Everything you wanted to know about taps but were afraid to ask

this page is for information only

Styles of taps | Class of thread | GH numbers | Basic Point In Thread Measurement  | Constants For Finding Pitch Diameter And Minor Diameter Of Screw Threads | Thread Constants For Various Percentages | Relation Of Tap Pitch Diameter To Basic Pitch Diameter |  Tap Limits Product Limits And Class Of Thread  | How to order Special Taps |

 

 Styles of taps  Class of thread  GH numbers
 Basic Point In Thread Measurement  Constants For Finding Pitch Diameter And Minor Diameter Of Screw Threads  Thread Constants For Various Percentages
 Relation Of Tap Pitch Diameter To Basic Pitch Diameter   Tap Limits Product Limits And Class Of Thread  How to order Special Taps




Styles Of Taps
The kind of hole to be tapped has much to do with the style of tap that’s best suited. Some holes go all the way through. Others, while not throughholes, still are relatively deep. Some are quite shallow, little deeper than diameter. Each of these three kinds of holes through, deep-bottoming blind, and shallow bottoming, has a tap or group of taps best suited to requirements.

Taper Taps have 7 to 10 thread chamfers to distribute cutting action over many teeth and the taper also acts as a guide in starting.

Plug Taps, with a chamfer over four threads, is most widely used in through holes and where there is sufficient room at the bottom in blind holes.

Bottoming Taps are made with just enough chamfer for starting in the hole, only 1 to 2 half threads. As the name implies, it is designed to thread blind holes to the bottom.



Tap Sizes have been standardized to conform with those of standard screws, bolts, and studs. Machine Screw tap sizes range from No. 0 through No. 14; No. 0 being .0600" outside diameter; No. 1, .0730"; No. 2, .0860, etc.--all in .0130 increments. Hand Taps, more commonly designated as Fractional Taps and used today on all production machines, are designated in fractional and integral inch sizes from 1/4" upwards.

Threads per Inch are shown for various tooth forms: the Unified series adopted by Great Britain and the United States during the war, and the corresponding American National Standard. NC and UNC mean coarse thread. NF and UNF mean fine thread. NS means special thread.

Pitch Diameter is the basic dimension of a screw, threaded hole, or a tap the diameter of an imaginary cylinder, the surface of which passes through the thread where width of thread and space between threads are identical. This cylinder, of course, would be a cone for tapered taps. It is upon Pitch Diameter that tolerance limits are based to establish Class of Thread.
 





Class Of Thread

There are three established Classes of Thread, designated in the Unified series by adding “A” for screws and “B” for nuts (or other internal threads) to show definite limits and tolerances.

Class lB Thread is that in which a 1 A screw can be run in readily for quick and easy assembly. The hole is classified as 1 B. The fit is 1 B Thread, and rarely used in modern metalworking.
Class 2B Thread consists of a 2A screw in a 2B hole. This 2B Thread has wide application, accommodates plating, finishes, and coating to a limited extent and, therefore, has fair tolerance allowances.

Class 3B Thread means a 3A Screw in a 3B Nut or threaded hole for applications where tolerance limits are close.
 





GH Numbers


In the tables that follow, tap selections are shown for the Class of Thread desired and, under the Class of Thread heading, applicable GH Numbers are listed. "G” designates Ground Thread. “H” means that pitch diameter is on the high side of basic. These two letters are followed by a numeral showing the tolerance of pitch diameter oversize as follows:

H1 = Basic to Plus 0.0005"
H2 = Basic Plus 0.0005" to Plus 0.0010"
H3 = Basic Plus 0.0010" to Plus 0.0015"
H4 = Basic Plus 0.0015" to Plus 0.0020"
H5 = Basic Plus 0.0020" to Plus 0.0025"
H6 = Basic Plus 0.0025" to Plus 0.0030"
H7 = Basic Plus 0.0030" to Plus 0.0035"
The diagram below, exaggerated for clarity, illustrates these several selectives in Pitch Diameter tolerance--including "L" (undersize tolerance), although no "L" taps are shown in this book. Pitch Diameter varies with the number of threads per inch because the number of threads of Pitch of screw determines the height of thread. Since Basic Pitch Diameter is measured from points half the height of the fully formed thread, a hole drilled to provide theoretical 50% thread engagement would be of the same diameter as the pitch diameter of the tap.




 








The Basic Point In Thread Measurement


All measurements must have a controlling point or base from which to start. In the case of a screw thread, this control point is called the BASIC or theoretically correct size, which is calculated on the basis of a full form thread. Thus, on a given screw thread, we have the Basic Major Diameter, the Basic Pitch Diameter and Basic Minor Diameter.

While it is impossible in practice to form screw threads to their precise theoretical or BASIC Sizes, it is possible and practical to establish limits which the deviation must not exceed. These are called the “Maximum” and “Minimum” Limits. If the product is no smaller than the “Minimum Limit” and no larger than the “Maximum Limit,” then it is within the size limits required. This difference between the Maximum and Minimum Limits is the TOLERANCE.

In actual practice the Basic Size is not necessarily between the Maximum and Minimum Limits. In most cases, the Basic Size is one of the Limits. In general, tolerances for internal threads will be above Basic and for external threads, below Basic. See drawing below.
For graphic representation, the Basic Pitch Diameter is commonly designated by a line with variations from it indicated by shorter lines spaced to represent a numerical scale, as shown on the left half of the drawing below.

On an actual screw thread, the Basic Dimensions would follow the contour of the theoretically perfect thread, as on the right half of the drawing below.

To find the basic pitch diameter or basic minor diameter of any screw thread, subtract the constant for the number of threads per inch from the basic major diameter.







 


Constants For Finding Pitch Diameter And Minor Diameter Of Screw Threads
Constants for Finding
Basic Pitch Diameter
Constants for Finding
Basic Minor Diameter



Threads Per
Inch

Pitch In
Inches

National
Thread

Whitworth
Thread

Theoretical
V

National
Thread

Whitworth
Thread

Theoretical
V
80
72
64

60
56
50

48
44
40

36
32
30

28
27
26

24
22
20

18
16
14

13
12
11-1/2

11
10
9

8
7
6

5-1/2
5
4-1/2

4
3-1/2
3-1/4

3
0.012500
0.013888
0.015625

0.016666
0.017857
0.020000

0.020833
0.022727
0.025000

0.027777
0.031250
0.033333

0.035714
0.035461
0.037037

0.041666
0.045454
0.050000

0.055555
0.062500
0.071428

0.076923
0.083333
0.086956

0.090909
0.010000
0.111111

0.125000
0.142857
0.166666

0.181818
0.200000
0.222222

0.250000
0.285711
0.307692

0.333333
0.00812
0.00902
0.01015

0.01083
0.01160
0.01299

0.01353
0.01476
0.01624

0.01804
0.02030
0.02165

0.02320
0.02406
0.02498

0.02706
0.02952
0.03248

0.03608
0.04059
0.04639

0.04996
0.05413
0.05648

0.05905
0.06495
0.07217

0.08119
0.09279
0.10825

0.11809
0.12990
0.14434

0.16238
0.18558
0.19985

0.21651
0.00800
0.00889
0.01000

0.01067
0.01144
0.01281

0.01334
0.01455
0.01601

0.01779
0.02001
0.02134

0.02287
0.02372
0.02463

0.02668
0.02911
0.03202

0.03557
0.04002
0.04574

0.04926
0.05336
0.05568

0.05821
0.06403
0.07115

0.08004
0.09148
0.10672

0.11642
0.12807
0.14230

0.16008
0.18295
0.19702

0.21344
0.01083
0.01203
0.01353

0.01443
0.01546
0.01732

0.01804
0.01968
0.02165

0.02406
0.02706
0.02887

0.03093
0.03208
0.03331

0.03608
0.03936
0.04330

0.04811
0.05413
0.06186

0.06662
0.07217
0.07531

0.07873
0.08660
0.09623

0.10825
0.12372
0.14434

0.15746
0.17321
0.19245

0.21651
0.24744
0.26647

0.28868
0.01624
0.01804
0.02030

0.02165
0.02320
0.02598

0.02706
0.02952
0.03248

0.03608
0.04059
0.04330

0.04639
0.04812
0.04996

0.05413
0.05905
0.06495

0.07217
0.08119
0.09279

0.09993
0.10825
0.11296

0.11809
0.12990
0.14434

0.16238
0.18558
0.21651

0.23619
0.25981
0.28868

0.32479
0.37115
0.39970

0.43301
0.01601
0.01786
0.02001

0.02134
0.02286
0.02562

0.02668
0.02910
0.03202

0.03558
0.04002
0.04268

0.04574
0.04742
0.04926

0.05336
0.05821
0.06403

0.07114
0.08004
0.09147

0.09851
0.10672
0.11132

0.11642
0.12806
0.14230

0.16008
0.18295
0.21344

0.23284
0.25613
0.28458

0.32017
0.36590
0.39404

0.42689
0.02165
0.02406
0.02706

0.02887
0.03093
0.03464

0.03608
0.03936
0.04330

0.04811
0.05413
0.05773

0.06186
0.06416
0.06662

0.07217
0.07873
0.08660

0.09623
0.10825
0.12372

0.13323
0.14434
0.15062

0.15746
0.17321
0.19245

0.21651
0.24744
0.28868

0.31492
0.34641
0.38490

0.43301
0.49487
0.53294

0.57733







Thread Constants For Various Percentages


Formula for Obtaining Tap Drill Sizes

(Select nearest commercial stock drill)

(Outside Diameter of Thread) - (0.01299 X Amount of Percentage of Full Thread / Number of Threads per Inch) =
Drilled Hole Size

(Number of Threads per Inch) X (Outside Diameter of Thread - Selected Drill Diameter / 0.01299) =
Percentage of Full Thread

Figures in table show amount to subtract from O.D. of screw to obtain specific percentages of thread.



Threads Per
Inch

Double
Depth

60%
Thread

65%
Thread

70%
Thread

75%
Thread

80%
Thread

85%
Thread
6
7
8

9
10
11

12
13
14

16
18
20

24
27
28

30
32
36

40
44
48

56
64
72

80
0.21651
0.18558
0.16238

0.14434
0.12990
0.11809

0.10825
0.09992
0.09278

0.08119
0.07217
0.06495

0.05412
0.04811
0.04639

0.04330
0.04059
0.03608

0.03247
0.02952
0.02706

0.02319
0.02029
0.01804

0.01623
0.1300
0.1114
0.0975

0.0866
0.0779
0.0708

0.0649
0.0599
0.0556

0.0486
0.0431
0.0389

0.0326
0.0288
0.0276

0.0260
0.0243
0.0216

0.0194
0.0177
0.0161

0.0138
0.0121
0.0107

0.0097
0.1408
0.1207
0.1056

0.0939
0.0844
0.0767

0.0702
0.0649
0.0602

0.0526
0.0466
0.0421

0.0354
0.0312
0.0298

0.0282
0.0263
0.0234

0.0210
0.0192
0.0174

0.0149
0.0131
0.0115

0.0105
0.1517
0.1300
0.1138

0.1011
0.0909
0.0826

0.0755
0.0699
0.0648

0.0566
0.0501
0.0453

0.0382
0.0336
0.0324

0.0304
0.0283
0.0252

0.0226
0.0207
0.0187

0.0160
0.0141
0.0123

0.0113
0.1625
0.1393
0.1219

0.1083
0.0974
0.0885

0.0808
0.0749
0.0694

0.0606
0.0536
0.0485

0.0410
0.0360
0.0347

0.0326
0.0303
0.0270

0.0242
0.0222
0.0200

0.0171
0.0151
0.0131

0.0121
0.1733
0.1486
0.1300

0.1156
0.1039
0.0944

0.0861
0.0799
0.0740

0.0646
0.0571
0.0517

0.0438
0.0384
0.0370

0.0348
0.0323
0.0288

0.0258
0.0237
0.0213

0.0182
0.0161
0.0139

0.0129
0.1842
0.1579
0.1381

0.1228
0.1105
0.1005

0.0921
0.0850
0.0789

0.0691
0.0614
0.0553

0.0460
0.0409
0.0395

0.0368
0.0345
0.0307

0.0276
0.0251
0.0230

0.0197
0.0173
0.0153

0.0138






Relation Of Tap Pitch Diameter To Basic Pitch Diameter

American tap manufacturers use a series of tap pitch diameter limits. These limits feature a .0005” tolerance in tap sizes #0 through 1 inch, and a .001 inch or greater tolerance in tap sizes above 1 inch through 1-1/2 inch diameter, inclusive. The chart shows the relationship between tap pitch diameter limits and basic (nominal) pitch diameter.








Tap Limits Product Limits And Class Of Thread

Engineers frequently receive a request for a Class 3B (or other class) tap. Many times, too, the customer will ask for a tap to produce a “Class 3B Fit”. Ordering taps by these specifications is incorrect, and often impractical. The following information is presented to clarify the difference between the terms Class of Thread, Tap Limits and Product Limits to make ordering taps easier and aid the customer in obtaining the tap best suited for his requirements.

Class of Thread refers simply to the tolerances that control the closeness of fit between two threaded mating parts. This term should be used only in reference to a threaded assembly, as, for example, a screw and nut.

Product Limits refers to the limits and tolerances of the internal or female thread. The° of tolerance is expressed by the terms Class 2, 2B, 3 and 3B. Product limits refer to the various limits and tolerances applying to nuts or internal threads and are identified by the terms Class 2, 2B, 3 or 3B.

Tap Limits refers to the various sizes of taps manufactured to permit selection of a tap which will produce an internal thread within the desired product limit. Tap limits are designated as L-i, H-1 H-2, H-3, etc.

In the chart on this page we have illustrated the difference between tap and product limit, using a 1/4-20 tapped hole as the example.

Although ground thread taps are produced to precision tolerances under closely controlled manufacturing processes and are guaranteed for accuracy of individual elements, there is always the possibility of the presence of unknown factors which can be detrimental to good tap performance. The tap manufacturer, therefore, is not able to guarantee the size of the tapped hole.
To summarize, the following points should be remembered:

1. A tap cannot produce a Class of Thread. It can produce a tapped hole within specific product limits.

2. Since it is used only in tapping a hole, or producing an internal thread, a tap has no control over the fitting properties of the mating external thread.

3. To produce what is commonly referred to as a “Class of Thread,” both the external and internal threads must be within their respective product limits. Only when both members of a threaded assembly fall within the desired class limits can the proper fit be assured.

4. The acceptability of any class of threaded hole is determined only by an accurate “Go” or “Hi” thread plug gage of the corresponding class. Similarly, the acceptability of a male part with an external thread is also determined by a corresponding “Go” or “Lo” thread ring gage.

5. When ordering taps, specify either the tap limit or the class of thread that identifies the limit of the tapped hole.

6. In special applications, supply as much information as possible. The more information our engineers have to work with, the better they can recommend a tap to do the job properly with least expense.

7. Remember, it is not always the most expensive tap which will do the job best. Our files contain many examples of special jobs which were solved with inexpensive standard taps.

 link to Tap Recommendations for Classes of Thread for Unified and American National Screw Threads









link to tap and die index page

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