Video: Understanding Thread Tapping and How to Keep Those Threads From Going Awry

Master designer, fabricator and former co-host of "Mythbusters" Adam Savage has been working and improving his craft for decades.

Who better, then, to give us an in-depth look at the intricate process of thread tapping—what it is and how it works—as well as how to make a handy guide block so all that hard work getting that thread perfect doesn't go screwy (we'll see ourselves out).

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wae UltraDork
9/11/20 9:42 a.m.

I didn't know that I didn't know that much about tapping threads, so this is actually pretty cool - like all his 24 hour build videos tend to be!

One complaint that I just can't stay quiet about, though.  Every time he uses the word "maker", I want to reach through the internet tubes and throttle him.  Maker, my ass.  We need a special name for people who know how to actually do stuff now?

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/11/20 9:58 a.m.

I love tapping stuff. And this is a guy with zero formal training on the matter who actually broke a tap in his work piece recently and had to remake the whole thing (Grrr). I need to find time to watch this. 

But I'm not so triggered by the word "maker". I think it's just a kind of person. There have always been people who can make and fix stuff (and like doing it). Maybe in the past there were more people who could, but didn't like doing it. But to me they really weren't 'makers' to begin with. 


Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
9/11/20 12:37 p.m.

I like this guy and he does know a bit.. but I'd rather learn about machining and machining practices from a real machinist..

Eiko New Reader
9/11/20 1:38 p.m.

What did we call makers before that word came into use?  It seems like a short and efficient name compared with "people who know how to do stuff".

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
9/11/20 2:39 p.m.
Fueled by Caffeine said:

I like this guy and he does know a bit.. but I'd rather learn about machining and machining practices from a real machinist..

He does know a bit.  I'd like to drill further into his knowledge base.  This thread is just the beginning.  Perhaps we can extract a bit more from the interwebs.  

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
9/11/20 5:57 p.m.

In reply to A 401 CJ :

Eye sea wut ewe deed thar

I love that guy.

The video is a bit micro for someone who has used taps quite a bit, but when I was just starting out, I wish someone had told me all that, rather than breaking countless taps to learn. 

RIP Grant. I miss Mythbusters.

LopRacer Dork
9/13/20 8:54 p.m.

Awesome, I just shared this with my entire Intro Automotive course as they are doing threads and thread repair unit this week.

stylngle2003 Reader
9/14/20 3:16 p.m.

That fingernail tho.  Ouch!

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/16/20 10:24 a.m.

I found the fingernail very relatable! It honestly put me in a more receptive mode right away. 

Took me a few days of 10 minutes here and there coming in and out of my office between classes, but i did like the video. I've always kinda liked Adam Savage but never felt any sort of connection to whatever he was doing other than both being 'people who know how to do stuff', of course him having many years and much broader types of projects under his belt compared to me.  But something about watching this video of him with his busted nail and graying hair sliding around his darkish shop on a rolling stool and having fun and knowing where things are at and happy to share knowledge..  I guess I've just aged out of me being a kid coming up and him being a grown up on a whole nother level and now it feels like we're both guys with some gray hairs who 'know how to do stuff' happily scurrying around the dark recesses of our lovingly built shop caves, wearing evidence of our mistakes but still eager and happy to pull someone else into our world by teaching.  None of those factors changed overnight but me sitting and watching this vid in particular for some reason made me relate on a different level and find different enjoyment.


I dont have a guide block and may still not build one but one thing i occasionally do is thread a nut of that size up the tap, and when starting the tap i'll run the nut down until it pushes flat against the work surface. Then hold the nut in place with an open end wrench and hold those down to the work piece while i turn the tap. It's half-ass but in some cases i find it better than eyeballing. Build a damn guide block is the real lesson, go figure. 

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