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  #1  
Old 05-12-2021, 01:31 PM
JBFab JBFab is offline
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Default Threading Aluminum Pipe

I'm outfitting a new UTV for our fire department (build thread forthcoming) and have some aluminum pipe to thread. One guy I talked to at the local hardware store said they wouldn't do it because aluminum is "too soft to thread" (They have a nice rigid electric pipe threader that would likely do this pretty easily.

Then I remembered decades ago I bought an old wooden box with some pipe threading equipment in it. I dug it out, blew off the dust and low and behold It has everything I need to thread pipe up to 2" NPT. I have to thread 1" and 2" NPT for this project.

I set it up to thread an end of the 2" and every time I would get it started the thread would shear and I would end up with a chamfered end. I suspect I wasn't able to put enough manual thrust on the die to prevent this. So I backed down to the 1" pipe, and end up with the same results.

Anybody have some tips or tricks to MANUALLY threading this pipe?
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:13 PM
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Landis refers to that as "Nut Action".

You need to force it on when turning, that's why the power threaders
have a large handle to lean into it when starting.
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:16 PM
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First thought, you will want very sharp dies.


And is the pipe you’re threading new? Or within 6 month ms of being made? I’ve had alum pipe that acted really wierd, that was a couple years old on the shelf, vs new from the supplier. I was bending it, but figured threading might be difficult too.

I do remember that they have special dies for Stainless, they might have special ones for aluminum too.


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Old 05-12-2021, 02:18 PM
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For shits and giggles, try threading a piece of steel pipe, to see how your threading tool works on that.


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Old 05-12-2021, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toprecycler View Post
For shits and giggles, try threading a piece of steel pipe, to see how your threading tool works on that.


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Yup, might find out your stuffing the wrong end of the die first....
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Old 05-12-2021, 03:08 PM
JBFab JBFab is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
Landis refers to that as "Nut Action".

You need to force it on when turning, that's why the power threaders
have a large handle to lean into it when starting.
I had a feeling that was the case. The Oster threader we had at my previous employer had the dies mounted to a carriage that had a spur gear on a handle that engaged with a rack attached to the threader. I have a feeling I'm going to need to find someone with a threader to get this done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by toprecycler View Post
First thought, you will want very sharp dies.


And is the pipe you’re threading new? Or within 6 month ms of being made? I’ve had alum pipe that acted really wierd, that was a couple years old on the shelf, vs new from the supplier. I was bending it, but figured threading might be difficult too.

I do remember that they have special dies for Stainless, they might have special ones for aluminum too.


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It's new stock, but I'm sure it's been sitting in the rack at my supplier for some time. I know that you are hinting at age hardening, very applicable in bending, but I would think if anything it would be beneficial for threading or any type of machining for that matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by toprecycler View Post
For shits and giggles, try threading a piece of steel pipe, to see how your threading tool works on that.


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I was thinking about doing that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
Yup, might find out your stuffing the wrong end of the die first....
Lol, that I'm sure I'm not doing.
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Old 05-12-2021, 03:22 PM
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I have ground or filed a fairly long-long taper to get the teeth to start... and try your best to keep the taper centered or the die will also cut off center and bind.
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  #8  
Old 05-12-2021, 03:51 PM
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Yep, as mentioned, put a good chamfer at least to help you out. On some larger stuff I’ve also set them up in a lathe and turned the taper to match pipe threads.

I never have done it myself, but a taper attachment on a lathe will also let you single point pipe threads.


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  #9  
Old 05-12-2021, 04:09 PM
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Found this online. Might help.

https://www.electrical-contractor.ne...inum_pipe.html


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  #10  
Old 05-12-2021, 09:10 PM
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Yes, if you can precut the taper on the pipe. Also you need a good lubricant.
Sour cream works well on aluminum, no I am not joking. Also bacon grease,
lube the dies well not the pipe. Sulfurized (dark) cutting oil not that good on
aluminum.
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