If you have had to machine components that are connected by threaded bolts, you probably know how frustrating it can be to use tap and die tools. Not only can these tools fail part way through the production of threads, but those failures can damage your tools and your workpiece. On top of the possibility for failure, traditional threading tools are also a time consuming method of producing threads. If you want to speed up production and still produce accurate results, using solid carbide thread mills is the perfect way to get things done quickly and efficiently.
Thread milling is the process of using a CNC milling machine to cut threads into components. Because these mills are computer guided, you can take the variable of human error out of the equation. As long as you have programmed the proper tool path, you should be able to produce perfect threads every time. Making these cuts requires using specialized end mills that are designed to cut perfectly. When it comes to choosing the right tool for the job, there are a few options.
Full form thread mills are one of the fastest ways to cut threaded surfaces. These tools have a cutting surface that is lined with rows of small tooth-like cutting points. The biggest advantage to using a full form cutter is the fact that an entire threaded surface can be cut in one 360 degree pass. While making its cut, the tool evenly drops the distance between two adjacent cutting points(the equivalent of the thread pitch) along its path. This means that every cutting point finishes the cut where the point below it started, creating a perfectly helical threaded surface. Because the cutting points are a set distance apart, each full form thread mill can only cut one thread pitch.
If you need to mill threads with different pitches on the same piece, a single pitch thread mill can still get the job done. These tools only have one pointed cutter instead of the row of points on a full form tool. The tradeoff between these tools and full form tools is time. Single pitch thread mills have to trace along the entire length of a thread surface, similar to a thread tap. Despite the longer working time, these tools are a great option for mixed production work and threading unstable surfaces like overhangs or thin walled components.
When choosing cutting tools for thread milling, end mills made from carbide are the obvious choice. Carbide is a composite material made from cobalt metal and tungsten cobalt ceramic powder. The ceramic component of carbide tools is twice as strong and twice as rigid as steel. The ceramic content of these tools not only helps to keep the cutting edges sharper for longer, but it also increases the rigidity of the end mill. This makes solid carbide thread mills extremely accurate when you are trying to produce threaded components in your shop.
If you are interested in picking up some solid carbide thread mills for your shop, you can find plenty of quality manufacturers online. Online Carbide is one American manufacturer that is dedicated to producing high performance milling tools including thread mills, drill bits, and many other milling cutters. You can see their full inventory of tools at www.onlinecarbide.com. If you have any questions or you are interested in having some custom tools made from your shop, feel free to contact a member of their team by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.