Teflon is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene. It is used in various applications because of its unique properties, which include a high melting point, low coefficient of friction, and resistance to chemicals and heat. But can this versatile material be tapped? Let’s find out.
The answer is yes! All standard operations—turning, facing, boring, drilling, threading, tapping, reaming, grinding, etc. —apply to PTFE shapes. Special machinery is not necessary. However, there are some things to remember when working with this material.
First and foremost
PTFE has a very high melting point— upwards of 327 degrees Celsius. This means that it can’t be welded using standard methods; instead, it must be joined using adhesives or other methods that won’t introduce heat to the equation.
Another thing to keep in mind is that
PTFE has a very low coefficient of friction. This can cause problems when tapping, as the taps may “walk” across the material’s surface if they’re not held in place correctly. To avoid this issue, it’s important to use sharp taps and ensure they’re properly lubricated before the tapping operation begins.
Finally, PTFE is resistant to chemicals and heat.
This means it can’t be annealed like other metals; instead, it must be machined cold. It also means that any coolant or lubricant used during machining must be compatible with PTFE— otherwise, it could damage the material.
In conclusion, yes—Teflon can be tapped! However, some things to remember when working with this versatile material. By following the proper procedures and using the right tools, you can tap PTFE successfully—and without any headaches.