When it comes to producing threads on components, there are a few different techniques that can be used. If you are already working with a CNC milling machine, then thread milling is definitely the best choice. Using tools like single pitch thread mills can help you cut extremely accurate threads and are a great choice for a wide range of thread milling applications.
While threads used to primarily be created with tap and die style tools, thread milling is quickly becoming a more popular option. Thread milling is the process of using specialized milling cutters to make threads. The computer numerical control systems in CNC milling machines make them extremely accurate, but your standard end mill cutting tools cannot easily create threads. Instead, special thread mills are used with pointed cutters along their surface. There are two types of these end mills, full form and single pitch thread mills.
Full form thread mills have several small cutting points along their surface. These points are spaced based on the pitch of the threads that you are trying to mill. Full form tools are great because they can cut an entire threaded surface in a single 360 degree pass. The entire tool drops while cutting by the length of a thread pitch so that every point on the cutter terminates where the one below it began, producing a perfect helical thread. While these tools are fast and efficient, they do have their downsides.
A full form tool can only cut threads of a single pitch size. They can cut internal and external threads, but you will have to perform a tool change if you want to cut threads with a different pitch size. They also have a relatively large overall cutting surface. This makes them a poor choice for thin walled or unstable surfaces. For mixed production and tricky spots, sometimes a single pitch thread mill is the best choice.
Single pitch thread mills only have a single cutting point and are designed to trace along the entire threaded surface. This means that cutting the surface will take as many passes as there are threads, so they will take longer than full form tools. Despite this fact, single pitch tools do have several advantages. Because they only have a single cutting point, their cutting surface is significantly smaller and more capable of performing delicate tasks like thread milling on an overhang or other unstable surface. They can also be used to cut threads with different pitches without requiring a tool change.
Choosing the right tool for a job is important, but is choosing the right version of the tool. The best thread mills will be constructed from solid carbide. The small cutting points on thread mills need to remain sharp and strong, which is what makes carbide the perfect option. Carbide tools combine the stability of metals with the incredible heat resistance and cutting power of ceramics. This gives carbide tools a longer average tool life when compared to tools made from other materials like high speed steel or cobalt steel.
If you are looking for high quality thread mills for your shop, then Online Carbide is a manufacturer you need to check out. All of their tools are manufactured in the US from solid carbide tool stock using precision grinding machines. Their inventory includes a wide range of end mills and drill bits including full form and single pitch thread mills. If you have any questions about their thread mills or any of the other tools they carry, you can reach out to a member of their team by sending an email to [email protected]