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Tap and Die Sets - Recommendations?

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Hi guys,

I've been looking at a few different tap and die sets and trying to determine what is best value for money in the long term. I'll be using a tape and die set to chase the threads on my engine rebuild. I'm sure I'll also need them for stripped threads / broken bolts etc.. as my build progresses.

 

I DO NOT want something that will break after a few uses, or do a poor job. I suspect the set Bunnings (frost) are flogging are like that. Cheap made in China garbage is what I want to avoid.

 

I'm also wondering where is a good place to find used good quality tradesmen style tools? I know there is Gumtree/eBay but surely there is a way to find used tools from people retiring or changing profession?

 

I've heard of Grey's Online before.

http://www.graysonline.com/search.aspx?q=tap+and+die

 

But I also don't know what brands to go for or stay away from...

 

I'm also going to be looking for some Micrometers, Torque Wrench, dial gauge etc.. so hence the reason I ask.

 

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Do yourself a favor and buy a set of thread chasers from Snap-On, Sidchrome or Repco. Not cheap but neither is buying the same tools twice or three times over!

 

Using a tap to clean threads is not really a good idea as they can push the crud deeper into your threads leading to more problems down the track.

 

When it comes to brands I'm a big fan of Sidchrome or Repco tools because of their lifetime replacement warranty but I've also found Kingchrome to be good value for the price.

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I have a Kingchrome tap and die set with both imperial and metric sizes. Was good value at around $80 if i recall and high quality from Total tools

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I like the P&N tap and die sets; you can always tell the quality by just holding them. The finish lets you know how cheap they are. Find a good metric set with metric fine included and don't worry about the UNC side of it as you will hardly ever use it.

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Sutton or P&N

Rather than buy a big set of assorteds, do the homework and just buy the sets in the sizes you need, to start with.

Die nuts are rarely used or needed, maybe leave those, and their holder, for later.

A 18th npt tap set is usefull too.

 

Any decent nut/bolt supply shop will have the packs of taps, likewise the larger trade tool suppliers.

 

I use a combo of "cheap" sets for general roughing out, and keep the costly sets away from heavy handed types, and use them carefully.

A pot of Trefolex Thread Cutting goop is invaluable. Can be used for low speed drilling or lathe/milling operations.

Do not breathe in the smoke if it gets hot.

( fitter and Turner tradesman here!)

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Pretty much what Jason has said.

(Toolmaker/CNC programmer here)

 

Treflex is a carcinogenic when it smokes.

Also try Rolco cutting oil.

 

For cleaning up, use a cheap set as it will just damage the tap anyway and shorten the life. They are a consumable!

Buy good quality tap wrenches too.

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Jason and Simon and others are on the right path .The products mentioned are some of the best . What they didn't tell you is you need to go to a good nut and bolt supplier or Blackwoods to get the taps you are after .You also only need hand taps as there are may different types . I would use a spiral tap ( looks a bit like a twist drill) as they will extract material and are good for chasing threads. You can never use to much trefolex and as you will be only be  using your hands and not machine cutting, it will be safe .

But Simon is correct and trefolex is carcinogenic which is why it is not used in thread cutting on lathes or the like.

Be gentle with it . . There are may different methods of use in practice and broken taps are a bitch to remove  I am sure there are enough trademen here to help you with any problems you may find. 

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What is the difference in operation between a thread chaser and a tap? Is it right that you should not use a tap to clean threads? Snap-On do a tap and die set which was made in USA last I checked. Have to be careful when buying their stuff now as a lot is now made offshore(of the US)

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A tap, or die nut, will cut a thread form, correctly, all the way to the root.

A thread chaser will not cut to root on OD of chaser, and the valley form of chaser is clearanced to allow swarf/debris/dirt etc to build up, without causing galling of jammng.

The ID of the finished hole, ie the tips or peaks of the thread inside the hole, will remain as originally cut.

The converse applies for a Thread Chaser Die nut.

 

I'm not keen on spiral taps, as they tend to hold cut swarf within the hole, a straight tap tends to allow swarf to drop out.

 

Another hint, if using an engine stand, tip a block upside down, to allow the swarf/debris, to fall out due to gravity,.

Be very carefull with airblowing, eye protection is a must, and after air blowing, run tap in again, as bits of swarf may have lodged within the valleys of the thread cuts.

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Hi Jason,

 

from your reply then I am guessing that a thread chaser is better to use to clean up the threads on the shell that are already there. A tap/die is more suited to cutting new threads. Is this correct? When I have used a tap to clean up threads in the past there has been a bit too much material taken out and the bolts slop around a bit.

 

Cheers

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Hi Jason,

 

from your reply then I am guessing that a thread chaser is better to use to clean up the threads on the shell that are already there. A tap/die is more suited to cutting new threads. Is this correct? When I have used a tap to clean up threads in the past there has been a bit too much material taken out and the bolts slop around a bit.

 

Cheers

Yes, thread chaser for clean ups.

Reason why the bolt got sloppy is due to the tap, on going into an old deformed by age/use threads in hole, recutting ever so slightly, a tap will cut full depth peaks and valleys, and will most likely "open" these threads up a tiny bit further.

Taps/dies can be quite viscioys, as they tear, or re-tear ( in old holes) at metal, wheres a thread chaser is gentler, but they can still cut.

I've been guilty plenty times running a tap in, but try to go by feel, and lots of gentle back and forth, work way in, pulli out, and spray wd40 and air gun the crud out bit by bit.

Various thread locker or thread sealer componds are avail, some lock, some hold.

 

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Yep - agree with all that :)

This site explains it in simple talk: http://www.millerstooling.com.au/Mill-Tools-Taps-and-Threading.asp

Sutton or P&N, High Speed Steel (HSS) taps are good quailty.

Make sure you use the correct size, so buy a thread gauge (metric) to check your existing thread size before you start plunging a tap through it.

Always use cutting lubricant.

Take your time (forward / reverse) turning in and out, advancing forwards slowly.

Remove swarf as you progress. Don't choke it.

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For tapping holes First you must use the proper size drill,for that you referance your handy chart http://www.brokenbolt.com/images/starrett-inch-metric-tap-drill.pdf  

For example a 1/4-20 requires a #7 drill,but you can also use a #6 or a #5 thread strength is still there and its easier on the tap,any bigger than that and you lose too much thread strength.

 

Drill hole straight,preferably using a mill or drill press,can be done by hand,then lube up tap making sure it stays straight and go to town,thread it in and backoff and clear chips as you go especially in a blind hole or deep thru hole.

 

A die is used for cutting new threads,can be used to clean up threads as well.  Most tap and die sets you find around are carbon steel which arent that great(depending on the threaded material) but if you dont use them often work just fine. HSS is preferred but you will pay more best for sizes you use most,as with taps make sure to use some cutting oil.

 

To fix stripped threads you need Helicoil(thread repair kit) kits of the proper size,they come with what you need. just dont try and use the helicoil tap also known as an STI tap to tap your regular holes or you will be hosed. Also you can redrill and retap to a larger size if possible.

 

 

 

The Gearwrench tap and die handles are awesome i have a kit https://mechanicguides.com/best-tap-and-die-set/ of those and many other styles. The Gearwrench die stocks hold hexagon dies,there are round ones too so be wary of that.  Ive tapped and threaded and rethreaded thousands of holes over my career.

 

Here's a vid i found on youtube for you:

 

 

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2 hours ago, Lurch said:

Holy thread revival Batman!

And who the heck are you?!

I just approved 2 posts from this user, at first I wasn't sure it was a legitimate user. But after looking at the email address suspect they are a Datsun enthusiast (610 in their email address). However if it turns out they are not genuine, will boot them and their posts. :)

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Found this at total tools . It seems to be of fair quality . 

I had need of a M3 x0.5 tap and die for Aluminum and on their own the cost was to high. So this kit is Chinese  and it may not be as good as P&N , Sutton or Osborne. They are also only straight fluted taps . But the kit does have a starting .intermediate and bottoming tap. I think they will be fine for mild steel . brass  and aluminum. You take your chances with the likes of Bisalloy , 4140 ,4340 and stainless. 

About a $105 

P1070873 [1280x768].JPG

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