Dead die

I have been using a Mastercraft 6-32 die to cut thread on a 1/8 welding rod
to use (a small section of) as a gnomon for a miniature sundial. No
problems. Today I had the bright idea to use a diamond drill bit with the
round head worn out and a 1/8" shank in a similar fashion.
Not only could I not make any impression on the drill bit with the die but
when subsequently I tried the same die on the usual welding rod, it would
not cut at all. To all intents and purposes the die is dead.
The obvious conclusion is that I killed it by trying to cut the drill shank
which is, presumably, hardened steel of some sort. However, I did not try
too hard and the die would not even start the thread on the welding rod
afterwards.
Is this just a case of misapplication of a tool, an inferior quality tool,
all of the above or am I missing something else? Are there dies which are
suitable for cutting HSS or carbon steel?
In practice, I can get around the problem easily enough using other methods
(I need not necessarily have to have a thread in that particular
application) but I am just curious.
Reply to
Michael Koblic
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I suppose life is a lesson.
Most dies are either carbon steel (lower cost) or one of the HSS's.
So they are at best cutting something lessor to themselves.
Buy a good name brand and be sure you have HSS when you buy. You are cutting some unusual steel for them to cut as it is.
Why not buy a stick of 1/8" weldable rod at a hardware store.
You might try the die 'backwards' - that is from the other side first. You didn't bugger up them. Not as easy due to the lead-in.
Martin Martin H. Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net TSRA, Endowed; NRA LOH & Patron Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot's Medal. NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member.
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Michael Koblic wrote:
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Reply to
Martin H. Eastburn
A die is a tool that cuts metal. A drill is a tool that cuts metal. Rock and hard spot.
Ya can't saw wood with a saw made of similar wood.
Reply to
Don Foreman
I was kind of hoping that the steel was not going to be as hard as all that and that all the cutting would have been done by the little round diamond head. I have a set of diamond core drills where the shank is something like brass! I can bend it with my fingers.
The reason I liked the drill for the purpose was that it looked good in the application, including the blob at the end.
I do not think it is worth spending enormous amounts of money on this, I shall go back to the welding rods which cost pennies.
Thanks anyway.
Reply to
Michael Koblic
I don't know what the body material is for diamond core drills. Maybe it's high-speed steel, or maybe not.
Have you tried annealing it? HSS is not easy to anneal, but most other alloys are. You could try heating it with a propane torch until it's cherry red and then plunging it into some fine wood ashes to cool slowly (I save ashes from my charcoal grill for this purpose). Then try cutting it with a file -- preferably an old one that you don't care about. If it doesn't cut easily, you've got something difficult to deal with. If it does cut easily, it shouldn't be much harder at that point than your welding rods.
But if it's any kind of high alloy, including HSS, it may still be harder to cut than the rods, for a couple of reasons. It may be worth a try, however.
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Always try a file on a piece of steel that you want to cut with a tool. If the file cuts easily, your cutting tool should work ok.
Reply to
Tom Gardner
Now why did I not think of that? And I am not being sarcastic. Why is the best answer always sort of obvious. Jeez, I even carry a small file around with me at the garage sales for that purpose...Oh, well, old age is beginning to take its toll...
BTW how about spark-testing?
Michael Koblic, Campbell River, BC
Reply to
Michael Koblic
Ooops. I overlooked the diamond part. That shank could be anything. You may just have a bum die.
Reply to
Don Foreman
Out of curiosity -- is the die hexagonal in shape? If so, it is what is commonly called a "rethreading die" -- high carbon steel, not HSS (High Speed Steel), and make for cleaning up damaged threads on something which already has been threaded once.
Not sure about what the shank of your diamond drill is made of. Some would be mild steel brazed or welded to harder steel, and then coated with the diamonds and a metal film to hold it in place. Others may have been started from HSS.
But also, the diameter of the shank may be a bit larger than the welding rod. Hmm ... a 6-32 should fit a 0.138" clearance hole, and thus be just a little smaller -- not as small as 1/8".
Anyway -- before you try your replacement (and hopefully HSS) round bodied die on it -- you should first see whether you can file the shank with a standard metal file. If it just skates over the shank, you can't thread it with your die. The only way to thread it would be to grind threads into it -- a rather expensive thing to set up to do.
Good luck, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols
I'm a big fan of spark testing. It's a big plus if you have known samples of different alloys so you can do instant comparisons.
Reply to
Tom Gardner
I know that the re-threading dies I see for sale now are hex shaped. I don't know if there is a later standard for die shapes but I have quite a few hex and 12 pointed dies that are not rethreading dies, including a complete set of HSS taps and split-adjustable dies bought from Snap-On. I think they were made that way so you could use a box wrench or socket to turn them if necessary.
Don Young
Reply to
Don Young
The die is round.
I tried reversing it - no luck. The drill shank diameter is 3.12 mm (.008mm less than 1/8"). If I want to use it in future I shall just glue the damn thing in :-)
But it still puzzles me that one fairly gentle use (I gave up pretty quickly) killed the die so completely. I expected at least some effort to cut the welding rod which it did very easily before.
Maybe it is indeed a homeless die (we are not allowed to call them bums here any more...).
Reply to
Michael Koblic
Today I took a trip to the neighbouring town of Comox. Both Home Depot and Midland Tools there stocked Irwin dies only and *they were hexagonal*. Nothing on them said that they were for re-treading only. Either way, they did not fit my handles so it's to Canadian Tire or Acklands tomorrow...
Reply to
Michael Koblic

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