When should you tap?
Tapping tends to be the most error prone and frustrating operation a machining center performs. Depending upon the tap style, the material being machined, the size of the thread being tapped, and even the machine tool itself, tapping poses a variety of special problems. In many tapping applications, the operator must also blow out the chips formed during drilling and apply tapping compound.
If not properly planned, these problems can lead to wasted machine time, especially if the operator is expected to do other things during the machining center cycle. For this reason, we recommend that all tapping be done at the very end of the cycle.
We also recommend placing an M00 (program stop) in the program prior to the first tapping operation. This will allow the operator to blow away the chips and apply tapping compound. Also, once the cycle is reactivated, the operator will only have to monitor the balance of the program (only tapping will be left). He or she will be free during all other machining operations to perform other functions.