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Expanding Beyond Legacy Tapping Products

Kip Hanson
By Kip Hanson Contributing Editor, SME Media

Now on its third generation of family ownership, Tapmatic Corp. of Post Falls, Idaho, continues to thrive, and surprise. Since 1952, the company has been known for its line of tapping attachments and tap holders, notably the self-reversing tapping heads found on machining centers and drill presses. That line has grown larger of late as the ISO 9001:2015 company improves existing products and introduces new ones, some well beyond the tapping arena.

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With its internal tension-compression mechanism, the DeBurr-Z deburrs both sides of a workpiece and internal hole intersections, even where surface heights vary.

The most recent of these is the DeBurr-Z, a deburring toolholder for use in CNC machining centers. Tapmatic President Mark Johnson explained that the DeBurr-Z floats in the Z-axis, working in compression when deburring the top edges of a workpiece and in extension for deburring the underside. There’s also an adjustable force setting, allowing operators to compensate for different materials and cut depths, and the DeBurr-Z accepts various burrs and chamfer tools.

As Johnson pointed out, deburring on a CNC machine tool provides far more consistent results than manual deburring methods. “It allows you to deburr parts even when the edges aren’t well-defined, as with castings or in cross-hole applications,” he said. “Best of all, it frees the operator to go do more important work.”

The company has also introduced a marking tool line, intended for CNC lathes, machining centers, and manual machines. Its new ScribeWriter Force II, for example, uses a carbide stylus to mark materials up to 62 HRC. It accommodates axial surface variations of 5 mm, and here again has an adjustable force setting. It uses no spindle rotation, although the tool is coolant-through equipped. For rotating applications, there’s the TapWriter, a dot peen marking tool that impacts the workpiece two times for every spindle rotation. Depending on the CNC machine tool used, it generates 80+ characters per minute in everything from soft plastics to 55 HRC steel. Johnson said the tool is widely used in aerospace applications, as it reduces the stress concentration that can occur with other marking methods.

Tapmatic continues to improve its tapping head line as well. “Two years ago, we introduced a new model for drill press-type applications, called the Drill-n-Tap,” said Johnson. “As with many of our tapping attachments, it’s self-reversing, but has a quick-change chuck and a thrust bearing design that provides the guidance needed for drilling. Since it eliminates the need for multiple chucks, it’s especially useful when you need to center drill, drill, and tap, or with drill-tap combo tools.”

There have been other advances. Due to the increasing use of through-tool coolant, often applied at high pressures, Tapmatic redesigned its RCT-series CNC tapping attachments with a “dual-seal” design to prevent leakage within the attachment body. And for synchronous tapping, Tapmatic provides heads said to increase tap life by 100 percent or more while improving thread quality. “The SynchroFlex II Synchronous Feed Tap Holder provides a small amount of axial float, which makes up for any discrepancies between the machine’s servo system and the thread pitch,” said Johnson. “With all the rigid tapping that’s going on these days, it’s become our most popular product.”

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