In a recent post about combination tap drills, a reader asked if there were any metric options. Yes, there are!
This Milwaukee Shockwave 5pc set is impact-rated, with M4, M5, M6, M8, and M10 sizes. They can be used in metal materials up to 1/4″ thick.
To my knowledge, the Milwaukee Shockwave bits are the only impact-rated accessories listed here. The others should only be used with a drill or cordless screwdriver, unless indicated otherwise by the manufacturer.
Wera has a combination tap drill bit set that comes with a Rapidaptor bit holder and insert-style tap drills. It comes with M3, M4, M5, M8, and M10 sizes.
Wera also has a set of metric tap bits designed for use with pre-drilled holes, priced at $48-52 at Amazon.
Greenlee, which would likely be my go-to pick for inch combination tap drills, has a 6pc metric set with quick change bit holder. The tap drills are available in M3, M4, M5, M6, M8, and M10 sizes.
Greenlee also has a combination/inch set, priced at $39 via Amazon. On the same page, they also have extended-length inch combination tap drills, a variation I don’t believe I have seen from other brands yet.
Lastly, we’ve got Champion, a more industrial-focused brand of drill bits and hand taps, compared to the more construction-focused brands listed above. Well, Milwaukee and Greenlee are more construction-focused, and the Wera set seems more MRO/repair-focused, but still – Champion is a top tier brand when it comes to drill bits and taps.
Champion’s metric combination drill and tap set comes with 6 sizes – M4, M5, M6, M8, M10, and M12.
Champion also has a 10pc inch/standard set that ranges from 6-32 to 1/2-13, priced at $134 via Amazon.
What are Combination Tap Drills?
Basically, these are 3-in-1 cutting tools that drill a hole into thinner sheet and plate metal materials, cut threads into the hole sidewalls for use with machine screws, threaded rod, and other fasteners, and there’s usually a countersink feature that deburs and bevels the front edge of the hole.
These are designed to be used with a handheld cordless drill, and some are impact-rated for use with an impact driver.
Different brands’ recommendations and guidelines can vary, such as the maximum thickness of material their tap drills can be used with.
Cutting or tapping fluid can usually be used where appropriate.
Learn more here:
Here’s a quick demo video:
That trade show video is what I would show someone when I want an example of the wrong way to use the taps.
1. Were not trying to friction weld. Turn the speed down and ease off the pressure a bit. You shouldn’t see it smoking like that, it’s just putting a lot of friction/heat on the drill bit and that’s not good for longevity.
Someone at the beginning says “let the bit do the work” and yet you can him bearing down on the bit anyways.
2. Slow down. Had his reaction time been any worse, it would have just snapped the bit off when the thread cutters took too aggressive of a bite. Breakage is highly common in reviews because most people are trying to slam these through material like in the video.
3. Pausing the video shows about 1/3rd of those attempts were not successful. How many of those bits did they go through for this demonstration because people don’t understand how to use these correctly?…
Can’t argue with that, but the general fundamentals are the same even though the tester’s execution is flawed.
At media events, most of the testers/attendees are trying something out for the first time.
Question, in a previous post you mentioned you had a very specific brand as your go-to for taps and dies, are you able to tell us what brand you would recommend for a metric/sae set? Looks like the Irwin set was adequate but do you have another preference if you were buying them outright? Trying to subscribe to the buy once cry once theory.
It depends on the style.
For spiral-flute, I tend to prefer OSG.
I generally stick with industrial brands, such as Triumph, OSG, Precision, Cleveland.
MSC’s sales flyers are a good place to start, specifically the metalworking flyer. The others sometimes have good offers on drill bits and taps as well.
I don’t have many dies – mainly smaller do-it-all repair sets I’ve purchased. I have a wire gauge and lettered drill bit set, and also backups for the sizes I use just in case or for when working with different materials.
I have different same-size tape sets, meaning taper, plug, and bottoming, for the sizes I work with most.
The difficult part is that despite having built up a selection of tooling in the sizes I use, there will occasionally be more sizes that I haven’t used before.
A good 115pc drill bit set isn’t going to be inexpensive, but after a while it pays for itself. It took me a few years to finally buy one, and I don’t know if it’s paid for itself yet, but I do know that if I need a size that’s not in any of my fractional drill bit sets, or if I need a fractional size with better tolerance, I’ll find it there.
Greenlee also sells the individually:
# DTAPM3C UPC 783310121602
# DTAPM4C UPC 783310121619
# DTAPM5C UPC 783310121626
# DTAPM6C UPC 783310121633
# DTAPM8C UPC 783310121640
also 10mm: # DTAPM10C – UPC 783310121657
You might have just talked me into these. I deal with M5, M6 & M8 pretty regularly and this might save some time!
I have the Greenlee sets in standard and metric but I bought a coworker this Neiko set with everything and it seems to be identical (except for color), for way less.
My old inventory from 2009 said that the Greenlee’s we had were made in China – while the Champion ones were USA-made. Don’t know if that still holds – but I doubt that Emerson-Greenlee switched production back to the USA. Champion lately is sourcing more and more of its stuff from outside the USA (Brazil, Philippines and even Kazakhstan.)
Greenlee always seemed to price their items at a premium – often higher than similar items from competitors like Klein.
Ugh… I should really get some tapping tools, one way or another… Recently had to deal with one of my older, less sophisticated, repairs… I wish I had known about putting in taps back then… I was relying on the bolt itself to bite into soft plastic… Such a bad mistake back then…
The Wera set looks best to me, but… I have no clue what screw sizes are which at this point.
Most carbon and HSS taps will do for plastics. I’ve tapped a lot of holes in Lexan and Plexiglas – but prefer to use bottoming taps – even to start the process. Because the material is in fact “plastic” it tends to melt when worked – and the bottoming tap – with more threads at the tip – seems to help promote cutting rather than heating. Drilling for tap clearance is another matter – and typical metalworking drills can result in crazing/chipping. Ideally you need to use a drill bit with a point ground to something between 60 and 80 degrees which will avoid biting into the plastic. I use Plexi-Point Drill bits from W.L. Fuller that can be ordered in tap clearance sizes. Amazon also sells many other drill bits meant for drilling plastics.
If you have many holes to drill in plastic, try using a “turbo flute” aka parabolic flute drill, and feed it as fast as possible. I once had to drill 2000+ holes in 3/8 nylon 12 (sls material) with a hand drill- the regular flute drills melted the plastic, the parabolic drills pushed out a beautiful spiral chip. Just watch out on harder materials- the drill will pull itself in aggressively.
Automation direct has surprisingly great sets.
That was actually the first place we saw them, and picked up a few on a whim.