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View Full Version : Enco HSS Die quality?



daryl bane
06-15-2009, 12:06 PM
Was looking to purchase some HSS dies for the shop, and was wondering about the quality of their Import HSS dies. Sometimes these "imports" are from Japan, Czech, etc and quite good.

Bmyers
06-15-2009, 12:09 PM
they are junk ! I bought some enco import dies from 0-80 to 2-56 and they were junk. returned them and the replacements were just as bad. find USA made dies

gbritnell
06-15-2009, 06:02 PM
In the past I've got good quality dies from Japan and Poland but it seems like they aren't available any longer. I have a very old adjustable American made HSS 0-80 die. It was getting a little long in the tooth so I ordered a new one from Enco/Travers/MSC and it was junk. I contacted them and they were great. They said keep the old one and we'll send you a new one. That's all well and good except the new one is no better than the first one. I was relating my story to a machinist friend and he said buy American. The problem is they didn't list a die of this size made in the States. He said he would contact his supplier, which he did. The supplier was given all the information, 0-80, HSS, adjustable and American. What I got was American but made from carbon steel. To top it off it wouldn't cut. After examination under a strong magnifier I saw that one of the 3 cutting flutes had no threads on it. I showed it to my friend who verified my findings and sent it back to his supplier. The supplier verified our findings and said he would go with another "American" company. The next one I got was non adjustable and it didn't have HS marked on it anywhere although that was the ordering criteria. It was also .750 diameter instead of .812. I had posted a thread on this same subject quite awhile back to not much avail. I will repost my same request. If anyone knows POSITIVELY where a 0-80, HSS, adjustable, quality die can be found please let me know. I will even accept an import as I can't find an American one any better than the original junk I purchased.
gbritnell

JCHannum
06-15-2009, 06:54 PM
George; Do you want right hand or left hand? T&S Tool & Supply lists both in HSS 13/16" adjustable dies. Their cutting tools are usually European or US, they will tell you country of origin.

I don't deal with ENCO, too much trouble and too much junk. T&S is local to me, I call to check if it is in stock and drive over to pick it up.

www.tstool.com or 419-866-5507. They take phone orders.

lazlo
06-15-2009, 06:56 PM
In the past I've got good quality dies from Japan and Poland but it seems like they aren't available any longer.

OSG dies are Japanese, and they're superb. I get them from MSC/J&L during the 30% off sales.

gnm109
06-15-2009, 07:46 PM
In the past I've got good quality dies from Japan and Poland but it seems like they aren't available any longer. I have a very old adjustable American made HSS 0-80 die. It was getting a little long in the tooth so I ordered a new one from Enco/Travers/MSC and it was junk. I contacted them and they were great. They said keep the old one and we'll send you a new one. That's all well and good except the new one is no better than the first one. I was relating my story to a machinist friend and he said buy American. The problem is they didn't list a die of this size made in the States. He said he would contact his supplier, which he did. The supplier was given all the information, 0-80, HSS, adjustable and American. What I got was American but made from carbon steel. To top it off it wouldn't cut. After examination under a strong magnifier I saw that one of the 3 cutting flutes had no threads on it. I showed it to my friend who verified my findings and sent it back to his supplier. The supplier verified our findings and said he would go with another "American" company. The next one I got was non adjustable and it didn't have HS marked on it anywhere although that was the ordering criteria. It was also .750 diameter instead of .812. I had posted a thread on this same subject quite awhile back to not much avail. I will repost my same request. If anyone knows POSITIVELY where a 0-80, HSS, adjustable, quality die can be found please let me know. I will even accept an import as I can't find an American one any better than the original junk I purchased.
gbritnell

You might try calling some local Model Railroad stores. The ones in my area (Sacramento) generally carry unusual sizes in either American or quality imports. Sizes down to 00 in taps and dies are frequently used in model railroading.

jimmstruk
06-15-2009, 08:32 PM
I did a quick internet search and found Victor machinery exchange, JTS and Fastenal all show 13/16 round,adjustable,HSS dies. None say made in USA JIM

gbritnell
06-15-2009, 11:40 PM
This is the OSG die that I got from the tool supplier. Remember from my other posting that I said round adjustable, high speed, 0-80 and American. This was his second attempt. It cuts ok but a little undersize. Next to it is my old die which still cuts better than any new one I've purchased. Jim, I appreciate your offer but I don't trust anyone selling tools anymore. I realize that they are just vendors but it's disgusting when you're willing to pay the price but can't get quality. By the way the OSG that you see pictured was $21.00.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v43/gbritnell/MISCELLANEOUS/080die-1.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v43/gbritnell/MISCELLANEOUS/080die1-1.jpg

JCHannum
06-16-2009, 07:48 AM
George, give them a call. They are real people who know the business, not order takers. They are a full line dealer and handle OSG as well as other lines.

I very rarely purchase any new tooling as I usually acquire it in my quest for merchandise. When I do buy, I either use McMaster Carr or T&S. I throw the Enco flyers I get away unread.

sidneyt
06-17-2009, 04:16 PM
MSC (mscdirect.com) carries dies including US made Greenfield dies in sizes 0-80 and up. They aren't cheap, the 0-80 die is $25.71 each.

BTW, I have had no real problem with the dies I have purchased from Enco including a 10-32 adj one I recently purchased from them.

lazlo
06-17-2009, 06:29 PM
OSG dies are Japanese, and they're superb. I get them from MSC/J&L during the 30% off sales.

You know, I checked the 2009 MSC and J&L catalogs, and they don't carry OSG anymore :(

Like Sidney says, they do carry Greenfield, but Holy Smokes they're expensive!

JCHannum
06-17-2009, 07:56 PM
I stopped by T&S today, and they do have 13/16" 0-80 split dies, one right hand and two left hand in stock. They are Polish, under $10.00.

oldtiffie
06-17-2009, 08:10 PM
How about seeing where a really good die etc. is and what it costs.

Then do a cost vs benefit analysis (including what a stuff-up due to "cheap-skating" etc. will cost) to see if the job warrants the cost.

If it does - buy the dearer/best/better die etc. and get on with it

If not - buy the cheaper item and take your chances.

Either way should settle the issue.

It seems that there is more concern about people getting screwed than there is about screwing the job.

gbritnell
06-17-2009, 11:20 PM
Hi oldtiffie, I think the object of this thread is to find a quality die. As I had stated, I paid $22.00 for the one I got so it wasn't a matter of cost it was trying to find a quality tool.
gbritnell

oldtiffie
06-17-2009, 11:29 PM
Thanks gbritnell.

A good result all round - pretty well what I was saying.

As you are satified with the tool cost and performance it doesn't get better than that.

kenrinc
06-18-2009, 01:02 PM
I've been around and around on the die train. The problem with the imports is, that Enco will ship whatever they currently have. And that could be anything. I've found that one order was almost all Czech and Bosnia. Actually not bad. The next order was India and China! Probably the worst. There were burrs on the threads! Like they made them by hand with a knife. Just crap.

I finally just "bent over" and bought a full set of Vermont American at a local hardware store as I was in the middle of a project and needed them badly. That set has outlasted every single import tap and die I have ever bought. They say made in USA, don't know if that's true but they damn well have earned their keep in my shop.

Ken-

lazlo
06-18-2009, 02:24 PM
A good result all round - pretty well what I was saying.

As you are satified with the tool cost and performance it doesn't get better than that.

Tiff, he said that he paid for quality, and wasn't satisfied:


This was his second attempt. It cuts ok but a little undersize. Next to it is my old die which still cuts better than any new one I've purchased.

I realize that they are just vendors but it's disgusting when you're willing to pay the price but can't get quality. By the way the OSG that you see pictured was $21.00.

David S Newman
06-18-2009, 03:22 PM
Where I live in Suffolk UK there is a boot sale once a fortnight on a farm , a man there attends every time and brings hundreds of taps and dies, BA, BSF, BSW etc etc . I have purchased dozens from him all the best UK makes Dormer, Stronghold etc and built up sets. They are all very little used (almost new) where he gets them from puzzles me but at 75 pence each (less than a pound) i'm happy. David

oldtiffie
06-18-2009, 07:40 PM
Tiff, he said that he paid for quality, and wasn't satisfied:

Thanks for picking that (and me) up and for the "heads up". It was a genuine mistake that I should not have made.

But never the less my assertions as regards quality vs cost still stand.

I too, like many others, don't like wasting money even if it seems that I throw it around at times, but I will always at least, try to err on the side of caution.

Never the less, I have been "caught" often enough for paying too much for a "good" tool that wasn't either in terms of cost, performance or adequacy for the job. I've bought a lot of stuff "just for this job" and kept it instead of getting rid of it, used it improperly "just one more time" etc. and "blew it".

And has been all too evident, I have bought a lot of "stuff" that I really didn't need just for the sake of having it or that "it seemed like a good idea at the time". But at least some of it has "saved the day" in some quite unexpected ways at times too.

I really do try to "get it right" as regards cost and need but I'd guess my "success rate" is about 80% - which infers a "failure rate" of 20% (probably more - a lot more!!).

I have quite a history and litany of "Why the f**k did - or didn't - I do THAT???!!" moments in the shop and elsewhere.

But I am trying.

Very!!!

MikeHenry
06-20-2009, 07:23 PM
Might you have bought dies that were intended for re-threading? If so, they generally won't cut new threads. I've read that hex dies or carbon steel dies are generally meant for re-threading.

oldtiffie
06-20-2009, 07:50 PM
That's a good comment Mike as its a trap for the unwary or uninformed.

You are quite right in what you say. You can add "tool steel" the list as well as some read it as being or the same as or as good as HSS - which they aren't. Some are very good nickle-chrome steel and in softer materials will do quite well for a short while. They are often as good as HSS for aluminium, brass, plastics etc. I buy them in sets. If any break or get blunt I replace them with single item or sets of three HSS taps or singly for dies.

Unfortunately, as has been shown frequently here, not all HSS taps and dies are equal (or HSS?) either - even from "brands" that you might expect better of/from - especially for the prices they ask!!

I am very cautious about taps and dies - taps especially so - as the cost of a "cocked-up" job is often far more than the cost of a good or better tap and the "savings" on buying a cheaper tap are often not the case in practice.

JRouche
06-21-2009, 02:36 AM
Must be a demand issue but yeah, good dies are expensive. Even a used set. Personally I like greenfield and they are expensive. But really, not many folks making dies anymore. What a shame cause they do have their place in the shop. Where you just cant put a fitment in a lathe to cut the threads.. Hmmm, not many folks using them is what I see, otherwise the common grinders that produce all the taps would have a full compliment of dies like they do taps.. JR

oldtiffie
06-21-2009, 07:11 AM
I find that with a lot of luck and a bit of planning that I avoid having to cut full-depth external threads with a die. I use them mainly (only if I'm lucky) to clean up and exiting thread or to finish off one that I've screw-cut. In other words, I use them more as a thread chaser.

I rarely bother with threads that are more than 75% as I really can't see the need for anything better in what I have to do. It puts a hell of a lot less of a load on the tap or die.

I prefer the adjustable dies as most times I can get what I want. The "fixed" (non-adjustable) dies such as the "hexagon" type are a PITA.

It is possible to sharpen a die with a good high-speed die grinder - but it is questionable. Sharpening taps is the least difficult and with skill, patience and care can be quite successful.

But "home-shop sharpening" of taps and dies should only be a short term remedy until a newer better (read: HSS) tap or die can be got.

I find that a good quality tapping oil is essential. On smaller jobs I will even spit on my finger and put it on the tap or die - works really well (a very old shop "trick").

Tap and die work are not the best things to be doing if you are anxious or hurrying.

It would neither be the first nor last time that when I was a bit dubious about a tap or what it was tapping (smaller threads in particular) that if the size of the thread/bolt was mandatory that I will "up" the tapping size by drilling out for the "heli-coil" tap and so reduce the larger hole for the heli-coil back to the required thread. Most of those Heli-coil taps are really good HSS. Heli-coils are not just for "repairs" as they do a really good job if used correctly.

I don't have and don't want or need a "production" nor a commercial "jobbing" shop as mine is purely a hobby shop that I can use or not as I choose without worrying about time, cost or profit as I am retired.

airsmith282
06-21-2009, 10:18 AM
butterfield is really good stuff, and i have some HSS dies and my master craft kit as well as some Skf stuff to, not overly happy with the mastercraft ones but for most aplications they work well but the skf and butterfield seem to be the bomb