Threads are one of the most commonly produced machine elements worldwide, and there are many different ways to create them. These include thread cutting and grinding with manual taps and dies and thread-milling with rotating milling cutters. The latter (and other larger-scale methods for creating threads) are more relevant in a commercial context--for hobbyists and small-scale metalworking, quality taps and dies can go a long way. Here’s a guide for picking up the right threading tools for one’s metalworking needs.
Individuals vs. threading toolkits
It is possible to obtain taps and dies both as individual items and as part of a tap-and-die toolkit, which can have as many as 110 unique pieces: including wrenches, tap adaptors, die adaptors, hex keys, screw extractors, thread gauges, and taps and dies in dozens of sizes for any kind of application. It is a good base set for any workshop to have on hand, as it contains tools with a common standard of manufacture and measurement.
But it is hardly ideal if the worker only needs a single tap or die or only needs some sizes. Getting the individual taps and/or dies one needs is more prudent, as buying a full threading toolkit is a waste. Taps and dies come in smaller sets or as individual items. Where repair is the focus over thread creation, there are specialized tools for reforming burred threads and rethreading if they have been stripped entirely.
Workers need their tools to be able to deliver consistently reliable, high-quality results. As dies and taps cut into metals to create threads, they have to be of a sufficiently high hardness: think GCr15 bearing steel, a decently hardened chromium alloy steel with good fatigue strength and corrosion resistance. High-speed steels (such as HSS 4341) are most suitable for machine use, as they can withstand high temperatures without losing their hardness. The material used should be Rockwell hardness 60--any lower, and it might get deformed by the blank. Tools can be finished with titanium for a longer life or used as-is.
Measurements and other considerations
Most tap-and-die kits come with a decent range of sizes, including imperial and metric standards. There are also kits with exclusively one range of sizes, i.e., only metric sizes. If one requires a nonstandard size, they might have more luck looking for it as an individual item.
Categories Simillar to Threading Tools includes Rotary Hammer Drill Bits, Jobber Drill Bits and Circular Saw Blades