Making your own syrup begins when you extract the sap out of a maple tree. This isn't as difficult a proposition as it may seem at first. Certain tools are required to properly execute sap extraction. Having the right tools for the job allows you to drill deep enough into the tree to bring the sap out, and you need a system to catch it until you're ready to boil it down into syrup.
To start the process of tapping a tree, you will need either an electric or hand-operated drill. An electric drill will make the job easier, but if you want an old-fashioned lumberjack feel, the hand drill can be fun. You have a few options for drill bit size: 5/16th inch, 7/16th inch or 19/64 inch. Your bit size is determined by the size of your spile, or spout. They should correspond with one another to create a tight seal.
A spile, also known colloquially as a spout, is arguably the most pivotal tree-tapping tool in the entire process. The spile is how you draw the sap out of the maple tree. Spiles come in both plastic and metal, both of which work. They also come in different sizes, and your spile size should correspond to your drill bit size; otherwise, there won't be a proper fit, and you will find yourself unsuccessful in your efforts.
A metal or plastic bucket is needed to collect sap as it runs out of the tree. Most commercially purchased spiles provide a place to hang the bucket. If there isn't a spot to hang your bucket, hang the bucket from a rope tied to a tree branch. There must not be any holes in the bucket, or the sap will run out. You also need a lid for your bucket to keep out debris and moisture. Make sure it fits well and won't fall off if tampered with by wildlife such as squirrels, or during strong winds.