I purchased an up to a half inch S.A.E. tap and die set at Harbor Freight and it would not start the thread because they didn't put a taper on it so that it would start threading. I was very angry and was going to return the set but upon close examination found that it was actually a set of bottoming taps. They are straight all the way to the end and are an excellent tool for a blind hole that needs to be threaded all the way to the end. The trick is to first use a tapered tap and run it as far as it will go. Then run in the bottoming tap removing it and blowing out the chips as you go, yes use safety glass or a face shield. The set is # 39391 and is listed at $34.99 but is currently on sale at $14.99 with a 20% off coupon it's $11.99 and you get a free flashlight.
Harbor Freight also has a set of taps and dies in both metric and S.A.E. that goes up to 3/4s of an inch.
I keep the same set in the plastic box next to my parts cleaning station.
I can chase the threads and clean out the threaded holes which makes part re-assembly much easier!
I should buy a second set at that price!
Mixed reviews on HF website.
Positive reviews for chasing existing threads. Negative reviews from folks who are trying to cut new threads.
If you are careful and use a fair amount of Fred cutting oil – D cheap taps that will work decently. I still buy expensive taps for the important jobs. If you are careful and use a fair amount of thread cutting oil – the cheap taps that will work decently. I still buy expensive taps for the important jobs. Just keep in mind it is an expensive and if you break one – no crying required.
" Just keep in mind it is an expensive and if you break one – no crying required," unless the tap breaks in the hole.
You found out the hard way. Bottoming taps don't start threads.
You are actually supposed to use three sets of taps to do a bottoming hole. First the taper tap. Followed by the "plug" tap, which has a shorter taper. Then the bottoming tap. Skipping the plug tap is one of the common reasons for breaking the bottoming tap. Lots of thread cutting oil does help a lot.
Cheap taps/tools do not get expensive until you break one!! Are these taps 3 or 4 flute?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
If you watch Ebay and check out the tap and die sets you can find some awfully nice older brand name tap and die sets at a fraction of the cost of new quality sets.
Check out the older American made brands such as Ace, Montgomery Wards, Irwin, and of course Craftsman, Blackhawk, and etc.
And yes, bottom taps are just that. Tapered taps are used to start, chase and clean out. Then use a bottom tap to finish up.
My experience with Harbor freight is that some of their stuff is very good and some is junk.
My experience with their tap and die sets has not been good. If you use them to chase threads, they work well. For taping or threading new material they often break.
Now these comments concern sets I bought several years ago. I know that many of their tools have improved greatly. It would be great if their tap & die sets have improved too. If someone on the forum has used a recent tap & die set to create new threads (even on mild steel) i would like to hear about their experience.
One problem with Harbor Freight taps is that the metal is not as good as it could be. They tend to seize very easy do not keep twisting if they seem to stick any at all or you will break the tap and depending where it breaks you may never get it out. I also have learned over the years to tap a turn or so and then back it out a tad and start over then they do not tend to seize as easy.Also found out the old saying is true you get what you pay for. I have several Harbor Freight tools but I always try to remember there limitations.