Threading/Oiling

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Central NC
Had a dispute this week with someone about oiling pipe when hand threading. He insisted oil is not needed, only when using power equipment. I maintain that oiling gives a cleaner cut and helps preserve the die teeth. I was taught this many years ago and have stuck with it. Yes, I have done a few dry if no oil was available, only for manual. I oil taps whenever possible also.

Other opinions?
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
No oil threading will shorten the life of the dies.

Here's what RIGID says about using poor quality cutting oil, not using any oil may accelerate the negative consequences listed below:

Apply a generous quantity of RIDGID Thread Cutting
Oil when threading (Figure 6). Use of a lubricating oil
or a poor thread cutting oil can result in a poor quality
cut thread, leaky joints, short die life and high handle
forces.
 
Like others said -- oil will make cutting much easier, both on you and on the dies.
I oil the cutting head both on the way there, and back.

That said, you have to use thread cutting oil, not just anything.
Motor oil is no good.
In a pinch, you can use chainsaw blade oil.
 

renosteinke

Senior Member
Location
NE Arkansas
To paraphrase Drew Carey: Whose dies are they, anyway?

We can get away with an awful lot as electricians. We don't cut threads that often (by hand), and our threads don't have to be particularly good- it's not like the electricity will leak out and make a puddle on the floor!

Still, there's a whole industry devoted to the fine art of cutting threads, and developing cutting fluids to help with the task. For our purposes, it's hard to improve on old-style "ordinance oil," which is a thin syrup of oil containing various stinky sulfur compounds. That's what's usually sold as 'pipe thread cutting oil.'

A cutting oil typically does several things:
1) It acts as a lubricant, as the die slides into place and begins cutting;
2) It excludes air from the cutting action:
3) It removes heat from the cutting edges;
4) It helps the cuttings to slide out of the way;
5) It lubricates the pieces as the die is removed; and,
6) It provides some corrosion protection to the newly cut metal.

One major result of using a good cutting oil is a dramatic improvement in the quality of the cut threads. This has led some to speculate that the solids in the oil - those sulfur compounds- actually take part in the cutting action. Even the liquid itself might do some cutting - there are, after all, machines that cut with a jet of water.

There's also no denying that the residual oil film helps parts fit together nice and easy.

Personally, I'm sold on cutting oil. Whether I'm cutting threads or drilling a hole, a little oil goes a long way. It even makes a difference with self-drilling screws.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
We can get away with an awful lot as electricians. We don't cut threads that often (by hand), and our threads don't have to be particularly good- it's not like the electricity will leak out and make a puddle on the floor!
Speak for yourself, some of us don't own a power threader, but do have access to one when doing jobs where there will be a lot of threading.:p
 

junkhound

Senior Member
Location
Renton, WA
anytime cutting metal I use oil

even put oil (or at least wax) on hacksaw blades cutting something as easy as EMT

even by hand, you can tear a thread without oil, not to mentin it is twice the effort
 

Fulthrotl

~~Please excuse the mess. Sig under construction~~
Had a dispute this week with someone about oiling pipe when hand threading. He insisted oil is not needed, only when using power equipment. I maintain that oiling gives a cleaner cut and helps preserve the die teeth. I was taught this many years ago and have stuck with it. Yes, I have done a few dry if no oil was available, only for manual. I oil taps whenever possible also.

Other opinions?
i was a machinist before i was an electrician.
you don't cut threads dry. period. taps, dies, doesn't matter.
if hand threading, any oil you have in a storm.
power threading, you'd better use something suitable,
or keep a lot of sets of teeth handy.

however, the high sulfur cutting oil that is most of what is
used for cutting threads in mild steel, sucks. it stinks, makes
a horrible mess, etc. and it's not all that good at the purpose.

it's main claim is that it's cheap, and can be used endlessly
until it goes rancid.

what i use for threading, drilling and most everything, on
most everything, including stainless, is some mineral
cutting oil by a german company.

http://www.rems.de/threading/thread-cutting-oil/rems-spezial.aspx

it's almost odorless, and water soluble. comes in spray cans, so
you don't end up with your truck reeking of oil.

i ended up with using it after i bought a rems porta pony, to thread
up to 2". i was looking at rothenberger, and nobody around here
sells them, and the plumbing supply house guy suggested i take a
look at rems... this is what i ended up with.

http://www.rems.de/threading/electr...ck-change-die-heads/rems-amigo-2-compact.aspx

nice threader, good dies. wasn't cheap, unfortunately.
half the weight of a rigid threader, 2/3 the size.
with a dog to keep the pipe from spinning, you don't
need a tri stand or vise to thread.

i keep a can of the spray oil in the box, and i lined
the edge of the metal box with weatherstripping,
to keep the cutting oil smell out of the van... but
turns out the oil is pretty odorless.
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Central NC
I appreciate the feedback. Most people I've worked with over the years agree oil is best even for hand threading. Especially dumb to me to cut dry when a jug of oil is at hand.
 

hurk27

Senior Member
If you have ever priced a set of Rigid dies and knowing that on average will get about 2/3rds less threaded ends before the dies are too dull or have broken teeth when not using any cutting fluid than when you do use it, no one would ever do any threading without cutting fluid again especially if they had to pay for a new set of dies every time, lets say you get 1000 sets of threads with using the proper cutting fluid, this means without it you would only get about 333.1/3rd threaded ends before the dies start galling the threads and had to be replaced, some of these dies can be expensive, if I ever caught a worker not using threading fluid either using a hand threader or power unit, he would get a very serious warning and if it continued he would be looking for another job.

There is no excuse to not use a tool in the proper manner to which it was designed, that can add considerable cost to the overhead of running a shop not counting the down time added to a job in progress when the dies dull out before the job is done, which is hard enough in these times of our economy.

Another one is not using the proper dies designed for the metal that is being threaded, harder steel such as IMC or stainless steel require dies that are made for these metals, using regular dies will also shorten the life of these dies, today I think most dies will cover both of these metals, but we still have dies at work that are not made for SS or IMC and have a warning to not use them on these metals.
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Central NC
I don't recall knowing before about special dies for IMC. I knew stainless required them, though I never worked with any stainless conduit. I ruined a personal KO punch cutting stainless, so I know about that for sure.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I don't recall knowing before about special dies for IMC. I knew stainless required them, though I never worked with any stainless conduit. I ruined a personal KO punch cutting stainless, so I know about that for sure.
We used to punch stainless all the time with "standard" dies and had little problems.

I think some of the Slugbuster type dies are not intended for use with stainless though.
 
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