Taps and dies are used to create screw threads, both internal and external. Most are cutting tools, but some are forming tools. Taps are used to cut the threads of the female portion, such as a nut, for example, and this process is called tapping. On the other hand, a die is used to cut or form the male portion, such as the corresponding bolt, and this is called threading.
Both tools can also be used to clean dirt and debris from their respective products, which is called chasing. However, taps and dies will generally remove some material during use, and so specific tools have been created for the specific purpose of cleaning – these are called chasers. These are made of softer materials so that they do not remove more material from the threads.
Using a simple method of securing the rod of the chosen screw, bolt, or pipe in a vice, apply a little cutting paste before placing the die onto the rod and rotating clockwise with a die handle. Each full turn cuts a new thread onto the rod.
Tap and die sets are typically used in the electrical & industrial sectors, as well as servicing and automotive workshops.