Ralmike Hand Tapper info requested
I just bought a Ralmike Hand Tapper for $20 at a flea market. After removing some surface rust, it appears to be in good condition:
It came with one of the original adapters, for 3/8" taps. I'd like to get a full adapter set, and found a hand tapper similar to this one at MSC Direct. If that's really the same make/model, a full set of adapters costs $76, so I'm still ahead. My question is: does anyone know if the unit shown above and the one below from MSC Direct are the same? Or, do they just look the same? Here's a link to MSC's product page: http://www1.mscdirect.com/CGI/NNSRIT...01846&PMT4NO=0
One more question - at some time in the past, someone hammered an adapter onto the shaft which mushroomed the holder prongs slightly. The question is: should I try to squeeze the prongs together, or just remove the material so the adapters will fit again? The shaft's nominal size is .499", while the prongs are now .502".
Thanks for any information you can provide. There's no rush on this; that is, there is no project waiting for this tool.
Last edited by dorsey; 05-18-2010 at 02:37 PM.
Reason: Hit the finish button too soon.
I have the made-USA unit as shown in the MSC link.
I don't know anything about the Ralmike, it does appear to be close in design to the original model from MSC.
One thing, you said a 3/8" tap holder was with your's. I don't think these tappers are really large/rigid enough for a 3/8" tap and the MSC model only has holders up to 5/16". Ev en 5/16" in steel is a bit of an overload.
You can make adapters yourself. Drill a correct sized hole for the tap shank, then opposing set screws on each side hit on the tap's end flats.
For sure, you'll probably want to make the accessory handle shown in the MSC ad to turn the taps. The little T-handle is not so easy to use.
Last edited by DR; 05-18-2010 at 04:46 PM.
This question surfaces from time to time. I grew up in S. Plainfield, NJ, home of Railmike's Tool-a-Rama. Been there more than once. They did not manufacture or contract to manufacture, a damn thing. They were just a small mill supply. What they did was pop-rivet or stick their aluminum labels on anything they sold that had a large enough flat surface. Someone may have bought th right to use the company name, but for all intents and purposes, they no longer exist. If the tapper resembles the current offering from MSC or Enco, it's because it came from the same supplier.
Thanks, I suspected that Ralmike's was a supply house that merely labeled other maker's products, and that raises my confidence that the MSC version's adapters will fit.
On the other hand, I like the idea of making my own adapters as suggested. Maybe the tap I grabbed to check was 5/16" and not 3/8". I can't imagine this machine handling anything even that large on ferrous metal.
I was also thinking about adapting a standard collet-type tap wrench (or two - small and medium) to cover all my bases. Why is that not offered by the manufacturers? Is it a height issue, or something else?
Originally Posted by dorsey
It's very handy to have all your holders pre-loaded with taps for quick use.
I have an 8-32, 10-32, 1/4-20, 5/16-18 always at the ready since those are the most common for me.
With a tap wrench type holder it would involve a change for every size. For me, at least, that would be a nuisance.
I tried a guy's Phase II hand tapper and really liked it. The Enco page showed a Phase II picture clear as day but the thing that showed up wasn't made by Phase II, and it had issues. The tap holders would fall out. I called Enco and bitched and they sent me a whole new machine. Still not right. I called and bitched again and they offered me an extra set of tap holders. I got those and was able to mostly make them work. The only one that was a problem was the 1/4" tap holder, so I have an entirely duplicate set except for that. If you want my extras, let me know. I do use the machine, it's handy as a pocket on a shirt.
While the Ralmike adapters snap into the quill, the taps are a slide fit and will fall out. That said, I like the idea of having the adapter and matching tap in one place, and at the same time.