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Patti Norris 01-16-2011 05:51 PM

Anyone use a Ridgid 300 Pipe Machine
[the quick question- how do I remove the shaft holding the die head]

[the details]
Thrilled that I found a good deal on a used Ridgid 300 pipe machine, tripod, foot pedal, two die heads, etc. on Craigslist. It works really good, except I have no operating manual and can't find one online (and I don't want to pay for one) just to get an answer to 1 question.

Sounds kinda silly because I know how to use the machine- for 3 years I lugged a company-owned threader like this around to pipe-in oil tanks (fill and vent pipes).

Never crossed my mind that I'd need an operating manual, but have found myself in a situation where I need to know the answer to a really simple question for anyone who's ever had to change die heads.

My experience was always with a machine that was set up for the pipe size that I was using- 1-1/4"; 1-1/2" and 2" pipe. I'm on my own now and need to do a job using 3/4" pipe, which means I need to change the die head. Never done it before and need to know how.

Looking at the end of the shaft of the one I'm putting on, it looks like there's a hole in the shaft- could be for a screw. If it is a screw, it sure has a skinny head on it. Before I start tearing up the head of (what I'm assuming) is a screw, I need to know for sure if that's a screw head and if that's the only thing holding the shaft in place.

My sensibility tells me that if it is a screw, it would have a slot, cross, bolt head or stick out more, like a thumb-screw. Anyone know?

fy171 01-17-2011 08:20 AM

which die head do you have ?????

Anti-wingnut 01-17-2011 08:45 AM

Not that hard to find. You have a 300 Compact. I'll let you (try) to do the rest

I used to rebuild (primarily) 535 machines, but a 300 would not have been beyond my skill set. I don't know what you're talking about. The die heads should slip on and off the tool shaft, without any type of retainer.

Also, when using universal die heads do not take the die head apart to replace the dies. I cannot remember if this applies to fixed die heads also. But at least with the universal heads, one loosens the exterior set screw which adjusts for various pipe sizes and moves the unit furthest to one side. The dies should be easily picked out from their numbered slots

Patti Norris 01-17-2011 10:19 AM

I have an 811 Die Head (now on the machine) with a 341 Reamer also riding on the shaft.

I'm going to contact Ridgid (thanks Anti-wingnut) don't think I could have gotten an answer from Ridgid last night.

But just to be more understood, the shaft seems to be part of the Die Head itself.

It looks to me when changing heads. the shaft gets pulled out with the die head (because the shaft is an intrigal part of the die head), and the replacement head, having its own shaft, gets slid through the holes that the other die head shaft just came out of.

Also, seems to me that when the head/shaft is getting pulled out, you better keep your other hand on the reamer, because it'll just fall to the floor.

And then again, I could be all screwed up. Maybe the other head I have, doesn't even belong to that model machine.

I guess we'll see. I'll post back after I get a hold of Ridgid. Thanks

PS: If I can't get an answer, I'll send pics if that can be done in this forum.

Anti-wingnut 01-18-2011 09:30 AM

Pictures would be nice, it's been about 15 years since I spent much time with pipe machines.

Yes, the short shaft you are referring to is part of the die head, and should not be removed except when replacing that particular part. The shaft I thought you were referring to was the two larger shafts that are part of the 300, and support the tool holder.

The die heads insert into the tool holder from the side nearest the pipe machine. I don't remember how the reamer is held in place

Ridgid pipe forum is full of helpful people:

Hobart's site has many weldors, some of whom could be helpful:

I'm sure you have been to Ridgids site ( ) . In the past Ridgid was well known for their parts diagrams, so much so that just about anybody could rebuild a 535 in the darkness of Prudehome, the mud of the Congo or the heat of Vietnam. I'm sure that this has not suffered. is good, but they don't suffer non professional well.

Plumbing Talk is well known for being exceptionally intolerant of anybody other than plumbers. General Contractors have been shown the door there

fy171 01-18-2011 11:10 AM

Patti Norris 01-20-2011 06:35 PM

I'm sorry I didn't get back to you. I called Ridgid as soon as I got your link and was told how to remove the head- and your last reply was right.

Then I immediately started cutting and threading 3/4" black pipe; then another problem!

I'd cut and thread the pipe, but it wouldn't screw into any fitting. This whole thing was killin' me.

Do I have the wrong set of dies in here? Am I threading the pipe up too far? Why doesn't my threads look like the ones on a nipple I bought some time ago from Home D.? Seems there is a nice taper on the nipple; mine look flat.

Needless to say, I made no progress that entire day. I took the head apart to see if the dies had a number on them, then I was going to match them with what I was supposed to be using.

Well, it ended up I had the right dies. So what the h__ is the problem? Maybe my dies are worn out. When I take a close look at my threads, it kinda looked like my threads weren't V shaped- they were flattened, more like a squared-off U shape.

At this point, I was almost sure it was some idiotic thing that I was doing wrong. I could only screw the pipe into a fitting- one thread. I'm going to try to under-cut the threads. I thought to myself.

I'm going to be honest about this. I adjusted the teeth down about a 64th and tried it again. Same result. So I adjusted the dies down again another 64th; it was worse.

What an idiot; I was adjusting the teeth further out, instead of making them deeper. So I said some bad words and adjusted the dies so they cut about a 16th less than what was marked on the head for 3/4".

Then things started going my way! I could screw my pipe in about two threads. What a humbling experience! How hard can this be . . . I used one of these every day (except Sunday) for 3 years and here I am getting stuck on some simple things.

I just kept adjusting it until I could screw it in a fitting as much as the "store-bought" nipple. Oh; and another thing- because I was always using bigger pipe, I'd thread an inch. With 3/4" pipe, it's only 3/4".

I think I'm all set to go. Thanks for the push in the right direction Anti-wingnut. Good-nite all.

Thurman 01-20-2011 08:58 PM

Possible that you have threading a die or dies for electrical conduit.

Patti Norris 01-20-2011 09:12 PM

OK. Now you have me all messed up again. I researched dies for the Ridgid head and only found HS (high speed) or for lower speed, like 48rpm. They both said (universal).

I asked some people I know about any difference in threads of plumbing or electrical; everyone kinda smiled and said, "They're all the same. I didn't know there was any difference."

If you can confirm your guess with some reference, hey- I'd be happy as h__! Keep in touch.

nap 01-20-2011 09:29 PM

the female thread is the difference. Plumbers use a tapered female while electricians use a straight thread female. Two pieces of electrical conduit will butt to each other in a coupling while a plumbers pipe will seal in the coupling.

at least that is how I understand it.

most electricians I know also tend to set the dies to cut the pipe a bit smaller than a plumber will.

electricians use a 1 in 16 taper (3/4" per foot). I believe a plumbers thread is the same.

Patti Norris 01-28-2011 11:09 PM

Just to catch everyone on what's been going on-
I found out that the dies that I had in my 1" - 2" head had an inscription that read- 1 - 2 HS SS. The inscription is located on the end of each die. On the side of each die is laser inscribed: RIDGID UNIVERSAL.

I was told that the SS was the problem! I shouldn't be using Stainless Steel dies to cut black iron. It's a totally different thread. How about that? No wonder, I said. Geeze; at least I found out what was causing the problem.

On the 1/2" - 3/4" head, the dies on the ends said, 1/2 - 3/4 HS, which were correct. I figured they were just worn out.

Knowing that, I went out and bought new dies for both heads. That was $300.00, while I was at it I got a new cutting wheel too.

To make a long, miserable and sad story short, I installed the new dies (very simple). Then I went to the job and started with the 2".

The first run was 12'-5". I kept the factory end and fresh-cut and threaded the other end. I have to say, it really looked great.

The only problem I had was again, it would not fit into any 2" fitting I had. I had fittings from China South America, the US and South Africa. I couldn't even get the pipe started in the fitting.

I over-cut it, under-cut it; cut it right on the mark, and a whole bunch of depth intervals in between. Absolutely nothing would screw into a fitting. Now my pipe is about 2 and a half feet smaller than I needed it to be- you can only GUESS how I feel at this point!

What should I blame it on now? Is the pipe made wrong? Is the machine way out of whack? Did I buy the wrong dies? (by the way- my pipe was made in South Africa)

Before I spent any money, I gathered a bunch of stuff together. I took my pipe cuts, fittings, store-bought nipples in a 5 gallon bucket to a local RIDGID distributor (during the biggest snow storm of the year) and showed him and explained to him what was going on. He asked some questions, I gave him some answers. He got out his Ridgid book ( about 4" thick) and looked up the part numbers for the correct dies that I needed. I had to travel out of state to a supply house that carried Ridgid parts. I bought the ones he wrote down.

Oh yes; I think it needs to be mentioned that when I showed the distributor the nipples that I bought at Home Depot- and pointed out how radical the taper was, (as compared to any of mine) he said, "I never saw threads like that before." But guess what; those nipples screwed right into every single fitting that I had.

And yes, the new dies that I have now, cut a flat thread, with a small taper (about 3 threads) near the beginning of the threading, (not the end of the pipe).

And another thing- I tried threading one inch of the end of the pipe in small increments, down to threading only a half an inch of threads- it made no difference. This was in all combinations: over-cut to under-cut at each couple of additional threads.

As much money I have into this stinkin machine and counting the lost time, I could have AND should have, bought a brand new one. I was so concerned about getting through this job. I was going to sell the machine to get my money back out of it, and with the profits from this first job- buy a new one. EVERYTHING was riding on this stinkin machine that I bought.

And you really want to know what burns me? (please allow me to vent for a second)

It's that I can not find anyone who absolutely, positively knows where I can find the CORRECT dies to cut a taper in a pipe- the same way that Home Depot does. What Is The Big Deal ???

Somebody help me; I'm dying here!
What else can it be? I'm going out of my mind!

nap 01-28-2011 11:52 PM

got a pic of the threads it cuts?

The TPI and taper is determined by the dies but the resulting diameter is due to the adjustment of the dies.

do you have the correct # die in the correct # holder?

You do know the diameter of the cut is adjustable, right?


cut a flat thread, with a small taper (about 3 threads) near the beginning of the threading, (not the end of the pipe).
not sure what you mean. The taper is consistent due to the taper of the dies.

You didn't figure out how to put the dies in backwards in the holder did you? (don't know if you can. It's been awhile since I changed any dies)

Do you have a manual? If not, here: where it says model 300 power drive, there are some small icons. Among them is a download of the operators manual. Page 17 speaks to changing the dies.

and just for the fun of it, here is a listing of the dies for the various heads and sizes

you can check what you have and had to see if you believe it to be the correct dies.

oh'mike 01-29-2011 05:50 AM

Dandy research there Nap---It's been years since I ran a threader---The one we had was a much bigger unit---Mike--

Anti-wingnut 01-29-2011 09:13 AM


Originally Posted by Thurman (Post 574714)
Possible that you have threading a die or dies for electrical conduit.

Not possible. Years ago it was common for conduit to be threaded with NPSM (National Pipe Straight Mechanical) dies. Now the NEC mandates (344.28) NPT threads


Originally Posted by Patti Norris (Post 580060)
I was told that the SS was the problem! I shouldn't be using Stainless Steel dies to cut black iron. It's a totally different thread. How about that?

All pipe threads are the same, wether they are in SS, carbon steel, inconel, brass, copper or plastic. The dies may differ in their type and temper of steel, but the threads are all exactly the same

Anti-wingnut 01-29-2011 09:28 AM

Nap's chart reminds me, we need to know what die head you have. If you put unversal dies in a fixed head, you'll have a world of hurt (although I don't think they will actually fit).

I don't understand what the problem is, Ridgid pipe machines are easy to use and highly adjustable

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