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  • HFT question

    Before I waste my money, are these any good? 45 Piece SAE Titanium Nitride Coated Alloy Steel Tap & Die Set SKU # 41451 for 64.99

    thanks in advance

  • #2

    I would avoid it. First of all, if you're going to get taps, buy quality ones. The crap HF sells are probably just carbon steel, which isn't going to last long regardless of the unnecessary TiN coating, which they just use as a sales pitch. The taps at the hardware store aren't much better. Get HSS taps made by a reputable brand, preferably spiral point (for through holes) or spiral flute (for blind holes), which do not require you turn turn back to break the chip. It speeds up tapping a lot and allows you to tap under power as well.
    Stuart de Haro


    • #3
      An undead link

      You've got to be kidding (in light of the recent posts about tapping).
      But in case you aren't.

      The answer is no. I would say the answer is "it depends", meaning it would depend on what you plan to use them for. If you were just chasing dirt out or cleaning dings from existing threads these might be OK for that. But there's no way I'd pay $65 for taps & dies to just clean up existing threads.

      I'll cheap out on tools sometimes to save a buck on something I don't use that much. But in the case of taps and dies, it is just never worth it to go cheap. Quality drill bits make a difference too, but with those you can usually still use them for a while. With especially taps, one bad experience can be worth the cost of two crappy sets. No kidding - I guarantee that after trying about three from that set, you'll wish it wasn't taking up space in your shop.

      "Heavy duty heat-treated alloy steel construction " - that means carbon steel and not HSS. Junk.

      If you're on a tight budget (like me) I'd say if you want a few on hand, then just buy the two or five sizes of the ones you know you'll use. Buy good quality - OSG, Union Butterfield, Greenfield etc. or even those listed as "quality USA" will be tons better than the HF set (I would just get uncoated HSS unless you know you'll pretty much use up a tap on a steel job). Then over time just buy the ones you need from McMaster Carr or MSC, etc. These guys ship so fast these days you'd swear that they shipped it before you called. You'll usually get it the next day, so there's not much of a wait for a needed tap or die. One cheap broken tap in your project can mean several hours work trying to remedy the situation and still could end up in total failure. This can happen even with a good tap and minor mistake, but it happens so often with cheap taps - just don't do it.
      Last edited by tyrone shewlaces; 02-13-2010, 01:08 PM.


      • #4
        sorry, didn't use the search feature, was in a hurry
        thanks for the quick response



        • #5
          Third vote for "NO"

          As mentioned, get the 4-5-6 taps that you will use most often (in my case 8-32, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 1/2) in a quality tap (spiral tip). Ck ENCO"s 'hot deals' monthly catalog, they have some good prices on in there, and you can probably get enough for free frt.

          In the dies, get the "split die"- this is totally different from "rethreading" dies (which is what you get in the sets) and again get the ones you use most often, and add taps and dies to the collection later....

          You should be able to just about get this collection for the $65, and you'll have something that'll last for a long time.
          If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........


          • #6
            I think there have also been recent posts about the search feature here not being worth much either. So if the search function doesn't work well, then searching that out wouldn't shed any light on the search function not working.

            Posting here still seems to net answers though, so it is a good idea to ask here first. I wish I had done that last week myself.

            edit to add (and belabor a point):
            An example - for a die handle or tap holder, it won't hurt much to scrimp and go cheap even though you'll notice and hate the cheapness compared to good quality. You might even bend or break it, but at least it is just a tool.
            For the tap or die itself though, I see it as akin to surgery. You really don't want to scrimp at the cutting edge. It's a whole new world of difference you'll notice and appreciate instantly.
            Last edited by tyrone shewlaces; 02-13-2010, 01:47 PM.


            • #7
              get your self some dormer or butter field even SKF and so on good taps and dies , Good drills and so on,

              i have a cheap set of mastercraft ones and they pretty much take up space now , unless i want to tap or die some brass or aluim , but steel i have to buy and use hi end taps and dies, and drills well i have some hi end stuff and i got me master craft ones as well. and when i make airgun valves and other parts alike same deal hi end.. the better you can afford the happier youll be and the better your work will look and work as well.

              i gota few dormer 3/8 2 flute taps for example and they east Stainless steel and the thread quaility is amazing that they make i also have twist syle taps as well. really nice jobs to that they do,

              junk is junk , a good firend of mine told me when it comes to drills taps and dies, go all out get the good stuff and only buy the sizes you need , no sence having tons of taps and dies and drills youll never ever use,and at the same time you get the good stuff,your work looks great works great and you impress the hell out of your customers as well.


              • #8
                Thanks guys, as you know, its hard get started in tooling when your low on cash. I have some that came with my lathe when I bought it. The used drill bits I got do cut better than the new HFT ones.



                • #9
                  And another thing... hehe

                  Two things I've learned about machining over the years:
                  1) Folks hang on to milling machines but give lathes away.
                  2) Folks hang on to dies but give taps away.

                  So dies are harder to come by used, but like milling machines, they do pop up from time to time.

                  You might sweep the pawn shops and flea markets occasionally. It's not a regular route I make like some folks do, but when I find myself in a pawn shop I do look for machinist tools of course. More often than not they are overpriced, but now and then they will price something to sell it.

                  A couple years ago I was at a pawn shop which had a nice set of Greenfield taps and dies for small stuff - probably 20 pieces I'd guess. It was complete except for the 1/4-20 tap and hardly used. They sold it to me for $20. Every once in a while you do OK.


                  • #10
                    Before I waste my money, are these any good? 45 Piece SAE Titanium Nitride Coated Alloy Steel Tap & Die Set SKU # 41451 for 64.99
                    I definitely agree w/ the above advice, also get a decent method of holding the taps you buy. I'm not sure what's worse, a cheap tap or a cheap tap holder.

                    I would look at getting taps like getting reamers as in not buying the whole set, just pick them up as you go along. This is unless you find a package deal. I picked up a pallet of taps, dies etc. out of local FS ads. Good quality stuff from a tool & die guy retiring. These will last me years.It was complete in NC, NF from 6-32 to 1-1/4-? except for 1/2-13?? Go figure.

                    Don't skimp
                    I bury my work


                    • #11
                      I stripped teeth off a 1/4-20 tap from there,
                      and I am not kidding, in aluminum.

                      granted the others in the set have worked ok so far
                      but don't trust them for anything important .
                      Tom C
                      ... nice weather eh?


                      • #12
                        LOL at ruining tap in aluminum.

                        never buy any cutting tools that say 'alloy steel' or some other generic bull**** term that doesnt actualy say anything! just means high carbon heat treated steel. Iv heard tell of some (expensive brand name) carbon steel taps being OK but *shrugs* seems like a HSS world to me. (IE, carbon steel taps are not allways bad, but cheap carbon steel taps ARE allways bad)

                        Buy HSS, or 'tungsten alloy' (lol at princess auto taps, tungsten alloy = fancy name for HSS)

                        Can't say iv ever seen TiN coated taps either.. I thought TiN coatings where more for high speed applications? TiN coated carbon steel has got to be some kinda joke

                        Taps are worth spending the money on, because when a tap fails, it doesnt just fail to compleat a hole, it snaps off inside the hole, wasteing an hour of your time to get it out... every time one fails. by the end of snaping a 45 peice kit, you have wasted nearly 2 days removing broken taps (Worth quite a few dollars in labour) :P (Okok by then you'll be really good at tap removal and have only wasted a day, but still you get my point, haha)

                        This comes from someone who considers himself a cheap ass and buys most of his consumables from princess auto or the generic import section of the sales catalog.
                        Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Black_Moons
                          Taps are worth spending the money on, because when a tap fails, it doesnt just fail to compleat a hole, it snaps off inside the hole, wasteing an hour of your time to get it out.

                          This comes from someone who considers himself a cheap ass and buys most of his consumables from princess auto or the generic import section of the sales catalog.
                          I'm even cheaper than Black Moons and I have learned the hard way to buy quality taps.

                          Cheap tools have their place, if it is something you will only use occasionally and if its failure will not be the end of the world.


                          • #14
                            Amen, Brothers!

                            I became a believer when I had a very difficult time tapping a 1/4-27 pipe thread. Finally in desperation I blew something like 20 bucks on one really good tap. Guess what? It was easy after that.

                            Since then I've always bought quality taps and dies. The "quality import" stuff from Travers and MSC often comes from France, Poland, Japan, etc. and can be pretty good, if you want to save some money, but generally now I go for name brand if I can get the size I need.

                            The hobby is supposed to be fun, not frustrating. (And it you're doing it for a living, a bad tap can cost you all your profit.)

                            As far as storage...Years ago I bought one of those 60-drawer plastic organizers from K-Mart for something like 15 bucks. It's got enough drawers so I can have a drawer for every size from #4 up to 1/2", NC, NF, and NS. Some of the drawers still don't have anything in them, but if I ever buy, say, an 8-56 tap or some other weirdness It will go in the #8-NS drawer.
                            Last edited by SGW; 02-13-2010, 09:53 PM.
                            Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                            Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                            Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                            There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                            Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                            Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


                            • #15
                              Sharpen up


                              Its true that most "alloy" taps and dies are not as good as a good HSS tap or die.

                              Not all HSS taps and dies are "good" and not all "alloy" taps and dies are "bad" either.

                              A HSS tap or die that is blunt can be more trouble than a good "alloy" one.

                              I suspect that there are about as many "not sharp" (ie "blunt" HSS taps and dies as there are end milling cutters.

                              There are two sides to the "buy the best HSS" anything.

                              The first is that they are very superior when sharp - but the more use they get the "less sharp" they get - just as HSS end mills and lathe bits do.

                              The second part of the "buy new good HSS" is that they must be sharp when you need to use them.

                              That means either sharpen them yourself or get them sharpened by others and if they can't be sharpened, either dump them or use the HSS for something else.


                              Buying the best and continuing to get the best out of HSS means to always have them sharp - even if that means continually buying new ones.

                              "Too cheap" machinists can be a bigger hazard than "too cheap" tools.

                              I never put a blunt tool away after I have finished using it. It either gets sharpened there and then or it goes in the "to be sharpened" bin.

                              If it can't be sharpened or is not worth the trouble or effort - out it goes.

                              If you really don't need "80%" thread contact - use something less. 60% will do for most jobs and its a lot easier on the taps and dies too.

                              Use a really good tapping oil unless there are good reasons not to (ie when tapping cast iron or brass).