A tap and die set are tools that are used when creating screw threads. A tap is used to cut the female portion of the matching pair, kind of like a nut. A die is used to cut the male portion of the mating pair, like a bolt. The process of cutting the threads in a hole is “tapping” the hole. The process of cutting with a die is called “threading”. A tap and die set has been used for hundreds of years and originally was made out of wood, long before steel or metal was invented.
There are certain ways to use a tap-and-die-set as well as certain precautions to take. While tapping, make sure that the tap is made of a material that is suitable for machine tapping. The high-carbon steel used in hand tools is most likely too brittle. High speed steel is preferable when using a tap-and-die-set. Also, use a proper cutting compound or a coolant while tapping with a tap-and-die-set. Make sure that the spindle or tap is turning in the correct direction. Most importantly, make sure that the tap is lined up with the hole. While threading with a tap-and-die-set, you need to take into consideration:
- Major diameter of the thread in inches
- Threads per inch
- Course or fine thread
- Class of fit
- External or internal threads
There are 3 basic types of taps:
- The first is called a “bottoming tap” or a “plug tap”. This type of tap for the tap-and-die-set has a continuously cutting edge with almost no taper. It also has 1-1.5 threads of taper, which is typical. This feature enables a bottoming tap to cut threads to the bottom of a blind hole. A bottoming tap is usually used to cut threads in a hole that already have been partially threaded.
- The second type of tap in a tap-and-die-set is called an “intermediate tap or plug” or a “second tap”. This has tapered cutting edges which assist in aligning and starting the tap into the untapped hole. This tap has 3-5 tapered edges and is the most commonly used.
- The third tap in a set is called a “taper tap”. It is similar to the plug tap except it has more pronounced threads. It gives a gradual cutting action that is less aggressive and has 8-10 tapered edges.
These sets can be found in many stores, for many different prices, all over the world. Look around for a great bargain and enjoy your new tap-and-die-set!
Check out the 5 Best Tap and Die Sets on the market right now:
1. IRWIN Tools 76 Piece Metric Tap and Hex Die Super Set (26376)
The Irwin Hanson 76-Piece Machine Screw/Fractional/Metric Tap and Hex Die Set includes sets of machine screw plug taps and 5/8-inch hexagon dies, fractional plug taps and 1-inch hexagon dies, metric plug taps and 5/8-inch hexagon dies, and metric plug taps and 1-inch hexagon dies. Ideal for auto repair and machinery. Contains Most commonly used sizes and thread counts. They’re made to superior standards so you can accurately repair or create new tools. High-carbon steel construction provides durability. The blow-molded carrying case keeps components in easy-to-find spaces.
2. IRWIN Tools Metric Tap and Hex Die Set, 41-Piece (26317)
They’re working with a variety of tradesmen to solve endless fastening challenges: Irwin Hanson Taps and Dies are the answer. Whether creating new tools from raw steel or repairing damaged and worn threads, achieving a precise fit is essential. This set the standard for delivering quality every step of the way in your threading applications. TR-88 adjustable handle tap wrench, TR-73 two-in-one tap wrench, TR-50 2-in-1 tap wrench. 18 leaf standard thread pitch gauge and screwdriver. 41-Piece set in plastic case.
3. TEKTON 7560 Tap and Die Set, Inch, 45-Piece
Made of tungsten alloy high speed steel, the TEKTON 45-pc. Tap and Die Set (Inch) features 20 taps and 20 dies in a full range of coarse and fine sizes from 1/4 in. to 1 in. These tapered plug taps and dies are the most commonly used style and are perfect for most hand threading applications. They are known for their ability to start easily, either cutting new material or chasing lightly damaged threads. With proper technique and the right lubricant, these taps and dies will cut mild carbon and alloy steel, stainless steel, cast iron, aluminum, brass and bronze.
4. TruePower 02-0554 Alloy Steel SAE/Metric Tap and Die Set, 60 Piece
Long lasting hardened alloy steel for maximum durability. Cuts and renews external and internal threads to exacting standards. Comes with two pitch gauges.
5. Neiko 40-Piece Titanium Coated Tap & Hexagon Die Set – Metric
Includes both fine and coarse threaded taps and die in Metric sizing. Complete with compact custom fit latched ABS storage and carry case to protect and organize. M3 to M12 taps and hexagon die with thread pitch from 0.5mm to 1.75mm. Professional grade set of Titanium over alloy steel for superior cutting power without brittleness. Adjustable and T-Handle tap wrenches, adjustable die wrench, screwdriver, thread pitch gauge. Quality construction.