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Old 05-07-2008, 07:45 PM   #1
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Default Threading Aluminum

We are threading 1" to 4" aluminum alloy conduit. We were given a spray lube that smells like kerosene and doesn't work great. Today I tried "Tap Magic" and get about the same results. Does anyone know of a lubricant that works well for this? Or are there different threader dies for this?
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:25 PM   #2
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I've used rapidtap brand cutting fluid and it seemed to work pretty good although I only had to thread maybe 3 2"ers
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:30 PM   #3
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Use a NEW set of cutting dies and standard oil based cutting fluid that has not been used for steel pipe. The trick is to keep the cutters sharp, so don't use the same dies and cutting fluid to cut RMC or IMC.
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:38 PM   #4
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Second thought:define aluminum alloy conduit.
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:48 PM   #5
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Use a NEW set of cutting dies and standard oil based cutting fluid that has not been used for steel pipe. The trick is to keep the cutters sharp, so don't use the same dies and cutting fluid to cut RMC or IMC.
I agee. New dark cutting oil, and new teeth. When you are done with them, take them out and put them back in carton and label as aluminum only. So you will have them for the next time. Nothing worse then a bad set of teeth.
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:37 PM   #6
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Second thought:define aluminum alloy conduit.
I have to find out what the alloy is. It's not marked like what we usually get for central phone switch buildings, there is a number like "3106" stamped on it. It has a dull finish and the outer skin seems harder than normal.
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:39 PM   #7
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Use a NEW set of cutting dies and standard oil based cutting fluid that has not been used for steel pipe. The trick is to keep the cutters sharp, so don't use the same dies and cutting fluid to cut RMC or IMC.
I will try the regular oil tomorrow with new teeth. The supplier sent this special lube for the pipe but it isn't doing it.
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Old 05-08-2008, 05:35 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by randomkiller View Post
We are threading 1" to 4" aluminum alloy conduit. We were given a spray lube that smells like kerosene and doesn't work great. Today I tried "Tap Magic" and get about the same results. Does anyone know of a lubricant that works well for this? Or are there different threader dies for this?
What type of dies are you using? I know this may sound dum but you get different ones for steel and aluminum, when I was in the army we had a load of water pipes to install in Kenya for a water aid project and they had this problem until our rsm discovered that the dies we had were for steel so he had a brand new set of aluminium ones freighted out overnight from the UK.
They cut like a hot knife through butter and you dont get the bits breaking of the threads and the lube they used was this green paste not disimilar to flux, but it stank some.
Just a thought.
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:09 AM   #9
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What type of dies are you using? I know this may sound dum but you get different ones for steel and aluminum, when I was in the army we had a load of water pipes to install in Kenya for a water aid project and they had this problem until our rsm discovered that the dies we had were for steel so he had a brand new set of aluminium ones freighted out overnight from the UK.
They cut like a hot knife through butter and you dont get the bits breaking of the threads and the lube they used was this green paste not disimilar to flux, but it stank some.
Just a thought.

We have a collection of Ridgid brand die heads that fit into a carriage on the threader itself. We also have the hand held type at the shop but you have to unscrew them to get them off instead of just poping them open to remove them. I will stop in the shop this morning and see what the tool crib guy has to say, I tossed a small piece of pipe in the truck last night while leaving.
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Old 05-08-2008, 09:16 AM   #10
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Maybe a dumb question, but are the teeth installed in the right order?
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Old 05-08-2008, 09:55 AM   #11
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Maybe a dumb question, but are the teeth installed in the right order?
I seam to remember that trick being played before....I don't think RM would fall for it though.

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Old 05-08-2008, 10:10 AM   #12
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I have to find out what the alloy is. It's not marked like what we usually get for central phone switch buildings, there is a number like "3106" stamped on it. It has a dull finish and the outer skin seems harder than normal.
Plain ole Nu-Clear, with plain ole dies, always worked fine for me. However I smell a kink in the works when you say "the outer skin seems harder than normal" ?

Aluminum conduit is the cat's meow.

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Old 05-08-2008, 07:19 PM   #13
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Well I got the low down today. The alloy is "6013" which is an aircraft grade to resist corrosion. We picked up dies for stainless and with the spray lube that was provided, they work well. The pipe for inside is all standard grade, so that should be cake. With the proper dies it went well today. Now if I could only do something about the stairs, I'd enjoy this place.
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:24 PM   #14
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Now if I could only do something about the stairs, I'd enjoy this place.
One possibility....
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:26 PM   #15
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One possibility....
Hmmm, I wonder if the frame is good ole 6103?
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:38 PM   #16
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Cool Lubricating threading oil

I have used a product called energy release. A machine shop told me about it and I keep my drill bits in it when not in use. It really works. I have also used it in the crankcase, power steering, transmission and differential for our service trucks. look it up at

www.energyrelease.com

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Old 05-08-2008, 11:50 PM   #17
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For aluminum kerosene or the like is pretty standard - though lube isn't really all that necessary for Al (but it can't hurt).

Make sure you're using the correct drill bit for your pilots. If your bit is a fraction there's a good chance it's not the right size - for example an 8-32 tap uses a No. 29 drill bit.

Here's a chart: http://www.boltdepot.com/fastener-in...rill-Size.aspx

Aluminum should be pretty easy - are you doing it by hand with a t-handle? I don't suggest using power tools for tapping unless you have a knee mill or a CNC.

The chips are your enemy - make sure you clean the taps thoroughly every time!!! And don't do a little bit, back out and blow in the hole, then try do do some more on the same hole - you'll just make a mess!

There nothing more satisfying than a nice, tight, newly tapped hole!

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Old 05-09-2008, 05:55 AM   #18
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For aluminum kerosene or the like is pretty standard - though lube isn't really all that necessary for Al (but it can't hurt).

Make sure you're using the correct drill bit for your pilots. If your bit is a fraction there's a good chance it's not the right size - for example an 8-32 tap uses a No. 29 drill bit.

Here's a chart: http://www.boltdepot.com/fastener-in...rill-Size.aspx

Aluminum should be pretty easy - are you doing it by hand with a t-handle? I don't suggest using power tools for tapping unless you have a knee mill or a CNC.

The chips are your enemy - make sure you clean the taps thoroughly every time!!! And don't do a little bit, back out and blow in the hole, then try do do some more on the same hole - you'll just make a mess!

There nothing more satisfying than a nice, tight, newly tapped hole!

We aren't tapping holes, we're threading pipe. For this you need lube or else the dies start tearing off chunks of the thread you just cut. And this was an odd alloy to, resist the bad atmosphere in the city I guess. But thanks for trying.
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Old 05-09-2008, 07:44 AM   #19
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Well I got the low down today. The alloy is "6013" which is an aircraft grade to resist corrosion. We picked up dies for stainless and with the spray lube that was provided, they work well. The pipe for inside is all standard grade, so that should be cake. With the proper dies it went well today. Now if I could only do something about the stairs, I'd enjoy this place.
Interesting, you have inside and outside aluminum conduit? News to me.
If so your project manager should flagged that fact when he turned the project over to you.

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Old 05-09-2008, 05:40 PM   #20
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Interesting, you have inside and outside aluminum conduit? News to me.
If so your project manager should flagged that fact when he turned the project over to you.

Work'in For That Free Tee . . .

One of the sales engineers met me at the job the first day and showed me the basic layout and most of what he remembered of the job, I didn't have the prints and spec sheets until we had actually started working. There was a big time lapse from bidding it to getting it, the contractor that had it first didn't get to start it for unknown reasons.

All the parts and hardware for exterior use is different finishes and materials than what is going inside. the only time we use all the same stuff is in a CEV (controlled environmental vault). This is just the first time we had the corrosion resistant conduit for outside.
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