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Distinguished SOTW member, musician, technician &
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi

I'm looking for dies (specifically right now 2-56 UNC) and it seems impossible to find it locally. The only one I found is non-adjustable and even that took forever.

First of all, does anyone know about a place that I can order dies (both in general and specifically the one I need) that would ship internationally? I've had good experience ordering things from the UK so that's a good option.

Also I have a question. I see dies made of different materials. There's is carbon steel and there is high speed steel. I was told to only buy HSS dies because they last much longer. I also found a site that sells dies made of HQS (have no idea what it is) and they claim (big surprise) that it's a better alternative to HSS dies. Any help on that would be appreciated too.

Thanks!
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2011
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What a relief!
I read that heading completely wrongly....I was expecting a story of the death of a much loved vintage sax, after "I just gave it a little tap" :D
(Truly!)
 

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Prodigal Son and Forum Contributor 2008
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rogerb40uk said:
What a relief!
I read that heading completely wrongly....I was expecting a story of the death of a much loved vintage sax, after "I just gave it a little tap" :D
(Truly!)
I thought I was going to see the video of a bugler blowing taps then keeling over!
 

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Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
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You could always get it from http://www.tradetools.co.nz/cgi-bin/index-flash.htm but the price for that one is disgusting, at NZ$73 for HSS!!! No wonder I bought that particular one from Krauss.

For threading steel that is as hard as drill rod often is, and especially for stainless steel, it is well worth paying the extra for HSS. Otherwise after you have used the die a few times, it is blunt enough to cut rather poorly. HSS is much harder. It is the standard material for the drills you use. Tool steel drills would very soon die if used in steel.

HQS. That's a strange one. I just phoned the very clued up, very reliable guys at the local engineers tool supplies. They have never heard of it either. Presumably it means High Quality Steel.

I presume you came across this term at http://www.tapdie.com/html/unc__dies.html
The site boasts about its "toughness". Tougher usually means not so hard.

HSS is an extremely well known term in the quality metal-cutting tool industry, so it's really strange that Google cannot find more references to HQS, in conjunction with 'steel' or 'tool'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you.

Some of those places have what I'm looking for, but I'm wondering why the prices vary so much? It seems to be about the same thing but it varies from about 7$ (Votaw and some others) to the price from the store in NZ and some others (which is just a bit more than the price for a non adjustable die here).

The problem with most instrument repair suppliers in USA (same problem with SmallParts) is the shipping is expensive and slow, or VERY expensive and fast.

Gordon, when I googled HQS that site came up which was also the site I originally found it on. It's strange, but maybe they just invented a name for something. Kraus dies are carbon steel and not HSS so it is strange that you recommend them and then recommend only HSS...?

One place has dies made of tungsten steel. How does that compare with HSS? http://www.ares-server.com/Ares/Ares.asp?MerchantID=RET01229&Action=Catalog&Type=Product&ID=14147D

This place seems to have exactly what I want http://www.littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=2844&category=-967097768 but they don't have a regular handle. Should a handle from a different place work?

Also like I said ordering from USA is a bit of a problem so if anyone knows about a place in the UK that would probably be much better.

Thanks very much!

(and Jerry, thanks for spelling my name correct) :)
 

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The Little Machine Shop dies are HSS, and they are what I use in my shop. Several of them have certainly threaded many dozens of rods, both music wire and stainless steel. You can get a die holder at any hardware store, or at Sears or equivalent. These are standard 13/16" dies.
 

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"....I'm wondering why the prices vary so much? It seems to be about the same thing but it varies from about 7$ (Votaw and some others) to the price from the store in NZ and some others (which is just a bit more than the price for a non adjustable die here)..."

That could be partly dependent on the quality of the steel. Also whether the item is sourced in China or a more traditional source. The exact alloy and the precise heat treatment are critical in getting a product that lasts well, and is unlikely to snap in normal use. HSS is typically at least twice as expensive as tool steel. I don't think you would get a HSS die for $7.

However for a size such as this, turnover of stock in USA which is still using imperial measures, will be many times higher than in a metric-based country such as NZ. By contrast, metric dies are often cheaper here than USA. I doubt the local supplier would sell one or 2-56 in a year.

"Gordon, when I googled HQS that site came up which was also the site I originally found it on. It's strange, but maybe they just invented a name for something."

I reckon. And that makes me suspicious. Why would they consider a need to do that?

"Kraus dies are carbon steel and not HSS so it is strange that you recommend them and then recommend only HSS...?"

OK, perhaps I am confused. Perhaps I asked Kraus to get me HSS. I just checked and actually have 2-56 in both tool (carbon) steel and HSS.

"One place has dies made of tungsten steel. How does that compare with HSS?"

I don't know. The whole area is rather confusing. There's cobalt steel as well.
There's carbon steel with varying amounts of carbon. There are carbon substitutes that give special properties. Then there are all sorts of complications re heat treatment. Basically HSS, named High Speed Steel. can work at very high speeds, and get almost red hot in the process, and that does not upset its heat treatment. But at the same time, HSS provides a very good, durable edge for cutting steel, even quite tough steel, as pivot rods often are. It is more brittle (i.e. less tough) than carbon steel, and that is the price you pay... You use it a bit carefully. Hardness and toughness are largely mutually exclusive in common-use steels.

The following may help:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_speed_steel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tool_steel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Forester_Mushet


"This place seems to have exactly what I want http://www.littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=2844&category=-967097768 but they don't have a regular handle. Should a handle from a different place work?"

They don't normally come with any sort of holder, unless as part of a set of several taps and dies. This has the standard 13/16" outer diameter. A cheap die-stock would be available from anywhere that sells taps and dies, eg see 4th photo from the end at http://www.rdgtools.co.uk/acatalog/TAP_HOLDER_S___DIE_STOCK_S_ETC.html

Some local place should definitely have them. Or use the one from the set that you are soon to buy locally :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks. Looks like for this die Little Machine Shop is the my best option. Even with the expensive shipping & handling it is about the same as a non-adjustable one locally. It's cool that you actually have online shops for these things in other countries.

I will look more into those different metals I have an idea who to ask that might know.

shmuelyosef said:
You can get a die holder at any hardware store, or at Sears or equivalent.
Unfortunately that type of comments only remind me that I can't.... :(

Thanks again everyone!
 

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Nitai. There must be taps and dies in every machine shop in your country. They must be getting the more basic items such as die-stocks from somewhere. Surely they do not all import them. Have you asked around machine shops? It would seem logical that there is a specialist machine tool or engineering supply place somewhere there that you have not yet located.

I presume that with your connections with engineers there, you would have found out this info. Is it really a dead end, locally?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I could explain everything you asked about Gordon but it's not going to help anyone else here because it's just description of how it is. If you are just interested to know I can email you. But anyway from all the places people suggested here I found what I need.

Thanks again!
 

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Q and S are pretty close on my keyboard. Perhaps its a typo?
 

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Nitai,

There are a couple of glossary pages in the www.smallparts.com catalog which explains some of the various steel products.

Here is a link to a page on their website which covers a few, but not all of them; http://www.smallparts.com/techinfo/steel info.cfm.

Hope this helps. Might suggest ordering a catalog for yourself, as there are glossary pages which covers various types of plastic, rubber, etc..also.
 

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Canadiain said:
Q and S are pretty close on my keyboard. Perhaps its a typo?
It seems NOT to be a typo, because the website states, "It is a tougher & better alternative to HSS and cuts superbly even into stainless steel".
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
In case anyone is interested (I am) I got some information from a friend who is an expert on metals, especially expert of many types of tool steels.

High speed steel was invented to combat the softening of plain steel when it got red hot during the cutting operation. HSS will remain hard at red heat..... again, this is irrelevant for instrument repair purposes. Still... the steel making process for HSS yields a better material than that for regular carbon steel therefore HSS might be better for other reasons than resistance to high heat. Might Be!!!

The term "carbon steel" leaves a lot to the imagination..... it doesn't tell you anything. Tungsten steel was a predecessor to HSS...... it resisted higher temperatures than "carbon steel" did. There are still some "Old Timers" who believe that Tungsten steel is the best but they haven't kept up with the improvements in steel making.

I have no idea what HQS is but I imagine it stands for "High Quality Steel". Today high speed steel can be made by the conventional melting process or by powder metal processing. Powdered metal HSS is in fact a better product than conventional HSS..... I know that from personal experience in the steel industry with a maker of both versions. So.... it's possible that HQS is some maker's name for powdered metal HSS..... but that's just a wild guess.


He also wrote to me: Please know, however, that I will be the first one to admit to not knowing some things.

This to me seems like a real expert, always acknowledging how much they don't know. Like in music! :)

I hope this helps anyone.... :)
 

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Gordon (NZ) said:
It seems NOT to be a typo, because the website states, "It is a tougher & better alternative to HSS and cuts superbly even into stainless steel".
A reversal perhaps..QHS = Quench Hardened Steel? ie a variant on tool steel

Never heard of hydrogen quenching...generally you want to avoid hydrogen as its may result in embritlement....

One bit of googleing led me to this...
http://www.diybanter.com/showthread.php?t=128504

which in turn led me to this
http://www.totem-forbes.com/dies.htm

which states they are plain old carbon steel...
 

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"HSS yields a better material than that for regular carbon steel therefore HSS might be better for other reasons than resistance to high heat. Might Be!!!"

Hmm. If you get some reasonably hard 1/4" stainless steel, and use a regular carbon steel drill to drill a hole through it, the drill is most likely wrecked ( rounded cutting edge) before it gets through. HSS/ No problem at all. That is how big the difference is.

"The term "carbon steel" leaves a lot to the imagination"
That is certainly correct. There's low carbon (eg cheap nails), medium carbon, high carbon (cutting tools), getting increasingly heat treatable. Then there are carbon steel with some of the carbon replaced by other elements to maintain the carbon properties but add others. Then there are carbon steels with a range of other elements added to give special properties, eg additional hardness, abrasion resistance, impact resistance, different heat and surface treatment options, etc. Many very high quality cutting tools are made from "cobalt steel". The field is complicated and a comprehensive discussion of steels would fill a good sized text book.

Moving on...

Note that the first link above, says "... The dies I bought were marked
"Totem" if this is any clue." but does not actually make it clear that these Totem dies are HQS. (Could they be the ones he bought for cutting brass?)Assuming they are HQS, I thought it interesting, that the second link, http://www.totem-forbes.com/dies.htm does not list HQS.

So I phoned my local Totem-Forbes stockist and asked about HQS. They had some once, but now stock only HSS from Totem-Forbes. They said that HQS was like HSS but with no cobalt in it. They agreed with me that the increased "toughness" (resistance to breaking) would probably compromise hardness. (Hardness = long-lasting, unless you are careless and break the item.)

BTW, Nitai, two stockists are listed in Lebanon.
 
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