I hate trying to balance a fastener on the end of a hex or Torx wrench — the fastener inevitably falls off, and with my luck it’s never seen again. Manufacturers have tried different ways of holding fasteners on the end, like rubber gaskets and flared ends, but Armstrong finally brings some common sense to the industry with their BE Magnetic Hex and Torx Wrench sets.
Sears sells a 22-piece set for $40 and a 31-piece set for $50. Both sets include standard and metric hex sizes as well as Torx sizes, and they come with a holder.
I haven’t tried any of these out yet, but the idea looks pretty interesting. The “ratcheting” concept applies to these wrenches in that when you’re pulling in one direction the larger side of the wrench acts as a brace and it functions like a normal wrench — yet when you pull in the other direction, the short end allows it to slip relatively freely. Of course, you can flip it over to “change directions.”
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There’s no reason DIY projects can’t achieve the same level of professionalism as that of the biggest manufacturers — assuming the DIY-er brings a bit of skill and the right tools for the job. In the case of some of the newer electronic projects such as robotics — a subject that has always fascinated us — properly torqued screws are the order of the day. A 1/4″-drive torque screwdriver, like this one from Armstrong Tools, can help get you get the most out of those tricky fasteners on your next project.
Torque screwdrivers work much like torque wrenches; They just use the twisting motion of a screw driver instead of a socketed wrench. They produce a crisp, audible click over the entire torque range so the user can hear when proper force has been applied. A detent-style locking collar allows you to set the desired torque and prevents accidental changes in settings when in use.
A linear ball-bearing mechanism assures accuracy and repeatability of the settings by eliminating friction between the spring and case and provides a precise application to the user of between 6 and 36 in-lbs of torque.
This particular driver from Armstrong comes with a 1/4″-drive female hex adapter and is available on the web for around $165. Yeah, that’s expensive if you’re just putting the vacuum cleaner back together, but if you’re assembling more mission-critical stuff (especially with stretch-type fasteners), you’re going to need one.