How to Make Threads with a Tap and Die

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There are two types of threads that can be made using a tap and die set; female and male. The female thread is in the interior of a hole or nut that something will be screwed into. The male thread is on the exterior of the screw or rod that will be screwed into a hole or nut. Create female threads using the tap tool and male threads using the die tool.

Things You'll Need

  • Tap and die set
  • Cutting oil
  • Metal file
  • Choose the size of tap or die tool that is appropriate for the size of the hole, nut or bolt that you will be threading. Also ensure that the female threads and male threads that will be going together have the corresponding number of threads per inch. Use a thread gage if you need to make a measurement of this.

  • Affix the tap or die into the their relative wrench. For the female thread, start by using the tap tool with a tapered tip. Switch to a non-tapered tap tool after the thread is begun.

  • Begin the thread slowly, and by pushing down on the tap or die with light to medium pressure. Make sure that the handle of the tap or die wrench is perpendicular to the part being threaded. Keep the tap or die level until you get a good start.

  • Begin a male thread by using a file to grind a slight bevel at the top, outer edge of the rod or bolt. This will make it easier to keep the wrench level when starting the thread.

  • Intermittently turn the tap or die backwards in order to remove the metal shavings and keep the tool from getting stuck. Do this as you thread and turn the tap or die.

  • Continue the process until the entire length of your thread is complete.

  • Remove the tap and die and brush away any left over metal shavings. Make sure it fits.

Tips & Warnings

  • The first time screwing in or on a new thread may be tough. Use a wrench to gently force it if necessary.
  • Use cutting oil to prevent overheating from metal on metal friction. If necessary, back up and remove the tap or die, blow out the hole, add cutting oil and begin again.

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