Author Topic: Help, I need a decent SAE Tap and Die Set  (Read 2278 times)

steveoh

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Help, I need a decent SAE Tap and Die Set
« on: August 07, 2018, 03:30:37 PM »
 I need a decent SAE Tap and Die Set. I tried two different ones (please don't laugh) from Harbor Freight and took them back. Garbage, couldn't even get the die to start threading on 1/4" 304 Stainless Rod. The Hanson Die I have did work. Go figure.

The HB tap I tried using in a stainless knob just would not go beyond the tapered bit.

Does anyone make a decent tap die set anymore? I'm mostly interested in smaller sizes. So no need to thread 1" or above.

Steveoh


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nervoustrigger

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Re: Help, I need a decent SAE Tap and Die Set
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2018, 12:26:12 AM »
Haha, no shame in trying Harbor Freight.  Their cheapest sets like this one for around $15...
https://www.harborfreight.com/40-pc-carbon-steel-sae-tap-and-die-set-63016.html
aren't much good for anything but soft materials like aluminum or cast iron, or for chasing existing threads.

Their $85 set...
https://www.harborfreight.com/45-pc-titanium-nitride-coated-alloy-steel-sae-tap-die-set-60685.html
has been very useful and compares favorably with a much more expensive set we have at work. 

I expect you'd have to spend at least twice as much to get something demonstrably better.  For example, you mentioned a Hanson die worked.  Their similar set is $159 on Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Irwin-Tools-1835091-Performance-Fractional/dp/B00D6FCT6Y
If that's within your budget, perhaps that would be worth some peace of mind.

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sixshootertexan

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Re: Help, I need a decent SAE Tap and Die Set
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2018, 04:41:12 AM »
Cheap T/D sets are cheap crap. I suggest you find a local machine supply and buy just the tap/die you need. In the long run you will spend less because you are not paying for T/D's that you will never use. If you don't have a local supply most will ship them to you.
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steveoh

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Re: Help, I need a decent SAE Tap and Die Set
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2018, 09:11:07 AM »
Haha, no shame in trying Harbor Freight.  Their cheapest sets like this one for around $15...
https://www.harborfreight.com/40-pc-carbon-steel-sae-tap-and-die-set-63016.html
aren't much good for anything but soft materials like aluminum or cast iron, or for chasing existing threads.

Their $85 set...
https://www.harborfreight.com/45-pc-titanium-nitride-coated-alloy-steel-sae-tap-die-set-60685.html
has been very useful and compares favorably with a much more expensive set we have at work. 

I expect you'd have to spend at least twice as much to get something demonstrably better.  For example, you mentioned a Hanson die worked.  Their similar set is $159 on Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Irwin-Tools-1835091-Performance-Fractional/dp/B00D6FCT6Y
If that's within your budget, perhaps that would be worth some peace of mind.

I tried two different tap and die sets from Harbor Freight. I couldn't even get the die started for a 1/4-28 on 1/4 SS rod. Sometimes you get ok tools from Harbor Freight, other times you get garbage.
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steveoh

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Re: Help, I need a decent SAE Tap and Die Set
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2018, 09:12:50 AM »
Cheap T/D sets are cheap crap. I suggest you find a local machine supply and buy just the tap/die you need. In the long run you will spend less because you are not paying for T/D's that you will never use. If you don't have a local supply most will ship them to you.

I think you are the voice of reason. Going to find a good die handle, (the hanson set screw stripped first tightening down) and the die I currently need. Same with tap and handle.
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sixshootertexan

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steveoh

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sixshootertexan

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Re: Help, I need a decent SAE Tap and Die Set
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2018, 12:01:46 PM »
My set is old.
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Tinkerer

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Re: Help, I need a decent SAE Tap and Die Set
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2018, 12:12:04 PM »
There is always McMaster-Carr and or Kodiak Cutting Tools (http://www.kodiakcuttingtools.com/)
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Re: Help, I need a decent SAE Tap and Die Set
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2018, 12:16:27 PM »
Wholesale Tool specify whether made in USA or Import, and the price certainly reflects that.... http://www.wttool.com/

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nervoustrigger

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Re: Help, I need a decent SAE Tap and Die Set
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2018, 12:43:44 PM »
Ah okay, I saw where you had tried two different HF kits but I overlooked the 304 stainless.  That material is notoriously difficult to thread so you may want to look at other factors that may be making it difficult to do.
 
Firstly, many charts are based on 75% thread depth which is what you want if your application needs high pullout strength and you have less than 3 threads of engagement.  If the threading will not experience heavy loads or if you have more than 3 threads of engagement, it’s fairly common to use 60% or even 50% thread depth (i.e. use a larger tap drill).
 
Secondly, it work hardens really easily when being drilled which makes it subsequently difficult to tap.  So when drilling, use a sharp cobalt bit and cutting oil, and keep the bit advancing so it’s making a chip at all times rather than just heating the material.
 
Thirdly, if you will be tapping more than just a couple of holes, you may want to get a forming tap rather than a traditional cutting tap.  They are much less apt to break and 304 SS forms well.
 
Here are a couple of threads that may be helpful.  The topic of the second one is 316 stainless but the same principles apply.
 
https://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/cnc-machining/some-advice-304-stainless-steel-drilling-tapping-291344/
http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?413821-How-to-hell-do-you-tap-316-Stainless
 
On a more general note, I assume you reiterated that you tried two different HF kits in case I overlooked it but I was less interested in how many you tried and more interested in which particular ones you tried.  The $15 kit would be absolutely hopeless against 304 SS under even the best of conditions but I’ve used the $85 kit on 304 SS a few times to good effect and I saw at least one other review last night that mentioned it specifically.  I’ve no doubt the tool life would be rather short if I were constantly working stainless, but as a hobbyist it’s quite valuable to have a full assortment on hand for tackling the myriad of random things that come up.  But yeah, having a tool that doesn’t work is perhaps more aggravating than not having the tool at all.
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tkerrigan

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Re: Help, I need a decent SAE Tap and Die Set
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2018, 02:25:13 PM »
If you don't already know, be sure to ask for recommendations on the proper cutting fluid, very important.  I use Rapid tap for most cutting.   Regards, Tom
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steveoh

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Re: Help, I need a decent SAE Tap and Die Set
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2018, 02:29:27 PM »
If you don't already know, be sure to ask for recommendations on the proper cutting fluid, very important.  I use Rapid tap for most cutting.   Regards, Tom
I think I used Tap Magic.
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steveoh

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Re: Help, I need a decent SAE Tap and Die Set
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2018, 02:31:03 PM »
Ah okay, I saw where you had tried two different HF kits but I overlooked the 304 stainless.  That material is notoriously difficult to thread so you may want to look at other factors that may be making it difficult to do.
 
Firstly, many charts are based on 75% thread depth which is what you want if your application needs high pullout strength and you have less than 3 threads of engagement.  If the threading will not experience heavy loads or if you have more than 3 threads of engagement, it’s fairly common to use 60% or even 50% thread depth (i.e. use a larger tap drill).
 
Secondly, it work hardens really easily when being drilled which makes it subsequently difficult to tap.  So when drilling, use a sharp cobalt bit and cutting oil, and keep the bit advancing so it’s making a chip at all times rather than just heating the material.
 
Thirdly, if you will be tapping more than just a couple of holes, you may want to get a forming tap rather than a traditional cutting tap.  They are much less apt to break and 304 SS forms well.
 
Here are a couple of threads that may be helpful.  The topic of the second one is 316 stainless but the same principles apply.
 
https://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/cnc-machining/some-advice-304-stainless-steel-drilling-tapping-291344/
http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?413821-How-to-hell-do-you-tap-316-Stainless
 
On a more general note, I assume you reiterated that you tried two different HF kits in case I overlooked it but I was less interested in how many you tried and more interested in which particular ones you tried.  The $15 kit would be absolutely hopeless against 304 SS under even the best of conditions but I’ve used the $85 kit on 304 SS a few times to good effect and I saw at least one other review last night that mentioned it specifically.  I’ve no doubt the tool life would be rather short if I were constantly working stainless, but as a hobbyist it’s quite valuable to have a full assortment on hand for tackling the myriad of random things that come up.  But yeah, having a tool that doesn’t work is perhaps more aggravating than not having the tool at all.

I actually tried the $15 HB Kit first. Took it back. Tried the $80 kit next, and took it back. 

This is all good info, thanks!
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steveoh

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Re: Help, I need a decent SAE Tap and Die Set
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2018, 02:31:47 PM »
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