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Who has one of these tapping fixture tools ?

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Brian John05/04/2014 04:34:44
1455 forum posts
579 photos

Who has used one of these tapping fixture tools ?


1. Are they any good ?

2. Who makes a vice small enough to fit (60mm centre to centre) ? Chronos say that they do not have any vices that small.

I am new to model engineering and I think that tapping without the right tools will cause problems.

Clive Hartland05/04/2014 07:47:22
2594 forum posts
40 photos

Brian, I have only seen one being used in 60 years of engineering. Everyone else uses a tap wrench tool or makes use of the pillar drill or taps in the lathe with the tap in the tail stock.

In production work with many many small items perhaps its useful but other wise spend your money on something useful.


_Paul_05/04/2014 08:40:36
543 forum posts
31 photos

If you are keen to have one you could make something very similar a lot more cheaply, this type is made from an "Lidl" type drill stand/press:

And instructions on how to make it by Mike Cox: Pillar Tool

Harold Hall has his own design here: Tapping stand with Automatic feed

I made the version that uses the Lidl type drill stand works well.


Martin Walsh 105/04/2014 09:06:26
113 forum posts
2 photos

This is a handy gadget from edge technology it is a bubble level

that fits on top of the tap wrench.

Best Wishes Martin


Brian John05/04/2014 10:47:42
1455 forum posts
579 photos

Okay, I will give this tool a miss. I have not bought a drill press yet but I do have a Sieg C2 lathe. It is still sitting in its box on the living room floor. It is much bigger and heavier than I thought it would be I have to buy a suitable workbench before I set it up.

I thought all lathes came with a spindle handle but apparently not so it looks like this will be my first job on the lathe, then I can use the lathe for tapping.

Oompa Lumpa05/04/2014 10:59:12
888 forum posts
36 photos

I recently made this from scrap bits and it is now just so easy to tap those tiny holes you thought the tap would break in. A good bit of advice I was given on here was not to hold the work fast on the table because if it is off a little bit you will break the tap. Hold the work in a vice by all means but let it move freely.

One thing about the bubble level Martin - It assumes the work is being held on a surface that is level so worth checking that.

ChrisH05/04/2014 11:04:30
874 forum posts
29 photos

I think if I was going to go down this route I would build the tapping fixture that Harold Hall describes in one of his books - I think it is in the Workshop Projects book in the Workshop Practise Series. It's mode of operation seems very good and sensible, it's cheaper as it's only materials you are buying, some of which you may already have, and you would have the satisfaction of making something yourself that works and is very useful.


Michael Gilligan05/04/2014 11:05:36
16229 forum posts
707 photos
Posted by Brian John on 05/04/2014 10:47:42:

Okay, I will give this tool a miss. I have not bought a drill press yet ...


Then invest the money you have saved by not buying the Tapping Tool

... Put it towards a better Drill Press.


NJH05/04/2014 11:37:54
2314 forum posts
139 photos


OK I have a similar one.... an yes it does get used.

I bought it as a set of castings, see HERE , many years ago when I was first interested in Model Engineering and, like you, had no access to a workshop. At that time the local college ran "Model Engineering" evening classes - which were really "come along and use our machines and get advice from experts" sessions. Construction of the tool was a useful exercise and it does have its uses. You will see that there are all sorts of modifications/ attachments to make it more "useful" but I think the most valuable function use is in the making.



Michael Gilligan05/04/2014 12:33:07
16229 forum posts
707 photos


Even if you never make the Universal Pillar Tool, as mentioned by Norman; at least read the book by GH Thomas about its construction [originally a set of articles in Model Engineer] ... You will learn a lot.


Robbo05/04/2014 19:38:18
1504 forum posts
142 photos

I have this one, made from stuff from the "cuminandy" box. Actually used it today to tap 18 M3 holes.

Tapping fixture

Base is from an old Wolfcraft mini-drill stand, twin arm is an old countershaft bracket, column is 1" ground steel.

But don't buy one ready made, save the cash for something more useful.

Howard Lewis07/04/2014 18:37:13
3544 forum posts
2 photos

If you are determined to buy such a tool, Arc Euro advertise one, I think.

I made one many years ago using the base and pillar from a pistol drill stand. The arm was a piece of 50mm box section with two sleeves welded in and bored at the same setting, so that they were parallel.

The taps are held in a 3/8 " (10mm) capacity drill chuck on a spindle which has a piece of 6mm x 2mm injector pipe as a Tommy Bar. Its crude but effective.

Workpieces are generally held in a loose vice, or if larger, by hand on the base.

So far, have yet to break a tap, even down to 10 BA, using this gadget, (which is tempting fate!)

For tapping in the lathe, a Mandrel handle is very useful.

You may still end up, having started the Tap in the lathe, having to finish the job off in the vice using a large Tap Wrench!


alan-lloyd07/04/2014 19:35:03
167 forum posts

I bought one years ago, never used it, save your money for something more useful.

Oompa Lumpa07/04/2014 21:12:36
888 forum posts
36 photos
Posted by alan lloyd 3 on 07/04/2014 19:35:03:

I bought one years ago, never used it, save your money for something more useful.

More useful than what?

You can't just make a blase statement like that and move on. The chap is genuinely asking for advice and although you maintain you bought one and never used it I built one and use it frequently. I suppose if you are tapping 3/4" Whit holes it would be superfluous but I work on other people's property with some quite small taps so for me I find it very useful. I am perfectly capable of drilling and tapping holes freehand but this tool gives me a good layer of insurance.

The OP does not have a high level of experience in tapping and this might be very useful for him. Or he might need something to stick the Christmas fairy on, who knows. But you can't just dismiss something and walk off. Why didn't you use it? And what would be a more useful purchase?

What I do know for sure though, i that if you are starting out in a hobby, any hobby and you have a high degree of failure you can easily become discouraged. The advice to read the Universal Pillar Tool articles is also good advice. I did this and realised that I didn't need all the bells and whistles but I had enough bits to make enough of a tool for it to be useful to me. Now that I have it I wouldn't be without it.


The ARC Euro one is HERE

Edited By Oompa Lumpa on 07/04/2014 21:41:41

Bazyle08/04/2014 01:10:37
5400 forum posts
206 photos

All a beginner needs is a cotton reel, a few pens and the like as sleeves for smaller taps etc. If you want to get fancy make your own cotton reel.

Neil Wyatt08/04/2014 09:39:43
18148 forum posts
713 photos
77 articles


Totally off-topic, but you remind me that my Nan taught me how to make a working 'tank' from a wooden cotton reel, two matchsticks, a rubber band and a slice of candle.


Jo08/04/2014 10:23:17
198 forum posts

I have a Universal Pillar Tool and it is brilliant. It has three different tap holders:

  • "The big one" which has is fitted with a drill chuck and a Tee bar which gives you something to get your hand on with really big taps to encourage them.
  • "The medium one" which has a knurled top and the end off an eclipse pin chuck. I was not at first convinced by this as the taps do not seem to be that secure but actually again the knurling is in the right proportion to the size tap you are likely to be using so less likely to cause breakages.
  • "The diddy one" I have not used this one but it is for taps that are best described as pins with raspy bits down the outside.

The UPT holds the Tap 100% square to the work and since I have been using it I have not broken a single tap. I would be a little concerned with the statement on one of those products: "This Tapping Fixture holds taps relatively square to the base so threads are cut straight every time".

You do not want to put the work in a vice for tapping smaller items hold it securely against the bed with your hand, it will let you have a better feel of what is happening.


Michael Gilligan08/04/2014 10:46:11
16229 forum posts
707 photos
Posted by Jo on 08/04/2014 10:23:17:
I would be a little concerned with the statement on one of those products: "This Tapping Fixture holds taps relatively square to the base so threads are cut straight every time".


I agree completely, Jo

The device originally pictured looks like something that's "from an original idea by ..."

and, judging purely by appearances, it could easily fall into the "Chocalate Fireguard" category.


Tomfilery08/04/2014 11:38:57
122 forum posts
4 photos

It seems to me that views are split between "I can't manage without one" and "it's a waste of money". My own view is as per the latter!

In general, whenever I want to ensure my taps start cutting square I simply drill the hole (using my pillar drill) with the appropriate tapping drill, remove the drill and chuck the tap, then TURNING THE DRILL CHUCK BY HAND, start the tap off in the hole using the lever feed on the drill to apply downward pressure until the tap bites after which it will pull itself into the work. You only need a couple of turns to ensure the tap starts off straight. Then, unscrew the tap, unchuck it and move onto the next hole, repeating as necessary. Of course to do this, your work needs to be clamped down, or held in the drill vice. I use the same technique, even with small taps (i.e. M1.2) and in steel!

Regards Tom

Jo08/04/2014 12:05:41
198 forum posts
Posted by Tomfilery on 08/04/2014 11:38:57:

It seems to me that views are split between "I can't manage without one" and "it's a waste of money". My own view is as per the latter!

Regards Tom

Tom: I have successfully tapped over 100 12BA threads in steel using the same tap by hand and that tap is still going strong. I too did not see the point of a UPT until someone let me use theirs, then I had to have one wink 2.


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