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  1. #1
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    Default HSS or Tungsten Steel for taps

    Looking at taps and dies online I see that Sutton Tungsten steel taps are quite a bit cheaper than their HSS taps ie M6 HSS $50 and M6 Tungsten steel $30 - I would have thought that the steel cost would not be that much different - does anyone know why the $ difference - are the tungsten steel taps that much poorer quality or is it as I suspect that the HSS are locally made where the tungsten steel taps are sourced from China.


    I've had a tungsten steel (supposedly) set for over 20 yrs and they seem to be quite good, I know the difference in feel between good and poor quality or dull taps when threading by hand, you can feel a sharp good quality tap cutting where a cheap/dull taps feels more like it is forcing it's way through - also takes a lot more effort.

  2. #2
    BobL is online now Member: Blue and white apron brigade
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    "Mx" series steel is based around more Mo than W, Tungsten Steels are labelled "Tx" , and based have more W than Mo.

    Theres no such thing as "M6 tungsten steel", if it's an tungsten steel it should be a "Tx" steel. If its a Moly steel it is labelled "Mx"


    This is a very useful chart from
    https://www.asminternational.org/doc...22G_Sample.pdf

    Screen Shot 2021-07-13 at 1.03.56 pm.png

  3. #3
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    Default

    The M6 I referred to is a 6mm tap - M5,M6,M8 etc seems to be the way the various sizes of metric stuff is refered to by online sellers.


    From the attached chart it looks like the Molybdenum and Tungsten steels are both types of HSS - online outlets/sellers will typically advertise their stuff as tungsten steel, chrome/molly steel, HSS and carbon/high carbon - so the "tungsten steel" taps being advertised online may well be a type of HSS - I was wondering why the large price difference between the two taps from the same manufacturer - the cheaper product may be either a poorer quality or may be similar quality but sourced from a country where labour cost is cheaper ie China.

  4. #4
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    Hi Familyguy, Guys,

    I've used carbon steel taps and dies for years, they tend to be sharper than HSS ones and better for softer materials. The taps are much more brittle than HSS and its far easier to break one particularly when hand tapping. This is why you see tap guides and stands used ! Mind you it doesn't help when operators don't bother to clean the swarf from under the work when drilling holes for tapping.

    Most of my carbon steel taps and dies are BA ones made by Presto in Sheffield UK and date back 30 or 40 years or more !
    More recently I've started buying "Avon" HSS taps and dies made here in the UK. Not expensive at all particularly for those difficult to get odd sizes.

    "www.avontapdie.co.uk"

    No association with them only a satisfied customer !
    Best Regards:
    Baron J.

  5. #5
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    I have bought a fair bit of stuff from these guys, and if you deal with them directly rather than through their eBay shop, you don't get slugged for gst. Much cheaper than local suppliers, and so far I have been very happy with their stuff.
    https://shop.gbrengineering.com

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaronJ View Post
    More recently I've started buying "Avon" HSS taps and dies made here in the UK.
    Are you sure about that John? GBP11+VAT seems a bit too cheap for a set of three UK made HSS M6 taps.
    Chris

  7. #7
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    I read BobL's PDF attachment - it is informative - Tungsten and Molybdenum are both used in tool steels, so when a product is advertised as HSS or as Tungsten steel it would seem that both are in fact types of HSS and you are at the mercy of the manufacturer with regards to the quality of the product - how do you know if the HSS used is fit for purpose ? it would seem that you don't, so probably if the budget allows it is best to buy recognised brand names.


    I suspect that Sutton have named their taps as Tungsten and HSS to differentiate between locally made and Chinese sourced as it seems that both are HSS steel.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack620 View Post
    Are you sure about that John? GBP11+VAT seems a bit too cheap for a set of three UK made HSS M6 taps.
    Hi Chris,

    The last items I bought from them were a M9x1 die and a set of taps, on the 11/02/21. The 1-5/16" 9x1 HSS die cost £11.70 + and the HSS taps cost £6.70 +.

    Compared to the cost of these elsewhere is less. They are all marked "Avon" and are UK Made. Some time ago they did a single reduced shank M10x1 for me, about £9.00p.

    I have no idea if they ship to AU.
    Best Regards:
    Baron J.

  9. #9
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    I wonder whether the use of the word tungsten is to confuse people into thinking they are getting tungsten carbide tooling

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaronJ View Post
    They are all marked "Avon" and are UK Made.
    I'm afraid not John. Or at least, not any more. I emailed Avon Engineering and asked them where their taps and dies are made. They replied "We have a German company make them for us."

    He didn't say they are actually made in Germany, so I've asked him where his German supplier has them made. I'll be
    pleasantly surprised if it's Germany.
    Chris

  11. #11
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    I got a reply from Avon to my query:

    "Sorry, wouldn’t know, why do you ask? We also use a British manufacturer but much less so."

    Boy, someone is feeling a little defensive.

    I reckon for the prices being asked they are manufactured in China or India. I hate to seem like a pedant, but I hate it when companies pretend their products are made in their home country when they aren't. The "German supplier" is probably just another layer of BS to separate the tooling from its country of manufacture. But, happy to be proven wrong.
    Chris

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack620 View Post
    I got a reply from Avon to my query:

    "Sorry, wouldn’t know, why do you ask? We also use a British manufacturer but much less so."

    Boy, someone is feeling a little defensive.

    I reckon for the prices being asked they are manufactured in China or India. I hate to seem like a pedant, but I hate it when companies pretend their products are made in their home country when they aren't. The "German supplier" is probably just another layer of BS to separate the tooling from its country of manufacture. But, happy to be proven wrong.
    Hi Chris,

    The fact that they are marked Avon and touted as UK made is an offence under the trades description act ! If they are not.

    I did know that they had some products that are not made by them, but I didn't know where. The German made tools that I have are very good so I wouldn't knock them.

    Anyway if the price is right and the goods are of good quality, does it really matter ! Unlike China you do have some recourse if you have a problem.
    Best Regards:
    Baron J.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaronJ View Post
    The fact that they are marked Avon and touted as UK made is an offence under the trades description act !
    That would explain why Steve at Avon was so defensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by BaronJ View Post
    The German made tools that I have are very good so I wouldn't knock them.
    So are mine John, and I'm not knocking German tools. However, I don't believe Avon's taps and dies are made in Germany.
    Chris

  14. #14
    BobL is online now Member: Blue and white apron brigade
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    Manufacturing is all very murky.

    I realize taps are different to motors but one of my Italian cousins owns and runs an electric motor manufacturing business. He makes a lot of standard motors but also does custom gear, eg long shafts, compact designs to fit in constrained spaces, custom mounts, 3P with mini built in VFDs to run off SP built into the motor connection box.

    Apart from assembly and testing, he does very little manufacturing - he does machine a few custom motor mounts . The motor parts (including most of the custom stuff) are made all over Europe and China, and the materials come from who knows where, but he is still permitted to have "Made in Italy" on the motors.

  15. #15
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    Default more

    I have found the split threading dies are very handy, using them, you can adjust the split die to suit a particular thread tolerance which is a task the basic one piece dies cannot do.

    I have made a few die stocks for the split dies in both 1.5 " and 2" diameter.

    I was recently talking to a chap who said he bought 50 sets of the P&N tap/die sets at a Dept. of Supply auction at Tottenham during the 1960s. He said he made his money back many times over, selling the sets.

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