Thread cutting is the machining of threads. The thread is machined into the workpiece with appropriately shaped tool cutting edges. Taps are used for internal threads and dies for external threads. These are the common names for these tools, but they are not entirely accurate. Taps do not drill but cut an indentation along a helix in a cylindrical inner wall, dies on a cylindrical outer wall. The aim is that the screw thread (outside) and nut thread (inside) fit together.

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There are machine taps and hand taps. Machine taps are used in a machine tool. There are different types of machine taps. They are developed to achieve optimum results with different types of holes and with different types of material. In combination with holding tools, hand taps can be used for cutting threads in manual operation.

Dies can be used both in manual operation and in machines. This requires appropriate die holders for the different applications.

Taps, dies, holding tools and assortments are summarised under the generic term thread cutting tools. If one adds the thread formers, thread templates, thread chucks and thread gauges, then together with the thread cutting tools one can generally speak of threading tools.