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Tapping Basics

A tap is fitted into a pilot hole in a metal piece and turned with a special type of wrench. Here are the steps to take before and during the tapping process.

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tap is fitted into hole and turned with tap wrench
  • Time

    30 Minutes

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Drill a Hole in the Metal

Drill a hole in the metal slightly smaller than the diameter of the tap. Apply lubricating oil to the metal as you drill to keep the metal from overheating. Wear safety goggles and long sleeves when drilling for protection from flying chips of metal.

drill hole in metal slightly smaller than tap

Step 2: Clamp the Piece

Clamp the metal work piece in a vise.

Attach the tap wrench to the top of the tap. Apply lubricating oil to the tap's threads.

clamp metal work piece in vise

Step 3: Insert and Rotate the Tap

Insert the lubricated tap into the hole in the metal, placing it perpendicular to the metal.

Turn the tap wrench clockwise to rotate the tap. For the first few turns, exert moderate downward pressure. Once the first threads have been cut, pressure is no longer needed. After each turn, back the tap out a bit, remove burrs from the edge of the hole, and add more lubricant to the tap to keep it from breaking off in the hole.

place tap in hole perpendicular to metal