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A Tapping Guide        

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Tap Guide in Use, click to enlarge

A tap guide is helpful with small taps to ensure they start straight when tapping by hand. Small taps tend to break easily when started at an angle to the hole. I've used a little aluminum block with two holes for several years (seen above beside the stand) - it works well but is sometimes awkward to keep in place while turning the tap wrench. I favor aluminum or plastic for a tap block so there is no chance of dulling the tap from accidental contact.

At CTHSM meetings, members sometimes share items that are surplus to their needs. TapGuide2 Two indicator stands were offered at the December 2011 meeting so I took one and added a tapping block so it functions as a third hand, making tapping of small items less challenging. It can be changed back to an indicator stand easily if desired since the only modification to the stand was milling the bottom of the arm slightly so the tapping block is held parallel to the base.

As usual, the needed pieces were found in my junk box - a piece of 2.5" aluminum round 1/2" long (with a large center hole) being the main ingredient. The peculiar looking shoulder nut clamps the tapping block to the arm of the stand and centers in the hole for the indicator via the second shoulder. A 10-32 socket head screw with a knurled knob pressed on completes the work, other than drilling holes for the intended tap sizes.

This setup is convenient for the small work I normally do and is easily stored away until needed. My original tapping block won't be discarded, just used less frequently for the odd tasks that don't fit this more elaborate setup.

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