Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tech Tip: Make your own T handle wrenches

Got some old 1/4" sockets kicking around? Don't want to spend a bunch of money on store bought wrenches? Why not make some...

What you need:
Old 1/4" sockets in whatever sizes you want
1/4" Steel round stock
Chop saw / hack saw
MIG Welder
Tape measure
Safety glasses & Gloves

1. Chances are you have some old 1/4" sockets kicking around your garage that you never use. Pick out the ones that are the commonly used sizes (6, 8, 10, 12mm etc) The 1/4" round stock fits perfectly into the receiver end of the socket
2. Pick up some 1/4" steel round stock. I bought mine at Princess Auto. How much you need will depend on how many wrenches you are making and the sizes you want the handle / shaft.
3. Determine the sizes you want your handle and shaft to be. I went with 5.5" for the handle and 6" for the shaft.
4. Mark out your pieces and cut them to length. Use the grinder to round off the ends of the handle pieces. It will be easier to do it now than after welding.
5. Mark out the center of your handle pieces. But the staft piece to the center of the handle piece and weld. I used a small magnetic welding square to hold the shaft square to the handle hands free.
Small magnetic welding squares. Sorry I don't have a picture of the actual welding of the t handles

6. Stick the shaft piece into the 1/4" socket ratchet end. The socket should hold its self square on the shaft and bottom out without the shaft going all the way though the socket. Weld it on with a couple tack welds. A MIG welder works easiest and cleanest but a stick welder could also work.

7. Grind down any sharp spots and start wrenchin'

- I tried spraying on a rubber coating onto the wrenches but it didn't stick very good and it didn't allow the wrench to spin freely in your finger tips.
- You may want to consider marking the wrenches to differenciate the sizes. Different colours, tape... whatever works for you