10 REASONS WHY YOU NEED A HEX KEY SET
Chances are your toolbox is filled with a wide variety of flat head and Phillips screwdrivers. If you ever had a hex key, you came with something you bought and threw it away or lost it shortly after you used it. However, there is an increasing need for hex wrenches as more and more everyday items are assembled with hex screws. Below is a short list of items that may require a hex key.
Furniture: hex screws are the standard for any unassembled furniture you build at home.
Tools: most tools that use bits require a hex key to secure the bit to the tool.
Bicycles: you cannot disassemble your bike without a hex key.
Motorcycle: like your bike, more and more motorcycles rely on hex screws.
Skates: if you want to rotate the wheels of your skates, you will need a hex wrench.
Skateboard: good luck performing any maintenance on your skateboard without hex key.
Automotive work: whether it’s the engine, seat, dashboard or something else, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter more than a few hex screws when working on your car.
Electronics: as electronics become more compact, hex screws become more necessary.
Appliances: for any area that is a tight fit, a hex screw is the answer. You may be surprised at the places where you would need a hex wrench when working on appliances.
Plumbing: if you want to upgrade the handles or shower faucet, you probably need a hex wrench to perform that upgrade.
The main sse of a hex wrench is that it has six contact points to help tighten or loosen the screw. In comparison, a Phillips head has four, and a flat head screwdriver has only two.
Q. What is the difference between a hex key and an Allen key?
A. a hex wrench, Allen wrench and Allen wrench are the same tool. William G. Allen patented a single screw for the Allen Manufacturing Company in the early 1900s. The company marketed that hex screw as the ” Allen safety set screw.”The tool that fit in the screw was a hex wrench, but many people refer to it as an Allen wrench or an Allen wrench.
Q. What is Cam out?
A. When the tool you are using to tighten (or loosen) a screw slips out of the groove, it is called Cam out. When this happens, the screw is usually damaged immediately. If it happens repeatedly, the screw will quickly become unusable. To avoid this unfortunate situation, the thrust force (on the screw) must be at least twice the turning force. Another reason for Cam output is not to have the tool perpendicular to the screw.
Q. What is the purpose of a ball-shaped hex key?
A. a hex wrench that features a spherical end allows the user to reach hard-to-reach screws because it can operate at an angle. The main drawback of the ball end is its tendency to slide under higher pressure (cam out). If possible, it is best to use a straight end hex wrench to perform the initial loosening or final tightening of a screw.
With so many hex key options available, how do you know which set is right for you? To get started, you need to determine which style of hex wrench best suits your needs.
The three most common types of hex wrenches are L-handle, T-handle and folding sets.
The three common types of hex wrenches are L-shaped, T-shaped and folding sets. The long arm on the L-shaped handles produces more leverage than the other variants of hex wrenches, allowing for greater torque and better reach in narrow areas. T-shaped wrenches are used in low torque applications due to their ease of Use and torque control. They have relatively short key lengths and require easy access to sockets. Folding sets are convenient as they can fit in your pocket, making them ideal for spot checks in the shop. All keys are enclosed in the carrying case, preventing individual sizes from being lost. Like T-handles, they have limited torque capabilities and do not work in applications with limited space.
Now that you know the different styles of hex wrenches, learn what separates the good from the bad.
How durable are they? Most hex wrenches are manufactured from steel, however, there are many grades and grades of steel. Often hex wrenches are constructed from low-cost steel grades where hardness, stress relief, and surface treatments are not considered during the design and manufacturing process. This leads to hex wrenches that have lower tensile strength and shorter service life. Replacement will be required more frequently, resulting in higher long-term costs and inconveniences for users. If you use hex wrenches infrequently, for low-torque applications, or simply lose them all the time, the cheaper alternative is probably right for your needs.
All hex keys are not the same. If you’ve ever rounded corners on your cheap hex wrenches, save time and effort and look for a more robust set. Maintaining material hardness is critical for high tensile strength which results in better torque capabilities of the wrenches. Premium manufacturers often specify the Rockwell Hardness grade of their steel tools to differentiate themselves from cheap competitors. These are more likely to have a Rockwell rating of C55 and above.
Surface treatments can also affect the service life and performance of hex wrenches. Hex wrenches usually have a black oxide or galvanized finish. Both finishes can degrade over time with black oxide wear leading to oxidation and zinc flaking. When comparing tools from different manufacturers, it is important to evaluate whether the manufacturer offers patented or additional surface treatment options. For example, Chrome Plating is more durable compared to black oxide or zinc due to the lower friction between the tool end and the hardware being installed. It also has better wear resistance, especially when textured. However, this extra durability can be a detriment, as it can be easier over torque or stripping the screw socket. Users need to balance which features are most important to them.
Is there any design benefit to the keys? We have already covered the different styles of wrenches, but there are more design factors to consider, such as length, end geometry and bend angle.
The length of the wrench can be critical depending on the application. Long wrenches are preferred when higher torque is needed or there is limited accessibility, but they also promote excessive torque if the user is not careful. Short wrenches are best suited for confined spaces where longer styles don’t fit.
The geometry of the end is an important differentiator of the design. Standard cheap hex wrenches will have a HEX end with sharp corners designed to fit hardware with some play. They should be used perpendicular to the screw, which makes it more difficult to secure the complete coupling. This makes it easy to peel plugs, especially at higher pairs, and creates uncomfortable wrist angles that can be uncomfortable for users. A breakthrough to this is the end of the ball. They are designed to be inserted into the screw socket at an angle that allows for a more natural grip and smoother twisting. The spherical ends are usually only at the long end of the wrenches and save time during installation or disassembly as they do not need perfect alignment to mate with the screw head. It is important to note that spherical ends are only used to start the installation. They do not have full surface contact with the socket, which means they lack the socket coupling wrench needed to completely twist the screw. Trying to completely twist a screw with the ball end will not work and may even break the ball end in higher torque applications.
Is there any convenience benefit? We have already talked about ball ends that are a great convenience during insertion into the screw. One of the other common problems in store floors is the loss of hex keys. They are usually a dark finish and many of the surfaces they are used on are also dark and filled with other tools that make them easy to lose. Manufacturers can offer a color finish on L-shaped wrenches that allows them to be easily identified on the mounting bench, floor, or tool box. This reduces the time lost in finding inexpensive assembly tools. In addition, the color is an indicator of the key size that makes it easier to choose the right size quickly.
Another element of convenience is having the size engraved or stamped on the key. All sets come standard with a labeled tool holder, but what happens when you have several close sized wrenches outside the tool holder at the same time? It is likely that the eyeball keys and use the closest fit, which is particularly risky when there are both inch and metric keys to choose from. This leaves you groping trying keys until one fits or using the size that does the job, but you can remove the socket. On larger braces it may be possible to write the size directly on the body, however this is not a solution for smaller sizes. Having the size stamped on the key makes identification simple and saves time.
Finally, an important factor with all hand tools IS grip. There are all kinds of different grips on L wrenches, including textured finishes, coatings, rubber or plastic sleeves, padded grips, and some are simply shaped to fit your hand. There are pros and cons for all types of grip. For example, a paint-type coating can protect keys from rust and damage, but the coating can chip the end of the key and compromise how it fits into the screw head. The main factor when considering grip is the operating environment. Using them at home to assemble furniture is different from using them in a machine shop with oil, coolant, chemicals, and other sliding contaminants present. Some applications may require wrenches that can withstand extreme temperatures and not be too hot or cold to the touch.