Everything you need to know about Machining Thread

In an increasingly mechanized world, the art of machining thread holds a prominent role in various industrial processes. While threading may seem simple on the surface, the fabrication of a flawless and functionally perfect thread can often pose a significant challenge. Whether it’s the intricacies of the technique or the selection of appropriate threads for specific uses, understanding the many aspects of thread machining is key to success.

Threads are ubiquitous in our modern world, existing in everything from the appliances we use daily, the cars we drive, to the intricate workings of aerospace equipment. Their importance cannot be overstated, making thread fabrication a vital process in countless industries. From CNC machining and milling to CNC turning and precision stamping, threads are integral to a myriad of manufacturing procedures.

Choosing the right thread for a specific application can be a daunting task, given the plethora of options available. It’s crucial to consider factors like the material of the workpiece, be it aluminium, brass, copper, or any of the multitude of plastics used in modern manufacturing. The desired strength, compatibility, and durability of the thread also play a pivotal role in the decision-making process.

Understanding the Role of Threads in Manufacturing

In machining, a thread refers to the helical structure machined into or onto the surface of a workpiece. It’s a ridge of uniform section in the form of a helix, which can be external (such as on a bolt) or internal (such as inside a nut). 

Threads serve two primary functions: fastening and movement. Fastening threads are used in screws, nuts, and bolts, facilitating the assembly and disassembly of components. Movement threads, on the other hand, convert rotational motion into linear motion, as seen in lead screws and jackscrews.


Elements of a thread: summit, side, base, spacing, and spiral angle

A thread consists of several key elements, each contributing to its overall function.

A. Spiral Angle

The spiral angle is the angle made by the helix of the thread at the pitch diameter with a plane perpendicular to the axis. This angle is crucial as it influences the thread’s load-bearing capacity and efficiency.

B. Base

The base, or root, of the thread is the bottom section. This portion is important as it affects the thread’s strength and durability. It is the point of contact in the tumbling process and other finishing techniques.

C. Summit

The summit, or crest, is the highest point of the thread. It plays a vital role in the thread’s fit and function. During finishing processes such as anodizing, hard anodizing, and sand blasting, the summit often receives the most attention.

D. Side

The side, or flank, of a thread is the section that connects the summit and the base. It determines the shape of the thread profile and is a key factor in thread fit and sealing.

E. Spacing

Spacing, or pitch, is the distance from a point on one thread to the corresponding point on the next thread. The spacing plays a crucial role in determining the thread’s performance characteristics, including its load-bearing capacity and compatibility with mating parts.


Varieties of Fabricated Threads

The ability to manufacture threads in a variety of forms is one of the hallmarks of a reputable machining thread service. The type of thread fabricated largely depends on the intended use of the final product.

A. Sorting threads: connectors, machine screw threads, unified coarse, and unified fine threads

There are several different ways to categorize threads, and understanding these classifications can be useful when contacting professionals for your threading needs. Connectors and machine screw threads are commonly used in many industries. Additionally, unified coarse (UNC) and unified fine (UNF) threads are employed for specific applications, often dependent on the desired strength, fit, and finish.

B. Internal Threads

Exploring the Varieties of Aluminum Anodizing Techniques

Every anodizing application demands a specific treatment based on the desired outcome and application. There are three widely recognized types of anodizing processes, namely: Type I, Type II, and Type III.


1. Type I: Anodizing via Chromic Acid

Type I anodizing, also known as chromic acid anodizing, is a process that uses chromic acid as an electrolyte. While it’s not as common due to environmental concerns, it does have specific uses. 

Its primary advantages include thinner coatings and the ability to anodize complex parts without bridging the details. This process is typically used in aerospace applications where part tolerances are critical.


2. Type II: The Sulfuric Acid Anodizing Method

Type II, or sulfuric acid anodizing, is the most common method used. It provides a good balance between coating thickness, durability, and cost. The sulfuric acid forms a thicker oxide layer compared to chromic acid, offering better wear resistance and the ability to absorb dyes for color coding or aesthetic purposes. 

This technique is highly applicable for a variety of CNC machining parts that need both aesthetic appeal and functionality. You can find out more about this type of anodizing at Worthy Hardware’s Type II anodizing page.

3. Type III: The Hardcoat Anodizing Technique

Type III anodizing, or hardcoat anodizing, is similar to Type II, but creates a much thicker and harder aluminum oxide layer, providing superior wear resistance and durability. 

This method is beneficial when components are subject to harsh environments or mechanical wear. If you’re interested in this method, explore the possibilities with Worthy Hardware’s hard anodize Type III services.


Selecting the Best Anodizing Method

Choosing the right anodizing process is crucial in achieving the desired product quality. This decision can impact the component’s durability, aesthetics, and functionality.

A. Factors influencing the choice of anodizing technique

A variety of factors can affect the choice of anodizing technique. This includes the part’s intended use, required level of corrosion resistance, necessary wear resistance, and visual aesthetic preferences. 

It’s also crucial to consider the material’s characteristics, such as its alloy and the part’s design. 

B. Uses and characteristics of each anodizing method

Understanding the unique benefits and uses of each anodizing method can help in making the optimal choice. Type I, for instance, is best for aerospace applications due to its thin, non-conductive layer. Type II is versatile and widely used, providing a good balance of durability and aesthetics. Type III, or hardcoat anodizing, provides the utmost in wear resistance, making it ideal for parts exposed to harsh conditions or high wear.

  1. Explanation and application
    Internal threads are those cut into the inside of a workpiece, such as a nut or a tapped hole. They play a crucial role in mechanical assemblies by providing a mating surface for external threads.
  2. Necessary tools for producing internal threads
    Various methods can be used to produce internal threads. This includes techniques like CNC milling and CNC turning, among others.


C. External Threads

  1. Explanation and application
    External threads, on the other hand, are machined on the outside of a workpiece, like on a bolt or a screw. These threads mate with internal threads to facilitate assembly.
  2. Necessary tools for producing external threads
    Creating external threads involves the use of dedicated equipment. For instance, CNC machines, lathes, and precision stamping services can be employed.


Creation Process for Fabricated Threads

A. Overview of thread cutting techniques

Producing a machining thread is a multi-step process that requires the right equipment, technical skills, and an understanding of thread geometry. Machined parts and components need to be precisely shaped to meet the high standards of modern manufacturing.

B. Milling process

  1. Use of rotating milling cutter or gear cutter
    The CNC milling process involves using a rotating cutter to remove material from a workpiece. For thread milling, a specific thread milling cutter or a gear cutter is used to cut the thread profile into the workpiece. This process allows for precise control over the thread size and pitch.
  2. Appropriate for both internal and external threads
    Milling is a versatile process and can be used for both internal and external threads. This makes it a valuable tool in any machine shop’s toolbox.

C. Lathe Threading

  1. Gradual cuts using a threading equipment
    Threading on a lathe, also known as turning, involves making gradual cuts along the workpiece using threading equipment. This method is perfect for creating very precise threads.
  2. Techniques: tap handle, die handle, rigid tapping, and single-point threading
    Several techniques are used in lathe threading, including the use of a tap handle or die handle. For more control over the threading process, rigid tapping or single-point threading might be employed.

D. Die-Cutting

  1. Appropriate for shaping external threads
    Die-cutting is another method used in thread fabrication. This process is particularly suitable for shaping external threads, using a variety of threading dies.
  2. Varieties of threading dies: base or round split dies, adaptable dies
    Thread dies come in different forms, including base dies or round split dies, and adaptable dies. The choice of die depends on the specific thread requirements of the workpiece.

E. Thread Grinding

Thread grinding is a method used to create very precise and highly finished thread forms. Using a grinding wheel that is shaped to the exact thread profile, this method is ideal for applications where precision is paramount.


Tips for Thread Designing

Designing threads, whether for a single project or for mass production, requires careful attention to detail and a thorough understanding of the principles of machining thread. The following are a few key design tips to consider:

1. End chamfer for internal threads

For internal threads, it’s advisable to include an end chamfer. This not only makes it easier to start the thread but also helps to reduce the stress concentration that can cause thread failure. It’s a good practice in CNC machining design guidelines.

2. Favoring threads with shorter height

Threads with a shorter height, also known as fine threads, are generally more robust and less likely to strip than coarse threads. They can also provide higher tensile strength and better torque control, making them an excellent choice for high-stress applications.

3. Implementing standard thread measurements and shapes

For both ease of production and interchangeability, it’s crucial to use standard thread measurements and shapes. This adherence to standards helps ensure that the machined threads will fit perfectly with their corresponding parts, a critical aspect of the CNC machining parts tolerance.

4. Flat surface at the start of the thread

Having a flat surface at the start of the thread can help with the threading process, making it easier to align the threading tool accurately. This is particularly important for processes such as tapping, where the tool needs to be precisely positioned.

5. Boosting wall thickness for cylindrical parts

For cylindrical parts with internal threads, it can be beneficial to increase the wall thickness. This can help improve the strength of the thread and reduce the likelihood of the part failing under load.

6. Bevel at ends of external threads

Lastly, including a bevel at the ends of external threads can make it easier to assemble parts. This is especially beneficial in cases where the parts need to be frequently assembled and disassembled.

Mastering these tips can greatly improve the quality of your thread designs and the overall efficiency of your production process. Whether you are a seasoned engineer or a novice machinist, these tips will serve as a solid foundation for your thread fabrication projects.



When it comes to the industrial and manufacturing sectors, mastering the techniques and nuances of machining thread is undeniably crucial. Threads are an integral part of almost every mechanical system, and understanding their fabrication can play a vital role in creating successful, high-quality products.

But, even with this knowledge, the thread fabrication process can be challenging. Precision, accuracy, and expertise are key factors in creating threads that fit seamlessly and perform optimally in their intended applications. That’s why it is often recommended to liaise with threading professionals, like Worthy Hardware, a proven leader in CNC machining and thread fabrication.



Q1: What is the objective of threading?

Threading is a critical machining process used to create helical ridges, known as threads, on a cylindrical or conical surface. Threads are predominantly used for fastening and assembling purposes. 

Q2: Is it possible to fabricate a thread on a mill?

Yes, thread milling is a common method used in CNC machining. This method involves a rotating milling cutter that moves in a helical path to create a thread. Thread milling can be used to create both internal and external threads, and it is known for its precision, versatility, and suitability for creating large-diameter threads.

Q3: Can you manufacture internal threads using a lathe machine?

Absolutely, a lathe machine is often employed to produce internal threads – a process known as lathe threading. 

Q4: What are the 3 basic types of threads?

The three basic types of threads include:

  1. Parallel (or straight) threads: These threads have the same diameter along their entire length. An example is the Unified Coarse thread.
  2. Tapered threads: These threads change diameter along their length, often used in pipe fittings.
  3. Dry-seal threads: These are special types of tapered threads designed to seal pressure-tight joints without the need for sealing compounds.

Q5: What are common machine threads?

Machine threads are typically classified into two types: UNC (Unified National Coarse) and UNF (Unified National Fine). UNC is the most common type of thread found on bolts, nuts, and other types of fasteners.