We have published articles on the definition of a helicoil and the different types of helicoils, so we thought it would be helpful to explain how to install them into metal and plastic parts.
In order to install a helicoil you will need to purchase the right installation tools. Manual tooling is great for prototypes, rework and repair jobs, and powered installation tools are ideal for production work.
Hand Installation tools include: threaded mandrel, prewinder and non-captive prewinder. Each tool serves a different purpose and usually your workpiece will dictate what is permitted.
Power installation tools are usually available for both metric and inch insert sizes, but they require a prewinder, mandrel, spacer, adapter and an air motor. We recommend looking at your vendor catalog to ensure that you are purchasing all of the correct components. Additional items are also available such as power tool holders, cordless electronic tools and pneumatic installation kits.
Once the helicoil is inserted the tang must then be removed. There is really only one type of tool utilized for this operation and it is referred to as a tang break-off tool. This tool utilizes a spring to strike the tang and remove it. They are usually thread specific tools, and they are extremely easy to operate.
Tangless Installation Tools
Tangless inserts require a different set of tools specifically designed for tangless helicoils. However, since tangless inserts are symmetrical they can be installed into a part from either side and they do not require a break-off tool.
Installing the Helicoil
Once you have the right equipment it is pretty straightforward and easy to install an insert. Your approach will differ based on what tools you have but in general you want to:
- Align the insert
- Thread the insert onto the installation tool
- Feed the tool with the insert on it into the STI tapped hole
- Ensure that the helicoil is somewhere between ¼ to ½ turn below the surface. Each customer has different requirements, but in general it should always be slightly below the surface of the part.
There are lots of videos available online and hardware suppliers should be able to provide you with a procedure or manual on how to install their specific type of helicoil. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to comment down below.