reasonable metric tap and die set?

Can anyone recommend a tap and die set that isn't made of cheese, but (also) isn't full blown top of the range pro standard (dormer, etc).
I want it for (very) occasional use, mainly on bicycles.
Requred range is 3mm - 6mm (AFAIK)
BUgBear
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bugbear wrote:

Most sets, cheese or otherwise will have a wider range than you need.
I would suggest you buy the sizes you need in a quality brand together with matching tapping drills (diameter = thread size minus the pitch)
2.5 for M3 3.3 for M4 4.2 for M5 5.0 for M6
Bob
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Bob Minchin wrote:

I'd already noticed that - m3-m12 seems common.

Thanks for that; as it happens I won't need to buy drills, since I (long ago) bought a fine increment metric set.
BugBear
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bugbear wrote:

For the extra cost of 4 drills, I'd suggest keeping the tapping sizes with your taps so they are always there and sharp though not being used for odd jobs.
Bob (aka 9fingers elsewhere)
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On Thu, 22 Jul 2010 17:59:55 +0100, Bob Minchin
Dare I ask...?
Regards, Tony
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I would look at the J and L site and select what you need to build your set up, they offer a range of makes and prices, I find the one off the bottom price is opten good enough for home use. Peter
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In article

If you didn't see the thread "Taps and Dies ?" in uk.rec.models.engineering started on the 14th Feb. I will repeat the suggestion that I made which would be fine for what you want (although the Chronos set of taps is at present out of stock) and others made suitable suggestions in that thread:
"HSS taps and dies have been more expensive because of the cost of grinding them to the correct profile but now that they are made by the million for industrial machines they are both accurate and often can be bought cheaply. Over the last few years I have bought at shows from stands of companies like Proops many HSS metric taps and dies of good quality for around a pound each. I assume that those shown on the Proops website are the same but slightly more expensive
http://www.proopsbrothers.com/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_Taps_30.html (2nd item on the page) http://www.proopsbrothers.com/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_Dies_41.html (2nd item on page)
They are made by the million for industrial processes and thus are both accurate and cheap. The downside is that the taps come in one type rather than first, second and plug with the M1.5 to M6 having a point (used for locating in the thread cutting grinders used to manufacture them) so are best for cutting through threads. However I have found that it is quite easy to use a bench grinder to remove the points and produce a plug tap. (I tried to purchase an M3 plug tap from my local engineering supplies Cookes in Chadwell Heath but it also had a slight point and was a lot more expensive).
Last year I bought from Chronos for around 14 pounds a set of HSS taps in a metal case there are 21 in all with 3 types each of M3, M4, M5, M6, M8, M10 and M12 which I have found are good quality. I see they are now 20pounds including VAT and postage. See: the 4th item in:
http://www.chronos.ltd.uk/acatalog/Chronos_Catalogue_Taps___Dies_Sets_153.html "
Alan
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snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk says...

I recently needed some Metric Fine taps and was pleased to find them at ArcEuro at a very reasonable 4 per set. I then needed some 6BA which ArcEuro hadn't got so I looked on the Chronos site - yes in stock, so I ticked the [Buy] box. It was only after I'd hit the 'Confirm Order' button that I realized that the price (3.60) quoted was for a _single tap_ rather than a set! - even though the image shows a set.
I've just checked the Chronos price for Metric Coarse - M3 are 3.85 each compared to ArcEuro's 4 for the set of three. Similar prices persist throughout the range.
The Chronos price for an M3 split Die is 9.91 compared to 3.50 at ArcEuro.
I know who I would buy from.
JG
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JG wrote:

One caveat here, and it's quite a big one - AET sell sets of serial taps, rougher-intermediate-finisher, rather than the traditional taper-second-plug/bottoming sets.
The difference is that in a serial set the taps get bigger as you use them in sequence, while for a traditional set they are all the same size, just the taper changes.
Serial taps are better for hard stuff in non-blind holes, but you have to use all three. Traditional taps are better if you only want to use one tap (in a non-blind hole) or need to use a plug/bottoming tap to tap to the end of a blind hole.
Both have their places and uses, but for general purpose use, if you are only going to buy one set, then the traditional type of set is probably better.
-- Peter Fairbrother
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Agreed which is why I didn't recommend Chronos for individual taps and dies just for the set of taps which even at the present 20 pounds is very good value.
Alan
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bugbear wrote:

In my somewhat limited experience, bicycles don't have many 3mm-6mm threads ..

For a cheap metric set try this:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/HILKA-TAP-AND-DIE-SET-17-PIECE-METRIC-HILKA-PRO-CRAFT-/270569790951?cmd=ViewItem&pt=UK_Hand_Tools_Equipment&hash=item3eff375de7
Not HSS, "alloy steel", but for the price not too bad. Seems better than the average cheap stuff anyway.
Otherwise there are some HSS sets available, beginning at around 40 - how much were you thinking of spending?
On this note, is HSS actually a good material for hand taps and dies? What is needed in a hand tap or die is hardness so they stay sharp and dimensionally stable, and toughness so they don't break - but high temperature sharpness retention, the main selling point of HSS, is not required.
Carbon steel is plenty hard enough (and takes a good edge) for occasional use, but fails on the toughness criterion. It's too easy to break a tap in the work.
I haven't ever broken a carbon steel die tho', and even if I did I doubt it would be catastrophic - it isn't likely to get stuck in the work.
HSS is hard enough too, and because it's a bit tougher than carbon steel it's considerably better for hand use - but are we not paying for high temperature performance which is unnecessary?
Hmmm ...
( I've only tried one "tungsten steel" tap/die set, I broke two dies trying to thread some 316 - won't try it again, unless someone else pays)
-- Peter Fairbrother
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The reason I go for HSS is not that they are "better" but at least you know they will have had to have been ground to the correct profile whereas carbon steel in its unhardened state can be cut with another tap or die and then hardened which can distort the profile - I was caught out by this with the first set of taps and dies I bought - although not particularly cheap, they turned out to be of dubious Far Eastern manufacture. A good carbon steel tap or die will need the further process of grinding to restore the correct profile which adds to the price. So to avoid this possibility I would recommend HSS taps and dies unless of course you get the chance to examine them with a magnifying eye-piece before purchasing.
Alan
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wrote:

I would recommend that you have a look at the Tracey Tools site
http://www.tracytools.com /
Their sets are not the cheapest but they are of good quality and they are very helpful people there. They also sell individual taps etc. They have a large range of metric and imperial taps and dies, drills etc. Over the years I have bought lots of tools from them with no complaints. I have no interest in them apart from being a satisfied cusstomer.
John H
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But watch out for the "times 3" gotcha for their HSS taps. When I was looking for an M2.5 tap they quoted 3 for carbon steel and 9 for HSS (plus delivery plus VAT). And the HSS wasn't a Dormer or anything plush like that.
Alan
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I also fall into the very occasional user category and have bought odd taps in UNF and UNC for specific jobs paying two/three quid or so each from a local tool supplier. I did manage to break their 2BA but that was in stainless steel. I did have a Blackspur (spit) metric set containing about 20 sizes that was very cheap and almost useless. Then on recommendation I bought a German made set from Aldi (or was it Lidl) which I have now owned for about 5 years, about a quarter of the taps have seen use, 5mm a lot of use, and so far no breakages and the 5mm produced a clean thread on one job in mild steel for 40 holes.
Mike
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"bugbear" wrote in message

Try Tracy Tools www.tracytools.com
Just a satisfied customer.
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I've bought from Tracy Tools in the past by post and in person and highly recommend them also as a satisfied customer.
http://www.tracytools.com /
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On Fri, 23 Jul 2010 11:20:39 -0700 (PDT), 1501

I bought a boxed set of BA taps & dies from them a good number of years ago. Good product, but to echo some of the other comments, I would have been better off buying just the ones I actually needed - 2/3 of the set is still new & unused.
Regards, Tony
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Cheap HSS full set, then buy metric tap sets from Presto or Dormer as and when you need them. Also exactly the right tapping drill sizes and keep them with the taps. Double up on M3!
You'll find that almost all of your work is tapping, not dies, and it's only using a couple of sizes. Outside of a lathe, you'll make even less use of a die.
A good tap wrench is worth having - tee handle sort with a chuck. Certainly in my hands, I'm much more accurate with it than with a big two-handed stock.
Who was the inside a tent tool stall at the Castle Coombe steam rally? They had top-end kit, not just the usual junk, for some very good prices. I was buying Facom ratchets more than taps, but they were well worth a look (I think three of us spent over 200).
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