Good source for quality tiny taps/dies?

Discussion in 'Tools' started by Twmaster, Nov 11, 2009.

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  1. Nov 11, 2009 #1

    Twmaster

    Twmaster

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    Now that I am kinda getting sucked into these little engines I am in need of some additional tools in the form of tiny taps and dies. I have the usual suspects in 4-40, 6-32 etc. I also have a PM Research engine kit that includes and calls for 5-40 threads in holes and on some shafting. So, who do ya like for good (not garbage) tiny tools?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Nov 11, 2009 #2

    doc1955

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    I've ordered taps from travers tool 0-80, 1-72 and 2-56 very happy with them they seem to be good quality and have done the job so far.
    Travers Tool
     
  3. Nov 11, 2009 #3

    Deanofid

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    For sizes down to 0-80 check Enco. When you get to the hand tap section, where it says "brand" buy the ones that say USA, or OSG.
    Also, Brownells sells good taps. Made in USA.

    Dean
     
  4. Jan 3, 2010 #4

    BigBore

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    I found this thread in "search" and have a couple more questions. I notice that you guys are always talking about an inexpensive source for quality taps. The prices that are being thrown around indicate you are talking about the regular tapered taps. Is there not much need for the flat bottomed (plug?) taps? There is also a third kind, right? Can the tapered ones be ground down a bit to get them to tap a bit deeper into a "not through" hole? In other words, if you need, say, a 1/4" of threads, could one just drill a bit deeper (if space is available) and then use the tapered tap with the tip ground down a bit?

    Also what does the OSG stand for? When checking out e-bay (or for that matter, even the tool sites) for taps. I always wonder what would be the appropriate question to ask the seller to ascertain the quality/source of his taps? When I see the really cheap prices on some auctions or sites I don't know if it truly is a great deal or just an appropriate price for a piece of crap tool. A "newbie" quandary. It's hard for us to ask the right questions. That's why I value this forum so much.

    Thanks!
    Ed
     
  5. Jan 3, 2010 #5

    hammers-n-nails

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    a normal tap set will have a taper, plug and bottoming tap and yes your probably going to need all of them. it is possible to grind all the taper off of a tap to make a bottming tap if your in a pinch but this doesnt work as well. another thing to watch when buying taps is that there are different classes, i dont remember exactally how they are classified but at the end of the day the difference is that some of them cut tighter threads than others, someone else can elaborate on this im sure. kbc and msc are also good places to buy tooling.
     
  6. Jan 3, 2010 #6

    doc1955

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    The tolerance gets tighter the higher the number h1 h2 h3 the h3 will cut tighter tolerance thread than the h1.
    If you notice external threads will be called out as such 4-40 unc 2b which is and internal thread same applies here the higher the number for example 3b would be a tighter fit than a 2b now a 4-40 unc 2a would be and external thread again same applies here.

    Now to throw a wrench into everything you could have a j thread which would be 4-40 unj 2b same goes here but the j signifies a root radius on the thread.

    So usually the h2 and h3 taps will be pricier.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. Jan 3, 2010 #7

    BigBore

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    Thanks, Doc, that is exactly the kind of information I need. I have seen those "h" designators and had wondered what it meant. Other than pride, are the lower designators exact enough for our small air/steam engine work and does one have to match the tolerances up on the internal and external threads? I assume you have to match the type of threads, such as unc or unf but what about the tolerances?

    Still curious as to what the "OSG" refers to.

    I have been checking out some of the tool web sites and haven't come across any of the " got a dozen taps for a couple bucks a piece" places. Are those just the right place at the right time kinda deals?

    I've also seen "D" designators and a "series" designators. What's up wid dat? ??? I notice there is also a "Model Engineer" thread?

    I feel like I'm almost ready to ask a seller/dealer an intelligent question. I said almost. :-\
     
  8. Jan 3, 2010 #8

    Deanofid

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    Ed, OSG is a brand name, like Nabisco or STP.

    The ground thread limit being discussed is a tap tolerance used by manufacturers to maintain consistent sizing for a given engineering need. It's something to look into someday if it interests you, but isn't a desperate consideration for choosing taps you will need for modeling unless you have a print for a project that actually calls out thread tolerances.

    The h limit number doesn't usually have much to do with the price of the tap. Often you will see a range of h limits for a given size of tap, and the h1 will be cheaper than the h3, the h2 more expensive than the h3, and the h4 will cost more than any of them, or the other way around. The price doesn't always go up in a logical manner.

    Let me do some generalizing so you don't fret about getting a tap with a certain tolerance.
    For very small taps, like 0-80, up to about 3/8-24, get taps in h1 or h2, if you even have a choice. If you're buying taps from a hobby store, they will likely have one type, and that is what you get.
    For larger taps, up to around 1/2", open your tolerance to the h2 to h3 range.
    You could buy every tap from 0-80 to 1"-10 in the h2 range. In the 0-80 size the fastener will go into that hole pretty easy, and you will be able to feel the tolerance by wiggling it side to side. In the 1"-10 size, the fastener will still go into the hole, but you will be able to feel very little tolerance.
    It's a tolerance (size) thing. Not a quality thing. In other words, h1 taps and h4 taps of a given size are the same quality. They are just made to a different spec. The h4 tapped hole will have a little more room between the threads in the hole and the threads on the screw that goes into it. By the way, the spec we are talking about between all these h tolerances is usually .0005" per h number, up to a certain point.

    Buy HSS taps, rather than carbon steel types. Carbon steel breaks much easier, though all taps will break if you put pressure against the side of them while tapping.

    In my opinion, taps are not the place to scrimp. Having the jagged broken end of a tap sticking out of your latest 8 hours of work will make you regret ever penny of the two bucks you spent on it.
    You might find taps for $2 apiece that are actually good, but what do you want to try them out on to find out?

    There are Model Engineer threads. Things like 6-48, and in the U.S. I believe that was National Special. There is miniature pipe thread too, but until you need it, you don't. Most model engine prints are usually satisfied with using common U.S. threads that we call coarse or fine. If you get taps for special threads, you are also going to have to find fasteners that fit, and you won't get them at the hardware store. Stick with the National Fine or National Coarse for your modeling for now, until you decide what kind of stuff you're going to get into.

    If it helps at all, for taps from 0-80 up to 1/4"-28, I just buy all h2 taps in what ever USA made brand that looks good to me. Rarely have a problem, going that route.


    Dean

     
  9. Jan 3, 2010 #9

    BigBore

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  10. Jan 3, 2010 #10

    joeby

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    Dean has covered about everything you will need to know about taps, good information there.

    A couple of thoughts, though. I don't usually bother with taper taps, they are mainly for starting only, the tapers purpose is easier starting and helping to keep the tap straight. They won't give you many threads in a blind hole though (before bottoming out) and I have not found that they are necessary in most cases, I just buy plug taps instead.

    Bottoming taps are sometimes a necessity. They are a worthwhile purchase, much better than grinding your own from plug taps. Keep in mind that they are intended to finish the last few threads at the bottom of a hole, not general use.

    I like to use three or four flute taps for hand tapping. The two flute taps are harder to keep straight when not using a guide. That said, a tapping block or stand is a good accessory to have.

    As far as brand goes, I second the notion that you should purchase taps made by a reputable manufacturer. Taps are one of those items that can completely ruin your day, even if you have done everything correctly. They are not easily removed when broken, short of EDM, and it's just not worth the risk of using a cheap tap.

    Kevin
     
  11. Jan 3, 2010 #11

    BigBore

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    Thanks, Kevin. I was thinking about the one thing you said.....

    " A couple of thoughts, though. I don't usually bother with taper taps, they are mainly for starting only, the tapers purpose is easier starting and helping to keep the tap straight. They won't give you many threads in a blind hole though (before bottoming out) and I have not found that they are necessary in most cases, I just buy plug taps instead."

    That makes sense to me. I was looking at MicroFasteners for small screw prices and I noticed that they sell taps also. Does anybody know the quality of them?

    http://www.microfasteners.com/catalog/products/TNMTAP.cfm

    Thanks for hangin' with me guys!

    Ed
     
  12. Jan 3, 2010 #12

    stevehuckss396

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    I get most of my tooling from KBC. McMaster Carr is also a great source. They have good and junk everything. The junk being obvious. The quality stuff is usually US, Polish, and sometimes Japan. They stock R&N taps.

    I made a block with 40 0-80 holes in it. The cheap tap broke in the 4th or 5th hole. Then I made another and the R&N made it thru all 40 holes and cut the last hole just as nice as the first. There really is a difference.

     
  13. Jan 3, 2010 #13

    Kermit

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    I purchased a Sears Craftsman tap and die set. Turns out that it is was carbon steel and I was clueless that any other types could be had.

    One of those words above correctly expresses what happened to most of the taps. At that point it's good that they died, because I was mad enough to 'kill' them. Broken taps will ruin an otherwise great day.

    I also have expanded my definition of quality tooling in a way that would disappoint Sears' business model. ;) (keeping it family friendly)
     
  14. Jan 3, 2010 #14

    Blogwitch

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    Not much showing from the lads in the UK.

    I use these people and have found the quality is second to none. The individual prices do look a little costly, but as soon as you get to bulk prices the costs drop very sharply.

    I usually buy in 10's, and pay just over 2 pounds each for taps, and I think the die price breaks start at about 5 off.
    They cut stainless as though it is brass, and I power tap on the lathe as small as 3mm with no problems.

    http://www.tapdie.com/

    They seem to stock every size you will ever need, and they cater mainly for industry. Because of that, I have phoned them late afternoon and they are delivered first thing next morning.


    Blogs
     
  15. Jan 3, 2010 #15

    steamer

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    Hi Kermit,

    MSC carries some good stuff too. Spiral taps are a god send, as are gun taps for thru holes. They're this side of the pond too.

    www.mscdirect.com

    Their catalog is only 5000 pages. 8)......they are not the cheapest, but as Blogs has alluded to, cheap taps can be very expensive.

    Order before 4pm and it will be there the next day.......period.


    For the odd or Model Engineering tap, try Victor Machinery
    www.victornet.net

    .....need a HSS 17/32-12 RH for instance?
    I bought several 40 pitch taps and dies of various sizes from them. They have specials in Left hand too. Prices are not too bad, and cheaper than making your own I think, and they're HSS. Again on this side of the pond.


    Dave
     
  16. Jan 3, 2010 #16

    Stan

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    My comments on taps.
    Taper taps are beneficial when tapping in hard material. As the tap advances it deepens the thread until you reach full depth.

    I am more confused than ever on H numbers. Reading Doc's and Dean's comments they seem to say different things by using different terminology. Does using a different H number produce a stronger thread or is that more a function of the minor diameter you started with or is determined by the thread on the cap screw?

    Since I am doing model work and don't make any parts for NASA or Boeing I have always completely disregarded the H number. When I find using the recommended tap drill is too tight I go to a bigger drill. I have found the price I pay for taps is less important than the material I am tapping and the tapping fluid I use.
     
  17. Jan 3, 2010 #17

    doc1955

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    I'm sorry I had it in reverse H numbers are opp the B numbers called out in a thread spec.
    It all has to do with pitch dia. So a higher H number on the tap will mean more torque required to tap the same size hole. In modeling I never go for a 75% thread I usually go to around 50%.
    Here are the H number specs in case you are interested they are referring to the pitch dia.

    H1 Limit = Basic to basic plus .0005"
    H2 Limit = Basic plus .0005" to basic plus .001"
    H3 Limit = Basic plus .001" to basic plus .0015"
    H7 Limit = Basic plus .003" to basic plus .0035"

    Sorry about the confusion it was late and the old timers disease must of been kicking in. :p
     
  18. Jan 3, 2010 #18

    shred

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    For tapping in brass, alu, CI and easy steel (model engine-type work), I find whatever 'USA' taps on sale from Enco work great (though I've never figured out why #2-56 cost more than the larger ones). I almost always get the 'gun' or 'spiral point' type even for blind holes and rarely run across a need for a bottom tap. I only get (or make from other taps) those when specifically needed. It's very nice to have two taps of any small sizes in stock, so you can switch as soon as you think one may be getting dull or grind one down if needed.

     
  19. Jan 3, 2010 #19

    hammers-n-nails

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    i will second that MSC i great about getting your stuff out quickly, as shred said if not the next day for sure the second.
     
  20. Jan 4, 2010 #20

    Deanofid

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    Ed, there's so much here already for you to digest, but I still want to add a thing or two.

    Regarding taper taps, I keep one in every size. The long tapered end does help in hard materials. It's a personal choice, just like everything else in my/your/everyone's shop.

    The three types of regular taps we use in the U.S.A are taper, plug, and bottom. In the sizes I use most, which are 2-56, 4-40, 5-32, 6-32, 6-40 and 10-32, I keep all three types, and multiples of many.

    If I'm tapping to the bottom of a hole in a small tap size, I start with a taper tap and go until it reaches bottom. Then follow it with a plug, then bottom tap. That's just how I do it when tapping steel, and I rarely break a tap, (but it does, and will, happen!).

    I looked at the links you posted, but didn't find any mention of where the taps are made. So, I wouldn't buy them. I buy from Enco, mostly, and some things from MSC. Try those, and the other places our fellow members mentioned. It's hard to stress how important it is to get good taps. Scrimp on dial indicators by buying the Chinese products, but don't trust them for taps. Sorry, but their quality on that particular product is still not up to snuff.

    There are some good taps from other countries, and I don't mean to demean those makers. I have bought a few import taps from Enco for certain uses, and it so happened that most of them were from Poland or Macedonia. Both were as good as the ones that are marked U.S.A., as far as I could tell. The thing is some of the import ones will be from China, and they are not good, and you never know what maker you are getting when you buy "import". No other way to put that.

    If you are watching your pennies while tooling up your shop, like many of us have to do, then buy a set of plug taps in the sizes you think you will need, and add to your tap collection as you need them. Buy a new tap or two each time you make a parts order, and soon you will have a full set of all types.

    Here is another good place for taps. Read the short paragraph at the top of the tap section for a quick insight to what they think about the taps you need. (They agree with other folks here, that taper is rarely needed.)
    http://www.americanmodeleng.com/id19.html
    I don't know where their taps are made, but I would trust them to send you a good product. Their prices are in line with the larger companies, too. Really good folks to deal with.

    I haven't tried "gun" taps. Something I will have to try one day. I get stuck in what ever groove works for me and tend to stick with it, so am still using the regular style taps.


    Shred, I've found the same strange pricing for taps as you mention. The only thing I can think of is the simple supply and demand thing. 4-40 and 10-32 are probably bigger sellers.

    Stan, what you said about the "NASA" thing is a good example of what I mean about there not being any desperate need to know these things. The "h" numbers are just manufacturers tolerance marks, and don't really apply to us modelers. You can buy a tap with any "h" designation, tap your holes, and your fasteners will fit. Usually, h2 is commonly found in all sizes from 1/2" down. When you get really small, like double and triple 0 sizes, you may only find h1. Get what ever is available for the size you want.
    There is one consideration to think about, though. When you buy small taps, the lower the "h" number, the less work the tap has to do. Higher "h" numbers mean the tap is cutting the hole to a larger tolerance range, which means it is removing more metal. Does that make sense?

    Dean
     

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