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ME taps and dies

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BOB BLACKSHAW03/09/2018 14:38:04
339 forum posts
68 photos

I need to get three types of ME taps and dies, I can get carbon steel which are a lot cheaper than HSS. I need to buy nine taps and three dies, I could get away with six taps, second and a plug on each.

My question is am I wasting my money on Carbon steel .


Andrew Tinsley03/09/2018 15:09:37
1180 forum posts

Hello Bob,

You will be lucky to find the ME range of taps and dies in HSS. I have never seen any advertised, but stand to be corrected.

By all means use Carbon steel ME taps and dies, Those from Tracy Tools, Devon, are excellent and sharp too. They won't stay that way if you have a large number of jobs to do, but they are quite adequate for most amateur use.

There may be other suppliers that do good carbon ME taps and dies and I am sure folk here will tell you of them.


SillyOldDuffer03/09/2018 15:14:31
6330 forum posts
1389 photos

Depends on what metal the threads will be cut in and how often.

Carbon steel lasts well if only used on brass and aluminium. You have to be careful not to snap small taps because they are brittle. (For me this has become a non-problem since making a tap-stand; free-hand tapping is much more likely to go askew and break the tap.)

Carbon steel works on mild-steel but tends to lose its edge fairly quickly especially if you are a fast worker and have many threads to do. Carbon steel doesn't last at all well when cutting threads in harder steels like stainless.

I look to HSS when the taps and dies are to be used on difficult materials, which isn't often. Being a light hobby user, I'm not keen to buy 'quality' tools that will last longer than me, especially as my family are likely to dump my workshop in a skip when I'm gone. You may be different...


JasonB03/09/2018 15:14:50
18899 forum posts
2082 photos
1 articles

I don't think any of my ME stuff is HSS some of which dates back to my first Stuart model so about 35yrs old and still all going strong. 90% of the time they tend to be used on brass or bronze which is not going to tax then much and CS is also good on stainless for the odd valve spindle.

Provided they are of reasonable quaility CS should be fine.

Thor03/09/2018 15:19:57
1276 forum posts
39 photos

Hi Bob,

Like Andrew I have carbon steel taps and dies from Tracy Tools. I mainly use them on brass or gunmetal and they have worked well for many years.


JasonB03/09/2018 15:22:52
18899 forum posts
2082 photos
1 articles

Andrew, your preferred supplier Tracy do ME in HSS as do Rotagrip

Edited By JasonB on 03/09/2018 15:25:04

Rik Shaw03/09/2018 15:27:02
1365 forum posts
373 photos

"taps and dies in HSS. I have never seen any advertised"

I've not either but I do have two or three old HSS ME taps in a drawer somewhere so they were available at some time in the past.


Andrew Tinsley03/09/2018 15:48:14
1180 forum posts

Hello Jason,

Thanks for correcting me. So someone does still make ME taps and dies in HSS. I should have noticed Tracy Tools offering, but have not spotted it. Maybe need new glasses or more likely brain!

If as is usual with Tracy then the HSS will cost precisely double that of carbon. So the choice is there for Bob to make. I would not bother with HSS for the odd ME threads that I might need, but Bob's requirement may differ.

As to breaking small taps, all my disasters have been HSS taps. I have never broken a carbon tap yet! Having said that, my next breakage just has to be a carbon tap!


BOB BLACKSHAW03/09/2018 15:53:13
339 forum posts
68 photos

Thanks for the replies. I shall be using brass and aluminium so it seems carbon will be okay.


Howard Lewis03/09/2018 17:22:20
3608 forum posts
2 photos

The Tap and Die Company sell M E Taps and Dies in what they call HQS. Mine have been satisfactory, so far.


Georgineer03/09/2018 21:07:09
394 forum posts
17 photos

My brother used Carbon Steel taps down to 10 BA in his engineering business, mostly working in brass, and said they performed better and lasted longer than HSS ones.


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