What Is A CNC Drill Tap Machine?

Posted on Dec 30, 2020

Tapping Centers

A CNC drill tap machine is a CNC machining center that is capable of performing both drilling and tapping operation. With a CNC drill tap machine, multiple machining processes can be performed simultaneously in one cycle.

CNC Drill Tap Machine

A CNC drill tap machine is a CNC machining center that is capable of performing both drilling and tapping operation. CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control. It is a control system which is frequently applied in manufacturing, engineering, automotive, aerospace, and general appliance industry for mass production and precision machining purposes. Equipped with the CNC system, a CNC drill tap machine is a multi-function machining center which is able to perform a variety of operations with precision and efficiency. With a CNC drill tap machine, the production lead time can be improved because the need to transfer a work piece from a station to another for different types of machining process is eliminated.

:: Read more : Automatic Drilling Tapping Machine - An Overview


Drilling is one of the primary machining capabilities a CNC drill tap machine possess. It is essentially a manufacturing process where a round hole is created within a work piece by means of rotating a piece of cutting tool at a high speed. Drilling is the very basic machining process which other types of machining process is derived from. Given a drilled hole, a CNC machining center can further enlarge the existing hole with a reaming process or create a thread within the hole with a threading process. In order to create holes in particular diameters, depths and finishes, all it takes is to change a right cutting tool for a CNC drill tap machine and it is hence able to create holes with a desired configuration.


The other machining capability a CNC drill tap machine has is to perform a tapping process. Tapping is the process of cutting a thread inside a hole so that a cap screw, a bolt or other types of fasteners can be threaded into the hole. Tapping is also used to create threads on nuts. In general, tapping is the machining process used to create assembly points on parts so that these parts can be combined into a more complex unit. In a conventional tapping process, a predrilled hole in a work piece is needed so that a tapping machine can create a thread within a hole; it takes two machining processes to complete the work. However, with a CNC drill tap machine, cutting a threaded hole in a work piece can be done in a single work cycle. The productivity is increased as a result.

Drill Bits & Taps

Drill bits, drills and taps are the cutting tools used in a drilling or tapping process to cut the hole inside a work piece. Regardless of the types and configurations these cutting tools have, they are the part that performs the actual cutting process. A piece of cutting tool is a shank with a sharp tip and cutting edges on one end and a round cross-section bottom on the other end. To perform a drilling process, a drill bit is mounted onto a spindle which drives the bit to rotate. When a cutting tool rotates at a high speed, the pointy tip and sharp cutting edges of it remove the stock from a work piece once the tool and the work piece get in physical contact with each other.

Since most of the machining processes are done onto metallic work pieces, the drill bits have to be rigid enough to withstand the torque and force while at the same time being able to remove stock from metallic material. Given that a high material strength is required in a machining process, the drill bits and taps are commonly made from high speed steel (HSS), cobalt, and other types of rigid alloys. It is also very often that the drill bits and taps are coated or plated with other alloys or abrasives to increase the cutting ability and reduce the wear and damage of the tool.


While a drill bit and a tap is used to create a hole and a thread within a work piece, a die is a type of cutting tool used to create an external thread on a screw or a bolt. It is normal that drill bits, taps, dies and other forms of cutting tools are mounted onto a CNC drill tap machine to perform the machining processes. The use of a die is different from that of a drill bit or a tap. When creating an internal hole and thread within a work piece, the work piece stays stationary and the cutting tool rotates to cut the hole; on the other hand, when creating an external thread on a work piece, the die typically stays stationary and the work piece rotates. The stock is removed and external thread created as the rotating work piece contact the stationary die.

Turret Head

A turret head, or simply a turret, has been adopted heavily by modern CNC machining centers to improve the functionality of the machine. It has the cutting tools sit in a row on the cross-slide of a machining center. It holds the tools on the cross-slide and rotates them to bring a new machining tool into position. To change the tool, the turret pulls the current tool back from the work piece with either a Z-axis motion, or an X- and Z-axis motion. After the tool is pulled back, the turret rotates until the new tool is in position. Once the new tool is in position, the turret brings the tool forward to begin cutting with the Z- or X- and Z-axis motion. A CNC drill tap machine usually has more than one spindle with turret so that multiple processes can be performed simultaneously in one cycle.

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