Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
1/18/22 3:59 p.m.

My tap and die set (well, not a set. Couple of ziploc baggies full of misc used stuff that came in tool lots) needs replacing. 

I do both metric and sae,but mostly metric if im honest with myself. 

Im looking for a basic set. Most use with be taps, as its usually threaded holes i need to clean up, or drilled holes to cut threads in. 

I want a decent set, but don't want to blow my wad either. Say under $100 shipped? Less is better, local is better (harbor freight, lowes, tractor supply, flaps). 

What should I get?

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/18/22 4:15 p.m.

I asked recently, everyone recommended Irwin Hanson stuff.  I loved them for my use, so I'm gonna recommend them as well.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/18/22 4:19 p.m.

If you're cleaning up threaded holes, don't use a tap if you can avoid it, use a chaser/restorer. If the top is buggered at all, you'll often start cutting a new thread that "pops" into the existing thread when it seats, making it tricky to get things started. A chaser will not cut like a tap, it'll follow the existing threads and has a spot for gunk to get pushed out of the threads into.

I have this Lang set from your favorite south american river:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000XJ48V0/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

And be sure to always use some oil when cutting or cleaning, I always use Tap Magic.

For Taps, I've also had good luck with the Irwin stuff for a good price point.

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/18/22 4:36 p.m.

I've been happy with my Irwin set. 

Trent
Trent PowerDork
1/18/22 5:38 p.m.

I realize my tapping needs are very different from the average GRM'er but I'm still gonna spill my opinion.  I tap 20+ holes a day on average. 

I keep a snap-on (manufactured by irwin) tap and die set for all the techs in the shop to use. This worked out well because folks who don't tap regularly break them and the Snappy dealer replaced them nary a complaint. Recently Snapon ended their relationship with their tap manufacturer so they ain't replacing them for a year or two. 

Anyway, I dislike them. They may be strong, but they are dull. The "high carbon steel" they brag about has nothing on a proper high speed steel tap. With the no replacement problems of the last 6 months I have been replacing them with good HSS taps and the techs all shout WOW! when they first use them.

My suggestion is to buy really good taps in the sizes you need most often. I use a local machinery tool company but I'm sure the internet can do better by you.

 

My current favorite tap are the Widia GTD spiral flute pieces.

They are sharp, strong and do not load up a blind hole with chips. The chips you see in that picture are what comes out of the back of the tap as the threads are cut. They are life changing and I can't recommend them enough. 

 

But I realize most folks just want to have all the bases covered and the Irwin set does that for a bargain. I just want to dispel the idea that they are good. They are an average home gamer tool, there are much better taps and dies out there.

 

Anyway end of my b-holeish opinion

NorseDave
NorseDave Reader
1/18/22 5:45 p.m.

I think all of the taps I've bought from McMaster are the Widia brand Trent mentions above.  I had a cheapo set and it was terrible.  I've gotten in the habit of just buying a new one when I need it and building my set that way.  A full set including taper, plug and bottom chamfer taps gets pricey really quick. Since I'm not doing this for a living, usually the delay is no big deal.  

untchabl
untchabl HalfDork
1/18/22 6:07 p.m.

I've got a Mac tap & die set and a thread restorer set and they've been fine for my use. Got them off the tool truck at my previous job just for convenience. I use the thread restorer set way more than I thought I would.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/18/22 6:58 p.m.

I have an Irwin set and I find it to be wonderful.  It's not anything special like spiral flutes or super amazing, they're just sharp, hard, and they work.  I got the big set; something like 80 pieces or something.

I think if I were tapping or dieing thick steel all day I might go another step, but I primarily do aluminum and sometimes cast iron or steel plate.

I agree with not using taps as chases.  You run the risk of removing more substrate, but you are also using a finely-honed, expensive sushi knife to cut cardboard.  No need to punish an expensive tap cleaning up your grimy messes.

I make my own chases.  Take an appropriate bolt and thread a nut all the way to the head.  Using a file or cutoff wheel, cut a notch in the bolt so it looks kind of like a tap with only one channel.  Back the nut off to clean the burrs off the threads, dress it with a wire wheel, and you have your own chase.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/18/22 7:02 p.m.

Oh, my irwin set was right around $200 IIRC.  They have tons of other sets though that aren't as inclusive as mine for less money.  

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
1/18/22 7:42 p.m.

So, i guess im hunting for the wrong thing?

Mostly i need to clean up boogered threads in castings. Like rusty and previously crossthreaded stuff in engine blocks and transmissions. Steel, iron, aluminum. 

I do a few new holes that need threaded a year. Not many at all, amd half of them are npt anyway.

 

So i guess, based on this thread, i need thread chasers?

Trent
Trent PowerDork
1/18/22 11:14 p.m.

Thread restorer kit is what you probably want

https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/SER972

 

 

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/19/22 1:41 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

So, i guess im hunting for the wrong thing?

Mostly i need to clean up boogered threads in castings. Like rusty and previously crossthreaded stuff in engine blocks and transmissions. Steel, iron, aluminum. 

I do a few new holes that need threaded a year. Not many at all, amd half of them are npt anyway.

 

So i guess, based on this thread, i need thread chasers?

Yes, taps are making threads, chasers are for cleaning/restoring threads.

 

And yes, if you go pro, as Trent said Widia is a solid choice.  Carmex has also served me well.   

Spiral taps are great because they push the chips out as he showed, but will take a bit more torque to get started so make sure you're using a tap setup, not aligning by hand if you can avoid it.  Starter/taper taps are good because they take less torque and are easier to self center, but they push the chips downwards and you have to have a lot more length at the bottom of the tool to use them. 

A fine site for a brief overview if you're ever stuck: https://www.promaxxtool.com/articles/different-types-of-taps-and-when-to-use-them

As a machinist/programmer, let me know if anyone wants to chat about threadmills for feeds and speeds :)

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/19/22 9:12 p.m.

I'll be honest....I bought a HF tap and die set about 10 years ago while at a rallycross event when we had to do some field repairs. I've probably used it 200 times since then for all kinds of stuff (both creating threaded holes/threaded bolts and just chasing/cleaning stuff) and I have yet to break any of the taps, and it always works fine. 

If I was doing big-time fabrication into thick metal a lot, I'd go with somehting higher end but for occasional jobs the HF one works great and is pretty cheap. 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/19/22 11:00 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

So, i guess im hunting for the wrong thing?

Mostly i need to clean up boogered threads in castings. Like rusty and previously crossthreaded stuff in engine blocks and transmissions. Steel, iron, aluminum. 

I do a few new holes that need threaded a year. Not many at all, amd half of them are npt anyway.

 

So i guess, based on this thread, i need thread chasers?

It's no real help now, as they have changed hands so many times its irrelevant, but I have a Craftsman thread chaser set that is going on 20 years old now and I love it.  One of the best tool sets I've bought.  Comes out on virtually every project that isn't routine maintenance.

 

Edit: The NAPA set Wonko posted is the exact same set I'm talking about, as far as I can tell.  Get it.  You'll be more than happy. 
Don't forget to clean the threads on the thread chasers periodically.  The cleaning channels get gunked up pretty regularly if you're using them a lot.  Carb cleaner/Brake clean and a good stiff brush are usually all you need.

TVR Scott
TVR Scott GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/20/22 8:54 a.m.

In reply to Trent :

I was JUST using a Widia spiral flute tap like that yesterday!  And was thinking to myself how wonderful it was to use it.

I agree with you: a good tap is just so nice to use, and a cheap one is miserable.  Though in a pinch, an Irwin from the hardware store isn't bad.

Michael, if I come across a boogered thread in aluminum, nine times out of ten I'll put a helicoil in it.  Food for thought.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/20/22 12:03 p.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

I'll be honest....I bought a HF tap and die set about 10 years ago while at a rallycross event when we had to do some field repairs. I've probably used it 200 times since then for all kinds of stuff (both creating threaded holes/threaded bolts and just chasing/cleaning stuff) and I have yet to break any of the taps, and it always works fine. 

If I was doing big-time fabrication into thick metal a lot, I'd go with somehting higher end but for occasional jobs the HF one works great and is pretty cheap. 

Cheap ones are fine when it's a thru-hole... You can always punch it out if it breaks!

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
1/20/22 12:13 p.m.

I sprung for what may have been the top-of-the-line Craftsman set, probably 20 years ago.  It has a place of honor in my tool chest.  It doesn't get used daily, but at least weekly.  As needs have arisen I've purchased a few odd taps or dies that the set didn't include (LH threads, or some weird metric size, mostly), generally from Napa. 

The modern Craftsman set is probably garbage, but if you found a set like mine, I'd recommend it. 

EDIT:  Holy carp, these seem to go for some money.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/265507702279?epid=2254303750&hash=item3dd17e0607:g:CEwAAOSwIWZh5zjx

 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
1/25/22 8:28 a.m.

huge shout out to evan. He sent me these. Im excited to try them out!

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
1/25/22 9:32 a.m.

Like irish, I bought a H-F set ten or fifteen years ago.  It's been handy to have around, and works fine in aluminum, but there's no mistaking it for a quality tool.

If you have a bunch of holes of the same size and thread, I recommend picking up a three tap set, particularly if you need to cut threads near the bottom of a blind hole.

 

Edit:  I went out to the garage and laid my hands on a couple of the 3-tap sets.  They're by Morse.

https://www.morsecuttingtools.com/content/page/about-us

Very nice stuff.  Probably expensive, but I forget what I paid.  cheeky

 

I thought I bought some online and they were Hungarian or Czech or someplace near there.  Also good stuff.

dclafleur
dclafleur Reader
1/25/22 9:47 a.m.

I've got the Lang set and it is one of the most used tools in my collection. Just about every time I pull a bolt the threads get chased on the bolt and the hole it's one of those quality of life tools that I didn't realize how much I needed it until I had it.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
1/25/22 11:25 a.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

Is Evan a dealer for those?  I might be persuaded to pick up a set, to supplement my thread maker taps/ dies.

EvanB
EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/25/22 11:38 a.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

Nope, just had a few extra sets laying around. They are very useful to have though, I highly recommend having them on hand. 

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