The class of fit is typically expressed using a combination of letters and numbers. The most commonly used standards for class of fit are the Unified Thread Standard (UTS) and the ISO metric thread standard. In the UTS, the class of fit is denoted by a combination of a letter and a number, such as 2B, 3A, etc. In the ISO metric thread standard, it is represented by a combination of a letter and a number, such as 6g, 4h, etc.
For cutting taps, the class of fit is usually specified based on the intended application and the level of precision required. The class of fit can affect factors like the ease of assembly, the strength of the threaded connection, and the ability to engage the threads smoothly during tapping.
A classification system exists for ease of manufacture and interchangeability of fabricated threaded items. Most, but certainly not all, threaded items are made to a UTS classification standard. This system is analogous to the fits used with assembled parts.
- Class 1 threads are loose fit, intended for ease of assembly or use in a dirty environment.
- Class 2 threads are free fit, and the most common. They are designed to maximize strength considering typical machine shop capability and machine practice.
- Class 3 threads are medium fit, still quite common and used for closer tolerances on high quality work.
- Class 4 threads previously designated a close fit for even tighter tolerances, but this classification is now obsolete.
- Class 5 fit is an interference thread, requiring the use of a wrench for turning. These can be seen in applications like spring shackles on an automobile.
The letter suffix "A" or "B" denotes whether the threads are external or internal, respectively. Classes 1A, 2A, 3A apply to external threads; Classes 1B, 2B, 3B apply to internal threads
Here are some common classes of fit for cutting taps:
- Class 2B (UTS) or 6H (ISO metric): This is a standard fit for most general-purpose applications. It provides a balance between ease of assembly and thread engagement.
- Class 3B (UTS) or 6HX (ISO metric): This is a tighter fit than Class 2B or 6H and is used when a higher level of thread precision and engagement is required.
- Class 2A (UTS) or 6g (ISO metric): This is a loose fit that is often used for applications where ease of assembly and disassembly are important, such as with interchangeable parts.
- Class 3A (UTS) or 6HX (ISO metric): This is a tighter fit than Class 2A or 6g and is used in applications where a higher level of precision is required.
This number pair is optionally followed by the letters UNC, UNF or UNEF (Unified) if the diameter-pitch combination is from the coarse, fine, or extra fineseries, and may also be followed by a tolerance class.
Example: #6-32 UNC 2B (major diameter: 0.1380 inch, pitch: 32 tpi)