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HSS Tap and Drill sets

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  • #16
    I can tell I'm going to get reamed for saying this, but .. I have a HSS set that I got when I purchased the entire shop of a deceased buddy. It looks exactly like this set from Shars:
    http://www.shars.com/40pcs-4-1-2-hss-tap-die-set

    I have been posting for YEARS to not go cheap on taps and dies. Normally I buy taps in sets of 3, and only Greenfield. But these Chinese HSS taps and dies work just fine. If anyone's near Seattle and wants to come examine them for fit and finish and try them out, you are welcome to. I would never have purchased them, but, having "inherited" them, I find that I use them quite a bit, especially the metric stuff which I don't have as much of.

    metalmagpie

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    • #17
      Originally posted by KEJR View Post
      Ive gotten hertel usa hss from enco when on sale. I bought one of every tap from #4 to 3/8 fine and course.
      I've had excellent luck with Hertel. They aren't as nice as OSG but they are cheap in comparison.

      RHayes - Generally, I would say not to bother buying even used sets of taps. There is nothing worse than thinking you have a capability only to find out you don't... which happens all too often with cheap or dull taps. And, if you don't have a lot of experience with taps, there is a good chance that you won't recognize the warning signs and the tap will break, buggering up whatever you were working on.

      I would focus on piecing together your own set buying individual pieces with a brand name like Hertel. That will give you a reasonable quality, new (SHARP!) set to start with. Then, as you figure out which get used most and how they get used (e.g. hand versus power, blind versus through) you can start upgrading (my favorite high-end brand being OSG).

      A few additional and oft overlooked things to consider:

      1) TiN (the gold coating) is often nothing more than a marketing gimmick, especially on taps. If the tap is a reputable brand, the TiN coating will extend its life IF the tap is used in a production environment (well oiled, ferrous materials and high speeds). For hand taps, it is less important. The downside to TiN is that it will gum up badly when used in aluminum. So ... for your first set, I recommend bright HSS.

      2) Taps come in many different styles: taper, plug, bottoming, spiral flute, spiral point, thread forming, etc. My personal favorite are spiral point taps. They are designed to push chips ahead of them so, although they can be used in blind holes, they aren't ideal for that unless you have adequate clearance for the chips. That said, they cut very smoothly and with reduced effort. Spiral flute are great for blind holes but tend to be pricier. Most of my taps are either plug, bottoming or spiral point. They cover most needs pretty well. A nice advantage of spiral point taps is that - with the small ones - they all tend to be 2 flute. That means it's much harder to break them then their 3 and 4 flute counterparts (I'm looking at you #6!)

      3) How to tell if a tap is dull: it should easily cut/scratch your thumbnail if you put your thumbnail in the flute and test the cutting edge. If it doesn't it needs to be sharpened or replaced. If it's a large diameter tap, you might get a few more holes out of it, but I won't risk it on anything 1/4" and under. Those sizes are too easy to break and too cheap to risk it. I keep a handful of the smaller sizes on hand and at least 2 of the larger sizes in each plug and bottoming (up to 1"... then my set gets kind of rag-tag).



      All of this said, having a beater set around is sometimes nice for chasing rusty threads and the like. Dirty/rusty threads will dull a good tap in no time flat, so best to run an old crumby tap through a rusty hole to clean it up.

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      • #18
        Thanks Fasttrack, I think I have the beater set covered.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Fasttrack View Post
          Dirty/rusty threads will dull a good tap in no time flat, so best to run an old crumby tap through a rusty hole to clean it up.
          In a pinch, a bolt with a groove ground in it also does wonders to clean rust out of a threaded hole, before chasing a good tap through it.
          I hear and I forget.
          I see and I remember.
          I do and I understand.
          Confucius (孔夫子)

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          • #20
            The only taps I buy now are the Spiral Point or Spirul Flute type.They are so universal in the Mill,Lathe,Drill Press,Hand Drills or by hand.I have a Sowa set that comes with 9 taps ands drills in a Index.They were on sale for $139.00 cdn 6-32 to 1/2" in course or fine metric also available but are more money.Sowa code for NC 113-651 NF 113-656 Metric 113-657 these are spiral point.All sets on sale now $136.00 Cdn till Sept 30 for you guys south of the border that just about free lol!!
            Last edited by Tundra Twin Track; 07-28-2016, 02:42 AM.

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            • #21
              Where did you those Sowa taps, Tundra?
              Thanks

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              • #22
                Originally posted by SpoonerandForker View Post
                In a pinch, a bolt with a groove ground in it also does wonders to clean rust out of a threaded hole, before chasing a good tap through it.
                Good tip! I'll remember that one.

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                • #23
                  Fwiw, I bought generic HSS sets from Victor and have been quite pleased with them.

                  http://www.victornet.com/tools/Tap-a...-Sets/213.html

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                  • #24
                    After 2 sets that turned out less-than-great now I only buy single taps from G├╝hring or the like. Sure they're expensive but when one of the crappy ones from a set break in you part they suddenly seem like a bargain.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Captain K View Post
                      Where did you those Sowa taps, Tundra?
                      Thanks
                      I got mine from Modern Tool in Edmonton,they have store in Calgary.You could check Sowa website for a dealer near you.The taps are made in Japan and the drills are made in USA.
                      Last edited by Tundra Twin Track; 07-28-2016, 12:31 PM.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Captain K View Post
                        Where did you those Sowa taps, Tundra?
                        Thanks
                        Their is dealer close to you Lethbridge Fasteners or in Medicine Hat Boss Bearing &Safety

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