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Old 01-10-2008, 06:44 AM
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tapping a shallow-depth hole

I am considering tapping the ends of my axle shafts to accept a 5/16" stud. The studs will protrude through the mounted wheels and allow me to attach some simple wheel spinners. (The axle ends do rotate with the mounted wheel.)

I want to keep the depth of the hole in the axle ends pretty shallow, say no more than 1/2 inch. I guess I could use a plug tap to get the tapped hole started and then finish up with a bottoming tap to take the threads down to the bottom of the hole. However, my luck with using taps has never been the greatest and I've broken off many.

Is there an easier way to do something like this? Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-10-2008, 09:24 AM
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The only other way than the one you mentioned is with a lathe.

Check with a machine shop.
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Old 01-10-2008, 11:19 AM
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Thanks, but I'm doing this with the axles still installed on the car, and by hand. I guess I'll go check out my local Lowe's, Home Depot, or Harbor Freight and see if I can find some plug and bottom taps.
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Old 01-10-2008, 12:01 PM
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Hi,
Use a taper tap, They are like plug taps
but have a more gradual taper to the point,
a gradual taper is easier to tap a small
hole by hand. As for the taps breaking,
it's mostly caused by bending them,
not twisting, use a t- handle for tapping
not a wrench.
Good luck,
rich
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Old 01-11-2008, 08:27 AM
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Try a machine tap instead of a hand tap. A hand tap has 4 flutes and is meant to be use by hand only. Machine taps have 2 flutes and sometimes 3. They are more robust and meant to be used in a mill, ect. I've worked on projects where I had to tap many holes for electrical components on panels in enclosures many years ago. I use to use a machine tap in a hand held drill. Worked very well. I realize you're tapping something different though. Just take it easy, about a 1/4 turn at a time, back off in the oposite direction to break the chip so the tap doesn't bind up and break. Make sure you're using a new, sharp tap as well. I swear from past experiences that taps have a duty cycle and fail after time no matter how careful you are.
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:11 PM
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Ive needed the same thing in a few situations.

I took the bottom out tap and cut it so the end is totaly square,but still had to use the starter AND the regular bottom to tap as far as i can,then cut the bottom out tap square to finish the tap as far as the hole was.

In order to get the full usage to the bottom of the hole,you will also have to get a flat end drill bit,common drill bits are tapered so you will lose a little threadable space on the end if you dont use a flat end bit.Just be pateint and slow and lots of cutting lube.

Just a 1/2 inch of threads holding wheels on?I maybe wrong but that sounds to be a little insufficeint
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:39 PM
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Thanks a lot, Suthn.

The holes I'm drilling and tapping will be holding nothing more than some chrome knock-offs. The wheels themselves will still be mounted in the usual fashion using lugnuts to the wheel hub.

My wheels have a simple plastic cover that covers the five lugnuts and this cover just has plastic tabs that snap it onto the wheel. The problem is that the tabs on these covers are easily broken off and a new cover from the dealer costs upwards of $60.

What I'm planning on doing is tapping the axle ends and installing a 5/16" stud that will come through a hole I'll drill through the center of the cover. I'll then screw the knock-offs to the stud, sandwiching the cover to the wheel and using some blue locktite to keep the knockoff in place.

Here's a pic of the wheels I have showing the plastic hub cover:


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Old 01-13-2008, 08:04 PM
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Aaaaaah ok..sounds like a good plan,good lookin wheels.

While I'm thinkin of it..after you drill the hole,use a pen or anything to fit in the hole to measure the exact bottom of the hole and mark it,then transfer that exact measurement to the tap so you know when you bottomed out so you dont break the tap inside the hole because you hit the bottom of the hole..could be a REAL booger tryin to get it back out if you break inside the hole..(been there and done that)

John
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Old 01-27-2008, 12:03 PM
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get some tap magic for lubrication, it really helps. as was stated before, turn forward 1/4 to 1/2 a turn, then back 1/4 to 1/3 a turn to "break the chip" you can feel this "chip breaking". a machine tap followed by a bottoming tap is about the best way you could go about doing this.
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