The intent of defining a list of tools as “Standard” is to provide uniformity in manufacture, integrity, and use. This “uniformity” allows for ease of service, and provides interchangeability of common parts for the user, and ultimately for the consumer. It is also meant to assure quality of function for which the thread is intended.

In the United States, there are three primary organizations that contribute to those definitions. The descriptions of the entities below are meant to be simple for the purpose of illustration to show basic scope of involvement.

USCTI (United States Cutting Tool Institute) is a tooling manufacturers group that provides recommendations on general dimension and design for its members in the manufacturing of the tools themselves. Tool blank dimensions, flute configuration, and tool nomenclatures are usually defined here.

ASME (American Society of Manufacturing Engineers) is a professional association that promotes standards for the functional capabilities of the finished products for which the tools were assigned.

ANSI (American National Standards Institute) represents our Government to coordinate US Standards with International Standards to meet worldwide markets. This is the recognized stamp of approval for standards adopted by USCTI and ASME.

Certainly there are other standards; DIN, British Whitworth, SAE, etc ……., but there is an overlooked “standard” that may cause blurring of the lines between Industry Standard and special taps

We know this standard as “Popular Specials”. When a tap becomes used with consistent regularity, the manufacturer may decide to include it as a stocked tap in their product offering. Most recognized examples are Extensions, Left-hand, and .005 oversized for pre-plate. In reality, the marketplace itself is another source for setting a standard in someone’s product catalog.

It is common to receive inquiries for quote, or even orders that leave out a few details. Frequently, when asked for clarification on the customer’s needs, the response is “Oh ……, whatever’s standard”. The question then becomes, “Who’s standard?” Without clarification, the decision can be a shot in the dark at a moving target. North American Tool, without further clarification would default to USCTI and ANSI.

If you are forced to use a default setting on your phone or computer, the result is not always an outcome that was desired. So it is when choosing defaults in Tool Design. As a “Specials” manufacturer, we would prefer the customer specify his need.