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Cheap taps

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mmcmdl

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Gear wrench set in at work . Go to clean up a die ( 15-5 32RC ) , 10mm-1.5 tap . First hole , 2 teeth missing . It was already threaded ! :rolleyes: They look awful perty in that set but ain't worth a rats butt .
 

john.k

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Ive never seen any use for gear wrenches except for women and children to buy as christmas presents.............bit like those onesize fits all wrenches advertized on the telly...............you can fix your car with only one wrench............hope you dont break down in death valley.
 

pstemari

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At least the Interstate taps from MSC are HSS.

I've had ok luck with the Interstate taps, but most of my taps are Union Butterfield, R&N, or GTD.

Irwin carbon steel taps are total crap.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

Shootymacshootface

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I bought a tap and die set from Northern Tool years ago. It was total junk. I don't even know what they were made out of, but they dulled immediately and they can bend. I have a large Snap On set at work and they are too brittle and brake easily. The best store bought taps seem to be the Hanson Irwin hss taps at the hardware store. Stay away from carbon steel.
 

ThinWoodsman

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I picked up a gearwrench set a few years back before I got into all this stuff. It works fine, never had any problems with it.

When I started drilling and tapping holes for-realz, i.e. properly, I got some of those 3-tap morse sets in the sizes I usually operate with.

The gearwrench set now just sits around for in-the-field repairs, like re-threading a hole in something old. Certainly wouldn't recommend their taps for use in a shop. But not total garbage either - probably should send that set for replacement, and make the new kids use it so they don't break anything valuable.
 

forhire

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Life is too short to use cheap taps. Years ago I had a run of parts in 304 stainless, as an experiment I bought the MSC import and a Greenfield (if I recall). The import lasted for exactly 6 parts. I finished off the remaining 400 parts with the Greenfield and still have it. Not sure what the secret sauce is be it alloy or tempering but that was the last time I tried saving money on taps. Yeah the Greenfield was twice the money but in the long run it was well worth the difference many times over.

Sure there are times when you might get a Craftsman set that is re-branded quality but it's always a roll of the dice. I like to know I'm getting something that will work when I need it to work. Scrapping parts, drilling or burning out broken taps, and generally needing to re-work parts costs too much time and money. You always break taps on the last operations. It's the high cost of low cost.
 

ThinWoodsman

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Not sure what the secret sauce is be it alloy or tempering but that was the last time I tried saving money on taps.
My money would be on the tempering. The taps I've broken have all come from the local hardware store, and they always fail around the same point: halfway up the tap, in a blind hole, under moderate chip load. Of course, they've also been taper taps instead of plug or bottoming, so there's a bit of using-the-wrong-tool-for-the-job thrown in.

What I learned from this isn't necessarily 'don't use cheap taps', it was 'use the proper tap', with the corrollary 'shelve the job and wait for the proper tool to arrive'. Since the cheapos are usually tapers (sold in sets), it ends up with the same result :)

Kodiak and Morse have served me OK, but I'm not running a production line.
 

projectnut

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I would agree that "cheap" taps aren't worth purchasing. On the other hand have you looked at the prices of "quality' taps lately? Most of my taps were purchased years ago. They include names like Triumph, Hertel, Greenfield, and Beloit Regal among others. The prices not that many years ago for spiral point taps ranged from $2.50 to $8.00 for 1/2" and below. Spiral flute taps ranged from $8.00 to $16.00 for the same sizes.

I recently had to restock some of the more common sizes. There was a bit of sticker shock to see the current prices. Quality spiral flute (bottoming) taps now sell for around $20.00 each for the smallest sizes and over $50.00 for those in the 1/2" range. Spiral point (gun) taps now sell for $12.00 to over $50.00 for the same sizes.

I can see why less expensive (cheap) taps are appealing, especially to those using them exclusively for hobby work. In the long run I have learned it's best to bite the bullet and spend the money. In this case the old adage "The Bitterness of Poor Quality Remains Long After the Sweetness of Low Price is Forgotten" is more true now than it has ever been.
 

Road_Clam

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I've tapped thousands of holes over the past 20 years. Any decent HSS tap will be a good investment for reasonable tap sharpness longevity. You start falling prey to the cheap third world carbon "gray" taps and for soft steels and aluminum they will tap a few holes no problem. When you will have problems with ragged threads is when the cheap taps get some time on them. The China-taps simply can't hold sharpness. As soon as a tap looses it's edge you're all done throw it away. Like a quality tap a quality tapping fluid such as Cool Tool II or Moly Dee is VERY important to prolonging your tap life.
 

projectnut

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If you're really doing a lot of tapping it might be in your interest to purchase a tap sharpening machine like this:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Hybco-Model-1100-Tap-Sharpening-machine-/222780082064

This one says it has a 110 V single phase motor. I'm sure it's a replacement. These machines came standard with a 220/440V 3 phase motor. If you look closely at the pictures the first one appears to have a different motor than the second one.

Just be sure the machine is in good condition. I looked at one several years ago at a used machine dealer. It had a nice paint job, but other than that it was in such poor shape and missing so many pieces $50.00 was more than I was willing to pay. I think it eventually got parted out or scrapped.
 
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