How to use a helicoil

Written by c.l. rease
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Threads in softer metal, like aluminium, can strip from the base material when you remove and reinstall a fastener repeatedly. To make a threaded hole in softer metal stronger, you install a Helicoil threaded insert. The hardened material of the Helicoil insert does not wear from repeated use, and the exterior threads of the threaded insert remain locked with the soft metal and therefore increase the strength of the connection between the fastener and the base material.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Helicoil installation kit
  • Drill bit set
  • Drill motor
  • Safety glasses
  • Tapping fluid
  • Clean rags
  • Thread locking fluid

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  1. 1

    Read the installation instructions that come packaged with the Helicoil kit to determine the size of the Helicoil threaded insert required to hold your fastener in the soft base metal.

  2. 2

    Select the drill bit specified by the Helicoil installations instructions from the drill bit set and secure the drill bit in the chuck of the drill motor.

  3. 3

    Put on your safety glasses and place the tip of the drill bit against the base metal at the location that you need to install the Helicoil threaded insert.

  4. 4

    Liberally apply tapping fluid high on the drill bit and allow the tapping fluid to flow down the drill bit and onto the base metal.

  5. 5

    Drill the hole into the base metal, keeping the drill bit turning slowly. Stop drilling occasionally to apply additional tapping fluid to the drill bit to keep the drill bit from overheating.

  6. 6

    Tap the correct sized hole in the base metal with the tap and tee-handle supplied with the Helicoil installation kit. When tapping the hole, use plenty of tapping fluid to lubricate the tap and create cleaner threads on the base metal.

  7. 7

    Wipe the area around the hole with a clean rag to remove metal shavings and excess tapping fluid from the surface of the base metal.

  8. 8

    Thread the Helicoil insert onto the supplied installation tool and coat the threaded insert with thread locking fluid.

  9. 9

    Insert the Helicoil threaded insert into the tapped hole and turn the handle of the insertion tool until the top of the Helicoil rests 1/4 to 1/2 of a turn below the surface of the base metal.

  10. 10

    Place the tang removal tool into the threaded insert and break the tang from the Helicoil insert to lock it in place.

  11. 11

    Thread the fastener into the Helicoil threaded insert after the thread locking fluid has cured to complete the installation.

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