Bent Tap: Huh?

The Shapeways bronze-infused stainless steel process reportedly produces objects so hard that they require carbide tooling, so I wasn’t too surprised when this magazine block rounded the threads right off a tap:

Browning Hi-Power magazine - steel block trial fit
Browning Hi-Power magazine – steel block trial fit

The tap turned up while I was clearing off the bench and, seeing as how the upper half of the threads weren’t ruined, I thought maybe I could at least get a bottoming tap out of it.

Step 1: snap off the damaged part. This should be easy, as tap steel tends to punish you when you’re not doing it right. So I grabbed the ruined section in the bench vise and gave the shank a stiff whack:

Bent tap
Bent tap

Now, that is not a nominal outcome

The tap came from a set of dubious provenance that’s conspicuously labeled: JUNK METRIC. I have no idea where it came from, as it’s slightly younger than dirt. There’s a Craftsman metric set in the same drawer with much better steel (yes, I’ve snapped a few taps) that I normally use; I figured if I was going to wreck a tap on that magazine block, I should wreck a junk tap.

Maybe that Shapeways stainless isn’t quite as nasty as it seems…

3 thoughts on “Bent Tap: Huh?

  1. Harbor Freight has been around for many years, I think as far back at least the 80’s. You never know … I have a drill set I bought at Northern Tool (very similar to HF) a few years ago for general purpose field work (non-critical and most likely wood at that). I managed to bend one while putting some pressure on it while drilling and it bent. I pulled another out of the holder and put a 90 in it by hand! Apparently they are not only a poor quality steel but there is no doubt they skipped heat treat as well. I avoid both places now for one reason or another.

    1. I avoid both places

      I’ve heard Harbor Freight defined as the Home of Single-Use Tools. That may be a slight underestimate, but they’re certainly not selling top-quality items at bottom-dollar prices.

      They’ve definitely put pressure on the big-box home repair stores that can’t offer essentially the same bottom-quality junk at three times the HF price…

    2. Had a bunch of drill bits that came with an overly cheap 18V drill from Costco. Bendable drill bits, and the battery packs had poor capacity. I still have the drill around somewhere, but the backup to my 18V deWalt (good drill, and worth it if you need it’s capabilities) is an ancient 12V Makita (circa 1995).

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