Following the Tailstock Theading Die Holder, I made an adapter for it so I could use my small hexagonal threading dies too!
I to will anneal stuff so it can be machined. I've found sockets to be around Rockwell hardness of 55-59. Looks like you got it down to around 30-35 hardness.
I started with a Craftsman tap and die set, that I now never use, as the hex dies are all high carbon steel. The taps in the set are also soft.
But they will do in a pinch. I just hate it when I use them on hard steel, and the teeth chip.
As well end mills that would dull being used on a wood router application (and stamped with HSS). Since I have a Rockwell hardness tester, I can document with photos the softness, and file a "not as described" return request. I get my money back, but still need to find usable tooling. China is very capable of producing high quality tooling, but sellers don't think anyone can tell the difference and copy the "HSS" in their auction titles.
As for annealing, I have a heat treat furnace with an electronic controller that can slow cool. Air hardening tool steel can bite you, if you use "mystery metal" found surplus, and just drilling it, it hardens, but only after you have hours of time 'whittling' it into the desired part.
I gave up on Sears over priced junk tools years ago, when they first went off shore.
The hardness tester always shows good HSS tooling harder then 65. I don't know how hard it is before tempering. But the tool steel has to be good quality to be tough enough at this harness not to chip. The usable China tooling is typically in the low 60's for hardness. I'm not doing production as a home shop fix it user, so I can live with that.
I usually guide people away from buying tap and die sets. The problem exception would be if can afford a high end set or make a score at an auction, as people have noted many of the sets on the market are crap. It use to be argued that the die stocks and tap handles are worth the price of a set, but lately that isn’t even true.
I usually suggest buying what you need when you need it. Buy or make quality die stocks or tap handles. Quality taps can be had from the major vendors to the machining industry at a reasonable cost. Far cheaper to buy 2-3 quality taps when needed than to invest in a huge set and pay for stuff that might never be used and is crap anyways. For the home shop this makes lots of sense and maybe even for a small business.
It is rather amazing how long quality hand taps last compared carbon taps. I’m not even considering production taps which sit at another price level. I know there is this allure that “sets” have but like a wife it is what is inside that makes the difference.
Post your reply!
Join 41,949 of us and get our 173 Must Read Homemade Tools eBook free.
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)