How to Use a Tap and Die Set?

Anything that is held by nuts or bolts will automatically need threads. A tap and die set is used to cut threads; a tap cuts internal threads while a die is used to cut internal threads. The use of taps and dies can be dated back in the 18th and 19th century. Manufactures of tools like locomotives, firearms or textile used taps and dies for shaping, and threading.

What Are Taps and Dies?

Taps and dies are instruments used to craft screw threads. Taps are used in cutting or forming female portions of the mating duo like a nut, while dies are used in cutting or foaming male parts of the mating pair like a bolt. Additionally, taps and dies are significant in restoration or cleanup of existing threads.

There are various types of taps, as discussed below.

i) Bottoming tap- it is mostly used in cutting threads in a hole that was previously threaded using a different kind of faucet.

ii) Intermediate tap- it is used in aligning and beginning a tap in untapped holes.

iii) Taper tap- often used to thread hard materials like steel or when the diameter of the shaft is small.

iv) Power taps- this is a tap that is powered by electricity and is used in threading much larger instruments.

v) Forming tap- such faucets work in malleable materials like steel or aluminum.

The procedure that involves cutting or forming a thread using a tap is called tapping. On the other hand, the method carried out during use of a die is called threading. The content below focuses on the basics of using a tap and die set.

How to Use a Tap and Die Set?

Occasionally, you may need to repair or create a new thread. At times screws or bolts may break off or get damaged hence getting the need to be established again. In such a situation, you will automatically need a tap and die set. Below are steps you can follow when using a tap and die set.

Step 1: Choosing Right Tools for Your Work

Before starting a tapping or threading procedure, you need to ensure that you have tools you need at hand. If you intend to use stronger steel in constructing a tap and die set, you will need to work with a wide range of materials. You may need stronger tools when threading hard material like steel.

Step 2: Drilling a Thread Hole

Before starting the drilling process, consider choosing the right drill size for a tap that you intend to use. It is worth having all your taps and dies bits appropriately stored. Your tools should remain organized for ease of access when you are in need of them.

When using a tap and die set, you should note the number of threads per inch (TPI) of the part you intend to fix. You can calculate TPI using a gauge with some different pins. Once you have determined the TPI of a nut or bolt, you can now choose a die corresponding to it.

As you drill a hole for your tap, you should begin with slow speed and gradually increase. You can use cut oil on hard materials like steel or iron.

Step 3: Tapping New Threads

Step 3 involves creating new threads. If you are using the die to form new threads on an outworn bolt, put the bolt into a vice to withhold it as you turn the wrench over it. When cutting the metals friction is produced, to reduce this friction you should lubricate the bolt using cutting oil.

With the hole of your tap clear, you can put your tool and start cutting threads using a ratchet turning handle, and this should be slow. After two clockwise turns on a tap, you have to reverse the wrench slightly. Doing so ensures that you clear the slithers of broken metal, and it also prevents damage to the threads you are working on.

Here are some tips you should keep in mind when creating a new thread:

•You should work in a slow approach to efficiency in your work.

•Your tool should be flat as you work on it, the tap should be at the Centre and level.

•It is advisable to keep lubricating your bolt using cutting oil to reduce friction.

Once done with creating new threads, you can now turn the ratchet handle clockwise to retrieve it from the hole. By now, you should be holding a brand new thread ready for use.

Step 4: Using the Die

You may also need to understand how a die works. A die is used in creating threads on metals or wooden rods and also prepare threads on bolts or screws.

Before you begin using a die, you should ensure that you have the correct size of the die and ensure that the instrument you want threading is tight. With your die in the die wrench, you have to ensure that the end of your rod is square and clean.

To create the new thread, you can follow the steps below;

  • Ensure that you lubricate the metal you intend to thread using cutting oil.
  • Push the die into the die wrench and slowly turn in clockwise.
  • After every two turns, turn the wrench anti-clockwise to clear the debris material.
  • You should continue turning the wrench until you get the length of the rod you want.

Finally, remove the die to get a complete material ready for use.


To sum it up, a tap and die set is easy to use with the guidance of the steps given above. If you want to thread your bolt or drill new holes, a tap and die set will be convenient for you. When working on your instruments, ensure that you lubricate them to prevent wear and tear.

When drilling a hole or threading your bolt remember to remove debris to prevent damaging new threads regularly. Finally, following the steps above will give you your desired material or instrument.

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