There are different socket sizes, and each one of them has a different purpose. Hence, it is crucial to know which size to use to make the work faster.
What is a socket?
It is a type of wrench used to loosen or fasten nuts and bolts of different sizes. It is more convenient to use than a regular wrench.
The operating feature allows you to maintain the wrench on the bolt without reinstalling it every time you need to turn it. When working in confined locations where movement is restricted, this is excellent to use.
You can see that sockets are used in home garages, commercial building and anything that involve cars, trucks, and buses.
In addition to being convenient and adaptable, Socket sets can make certain complex activities easier by adding a layer of user-friendliness. Consider the following scenario:
- When dealing with particularly difficult or rusty fasteners, having a well-stocked socket set on hand frequently allows users to select a socket that fits almost perfectly over (or into) the nut or bolt head in question.
- Most sockets completely encircle a nut or bolt head, allowing the instrument to grip resistant or inconveniently sized fasteners far better than an open-jaw wrench while also providing significantly more torque.
- This also reduces the risk of a non-socketed, loose-fitting tool slipping under greater power, which could result in injury to fingers, knuckles, or wrists, as well as costly tool and fixture damage.
How to use a socket?
1. Choose the appropriate socket for the job.
There could be a dozen or more sockets in your socket set. You can locate the dimensions labeled on the side of the sockets if you know the size of the nut you want to spin. Grab a similar-looking socket and try it on the nut or bolt you wish to turn if you don’t know the exact size.
Try a smaller one if it’s too big. If you turn a bolt with a too large socket, the bolt will strip and become hard to turn.
2. Connect the socket to the handle
Slide the square hole in the socket onto the square knob on the handle to connect the socket to the handle. When it’s entirely in position, you should hear a click.
3. Choose a direction
Choose a direction. A switch that adjusts the socket wrench for loosening or tightening is located directly opposite where you attached the socket. To tighten, turn the switch to the right, and to loosen, turn it to the left.
4. Apply the socket to the nut that needs to be turned.
Apply the socket to the nut that needs to be turned. Use it the same way you would a standard wrench or pliers. Just don’t remove it when you run out of room. Twist it in the opposite direction and do it again.
Different Types of Sockets
Socket wrenches that ratchet are the most common. The ratcheting mechanism distinguishes ratcheting socket wrenches. In other words, you can install or remove a fastener with a ratcheting socket wrench without raising it during each turn.
2. Flex Head
There are socket wrenches with a swiveling head known as flex-head socket wrenches. Flex-head socket wrenches, unlike ratcheting socket wrenches, do not have a fixed and stationary driving head. During use, they include attachments that allow the head to swivel. Flex-head socket wrenches aren’t as widespread as ratcheting socket wrenches, but they’re excellent for small-space tasks.
T-handle socket wrenches are one of the most basic forms of socket wrenches. T-handle socket wrenches have a T-shaped form, as its name suggests. A long vertical beam with a socket head at one end characterizes them. A horizontal beam is attached to the other end, forming the letter’s shape.
After putting the socket head into a bolt, you must grab the horizontal beam and swivel it to utilize a T-handle socket wrench.
4. Nut Driver
Nut driver is another form of a socket wrench. Handheld, manually operated screwdrivers with a socket head are known as nut driver socket wrenches. They don’t have a flat head or Philip’s head.
Instead, they have a socket head that permits them to be used in hexagonal head fastening applications.
Lastly, there are socket wrenches with no gears. A gearless socket wrench, also known as a gearless ratchet, is a relatively new variety gaining popularity due to its distinctive design. Ball bearings in gearless socket wrenches allow them to tighten or loosen fasteners without the need for gears.
The four standard socket sizes are:
- 1/4 inch (0.6 centimeters)
- 3/8 inch (0.9 centimeters)
- 1/2 inch (1.3 centimeters)
- 3/4 inch (1.9 centimeters)
There are several sizes between, starting at 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) and ascending by sixteenths of an inch (0.16 centimeters). Furthermore, sockets come in a variety of forms to match different bolt heads: six points (hexagon), eight points (double square), and twelve points (square) (double hexagon). Six-point sockets accommodate hexagon bolts, eight-point sockets, square bolts, and 12-point sockets, both hexagon and square bolts.
The 12-point sockets provide double positioning, making it easier to attach the wrench; however, there is a greater risk of it slipping off. Six-point sockets, on the other hand, slow you down but are tighter and more secure.
As the globe is moving away from standard socket sizes and toward metric socket sizes, the ability to convert between standard and metric measures is critical. The diameters of metric sockets range from 3 to 13 millimeters. It’s advisable to use a metric socket if you’re using a metric nut. When using a standard nut, use a standard socket as well.
How to Make Socket Sizes Readable?
Because of its different sizes, it is important to indicate what size your socket is. This is to make the work easier and faster. A readable socket size will save your time and energy instead of spending too much time reading and finding the right size.
The following tips on how to make your socket sizes readable are in no particular order. You can do the tips that are only applicable to you.
1. Use M-Nu
M-Nu is a metal refinisher. Make sure the socket is spotless (use acetone if needed). Then apply the paint using the included brush. Then, while the paint is still wet, quickly wipe away the excess.
It would be best if you moved faster because “M-Nu” dries out quickly. It’s enamel, so it should last a long time. The good thing about it is that it’s light, so a little goes a long way.
2. Use Paint Sticks
Use the white, black, and gold paint sticks for filling an engraving, serial numbers, and other details on firearms. They were similar to your painting in terms of rubbing off surplus paint outside the engraving, but they worked; that is, the color stayed in the lines.
3. Use Black Crayons or Shoe Polish
Rub the engravings with a black crayon, shoe polish, or something similar. The black may adhere to the insides of the characters but not to the chrome.
4. Try Laser Etching
It isn’t widely accepted (some people say they can wear off the etching with enough use). However, it is more legible than the standard tiny stamped sizes. Get a black pair with laser etching for the best reading experience. Don’t worry; different metal shops offer laser etching.
5. Create a socket organizer
To make your socket sizes readable, try organizing them and putting it in a case or drawer exclusively for their sizes. Label and color each drawer according to its size. This method will help you preserve your socket for years and isolate them from other tools as well.
6. Apply Nail Polish
If you don’t want to etch your items, go to the cosmetics aisle and picking up some nail polish. Use red for SAE, blue for metric, and bold it permanently with stamped sizing. To remove extra acetone, wipe with a damp acetone towel.
If you spill solvent on your socket, you can easily reapply it, unlike other more complex methods to fix if they become damaged. Different approaches, on the other hand, are more resistant to solvents. If you’re feeling very adventurous, you can engrave the sizing yourself to make them larger or more noticeable before completing the above.
7. Keep A Toolbox
A drawer or an organizer is different from a toolbox because a toolbox is much convenient to carry everywhere. To make your sockets readable, use a toolbox to store them and arrange them according to their sizes.
8. Use Paint Markers
Aside from paint sticks, try also the paint markers. Use either solid or liquid type paint markers. To fill in the markings, you put a lot of it on and allow it to dry.
Using a rag dampened in a solvent, wipe away any surplus. It will wipe the smooth surface clean before removing it from the markings. Wipe just hard enough to get rid of the stain. It’s not necessary to scrub.
9. Rail Organizer
Rail organizers are also called socket organizers. It allows you to arrange the sockets according to their sizes. It will help you determine which size is missing and which size to get when in a hurry.
Different socket sizes make it more difficult to pinpoint which one to use. So you have to keep them as readable and clean as possible to save time when looking for a socket.
The tips above are only a few; there are still different ways to make them readable. You have to use your creativity and problem-solving skills.
Indeed, a socket is a lifesaver for every driver. It keeps them away from the danger of doing manual work on their vehicles. They have to be knowledgeable on how to use a socket.