Drilling and tapping holes has always been an arduous task, especially when you have multiple. Fiddling with that t-handle wrench, ensuring the tap is secure, then turning the tap forward 1/2-turn, then back 1/4-turn, forward, back, and so-on. In addition to being tough, it’s also mundane and boring. Champion Cutting Tool Corporation has a new idea with their Brute XLT Tapper. This is a power tool that taps holes in seconds.
Champion Cutting Tool Corporation has been around since 1897, making the first taper shank drill in 1955, then in 1969 launched carbon taps, high-speed steel taps, and tap & die sets. Being in the business over 100 years, they know a thing or two about tapping. Using their foreknown wisdom, and modern-day power tools, they figured out a better way to tap.
If you are in metal fabrication, automotive fabrication, or fleet maintenance, then you realize the importance and time-savings that a tool like the Brute XLT Tapper can deliver. Sure, you still have to drill the holes, but then it’s cake!! Furthermore, if you’re in commercial construction, the structures are full of metal, and additional fasteners are always added onsite.
Brute XLT Tapper Features
Champion designed the Brute XLT Tapper for high production tapping with high-speed taps. In addition to being faster, using the Brute XLT Tapper breaks fewer taps than the manual way. This increases productivity with a faster processor, and less downtime.
The XLT Tapper looks very much like an old-school style corded drill, with a funky chuck on the front. This funky chuck is no chuck at all. In fact, it’s some of the coolest technology on the Brute XLT Tapper. Typical high-speed square-drive taps are secured on this front piece via a hex-keyed set screw. The whole front rotating head moves fore and aft, with somewhat of a clunking noise. Forward and reverse is controlled with this in and out movement. There is no electronic or manual switch to change the direction of the XLT Tapper.
First Use – Cinch!
Being familiar with tapping, getting familiar with the Brute XLT Tapper is not much of a learning curve. Once the correct size hole is drilled and tap is in place, just put the tap in the hole and pull the trigger. As the trigger is pulled the tap rotates in the normal, clockwise, direction. With the tap rotating, powered by the 450-watt motor, it’s also cutting threads. Once your desired depth is achieved, just pull back on the XLT Tapper (drill), hence the tap reverses rotation (counter-clockwise) and backs out.
If your holes are already drilled, and they should be, just stick the tap in the next hole, while spinning, and it threads right in. Lubrication is good to have when tapping, and we used the Brute Lube wax in-between every two holes. This kept the cutting threads clean and the Brute XLT Tapper running smooth. For our test subject, we were using some 3/8″-thick I-beam, tapping 3/8″ threads.
XLT Tapper Features Cont’d
Built into the unit is a safety clutch that ensures safety and keeps taps from breaking and binding. During our testing, we didn’t break any taps, but we did bind some up – on purpose. One of the other features is the pivoting head that helps to self-center the tap. Whether your hole is drilled crooked or you’re holding the XLT Tapper not-perpendicular, the pivoting head will help to correct the tap. While really testing the pivoting action, with no lube, we got the tap in a bind. The spindle clutch allowed the tap/chuck to slip, not forcing a breakage of the tap. Once we pulled back on the XLT Tapper, the tap backed right out.
Champion Cutting made the Brute XLT Tapper accept standard square shank taps, so you can use your taps. The XLT Tapper is recommended for steel from #10 up to 9/16″ threaded taps, and aluminum from #10 up to 5/8″ taps. Finally, included with the XLT Tapper is an adjustable depth-stop that controls your threading depth.
If you break out your tap and die set once every-other blue moon, then the Brute XLT Tapper is not for you. However, if you routinely tap holes, then an automated tapper like the Brute XLT could earn a quick return on investment. If you’re wondering how much faster, Champion claims 10-times faster. We actually wonder if it’s not much more than this. We surmise that the thicker material you’re working with, the better time savings you will have. Working a tap by hand just gets exponentially longer, the thicker the material. Champion’s XLT Tapper doesn’t seem to care, and just muscles right through the steel or aluminum, regardless of thickness.
We have seen tools like this before, so it’s not ground-breaking, per se. At the same time, the Brute XLT Tapper is trouble-free and very easy to use. We would like to see this in a cordless unit, enabling it to be an even more convenient tool. Purchasing this Brute will set you back a few clams, $600 to be more precise. Labor on the job is not cheap, but neither is the price you can charge for fabrication. That $600 can be earned back rather quickly, with the right job. We understand it’s a high price to pay, but we still recommend the Brute XLT Tapper.
Click the link for more information on the Champion Cutting Tools Brute XLT Tapper.