Using the Lathe - Tap and Die





Introduction: Using the Lathe - Tap and Die

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During my time at college, I have a lot of spare time in the engineering workshops around my school and college. this allows my to make a lot of different things and use the different machines. I enjoy using the lathe as its the material you machine has such a cool and smooth finish (if you do it properly).

This is a quick design for a Hammer project I completed in the last year of school (year 11). Ill show you have it went on in another instructable. This one is just about using the Tap and die to create and cut threads in holes or around circular bar.

You will need;

- Tap and dies of different sizes

- a metal working lathe

- a wooden vice

- ...that's it really...well and the mind to find this stuff interesting of course.

Step 1: Step 1

Secure your work inside of the lathe and wedge the tap between the work and drill tool (not sure what its called). I must add that the piece you cut thread inside of a hole is called a tap and the one which you cut the thread around the circular bar is called a die. you can get a large range of sizes also.

Make sure the guard is up to ensure the machine doesn't turn on. with your right hand turn the chuck clockwise while turning the drill handle with your left hand the opposite way. this will start to put the beginning of the thread inside neatly.

When this is done, you can then take the work out of the lathe.

Step 2: Step 2

These are the two types of taps you use when cutting a thread inside of a hole. the one on the right is the one you start with as it has a large chamfer on the tip to ensure a god start. the picture in the centre is the die and the die holder. the die includes much information engraved on the top surface. when using this piece, always make sure this face is facing down.

Step 3: Step 3

Place the Metal piece that you want to apply the thread too inside of the wooden vice as this prevents the surface from being scratched. tighten the vice so that the work wont slip or fall when spinning the tap. Place the tap inside of the hole and turn it until you find it more difficult to do so. slowly turn the tap ensuring its straight. complete a full turn before going back on your self to remove swarf. complete this process until the entire hole has been threaded.

Step 4: Step 4

its the same sort of process with the die. Place the work inside of the wooden vice and then place the die onto your bar which youre planning to thread. after, turn clockwise while applying a little bit of force to the bar, make sure the die is very vertical when doing this as you don't want a wonky thread. complete a full turn before going back on your self to allow any swarf to fall away as this will block your thread.

Step 5: Finished!!!

Well Done!!! you have just cut a neat thread around a circular bar or inside of a hole. don't worry if the thread isn't perfect, just keep trying and you will get better. This took me a good yea to master but still I sometimes I mess up. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. please like and follow for more and comment if you have any questions.



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    10 Discussions


    2 years ago

    You forgot to mention the need for lubricant (cutting fluid such as Tap Magic) for both taps and dies to give a decent finish and help prevent breaking smaller taps.

    It is also very difficult to cut outside threads perfectly straight, and if they aren't, the farther you thread, the more off-center your threads get.

    1 reply

    I competed this in the Haywood school. We were not allowed to use any type of lubricant as it would be messy. And this is how I did it, I didnt forget it. If you want to include it then do so. But thank you for commenting and if I were to complete lathe work out side of the college, ill make sure to use some.

    To be clear, that lathe is more than capable of turning threads

    1 reply

    Why not just use the lathe to thread both pats? That will ensure that the threads are perfect

    1 reply

    The use of the machine in the first step (starting the thread) then changing to manual was due to me getting a brief for my assessment. It was to manufacture a product which accompanies both mechanical and manual processes. I used a mechanical hacksaw to cut the bar then used a lathe to machine it, so by the end the only manual process was cutting the thread.


    2 years ago

    That is a good way to make certain both taps and dies are started perfectly straight. However, you can also use a drill press for the exact same setup as well. I have actually used both methods myself. Nice project though.

    1 reply

    Thank you, I love using the tap and die as they are just smooth and so satisfying to use