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Chinese high-end tap, die and drill bit review

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samthedog

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#1
Well gents, I mentioned in another thread that I was going to order some high-end, Chinese made spiral taps for testing. They arrived today and just for spits and giggles I ordered a bunch of dies as well. This is just a quick visual report on them before I set up some proper testing.

IMG_20171110_155225.png

Typical to Chinese manufacturers, they packaged the taps into dodgy aluminium cases that I will immediately throw away.

The taps on the left are made from M35 HSS which was the cheaper option. These came in at about $3,75 per tap. According to the table below the HSS contains about 5% cobalt. The origin of the alloy is Japan.

1510328387418.png

The grinding on the taps looks quite good. I am not sure about the quality of the TiN coating, however the manufacturer is a major supplier to the major machining and manufacturing centers in China so it should be OK. Here are some closer images:

IMG_20171110_164452.png


IMG_20171110_164549.png

As you can see, despite the packaging, the taps look very good. No dags or burrs at all and the individual teeth are very consistent and sharp.

Now lets have a look at the M42 taps.
IMG_20171110_155945.png

IMG_20171110_164601.png

The M42 HSS has 8% cobalt and is the manufacturers premium offering. They came in at $9,75 per tap on average (including the drill bit also in M42). They are TiAlN coated and the coating seems to be on par with German taps I have used. Strangely, the grinding seems to be more refined on these taps as if the spirals were ground in smaller increments as there are nearly no facets visible in the helix. I ordered these with the applicably sized drill bits and the drills are very well made as well and the grinding job is superb:
IMG_20171110_170024.png

IMG_20171110_165946.png

So last but not least we have the dies. These are made from M35 and cost $4,45 on average.
IMG_20171110_170217.png

The image below shows the quality of the cylindrical surfaces - certainly not as high as my Swedish dies.
IMG_20171110_170246_HDR.png

The teeth are very sharp on the larger dies but from M4 and down, there are very small burrs on the taper leading to the cutting teeth. These were not an issue to remove with small tweezers so are likely not going to cause problems during operation as they will likely wipe away:
IMG_20171110_171015 highlighted burrs.jpg

Tomorrow I am hoping to give these a run through some material and see how they cut and the quality of the threads they leave behind. Stay tuned.

Paul.
 

samthedog

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#2
Reserved for Part 2 - performance in operation
----------------------------------------------------------------
Ok folks, I put together a video with the comparison of the taps in use:
Enjoy. It's a bit long but the results may surprise you.
 
Last edited:

4gsr

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#3
I've had two different experiences with Chinese made dies. One were the ones that would not cut any threads due to no back rake of the threaded teeth in the die. The second one, which were much nicer, like in your picture above, had back rake to the teeth of the die and seem to cut okay for cleaning up the last thousandth or two from single pointing a thread I cut in the lathe. Did not try cutting a full thread from scratch with a die. Always single pointed the thread first and use the die nut to clean up to size a thread. Now, I haven't tried to do any threads below 1/4" so I don't know if this would make a difference or not.

Ken

BTW: They do look nice except for the last picture of the die nut. I like the nice finish on the taps and drills.

Don't toss the aluminum cases! Always find something to use them for.
 

samthedog

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#5
BTW: They do look nice except for the last picture of the die nut. I like the nice finish on the taps and drills.

Ken
Ken, the cosmoline is still on the last die nut so it looks a bit scruffy but the machining and grinding is still pretty good. I am eager to try them out as they look the business. I had a quick look at my other dies and they are not too far from my premium dies in terms of quality of the finish. It will be interesting to compare.

Thanks for the effort and expense Paul, this will be a very usefull review!

-brino
No worries Brino. Sometimes it's worth taking a risk and seeing what comes of it. I have already seen some interesting differences which I will expand on tomorrow.

Paul.
 

ddickey

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#6
What makes them high end? Are they advertised that way?
 

samthedog

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#7
What makes them high end? Are they advertised that way?
The materials, the coating, the grinding machines used, the price and the company that makes them. The fact that the alloys are from Japan where the metal quality is very high and the metal comes with certification separates them from many other manufacturers. I could have gotten taps for under $2 per tap from other suppliers but they didn't guarantee the alloy quality and came with no coating.
 

samthedog

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#10
I used one of my business partners to order them directly from China as he is Chinese. As for the name of the manufacturer - I'll have to get back to you on that. The brand is in Chinese and we ordered them through TaoBao so I have no idea what that would translate to in English...

Paul.
 

samthedog

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#14
Great job on the video test.
Thanks Bob. It was an interesting test. I cut some M4 threads in aluminium and as expected the tap performed really well and left a super clean thread. I am really happy with the quality of these taps.

Paul.
 
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