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  1. #1
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    New question here. Tap & Die Set Recommendations?

    I'm shopping for a tap & die set for bicycle and general purpose shop use. The Craftsman sets don't seem to get good reviews, and I can't afford Snap On. I did spot this HF set that actually got great reviews SAE / Metric Tap and Die Set - 60 Piece, Alloy Steel

    Looking for other recommendations. Thanks

  2. #2
    Birdman aka JMJ
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    Cheap but can work with care

    I bought this set for light mods and repair work. It should be fine for chasing threads and cutting new threads in aluminum and plastic. Just be very careful - use thread-cutting oil* and go slow, making sure to do 1/2 turn forward, 1/4 turn back to break and clear chips.

    If you're going to cut threads in steel, be very careful not to overpower the tap.

    Don't use oil when tapping plastics, as some oils also contain solvents which attack the plastic, creating cracks. Clean and degrease the tap/die and go slow.

    If you're doing only bike work, a metric-only set would be fine as well.

    JMJ

  3. #3
    ~ B A D A S S ~
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    Taps are a tricky business. They all have their special coatings and such for different materials. I would suggest Dormer, OSG, Gühring, Ruko, DC Swiss. For instance Tapping titanium with anything else except a titanium tap basically just snaps the tap.

    There are different quality levels of the steel in the taps.
    First we have hss, then we have hssco (with cobalt), then more cobalt, then they over to powder steel grades and high vanadium grades and then high everything powdered hss cobalt grades.

    Then we have the coatings, You want at least some type of coating. The non coated taps are only really good for mild steel and very non demanding operations. I don't like them at all. If you buy such taps make sure they are from a brand name and hssco5 at least. However the best uncoated (or non exotic coated) dormer or similar high quality brand taps will probably be better than whatever coating and whatever supposed steel quality no name crap out there. Dormer has a lot of info on the materials and coatings they use on the site.

    Also there are 3 classes of taps, through hole, bottoming and "hand taps", hand taps are the straight ones and those are for general use. The through hole taps push the crap in front of them and they look kinda similar, and the bottoming are "machine taps" with spiral and they push the metal up out of a blind hole to avoid breaking the tap, no need to reverse these.

    If you have a lathe, dies are not necessary.

    Also consider what drillbits to use. 1-10mm in 0.1mm increments are needed most of the time, buy good quality. If you intend to regrind them yourself no need to get coated ones since you will grind it away anyway.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  4. #4
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    I use my taps with a cordless impact drill. On steel. Without oil. A few are snap-on, the rest are vermont american. I havent broken any vermont taps, and commonly use the m6x1.25 for steel with the impact. the snapon taps havent proven very reliable, lots of guys seem to snap them.

    They have a warranty, and im paid by the job. My taps need to work, and fast I know my way isnt the "right" way, but ive found the vermont taps hold up to the abuse just fine.

    Id go with the harbor freight set, just to have a complete set around. You'll probably only have a few work horse taps you commonly use, if those bust buy individual better quality bits.

  5. #5
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    I use a craftsman it works great! I never pay attention to the reviews anyways.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys. I appreciate the thoughtful recommendations.

  7. #7
    turtles make me hot
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    Are you just going to be chasing existing threaded holes and just cleaning threads?
    If that's the case, Craftsman will be just fine.
    I like turtles

  8. #8
    Plays with tools
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    I picked up a used Snap-On set for $200 that had sizes up to 1/2" and M13 with taps, dies and handles. If you look around at the pawn shops or call your local tool reps you might be able to find something similar. A metric only set would likely be much cheaper. It's more than I need for bicycles but it sure comes in handy for the rest of my fab projects. I honestly don't know why I waited so long. The nice thing about a Snap-on or comparable is that they will replace broken taps for free. And since they like to break that's kind of nice. If only they would get the broken tap out of the part....

  9. #9
    turtles make me hot
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    I picked up a used Snap-On set for $200 that had sizes up to 1/2" and M13 with taps, dies and handles. If you look around at the pawn shops or call your local tool reps you might be able to find something similar. A metric only set would likely be much cheaper. It's more than I need for bicycles but it sure comes in handy for the rest of my fab projects. I honestly don't know why I waited so long. The nice thing about a Snap-on or comparable is that they will replace broken taps for free. And since they like to break that's kind of nice. If only they would get the broken tap out of the part....
    Walton Tap extractors how to use, sets, individual extractors , parts and fingers

    I have this... I works kinda good if and only if the tap isn't jammed in the hole.
    I like turtles

  10. #10
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    Its possible to extract taps with either acids or bases depending on the materials used, and the coating of the tap, you just need a small change in size of either the tap or the thread to make it come out.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  11. #11
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    fyi- Pittsburgh tools are now guaranteed for life

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by drewvir View Post
    fyi- Pittsburgh tools are now guaranteed for life
    That's the brand that Harbor Freight carries.

  13. #13
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    yes,sir it is

  14. #14
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    I would try J.A.M. Taylor Tool. AMAZING quality the webiste is taylortool.com


    I find it easier to just call and get them to check stoke or get me a quote. I normally just ask for Colleen

  15. #15
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    I recently did a bunch of tapping of 4130 for a DIY letterpress using Irwin 'Performance Threading System' metric taps. These are made is the USA by Hanson. I had good success and they worked even better when I paired it with some good cutting oil. They claim to be self-aligning and unless you got the angle pretty off, this was true.

    -Todd

  16. #16
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    Ive been using a Crafttsman set for approximately 10 years. I also have some older Craftsman taps/dies that are probable 20+ years old, and work perfectly fine. Dont believe every review as it may have been written by someone who doesnt know how to use the tools properly.

  17. #17
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    Hanson make a great set.I also have aSnap-on set and its the same kit as far as Im concerned. I pick them up on ebay when I need them. Paid $60 for the last set of metric.
    Seeking MB-2 Fork (19.3), Ritchey FD post silver 26.8

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