When it comes to thread repair and restoration tools, you have your pick of the litter on which one to use. The question is, which one of these tools will save you time and money? Which tool can help you finish repair and restoration projects fast and easy without having to break the bank? Threads are everywhere and if you’re an auto mechanic, home improvement buff, DIY enthusiast, or field technician, then this list is for you. Here are a couple of examples, along with their pros and cons, to help you pick the best option.
Lightweight and pretty straightforward to use. Ideal for repairing damaged or mangled external threads on bolts and pipes. No professional experience required.
Thread files are pitch-dependent, only works on external threads, and you have to have the correct size file for the right bolt before you can start repairing the thread. You need the right file for the right job which means you’ll need a complete kit of files. If you don’t, you run the risk of cross-threading and ruining the bolt completely. Also, the process of raking back and forth is not only time consuming but laborious as well.
Taps & Dies
An experienced professional using taps and dies can repair threads quickly. Additionally, taps and dies can thread deeper holes in harder materials like steel.
A major disadvantage of taps and dies is that a different size tap and die is required for each thread. This is why most taps and dies are sold in expensive kits that have all the taps and dies needed. Like files, you’ll first need to measure the thread’s pitch before using a tap or die, otherwise you’ll end up ruining the threads completely. There are no second takes.
Once the hole is tapped, the size and position of the thread are final so you better do it right the first time. Also, rigid taps are dedicated for the threading of holes and cannot be used to mill threads onto the outside of a bolt. Alternatively, dies dig into the bolt shaft, causing gnawing and galling of their threads, it can also damage and completely cut off the flanks. Using dies has a high chance of the potential to lock up on the thread resulting in severe damage when removed.
A good thread plow will not require you to measure thread pitch. Thread plows can adjust and adapt to a thread’s diameter and pitch. This tool can chase the good threads and repair damaged external threads on bolts.
Only works on external threads. Using thread plows may evolve into aggravation and disengagement of the tool from the workpiece. The process requires room to work to swing the tool around the threaded rod. Often, you don’t have that much space to repair a thread. You also need various size plow wrenches for various size diameter threads, especially for larger diameters more than 6 inches.
Helicoils are made up of 60-degree wire Diamond-shaped cross-sections. The wire is coiled and acts as a clock spring. One common type of coil is the free-running coils. This is extremely flexible. The helicoil insert can independently adjust to the fastener threads and basically act as new threads.
Requires an experienced professional to use. Despite the appearance that it looks easy to use, it can only repair internal threads. Having this in your toolbox doesn’t mean it can solve your problems unless you have different sizes of coils. You’ll need time and expertise to install coils the right way, otherwise you ruin the project completely.
One tool can repair both internal and external threads in literally seconds. Rotary Thread is designed to be self-adjusting and self-aligning. Its “V” shape in the thread enables the tool to restore the original 60-degree profile into threads of any bolt or nut. You don’t need to become a pro to use this tool.
All inch, metric, and pipe threads have the same 60 degrees “V” angle, and Rotary Thread, a patented tool, has this exact angle working one thread at a time. This allows the tool to work on any project, inside or outside threads, quickly. The Thread pitch doesn’t matter as Rotary Thread focuses on a single point means you are restoring each V shape of the thread.
Its versatility allows the user to have this one tool for any thread repair project. You don’t have to collect a bunch of different tools for different thread sizes for repairing. Lightweight and perfect for field repairs, this is a perfect tool for mechanics and restoration enthusiasts trying to save time and money.
Requires a steady hand to chase fine threads.
Files are great for beginners but you need the right file for the right thread. Taps and dies are quick but requires the user to have enough expertise, else they end up ruining the threads completely. They’re pretty expensive too. Out of all the tools we shared, only one tool can repair inside and outside threads quickly with minimal effort and experience. Rotary Thread is versatile, quick, easy to use, lightweight, and it is the best thread repair tool out there hands down.