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Old 09-18-2015, 01:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Best Tap & Die set???

I need a very sturdy, and accurate tap and die set. I want it for sae and metric. Harbor freight sucks, and the Cornwell truck wants like 250 for a set. Should i just buy the cornwell tap & die or is there another place i could possibly buy off the shelf that won't fail me?

Does Sears sell that shit?
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Old 09-18-2015, 01:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm not a machinist so I can't vouch for accuracy, but I've been quite happy with my Sears set (after fighting with POS Harbor Freight crap, Great Neck I think, for years):

Sears.com

I think I paid a little less than the currently advertised $109 but can't complain in any way. It's solid enough that I don't want to lend it to anyone.
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Old 09-18-2015, 02:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Craftsman 74 Pcs SAE Metric Tap and Die Set 952377 | eBay

If you watch ebay you can probably find a deal on an older Craftsman 74,75,or 76 pc. set that is lightly used and old enough to be made in US. I have had a set like this for 10-11 years and have not had any trouble with them. My set is all US and German made. Taps and Dies look identical to Snap-On or Mac sets from the era.
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Old 09-18-2015, 04:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Wink

Any more I just buy taps in the size I need .The correct drill at the same time

Great to have the needed tap but have to go buy a drill bit.

Either McMaster Carr or MSC depending on which one I happen to order from at the time.

I don`t think I bought dies in years .

But I do get the thread restorers in the sizes I need.

The thread replacements in the sizes I need

At least for me most sets have pieces I will never use.
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Old 09-18-2015, 07:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Matco set here, Mainly because they are replaced for free when I break them.
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Old 09-18-2015, 08:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Matco set here, Mainly because they are replaced for free when I break them.
cornwell will do this for me too.
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Old 09-18-2015, 08:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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all the tool truck taps are shit
hand taps that are sharpened with too much relief angle so that they break teeth off if you try and break chips with them, and they're hand taps so they aren't going to clear their own chips. Most of them look like shit roll formed carbon steel, with four flutes for extra snappiness.
Replacing the tap for free don't mean shit when it's broke off in a part I've just spent 30 hours on.

I dunno about sets, but all I'll buy any more is a decent brand, cut or ground thread, and spiral flute or pointed. "Decent brand" does not mean de facto american, just a few of a short list that's in my brain. OSG, butterfield, greenfield, and about ten or twenty others I'd recognize as good if I saw them in a catalog. Carbon steel's okay so long as it was designed by someone who has used a tap three or four times in their miserable lives.

Last edited by [486]; 09-18-2015 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 09-18-2015, 09:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Buy a huot index on Amazon for NC and another for NF and buy single taps from Morse, OSG, Union Butterfield, etc and fill the drill holes with left hand cobalt drills assuming you deal with broken bolts.
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Old 09-19-2015, 12:23 AM   #9 (permalink)
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My Matco set has been fine, and my guy will replace them if they're dull, not just broken taps. However it's been religated to my travel tap set only, and I've been using OSG taps for everything at home and at work, they're so much smoother, sure they last longer, but more importantly they cut faster. As a weird added benefit, they seem to go from super sheep to dull as turds right away when they do wear out, nice little warning to replace it before you wreck a part.

Get yourself a thread repair set too, so much better than chasing boogered up threads with a tap.
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Old 09-19-2015, 02:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Irwin/ Hanson... past.that I have multiples in various us brands....http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?P...&PMPXNO=952151

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Old 09-19-2015, 07:06 AM   #11 (permalink)
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How much taping/threading do you do? Every day, week, once in a while? I have one of those Crapsman 75 (or something) piece sets, works fine for anything i do, even power tapping with a drill, which many cheaper taps can't handle. After working in machine shops for years, I would want OSG, greenfields or the like if i was using it day in and out.
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Old 09-19-2015, 07:23 AM   #12 (permalink)
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How much taping/threading do you do? Every day, week, once in a while? I have one of those Crapsman 75 (or something) piece sets, works fine for anything i do, even power tapping with a drill, which many cheaper taps can't handle. After working in machine shops for years, I would want OSG, greenfields or the like if i was using it day in and out.
every once in a while. maybe once a week or so.
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Old 09-19-2015, 08:48 AM   #13 (permalink)
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An Irwin set, if still HSS, will do you fine. At least a couple of the tool truck brands are likely Irwin.

I've never experienced hate for hand taps, they work fine if quality and you understand how to use them, ie in a turn, back out 1/2 turn. Whatever floats your boat, but spiral point is only for thru-holes and spiral flute is very expensive if you try to piece together a full set. I had an import 8-32 spiral flute that did nothing but strip holes, never could figure it out as it looked fine. Thus I learned to only buy quality like OSG (I've never seen something like an Irwin spiral flute).

And yeah, dies aren't used that often....I might just piece together nice taps from use-Enco.com hot deals catalog (just missed 20% off + free ship). The concept of buying the required drill is foreign to me though as I keep a Huot index stocked w all fractional, wire & letter (purchased in packs of 6 or 12 from Enco during sales).

Finally, yes, you need a thread restorer kit if you don't have one. The Craftsmans are identical to the....Matcos?.... and have been available for ~$40 for the full set off and on for like a year now. Discussions at the tool polisher forum:
Craftsman 48 piece SAE & Metric Thread Restorer Kit $40 - The Garage Journal Board

Craftsman 48 piece SAE/Metric Thread Restorer Set - The Garage Journal Board
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Old 09-19-2015, 12:11 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I've never experienced hate for hand taps, they work fine if quality and you understand how to use them, ie in a turn, back out 1/2 turn.
Crappy hand taps is what I have hate for. When they've got too much relief angle from the cutting edge they'll fold over the chip you're trying to break, it wedges in there and pops off a tooth that then digs in and snaps off the tap.

Look at a decent one and it'll have next to no relief angle at the cutting edge, so that it snaps the chip off cleanly without wedging it between the hole and the tap.
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Old 09-19-2015, 12:35 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Crappy hand taps is what I have hate for. When they've got too much relief angle from the cutting edge they'll fold over the chip you're trying to break, it wedges in there and pops off a tooth that then digs in and snaps off the tap.

Look at a decent one and it'll have next to no relief angle at the cutting edge, so that it snaps the chip off cleanly without wedging it between the hole and the tap.
Good to know, I'm often bad about following up on these nuances; I just buy quality -- if it works I get the job done & move on. But paying attention to such things is NEVER bad & knowledge is power. I've often wondered if hand taps need soooo much taper at the start, and am definitely guilty of sanding down the noses to make a plug or bottoming tap -- seems to work (shrug)

Slightly related to tapping, one of my least favorite jobs involves tapping a shallow, blind hole M3x0.5 in Delrin. Shit, it's hard to know if you've bottomed before you strip out the plastic. But I learned the hard way on a part that I already had many hours in, and developed a feel for it very quickly after that LOL
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Old 09-19-2015, 01:01 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I'm pretty happy with my big Craftsman set, but when they do wear out or break, I've started buying the 3-tap Irwin sets on Amazon. It's about the same price for a taper, plug, & bottoming tap as a single taper locally, of any brand.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003K15EQG/

...and they're made in USA.
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Old 09-19-2015, 10:06 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I wouldn't waste your money on truck brand tap/die sets as most of them are just relabeled carbon steel Irwin/Hansen sets. Like others have said, go on ebay and look for a USA made Craftsman HSS set. As you break or wear out taps, replace them with a higher quality from MSC or McMaster.
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Old 09-19-2015, 10:58 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I've often wondered if hand taps need soooo much taper at the start, and am definitely guilty of sanding down the noses to make a plug or bottoming tap -- seems to work (shrug)
Whenever I break a tap, it gets ground into a bottoming tap on the bench grinder.

Another cheap bastard tip, toss a chainsaw sharpening wheel (3/16" or so thick, dressed to a radius) into a cheapo bench grinder, and run it down the flutes on the cutting side, takes about 30 seconds to make a dull tap cut like brand new again.
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Old 09-20-2015, 07:58 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Good to know, I'm often bad about following up on these nuances; I just buy quality -- if it works I get the job done & move on. But paying attention to such things is NEVER bad & knowledge is power. I've often wondered if hand taps need soooo much taper at the start, and am definitely guilty of sanding down the noses to make a plug or bottoming tap -- seems to work (shrug)
I've always ground the nose off taps, even at work when power tapping with a machine. As long as you leave a couple lead in threads it's not an issue.

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Slightly related to tapping, one of my least favorite jobs involves tapping a shallow, blind hole M3x0.5 in Delrin. Shit, it's hard to know if you've bottomed before you strip out the plastic. But I learned the hard way on a part that I already had many hours in, and developed a feel for it very quickly after that LOL

M3 in delrin..lol.what a PITA. Drill an undersized hole you can run a screw/bolt into, it'll thread itself...lol I worked at a place we made delrin pump housings..20 mins of machining, an hour of deburring. I had a deep hate for delrin after that job.
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Old 09-20-2015, 08:00 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Anyone use form taps at home? Not quite as easy to use by hand but a much stronger thread. I like em for the fact there's no chips.
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Old 09-20-2015, 08:07 AM   #21 (permalink)
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^^^^pfft, Delrin's one of the better ones. Try it w UHMW, your hour of deburring would double LOL. There's another Delrin piece where they call out a 0.010 radius on an edge. Uh huh, that's code for "hit it w a needle file and call it good." At least Delrin kind of files, UHMW just kinda bounces off.
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Old 09-20-2015, 08:11 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Anyone use form taps at home? Not quite as easy to use by hand but a much stronger thread. I like em for the fact there's no chips.
No, I've never once tried form taps. Figured that was impractical for hand use, but apparently not? I'm pretty good at hurriedly reading the charts tho and mistakenly drilling at 60%
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Old 09-20-2015, 12:53 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Anyone use form taps at home? Not quite as easy to use by hand but a much stronger thread. I like em for the fact there's no chips.
I do with the smaller ones like 4-40, and 2-56
Run them by hand with good GL5 hypoid gear lube for oil. They seem to work very well, and at least for 4-40 the drill size is a fractional one rather than a number or letter.

Last edited by [486]; 09-20-2015 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 09-21-2015, 05:44 AM   #24 (permalink)
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No, I've never once tried form taps. Figured that was impractical for hand use, but apparently not? I'm pretty good at hurriedly reading the charts tho and mistakenly drilling at 60%
I'll do up to 3/8-16 in alum by hand. I've done 1/4-20 in steel..it works but it's a workout for your wrists. I like the fact they are solid and less likely to snap, especially if you have an oops and slip or cock the tap. Hole size can be a little F'ed up as well and still get an acceptable tread, unlike cut taps where once the material is gone, it's gone. I like moly based lubes, like Castrol moly-dee, for the steel..plus i like the smell.

Last edited by speedfreak78; 09-21-2015 at 05:46 AM.
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:05 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I had Snap-On taps/dies before I bought the tool truck.

I'm of the opinion that 90% of the problems folks have with taps is due to poor drilling of the hole or poor technique.

I don't break many taps (but when I do, it's a part that the stock was expensive and the work extensive-LOL). I do however dull a lot of taps in the common sizes and for that it's nice to have them replaced under warranty (my Tool truck guy never questions MY warranties-LOL).

If you expect to dull thread cutting tools, the tool truck might be the way to go, but stay off the Harbor-Freight truck or Wal-Mart trucks!
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