric pressure.
Have you worked with any high pressure hydraulic fittings? I built a filter press that used a 10,000 PSI manual pump. It's nothing short of amazing how a perfectly tight and good joint can seep a tiny bit of oil. I never did get it to quit. The joint would stay perfectly dry for hours, but wet after a day of sitting under pressure.