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Thread: Tapping laser cut holes?

  1. #1
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    Tapping laser cut holes?

    Hey guys,

    Trying to find an answer on this.

    Do laser cut holes experience the same work hardening seen with plasma cut holes?

    I am looking to outsource one of my products and need to decide if I have them cut the holes to pre-tap size.

    I know on plasma cut holes that would be suicide, plasma cut is also not round enough but drilling a plasma cut pilot is usually difficult in itself.
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    Re: Tapping laser cut holes?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynBravest View Post
    Hey guys,

    Trying to find an answer on this.

    Do laser cut holes experience the same work hardening seen with plasma cut holes?

    I am looking to outsource one of my products and need to decide if I have them cut the holes to pre-tap size.

    I know on plasma cut holes that would be suicide, plasma cut is also not round enough but drilling a plasma cut pilot is usually difficult in itself.
    I read up on the idea out of curiosity just now, it seems to be the air used to evacuate the molten metal. Nitrogen in the air causes nitrite hardening in the surface. Thus it wouldn't matter if it were optical power or electrical power that melted the steel, it's the high nitrogen content air stream that hardens it. A solution was offered in industircal CNC cutters that use pure oxygen, this hardnign does not happen, but you can't convert an "air" system to an O2 system, it has to be designed for it.

    A work around offered was using a carbide deburring bit to cut off the hardened surface which is only about .006" to .010" thick.
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    Re: Tapping laser cut holes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad86tsi View Post
    I read up on the idea out of curiosity just now, it seems to be the air used to evacuate the molten metal. Nitrogen in the air causes nitrite hardening in the surface. Thus it wouldn't matter if it were optical power or electrical power that melted the steel, it's the high nitrogen content air stream that hardens it. A solution was offered in industircal CNC cutters that use pure oxygen, this hardnign does not happen, but you can't convert an "air" system to an O2 system, it has to be designed for it.

    A work around offered was using a carbide deburring bit to cut off the hardened surface which is only about .006" to .010" thick.
    It just dawned on me when i have this company laser cut tubing for me, and I countersink (heavily) one of the holes and never have an issue.

    When i try that with a plasma cut hole it murders a $40 countersink.
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    Re: Tapping laser cut holes?

    I do not use them, but would a reamer be a good idea? Have them laser cut to a certain size then pass a reamer through it. If so, that would be a quick operation in your new drill.
    Here is some info form the web


    FINAL HOLE
    REAMER SIZE Reduce Drill Hole Size Reduce Drill Hole
    By (mm) Size By (inch)

    mm inch MIN MAX MIN MAX
    0.20mm .00787" -0.04mm -0.06mm -0.00157" -0.00236"
    0.30mm .01181" -0.05mm -0.08mm -0.00197" -0.00315"
    0.40mm .01575" -0.05mm -0.10mm -0.00197" -0.00394"
    0.50mm .01969" -0.05mm -0.12mm -0.00197" -0.00472"
    0.60mm .02362" -0.05mm -0.12mm -0.00197" -0.00472"
    2.00mm .07874" -0.05mm -0.12mm -0.00197" -0.00472"
    6.00mm .23622" -0.15mm -0.20mm -0.00591" -0.00787"
    10.00mm .39370" -0.15mm -0.20mm -0.00591" -0.00787"
    15.00mm .59055" -0.30mm -0.40mm -0.01181" -0.01575"
    20.00mm .78740" -0.30mm -0.40mm -0.01181" -0.01575"
    25.00mm .98425" -0.30mm -0.50mm -0.01181" -0.01969
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    Re: Tapping laser cut holes?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynBravest View Post
    It just dawned on me when i have this company laser cut tubing for me, and I countersink (heavily) one of the holes and never have an issue.

    When i try that with a plasma cut hole it murders a $40 countersink.
    I'm glad you brought it up, I was unaware of this prior. Saves me trouble in the future

    Another idea I saw offered was just a pierce to create a center punch like hole locator for drilling later. You get the precision location but it wont' murder your bits.
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    Re: Tapping laser cut holes?

    Need to be careful with laser cut and plasma. I had some plates recently where we had the vendor laser cut some pilot holes for us in 1/4" plate to drill and tap out to #8-32. We went through 10 of the #29 bits on the first 30 plates with 4 holes per plate and really good bits.

    Had to switch to carbide bits on the mill to make it work. Almost defeated the purpose of the pilot holes.

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    Re: Tapping laser cut holes?

    Dunno why anyone would want to have some laser cut stuff to tap. Be like throwing darts at a wall.

    Hole diameters for tapping are pretty precise, depending on length of thread engagement. Bigger hole for deeper thread. I mean, you're talkin' thousands difference. Drill size is generally +- one letter,, number, or fractional size according to depth, and class of fit.

    I can't imagine any hot cutting process would be that accurate

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    Re: Tapping laser cut holes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drooopy View Post
    Need to be careful with laser cut and plasma. I had some plates recently where we had the vendor laser cut some pilot holes for us in 1/4" plate to drill and tap out to #8-32. We went through 10 of the #29 bits on the first 30 plates with 4 holes per plate and really good bits.

    Had to switch to carbide bits on the mill to make it work. Almost defeated the purpose of the pilot holes.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
    Yeah, that was what I was sayin'. Better to just drill the things, and tap them.

    Pilot hole for small holes would be hard to work with anyway, seems that you'd tear up the bits in short order, what with them catching the edge of the hole with the outside edge of the drill cutting edge

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    Re: Tapping laser cut holes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad86tsi View Post
    I'm glad you brought it up, I was unaware of this prior. Saves me trouble in the future

    Another idea I saw offered was just a pierce to create a center punch like hole locator for drilling later. You get the precision location but it wont' murder your bits.
    I would use a divot mark for locating centers, instead of piercing all the way through the plate..
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    Re: Tapping laser cut holes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brand X View Post
    I would use a divot mark for locating centers, instead of piercing all the way through the plate..
    This^^^. I have done this in sheetcam. My drawing just has a "period" where I want to make the hole. I have done it a couple of times. Little tricky in the beginning to set it up. Also Acourtjester gave me a good idea to lower the voltage when making the peck operation so it just makes a divot.
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    Re: Tapping laser cut holes?

    To follow up on this, I did have the parts cut. Aprox $3000 worth. So... We'll see if it works. Worst I go back to plan A and weld a nut on the back for this batch no harm done and pilot hole the next ones to be drilled and then tapped.
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    Re: Tapping laser cut holes?

    Not really going to help you out now, but if you have more to do, I've had really good luck tapping holes that have been water jet cut. About the only negative versus a drilled hole is the hole tends to have a bit of a draft angle especially on thicker plates.

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    Re: Tapping laser cut holes?

    Talk to who does your laser cutting.

    The new laser, waterjet cutters can have drill heads mounted so they can drill holes.
    Especially on waterjets, it helps to pierce with the drill.

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    Re: Tapping laser cut holes?

    The hardening on plasma (and laser) cut holes that will inhibit tapping is caused when using compressed air as the plasma gas or assist gas (laser). Air is 80% nitrogen, and the heat of the process combined with nitrogen creates a "case" hardened nitrided edge, much too hard to tap without destroying the tap.

    The fix? For plasma cutting you just need the right system! High Definition class plasma cutters (Hypertherm's XPR series plasma cutters) use oxygen as the plasma gas and oxygen as the shield (the patented "TrueHole" process) for eliminating the taper, the start divot and the stop ding as well as to remove the nitride hardening on plasma cut holes from3/16" to about 1" in diameter. The CNC machines that are equipped with HPR plasma must be of high precision (will not work on the same machines that typically use air plasma) and specifically designed for XPR plasma systems. These plasma tables with TrueHole start at about $120k (far less costly than a laser rated for the same thickness range). Jim Colt

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    Re: Tapping laser cut holes?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimcolt View Post
    The hardening on plasma (and laser) cut holes that will inhibit tapping is caused when using compressed air as the plasma gas or assist gas (laser). Air is 80% nitrogen, and the heat of the process combined with nitrogen creates a "case" hardened nitrided edge, much too hard to tap without destroying the tap.

    The fix? For plasma cutting you just need the right system! High Definition class plasma cutters (Hypertherm's XPR series plasma cutters) use oxygen as the plasma gas and oxygen as the shield (the patented "TrueHole" process) for eliminating the taper, the start divot and the stop ding as well as to remove the nitride hardening on plasma cut holes from3/16" to about 1" in diameter. The CNC machines that are equipped with HPR plasma must be of high precision (will not work on the same machines that typically use air plasma) and specifically designed for XPR plasma systems. These plasma tables with TrueHole start at about $120k (far less costly than a laser rated for the same thickness range). Jim Colt
    Im gonna start saving now... lol.



    For anyone wondering, the parts came (900 lbs worth) and I was able to tap them no problem with gun taps and a tapping head. Worked flawlessly.
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