How to use tap and die set | Complete Guide [2022]

Learning how to use tap and die set allows you to repair significant metal problems that would otherwise leave you high and dry. It is critical to grasp the terminology while utilizing a tap and die set. When you cut or recut threads into a hole or nut, this is referred to as “tapping.” In this article, we will go through how to use tap and die in great detail.

Screw threads are made by tapping and threading with a tap and die set. The nut is cut with a tap and the bolt with a die. They can also be used combined to clean the thread in a procedure known as chasing. Damian from Damian McCovey plumbing says they utilize this technique for water heater repairs and regular plumbing work daily.

Taps die, and drill bits of various sizes are included in a tap and die set. Turning handles are included in the package. At a premium price, some sets may include twist-lock guides, coarse and fine taps, and additional tools.

What are a tap and die?

Taps and dies are cutting tools used to generate threads on components such as screws, bolts, and nuts, as well as to create a threaded hole into which components can be screwed.

A tap and die set is one of those toolbox items that, once acquired, become indispensable to your work. To this end, knowing how to use

tap and die is important. A tap and die set would be quite valuable to you whether you are a mechanic, a craftsman, a metal or woodworker, or even a DIY enthusiast. 

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How to Use Tap and Die Set

How to Use Tap and Die Set

Let’s discuss in detail, how to use tap and die.

1. Determine the Thread

First, determine the number of threads per inch. This assists in determining which set to utilize. The total threads per inch can be calculated using a gauge system. You can now choose the settings to use based on these readings. Examine reviews on reputable websites to find the best tap and die set for your needs. To guide and hold the die, use the appropriate wrench. They should be equal whether they are making new or old threads to increase their quality.

2. Choose the Right Tools

Get the proper instruments before attempting to cut threads. A matching tap and die set would be excellent. Calibrations and standard measurements are included with these tools. Match the size of the die and tap to utilize the proper tools. Your tools should be able to hold your pieces together. 

The majority of tap and die sets are constructed of steel. Carbon and tool steel is ideal for lighter-duty applications. Use high-speed steel for harder jobs. The proper tools ensure that neither the set nor the item being drilled breaks in the middle of the job. It also improves precision and efficiency. Let’s move to the next method on how to use tap and die.

3. Create New Threads

Set the bolt in place with a wrench on it and turn while generating a new thread. After each turn, the die will move and form the threads. You will feel the bolt tighten with each turn. Pour cutting oil on the set while producing threads. This oil minimizes the number of sparks and heat produced when threading another metal. 

It also extends the set’s life by preventing rusting on both metal and wood pieces. When finished, the bolt will be moved to the top of the die. Consider backing the die out after a few rounds to make immaculate threads. This allows you to make more precise cuts and die cuts.

4. Rethreading

Last but not least on how to use tap and die is rethreading.

When most of the threads are intact, rethreading is simple; but, if this is not the case, rethreading might be difficult. Use a gauge comparable to the one used earlier with only a few threads out of place. Use a larger gauge set if the threads are irreparable. 

This will enlarge the hole and, as a result, allow for the addition of new threads. The set should be properly arranged to guarantee that you cut a straight thread in the right place without further destroying it. 

If there is no excess room on the product to use without causing damage, the technique may be impossible. If you are a first-time user, rethreading may not be a good idea.

how to use tap and die
how to use tap and die

How to use a tap?

Now that you know how to use tap and die set, let’s find out how to use a tap independently.

The majority of tapping operations are done by hand, however, power taps, such as the spiral point plug tap, are powered by electricity. A lathe machine, a radial drilling machine, a bench-type drill machine, and other similar workshop machines can also be used to drive the tapping process. 

Because it is the most common, we shall cover the manual operation of utilizing a tap. The tapping procedure consists of multiple steps, which have been well detailed below:

    • Step one: This is the initial tapping phase. It is the process of forming a hole to a diameter smaller than the outside diameter of a tap, usually by drilling. The tap drill size refers to this diameter.
    • Step two: The drill bit that should be used for the hole diameter is indicated in the drill and tap chart, which is normally found inside the tap and die set. Machine shops sell it as well.
    • Step three: Drill a blind or through-hole hole.



    from the hole.
  • Step five: Tap and ratchet are both available. Again, use the chart to determine the appropriate tap size for your project. Keep in mind that taps come in a variety of styles. You may need to start with a tapered tap and work your way up to a plug tap.
  • Step six: Use the appropriate ratchet depending on the size of the tap. Typically, two sizes are available. Using a larger ratchet on a small tap may result in too much force, which could break the tap.
How to Use Tap and Die Set
How to Use Tap and Die Set

How to use a die?

Knowing how to use tap and die together is great, but how do you use a die? 

To make a bolt or screw, a die can thread the outside surface of a cylindrical material, such as a rod. 

Dies are classified into two types: 

  • Fixed  
  • Adjustable

A solid die produces a nominal thread with consistent depth. 

The precision of the die and the wear on the die determine the accuracy. To achieve various thread fit classes, the adjustable die can be compressed or released. A set of screws or integrated screws are used to adjust the die.

  • Step one: Next, prepare the rod, the threaded material should be somewhat smaller in diameter than the die’s primary diameter. A chamfered side of the die serves as the rod’s entering side. When threading, the chamfer assists in centering the die on the rod and minimizes the start turning force.
  • Step two: Choose a wrench and a die: Use the table to select the appropriate die using a suitably sized wrench, just as you did during the tapping operation.
  • Step three: Make the threads as follows: Using a vice or a clamp, secure the material to be threaded.
  • Step four: Start the threads by placing the die on the material, chamfered side down. Make sure it’s centered and aligned, then rotate it clockwise twice. Then, for half a cycle, turn counterclockwise. Repeat until the threading is finished. If necessary, use cutting fluid.
  • Step five: Take the die off the board. Turn the wrench in an anticlockwise direction until the die is completely removed. The threading is finished.
How to Use Tap and Die Set

What should I look for when buying a tap and die set?

We have enlightened you on how to use tap and die set, next we need to find out how to buy a good tap and die set. 

One thing to keep in mind is that the production process for most metals can make them incredibly hard, but it can also make them fragile if pressured at the incorrect spots. To avoid breaking the tap and die set, make sure to clean the metal and wood shavings after each full rotation.

  • High-speed steel is typically more expensive than hardened carbon steel, but it is more durable and suitable for a wider range of applications.
  • The number of pieces and their variety: Check that the thread sizes in the set are within the range of threads needed to cut.
  • Extra resources: Some sets include useful extra tools and charts.
  • Is the component resistant to corrosion?
  • Examine the set’s material and application capabilities. It’s in the product information from the manufacturer.
  • Check the durability of the carrying case. The pieces are kept in a case.

Can you use a tap and die set on wood?

Metal-cutting tap and die sets should never be used on wood. Sets designed for use on wood, on the other hand, make short work of cutting threads in wooden holes or creating wooden bolts.

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What is the best material for a tap and die set?

You should choose a material that matches the material you’ll be cutting. Because it can cut most metals used in tap and die applications, high-speed steel is the most commonly used material. Extremely hard materials like stainless steel, cobalt, or titanium can be used.

How to use tap and die set: Conclusion

We have covered a lot of details on how to use tap and die set. We hope this content has been of help. 

Knowing how to use tap and die set can help you get out of some sticky situations, but it’s not a tool that everyone will need. There is, however, no substitute for when you do! It takes practice to master the use of a tap and die set. You eventually get a hang of the procedure. This increases the efficiency of your workflow.