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How to Use Adjustable Dies

Steve Sloane

When a male thread needs to be created around the end of a rod, a die is used to carry out the procedure. The steel die is shaped like a cylindrical cross section with a hollow center. The walls of its center are spiraled with cutting edges that create a thread when turned around the end of a rod. Adjustable dies have an opening on one side and a corresponding screw that allows the user to dial in the die's grasp on the rod. Adjustable dies are generally used for threading small diameter rods.

Dies are used to create the threads that enter a nut.
  1. Secure the rod in a pipe vise, with the rod's end no more than 12 inches from the vise jaws. If necessary, use a screwdriver to turn the die's tightening screw -- located by the side opening -- so that the die's cutting spirals firmly contact the rod's diameter. Do not overtighten the die, as this will make it hard to thread the rod and also effect the threads' integrity.

  2. Slot the die in the die stock (a handled device that holds the die in place) with the printed side of the die facing you -- information is printed on the side of all dies. Tighten the screws on the side of the stock, to secure the die to the stock -- use a screwdriver.

  3. Brush cutting oil around the end of the rod and on the die's cutting spirals. Position the center of the die against the end of the rod, with the printed side of the die facing you. Ensure that the face of the die and stock is perpendicular to the end of the rod at all times.

  4. Push the die against the rod and rotate it clockwise until you've completed 1/2 turn. Then turn the die back counterclockwise about 1/4 turn, which helps to remove metal shavings from the rod. Repeat this twofold process several times until the rod's end almost exits the other end of the die's center.

  5. Turn the die counterclockwise to remove it from the rod. Wipe off all cutting oil and shavings from the rod's threads and the die, using a rag.