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Taps and dies are the two tools you use for cutting threads into material around a hole (tap) and for cutting threads into a rod (die) for mating with that hole. The basics of how to do it are quite simple. All you need to know are a few steps and you need a tap and die set. The above video gives you the most rudimentary rundown. Although the tap and die set linked here is from a 2007 Toolmonger review (that we included in one of our old This Week in Tools roundups), it at least gives you a good idea of what to expect in a decent Tap and Die Set.

Oh, and you also need to know what tap and/or die sizes you need for your specific fastening job. You can find tap and die calculators online. Here’s one.

Tip: As one of the commenters on YouTube reminds us, it’s a good practice to “clean the threads” as you tap (or die) by backing out three turns for every three turns you cut forward. This helps insure that you get a good clean cut.

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Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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