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What is the Difference Between Taps & Dies?

Taps and dies are two separate things, but they work together. Simply put, these two methods are designed to make screw threads (both on male and female parts). A tap is utilized for creating the female portion. This means that a hole will be created that has threads in it. This allows for a screw to be easily screwed in. This can be a nut/bot, or can be actually built into a solid piece of wood, metal, or plastic. When you use a tap to create these threads it is called tapping. Using dies, on the other hand, is called threading. Threading is done for the male components. An example would be a screw. When both tapping and threading are used to clean up a thread it is called chasing.

As mentioned above, a tap is used to create threads on the inside of an object. There are three different types of threading that can be done, and this includes a taper tap, a plug tap, and a bottoming tap. Each does a different job.

Bottoming Tap: this is used to cut a hole to the bottom of an object. You would use this when you already had a partially threaded hole.

Plug Tap: This tap allows you to tap into an untapped hole. This is the most commonly used tap in the United States.

Taper Tap: A taper tap is the most gradual cutting tap there is. This means the threads will be less pronounced and less aggressive. This allows for people to use materials that are traditionally more difficult to work with, like alloy steel or acrylic.

A die is able to take a cylindrical rod and create threads up the whole length of the rod. Just as a tap has different ways to create female threads, there are different ways to uses dies to create threaded male parts. This includes the subtractive method, deformative method, and more. The reason to choose between methods is a result of time, money, and the degree of precision that is needed. You must also take into account equipment that you already have and what you might be acquiring soon. Some of the methods will allow you to make individual tool room parts, while others will allow for mass-production.

Despite the difference between taps and dies, both are used when making threads.


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