Adding threads to components is an essential part of manufacturing custom parts. Threads make it possible to connect multiple components and cutting them requires specialized tools. One of the fastest and most efficient ways to create threaded surfaces is to use specialized thread cutting end mills. It is easy to thread mill pipe threads and other surfaces with carbide cutting tools.
For decades, the most common means of cutting threads was the use of tap and die tools. This process involves using a tap tool to cut the female threads and a die tool to nut the male threads. A tap resembles a bolt, though the “threads” are actually cutting surfaces. Most of these tools have large channels that will facilitate the breaking and removal of chips. The die tool is usually a circular tool with multiple cutting points that is twisted down the length of the surface that needs to be externally threaded.
Both of these tools can cut threads with extreme accuracy, but they have their own issues. Because of small clearances, chip breaking can sometimes fail or jam. When this happens, it is easy to damage the threads and ruin your workpiece. One of the best ways to avoid this is to make the switch to thread milling tools.
Thread mills are specialized cutting tools that are designed to cut threads quickly and efficiently using a CNC milling machine. Not only can these tools thread mill pipe threads and other surfaces with ease, but they can also be used for both internal and external threading applications. There are two types of thread milling tools which are designed for different applications.
If you are trying to produce thread mills quickly and efficiently, then full form thread mills are probably the best option. These tools have a large cutting surface with rows of evenly spaced, pointed cutting teeth, which look similar to thread tapping tools. Full form thread mills are extremely fast cutters that can cut an entire threaded surface with one 360 degree pass. During the cutting process, the entire tool drops the distance of the thread pitch. This means that each cutting point finishes its cut where the one below it started cutting, producing a perfectly spiral cut. These tools are fast, but a single full form tool can only cut threads with a uniform pitch.
If you need to cut threads with different pitches using the same tool, you need to use a single pitch thread mill. These specialized end mills only have a single cutting point instead of a whole row of points. This means that the tool has to cut the entire path of the threads, just like a tap or die. This takes more time, but the smaller size of the cutter provides excellent clearance for chip evacuation. The small cutting surface also makes single pitch cutters a great option for thin walled components or threading surfaces that are less stable, such as an overhanging component.
Using either of these tools can help speed up production while also producing clean and accurate threads. You can find some amazing thread milling tools at Online Carbide. Their selection of single pitch and full form thread mills are perfect for thread milling pipe threads and other components. You can see all of their solid carbide tools when you visit www.onlinecarbide.com. With their manufacturer direct pricing, you can save big on quality cutters that are built to last.