So I was tempted by the devil and bought one of these cheapie 40 pcs tap and die sets (the ones in the blue case). Those hex dies are useless of course,at least for starting threads. Care to suggest creative uses for the stuff, so the loss wont be total?
Punk jewelry? They certainly have no use in making or restoring threads. I have written it many times, but I'm compelled to once again say that some tools you can skimp on, but taps and dies you should get the best ones money can buy. I like Greenfield, aka GTD. I also like OSG and Nachi. Good taps and dies aren't cheap and cheap ones don't work and make you miserable along the way. Buy good ones as you need them, take care of them, store them properly and clean them after use, and they will work for you for a long time.
Even though they aren't exactly the highest quality, they do work pretty good for cleaning up bunged up threads. I've also used them when I cut the thread about 80% on the lathe and cleaned them up with a cheap die. And the taps work pretty good in aluminum, but I wouldn't suggest having much faith in them for steel (unless you really like trying to get out broken taps...).
Heck, I sometimes buy that kind of stuff FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE. I leave it laying out on the bench in plain view, too. I've had my *good* friends who know better say "what did you buy this *shit* for???" Then I go show them the good set tucked away neatly in a cabinet. They are generally puzzled for a second, and then they go "aaah, I see."
Problem with taps and dies is nobody believes you if you have a nice shop and try to say you don't have any. But everyone will need one at some point and most are too cheap to buy the good stuff. So they are one of the things most likely to be attempted to be borrowed. They also *seem* so "simple" to use, yet really do take some technique. So if someone I don't care to help wants to borrow them and I can't justify turning them away (like relatives :), I give them the crap. If someone I *do* care to help needs to borrow them, I offer to do the job for them and use the good stuff. That way they get what they needed and I get my tools back unbroken. For those I didn't care to help in the first place but had to, well, they're on their own...and they get to learn how to remove broken taps on their own, too. ;-)
Ive recently seen white kids with enlarged earlobes, ala Ubangi..with "stuff" in the earlobe. Perhaps you can talk the neighbor kid into a nice pair of matching 8-32 dies as ear orniments?
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner