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Old 01-12-2019, 06:43 PM
jfisher jfisher is offline
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: C27
Posts: 27
Angry Broken Tap in rollbar - UGH!!

Major bummer tonight.

Step 4 of 38-03 calls for tapping 6-32 threads through the rear window into the rollbar. Going well until number 8 when I managed to snap off the tap. RRRR!

Not a happy camper. Been reading lots of google searches, but can't find anything that would work with plexi on top of aluminum.

The tap is broken flush with the top of the plexi about halfway down.

Couldn't find anything in the forums for broken taps. Anybody got any ideas??

I'm stuck.
Jim Fisher
Manchester, IA
RV-14A 140411 Began Jan 2018
Tail kit and QB fuselage done
Finish kit done
QB wings coming Aug 2019
Thunderbolt 390 coming Nov 2019
2019 dues paid
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Old 01-12-2019, 06:48 PM
ty1295 ty1295 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Jeffersonville, IN
Posts: 267

Can you use a center punch and shatter it/push it thru? I assume hole is thru hole.
Jeff Scott
Proud to have flown with P. Wagstaff and some odd Russian.
RV9A #91247/#91434
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Old 01-12-2019, 06:55 PM
rnewcomb7797 rnewcomb7797 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Ft Leonard Wood, MO
Posts: 15

same thing happened to me but the plexiglass cracked too. I had to order new plexiglass and start over. I ground off the broken tap flush with rollbar cause i couldn't remove it. Drilled a new hole next to it. The second time I removed the plexiglass before tapping. That was a hard and expensive lesson learned.
RV 14A tail kit done
QB wings in the crate
QB fuselage done
finish kit in progress
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Old 01-12-2019, 07:16 PM
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scard scard is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Cedar Park, TX
Posts: 2,934

Stop, pause, don't make any sudden moves. It will be there tomorrow and the next day.

From what it sounds like, the tap isn't actually broken off inside what you were tapping. Any such event is definitely time consuming, but this is a little "craftsmanship" test that you can absolutely succeed at.

Noodle it long enough and I assure you that you will be victorious. Sometimes it is even acceptable, as a very last resort, to complete a "fix" by abandoning in place and moving on.
Scott Card
CQ Headset by Card Machine Works
RV-9A N4822C flying 2000+hrs. / Cedar Park, TX
RV8 Building - fuselage / showplanes canopy (Done!)
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Old 01-12-2019, 07:45 PM
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tomkk tomkk is offline
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Port Orange, Fl
Posts: 837

That happened to me on an RV-12 canopy. I had a small cone shaped grinding tool for my Dremel. I used the tip of that to grind the broken tap down below the upper surface of the Plexiglas. Doing that ended up heating the plexi enough so a helper could actually gently raise the plexi off of the broken tap. I ended up with a hole slightly larger than the others but that wasn't a problem.
Port Orange, Fl
RV-12 N121TK ELSA #120845; first flight 06/10/2015
RV-12 N918EN ELSA #120995 Eagles Nest Project; first flight 05/18/2019
SPA Panther N26TK in progress
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Old 01-12-2019, 07:50 PM
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Steve Melton Steve Melton is offline
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 2,111

one option, cover hole with RTV and move on. I have one like that. I notice it once in awhile and smile now.
Steve Melton
Cincinnati, OH
RV-9A, Tip-up, Superior O-320, roller lifters, 160HP, WW 200RV, dual impulse slick mags, oil pressure = 65 psi, EGT = 1300F, flight hours = 700+ for all

Simplicity is the art in design.

see Amanda Melton for
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Old 01-12-2019, 08:18 PM
Stockmanreef Stockmanreef is offline
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Midland, mi
Posts: 727

Can you get a very narrow tipped forceps into the slots in the tap and unscrew it out?

Not sure they are small enough to fit into the tap to do this. Might be worth a try. And for $6 it is worth a try.

just a thought.
Ken Stockman
Midland, MI
EAA Chapter 1093 member

RV-14a (serial number 140073)
N73XP (at least that # reserved now)
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Old 01-12-2019, 08:22 PM
xblueh2o xblueh2o is offline
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: SF East Bay
Posts: 795

Is it not possible to get a tap extractor in there? You can get relatively inexpensive sets of extractors.
RV-8 with the Showplanes Fastback conversion
Emp completed except for glass work
Wings completed except for bottom skin and glass work
Fuselage underway
N18451 reserved
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:02 PM
jask jask is offline
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Ramona, CA
Posts: 122

Tap extractors are not that expensive. Mcmasters. When you tap, always use a quality tap and tapping fluid. When you extract, use tapping fluid and slowly work out and in until it is free. They work well.
RV-7 builder Ramona, CA.
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(I am not in the business of prop balancing, just as a courtesy to meet other owners.)
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Old 01-13-2019, 07:25 AM
BillL BillL is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Central IL
Posts: 5,011
Default Dissolve it,

Dissolve it. Google and see what acids will do this, it will only take a few minutes with the right fluid. Nitric acid is one, household ALUM is another. It will only dissolve high carbon steels, or at least much faster, and no aluminum at all.

Otherwise, leave it or punch it through.

Tap Magic is a good tapping fluid for aluminum, not the best, but more available. That bar is 6061 alloy and softer and more prone to galling. Tap magic is good for drilling that allow as well.

Edit: The ALUM works, but is slow and requires emersion. Not a good candidate, sorry.

1st Flight 1-27-18
Phase II 8-3-18
Repairman 11-15-18
Instrument Currency 12-17-18
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Last edited by BillL : 01-13-2019 at 07:45 AM.
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