Dies vs Adapters

April 15, 2018

It helps to know the correct terminology when dealing with fasteners.  Many people use the terms "dies" and "adapters" interchangeably but they actually refer to different things. 

Complete Video Guide to Dies & Adapters


What are Dies?

Dies are the attachments necessary for the press to perform any function.  Without the dies, your fastener tool is incomplete. 

There are different dies for different jobs: installing snaps, rivets or grommets, punching holes, removing snaps, assembling cover buttons or key fob hardware, and so forth.

That means you will always need dies for your press to work.  And the dies need to be specific to your fasteners, including the size. For example:

  • Size 14 plastic snaps need dies for size 14 plastic snaps. Dies for size 14 metal snaps wouldn't work.
  • 8mm rivets need dies for 8mm rivets. Dies for 10mm rivets wouldn't work.
KAM Snaps Dies for Press Setter Machine KAM Snaps Dies for Handheld Press Pliers Setter Tool


What are Adapters?

An adapter is a die holder.  It is not always needed, but the following is a scenario where it would be.

Here are 2 different models of dies.  As you can see, the DK93 die has a wider shank compared to the KX die.

KAMsnaps Press Die Attachments


The Dk93 die would fit in a Dk93 press without any issues.  But if you tried to place the smaller KX die in the hole of the DK93 press, it wouldn't fit.

KAMsnaps Press


Here is where the adapter comes in. The adapter has a base that fits in the larger press hole.  But it has a smaller hole on top that fits the KX die.

DK93-KX Adapter


The adapter connects the smaller die with the larger hole in the press.

KAMsnaps Adapter


Once the adapter is placed in the press, the smaller KX die can now fit.

KAMsnaps Professional Press Adapter to Make Dies Fit

The adapter basically "adapts" the DK93 press to fit the KX die. For this reason, the piece is called a DK93-KX adapter.  (We also have a DK98-KX adapter set for the older DK98 press model.)



Dies are always needed for your press because they are the attachments that perform the specific function (installing snaps or rivets or grommets, punching holes, etc).  The dies are what come into direct contact with your fabric and fasteners.

Adapters, on the other hand, change the settings (ie. hole size) of your press so that it can accommodate the smaller KX dies.  Adapters just hold the dies.

To remove any guesswork, every fastener sold on KAMsnaps.com has a Required Tools section in the product description that links to the exact dies and adapters you need for your tool.

(Not sure which tool you have?   Click here to identify.)

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