It’s not unusual for a project in to involve drilling and tapping metal. In order to get the best results, it's important to use a metalworking fluid. In the industry, they’re also called cutting oils or compounds. These fluids are designed to accomplish three things. First, they provide lubrication to make the tool cut more efficiently. Second, the cooling action of the fluid reduces heat. And finally, the fluid carries the metal chips (and heat) away from the operation. This makes metalworking fluids a critical part of a production or machine shop operation, since they help promote longer tooling life and yield better results.
A couple options that are readily available are Tap Magic and TapEase. They’re easy to use and work great on most of the metals you’ll work with in the shop, like aluminum, steel, and brass. Just apply the product at the point of contact with the drill or tap and use as needed. We’re going to keep both of these on hand in our shop from now on. They’ll provide better results for just about any drilling and tapping task. But if all you have on hand is 3-in-1 oil, it’ll work fine in a pinch.