Threading is an essential part of machining. Interlocking components require threads in order to be bolted together. When producing parts, especially replacement parts, ensuring the accuracy of your threads with regard to thread size and pitch is essential. There are a few options when it comes to choosing a milling cutter for threading, including full form and single pitch thread mills. Knowing which tool is best for the job can help you sive time and ensure that your finished product is as clean and accurate as possible.
Full Form Thread Mills
The first type of tool to consider when thread milling is a full form tool. These cutters are designed to cut threads extremely quickly. The cutting surface of the end mill contains several small triangular pointed teeth arranged in rows. Instead of tracing along the complete distance of the threads, these tools can cut an entire threaded surface in moments. Full form thread mills make their cut in one 360 degree pass. The entire tool drops while cutting so that every “tooth” on the tool’s surface ends its cut where the tooth below it began. As long as this drop is even, the resulting threads will be perfectly helical and ready to accept any correctly sized bolt.
A full form thread mill can cut both internal and external threads in a variety of sizes. Despite their speed and convenience, there are a few limitations to using full form tools. The biggest catch when using these thread mills is the fact that the teeth are positioned a set distance apart. This means that each cutter can only produce threads with a fixed pitch. If you are machining one piece with multiple thread pitches, you will have to switch tools or find a different threading option.
Single Pitch Thread Mills
The other threading cutter style is commonly referred to as a single pitch thread mill. Instead of having a row of cutting teeth like a full form tool, these end mills have a longer shank that terminates in a single cutting surface that resembles a single “tooth” from a full form cutter. The smaller cutting area means that a single pitch tool has to trace along the entire length of a threaded surface. This process will take a little longer, but it comes with its own advantages.
A single pitch thread mill can cut multiple thread pitches with a single tool, giving each cutter far more versatility than their full form counterparts. The smaller size of the cutting surface also means that single pitch milling cutters experience less friction during operation. This means that a single pitch tool can perform more delicate operations like threading a component with an overhang or working on a workpiece with thin walls. The cutting times with these tools may be slightly longer, but you can get far more done without having to stop to switch tools if you are working on a workpiece with a mix of different thread pitches.
If you are looking to find thread mills for your shop, you need to check out the solid carbide thread mills at Online Carbide. They carry a wide range of milling cutters and drill bits available at manufacturer direct prices. In their online store you will find both full form and single pitch thread mills that are precision machined and TiAlN coated in the US. If you have any questions about their thread mills or any of the other tools that they offer, you can contact a member of the Online Carbide team by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.