NES ThreadMate tools allow you to quickly repair questionable threads without hunting for the right sized tool. The manufacturer, Shilo Technologies, claims that it doesn’t matter whether your threads are left or right-handed, Metric or Imperial, the ThreadMate will adjust to any pitch.
One of the big selling points is that one ThreadMate repair tool can do the job of many different dies, at least when it comes to repairing threads. Unlike dies, ThreadMate tools cannot form new threads on round stock.
While the ThreadMate tools cannot add new material to damaged threads either, they can straighten and clear these threads, allowing better access to remaining good threads. In a pinch you might be able to use the bad threads for holding power, but you probably want to replace the nut or bolt as soon as possible.
The NES brand encompasses a whole line of specialty tools for repairing internal and external threads. The ThreadMate brand seems to refer to one external thread fixing tool and two internal ones.
Here’s a quick promo video that shows how the external ThreadMate thread repair tool works:
The external ThreadMate works with threads from 5/32″ to 1/2″. To use it, place the tool around the damaged threads and turn the knob until it engages the threads, then rotate the tool in the direction marked by the arrow located right above the knob.
NES also makes larger universal external thread repair tools with 5/32″ to 3/4″ capacity (NES1A) and 11/16″ to 1-1/2″ capacity (NES2).
The two internal ThreadMate tools cover the range from #12 to 1/2″. To use one of the tools, insert it in the hole and turn the knob until the blades engage the threads, then turn the tool in the direction that pushes it out of the threads.
All the ThreadMate tools come standard with a guide for 60° threads, but you can also buy an optional 55° guide for British standard threads (Whitworth really?).
Pricing for the external thread ThreadMate is around $35 to $38. It’s available online through Home Depot, Amazon (3rd party), Sears (3rd party), and many other retailers.
It’s harder to find the internal ThreadsMate tools, as they only seem to be sold in a kit with the external ThreadMate. Pricing for the kit is $129 at Amazon. Amazon and other retailers do carry the other, larger NES internal thread repair tools.
Buy Now (External ThreadMate via Home Depot)
Buy Now (External ThreadMate via Amazon)
Buy Now (External ThreadMate via Sears)
Buy Now (Craftsman version via Sears)
Buy Now (ThreadMate Kit via Amazon)
Buy Now (Other Sizes via Amazon)
More Info (via NES)
The promise of being able to grab one tool to fix threads without having to search for your tap and die set sounds like it would make you more likely to check and repair them, saving you more trouble later.
Downside: There doesn’t seem to be a smaller version for working with machine screws.
If anybody has any experience with this tool, please let us know if it is worth owning!
Clever but pricey, and not being able to repair smaller threads is a deal breaker for me, so I’l stick to my tap & die set. You can also use a thread repairing file like this:
Though I’ve never actually used the one I have.
Cool tool. Considering the few times I’d need it, I’d probably be better off with a small file. One trick I use when cutting a bolt or threaded rod is to screw a nut on upstream of the cut. Then backing the nut off will usually fix threads damaged by the cut.
I remember seeing something like this years ago for external threads , but was not completely perfected . I hope this one works out .
On the other hand , Sears has a history (problem) with being a launching platform for new innovative tools from small manufacturers only to come out with their own “nearly ” identical tool a few years later and dropping the original tool (I.e. RoboWrench) .Avoid Sears!!!
I’ll get off my soapbox now.
Seems the Kastar made thread repair kit sold by Craftsman would be a better deal at $50 (current price)
I see a lot of potential for this tool simply being too big to swing, as nicely demonstrated in the picture you posted of the cylinder head stud repair. You’d probably hit the other, smaller, stud before getting to the bottom of the threads you’re fixing.. Heck, it might even hit the valve springs. Hard to tell from the picture.
The Kastar kit requires very little room to work.
Kastar is a great OEM and I’ve really been meaning to pick that kit up.
Real Tool Reviews (WoodstockVA from garage journal) just reviewed this item this week.
I use a similar style thread chaser, made by ze Germanz. Works great to clean/chase knarffles studs and whatnot. There is a bit of a learning curve but its pretty self explanatory in application. The price for this featured unit is awesome compared to the price I paid for mine about 10yrs ago (mid three figures iirc). Highly recommended as a needed tool for any tech/repair dude/dudette.
I have two of the Threadmates for external threads, one rebadged as a Craftsman that goes to about 3/4 inch, and the big one, that goes to almost two inches, as well as thread Repairing files. They each have their place, which I will try to explain. Thread chasing files are good for cleaning out rusted threads, or threads packed full of gunk. While they work pretty well, they do not clean to the very bottom of the threads, and are wholly dependent upon the user to not only use the file at the proper angle, depth, direction, etc, but you must match the file with the thread pitch on the bolt. My files have 8 different pitches, depending on which edge of the file used. They are tedious to use, but have the advantage of being able to slightly ‘shrink’ the bolt size slightly if necessary, or put a very small amount of taper at the end of the bolt to make the nut easier to start. You must VERY carefully chase around damaged threads, with even pressure and strokes, and it is up to you to hold the proper thread angle.
The Threadmate tools are much easier to use than files, but for good results, you need some undamaged threads to start it, so it can establish the proper angle and spacing to match the thread pitch. Once this is done, however, use is simple and straightforward. Just advance it around the bolt in the indicated direction, taking care to be sure it stays properly in the threads. It will chase the threads all the way to their bottom, giving a sharp ‘v’ at the bottom of the threads, better than I ever got with thread files. One thing to keep in mind, is that you can make several passes, chasing the threads a little at a time, until you get them fixed. Unlike a file, it is very tough to deepen threads beyond their original bottom. I believe the blade angle is set so that as deep as it will go.
I guess the strongest endorsement I can give for the Threadmate was one time when I used it to repair a threaded spindle on my Combine. The Timkin bearings that ride on the spindle went bad, and buggered the threads on the end of the spindle. I got the old bearings out, but upon reassembly the new nut would not want to thread on properly. My thread files weren’t working good enough for my comfort, so I didn’t know what to do. The guy at the repair shop said it looked like I’d have to either buy a $300 spindle, or a $60 Threadmate, which was the first I heard of them. I tried the Threadmate, and it worked very well. The threads were buggered bad enough on the end that it took 4 or 5 passes to really get them right, but it worked where nothing else I tried would. I doubt even a thread die would have worked, unless it was a split die, because the threads on the end were so bad, to get them to match the existing threads farther down (where the load was going to be) I had to start down where the threads were good, and work my way towards the end.
I would say that Threadmates are one of those tools you maybe only NEED on very rare occasions, but you will be very glad you have one if you need it. For most people, I think taps and dies would be a better place to put your money, because a Threadmate can only chase threads, not make new ones, but in my case, the Threadmate was actually cheaper than the die the size do the spindle, and it fits many sizes, not just (if I remember right) 1 13/16 fine thread which is what I needed for the spindle (not to mention a die that size was nowhere to be found – special order only.
I had a problem working on a alternater , I flange the treads to start the nut ! So i cut the hex die at 9 and 3 o clock , put the die on the treads ,then the handle , adjust the top screw to the threads . turn the handle to fix the threads !
I was hesitant at first but after reading the comments on this site I have concluded I want one. Don’t need one right now as I have a decent tap and die set but I have stored this in my mental tool box if I ever need a strange die size I know where to find something that will work.
This really is a pipe cutter, but with a more refined purpose. If it functions as advertised, it could save a lot of time and work with a simple solution.
Like many, I’ve used a tap and die set to repair messed-up threads on an engine or elsewhere. Another forum introduced me to a thread repair kit (chaser set) , made by Lang (Kastar) for Sears. That article indicated that a tap and die set should not be used for repairing threads, whenever possible. A T/D set tends to enlarge or oval existing threads as it cleans them out; the thread chaser set, being less aggressive, will not damage (recut) the existing threads, so it’s a better option.
The other thing is that thread chaser sets cannot be used to cut new threads; they’re not designed to do that, so you need both types to do a proper job (either cutting new threads or repairing old).
The Threadmate will do a decent job for the occasional user, based on comments here. They’re relatively expensive, however, and by the time you’ve invested in internal and external units, you’ve got as much or more $$ tied up as you would have with a full thread chaser set. In addition, the external Threadmate requires a bit of room to swing it around during a repair, which may not be available in some situations.
The best bet is to look for sale events (Spring sales, Black Friday, etc.) to make the purchase.
Regular reader/poster, but came across this thread from searching Google for a review of this.
I was in Duluth Trading last night, and saw this on the clearance table. Turned out, their extra 50% off clearance sale started today in-store. Tool was less than $10.
They also had the Milescraft hook adapter for $2 (part #1315)