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Old 11-13-2014, 07:05 PM
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Default Advice needed for good tap and drill kit

I have been wanting a good tap and drill set for the longest time, but have just been buying single drills and taps as needed. I now have most of the common SAE taps and drill bits, but some are missing the mating tap or drill bit. The other night I had the need to drill and tap a 5/16 coarse thread hole. After drilling the correct size hole I loaded the tap into the hand tapper. Something looked weird about the tap. Upon putting my glasses on I noticed that some moron (me) had left the tap on the welding table, and evidently was welding hot enough to cause the tap to have permanent weld berries stuck to

Around where I am at none of the usual stores carry the kits, and the best quality singles I can find are usually the Hanson/Irwin brand.........which are nothing to write home about. I have been searching internet tool supply places and have found several different brands offering the kits. Most of the brand names I have never heard of. This is probably because they are professional quality sets, and as you can tell I am not accustomed to buying quality.

One brand (Greenlee) I have heard of but have no experience with. The other brand that is carried by many of the stores is Chicago-Latrobe. Can anyone tell me their experiences with these 2 brands, or offer advice/suggestions on other quality kits? I almost always hand tap with the only exception being a 1/4-20 in a hand drill...........Thanks for any advice or suggestions.
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Old 11-13-2014, 08:37 PM
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Greenlee is marketed to electricians, and some of their products are the best tools for that trade. But depending on what kind of tool it is, you may not really know who is the real manufacturer, what is the quality level, or what is the country of origin. I've no idea who might make their taps.
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Old 11-13-2014, 08:50 PM
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Pat, I have used and owned Chicago - Latrobe taps over the years and they worked just fine.
I am trying to get at least two taps in every size, that way I have a spare when the one I am using breaks.
I can not remember what brand I have been getting locally, but they are not as good as the ones I order through MSC. I do not buy their cheapee taps but I do not spend a lot extra money on a tap that might be used once or twice.
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Old 11-13-2014, 10:25 PM
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I get a lot of my taps at auctions. You do get cheapies, but more than not you get USA made taps for pennies each. If you want to get lot sizes go to Ebay and search for tap lot and you will see many listings. I get outbid often but sometimes I get a lot real cheap even with the shipping. I like Greenlee the best.

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Old 11-14-2014, 01:25 AM
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I've used a lot of taps and dies over the years and, honestly, I've never had much luck with any of the "sets". They're usually made to a "price point" and just don't stand up to the better brands. There are many good brands out there--We've used Clarkson/Osborn, Butterfield, Marxman, OSG, Emuge, Dormer and Nachi, to name a few. The latter brand is our "go to" right now--a little pricey but they're available locally and they stand up really well.

Taps and dies are definitely one of those products where "you get what you pay for" and I'd much rather pay a bit more and not have to worry about breakage or premature dulling...

Measure twice and cut once...or...wait, was that the other way around?
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:30 AM
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Organize a drawer in your cabinet for your own tap/die set and then start filling it up. Do the same with your drills.

I've found the sets to be problematic as well. You throw a lot of money into a set, and one or another part is going the be crap to keep the price down. For aluminum and occasional steel, the Irwin stuff has been working fine for the past three years. They're going to wear out, it's a lot less painful to set aside a $3 tap than a $30 one.

I now try and buy mine on ebay when I have time to remember. Now that HD has swapped brands, I don't know what I'll use when I forget to order them. I keep 3 of each of the standard ones I use in the drawer for breakage. But, on ebay I usually will try and find a quality-looking one from the pictures and not pay so much attention to the name. Sometimes you really get surprised with a good tool that everyone else overlooked because they only wanted a particular brand.

A 'clue' I've picked up on is that a better-made tool will be packaged in the plastic tooling box (blue one in pic) rather than stuck to a piece of cardboard or thrown in a bag. Some come in little cardboard tubes as well. If the manufacturers care enough to package them a little better, I'd imagine they take a little more care in their manufacturing as well.
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:50 AM
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Keith s correct it is better to pay for good quality taps as you need them than buy a "set" and use a lesser tap in a critical application and have it fail.

There is a lot more to a tapping application than the thread size. Factors such as material type and hardness, through hole or blind hole.
If you are bottoming how close must you get. which way you want the swarf to go and more.
Most of these can be ignored most of the time the trick is knowing when you need a new or different tap before you have a failure.
After a failure you need a new tap and either a way to get the broken one out or a second hole in the part or even a new part.
Life beats the alternative hands down.
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Old 11-27-2015, 08:35 PM
park city tom park city tom is offline
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Default Taps and drills

I looked up Chicago-Latrobe. They were part of Greenlee, and along with several other old American names were resold and seem to be "international" now.

I also found Morse Cutting tools, another good old American brand. I don't know where they're made, either.

If you're looking for new stuff, your best bet is probably to buy high speed steel taps, dies, and drills from McMaster - Carr. They don't sell junk. When you see the prices, you might think Fleabay is worth a look.

For future reference(next Spring and Summer), another possibility is engine and tractor show flea markets.

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Old 11-27-2015, 09:17 PM
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Did a quick search and this came up, I don't know anything about them but the rest of their stuff looks pretty good. Its a nice set with everything in one place and I think that is what you are looking for
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Old 11-27-2015, 09:56 PM
park city tom park city tom is offline
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Default Tap and Drill Set

Wow, DIGR.

I found the same set at, for $10.00 more.

They also sell American-made H.S.S. drill sets for decent prices.

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