Tap and Die Set

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Are there any tap and die sets this community would recommend? I am still try to figure everything out, but i think I would need fairly small threads for the project i am planning.
 
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For small threads spend big money.

You want well made taps. A small weak tap can very easily shatter. Especially in blind holes. If you have blind holes, you'll need plug or bottom taps depending on how deep you need to go are can go.

If you go cheap, your next thread will be "How Do I Remove A Shattered Tap"

And remember the single greatest machining formula ever invented.1 over N. Meaning 1 divided by number of threads. This will give you a number that you subtract from the tap O.D. size. Which will result in the size of twist drill you will need for the hole.

For example: 1/4-20 thread. 1 divided by 20 is .050. So .250 minus .050 is .200 drill size.

For example: 3/8-16 thread. 1 divided by 16 is .062. So .375 minus .062 is .313 drill size. Or 5/16" drill.
 
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I am still in the testing out if I like building as a hobby phase, so I am not sure if I can justify the very tippy top
What size treads are you trying to cut?

Just buy taps and twist drills for those specific sizes.

No need to buy 7/16 and 1/2 taps if all you're doing is 8-32.
 
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I'd just get taps in 6-32, 8-32 and maybe 10-32 (used on some longrifle locks) and have at it. FWIW I've never seen anything smaller than that 'about' the size of a #8 in any original period piece, so doubtful you'd need a #4. Just built 2 matchlock lock assemblies using #8 fasteners. Many times, like on wheellocks and snaphaunces, the post or part was put through a piece or mating part and a simple metal tapered 'peg' them held the item in place. Or, the end of the piece was peened over.

Ensure the correct tap drill. I'd not use that formula posted above ... my machinsts training wouldn't allow me to, LOL!

I also disageee with some of what was posted above. Former machinist, GE Aircraft Engines ... and former gunsmith ... and I use your common hardware store taps all the time on basic steels or brass. Now sure, if I was tapping a known hard receiver on an expensive modern bolt action, then I'd pull out my best tooling. However, early arms are made from your mild, basic steels.

The TIP is to use GOOD technique! When drilling, never drill straight for the final size, always sneak up on it in at least 1/16th inch increments, or 32nds for smaller holes. This does things - with THE MOST IMPORTANT is that (1) it work harden the hole and (2) makes your drill bits last longer. I also always start any hole with a countersink 'center drill' bit.


When tapping, keep it SQUARE - no wobble! Once started and you feel the teeth bite, cut no more than half a turn and back off the tap until you hear/feel the chip break. Also lubricate the tap. You don't need any fancy tapping fluid, use kerosene or at least WD40. Periodically remove the tap and clear the chips. MOST time taps break is because people work hardened the piece by drilling the tap hole TOO aggressively or that they are way too hasty and don't break the chips or clear the chips out. So be smart, be patient, and take it slow ...

PM or message me as may be needed ...

CS Center drills shown. A variety pack of the 5 sizes can be had for $20 or so online.
CS-Center Drill.jpg
 
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I'd just get taps in 6-32, 8-32 and maybe 10-32 (used on some longrifle locks) and have at it. FWIW I've never seen anything smaller than that 'about' the size of a #8 in any original period piece. Many times, like on wheellocks and snapphaunces, the post or part was put through a piece or mating part and a simple metal tapered 'peg' them held the item in place. Or, the end of the piece was peened over.

Ensure the correct tap drill. I'd not use that formula posted above ... my machinsts training wouldn't allow me to, LOL!
You'd probably know the best for the type of project I am planning on. I was considering trying to screw the various pieces in a snap lock to the lock plate, such as the piece that holds the flat spring. Would it just be easier to get a blowtorch nozzle for my camping propane, a hammer, and just hammer the pins in?
 

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I would determine what threads you need most and start there buying all three types. Get taper, plug and bottoming if you plan to do blind holes and a set of number drill bits. The tap will have on it the bit to use. I would buy from Brownells or McMaster- Carr to get good quality. Most sets will not have all the fine threads and small taps you need for gunsmithing. Here is my set I made up with taps I use most installing sights on modern guns and PCP airguns as well as all the sizes you need for black powder locks and such.
 

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You'd probably know the best for the type of project I am planning on. I was considering trying to screw the various pieces in a snap lock to the lock plate, such as the piece that holds the flat spring. Would it just be easier to get a blowtorch nozzle for my camping propane, a hammer, and just hammer the pins in?
Sometime this weekend I’ll take pictures of my snaplock lock assembly and will likely post them in the original post of the arm. I’ll message you when done. It’s such a simple piece … ingenious in it’s simplicity and function!
 
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Learned the hard way - some firearms screws are metric and some are SAE, regardless of where the vendor is located. Thread cutting oil is good stuff.
 

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A spring loaded tap guide is handy to get straight threads if you have a drill press and vise. I just threaded a hole in a flint barrel for a vent liner and always use this setup where possible. The spring loaded point keeps downward pressure on the tap as you turn it. I always use thread cutting oil and thankfully have never broken a tap. A quart of the old Mitee brand oil has lasted me 20 years.
 

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