Sunday, May 14, 2017

How to make hex drivers

Hex screws or bolts are found in many machines and tools, and if you make jigs they can come in handy. Whether it be set-screws or bolts they are great for securing objects together.

Hex drivers work good for initial loosening and tighten but what I don't like about the common hex drivers is when you have a large bolt with lots of thread it does not turn fast. A t-handle is better or you can cut an Allen key and fit it in a drill, and this will go really fast. 

The wrenches with handles are not readily available at my local hardware store so instead of buying online I decided to make my own. I have collected many wrenches over the years so I decided  to make some handles. 



I will be making the sizes that I use the most around my shop. I will stick with Imperial for now, if I have to make more that will be easy enough.  Sometimes Imperial works on a metric fastener. For example 4 mm keys are the same size as 5/32",  8 mm will work on 5/16" and 19 mm are close to 3/4".   This is good for use on consumer products because the end user can use imperial or metric on fasteners or keys and vice versa without stripping.   

              


Let's start building

A piece of oak will be used for the handles, I like the look of oak and being a hardwood it will do well in the shop and last a long time.



                               To make a clean precise cut I used my  feather board, this keeps the 
                               board tight against the fence and ensures a better cut.



 After a strip was cut I turned the blade to 45 degrees and ran it through the saw 4 more times. This will make an octagonal dowel. I think this will give the handle  a nice look.


With a sled and a stop block set at 4 inches I cut the dowel into smaller pieces. To figure out a good length  I measured a couple of different screwdriver handles in my shop and they were all 4-5 inches. 


                           

To find the centre of the octagonal dowel I cut a small block a tiny bit smaller than half the width of the dowel and made a mark. As the dowel is turned it can be marked anywhere and the intersecting lines will give you the centre.





A simple jig was clamped to the drill press. This was made with a 2x4, it had a v-groove cut in the middle and the ends were cut out for the clamps. After the  jig is lined up to match the brad point bit to the dowel  it can be clamped.  Now the  dowel will sit in the v-groove notch and just by holding by hand the dowel centers can be drilled very fast.



                                Everything lines up. 


After the holes were drilled the ends can be tapered. I will do this using my new belt sander. To do this another simple jig was made. This one has a block that swivels and a screw as a stop. The taper angles can be changed depending on how you set the stops. 


 The Allen keys can be cut either with a hacksaw or an angle grinder. I recently built this angle grinder holder and I find I am getting a lot of use out of it. 



 Epoxy is used to glue the wrenches in the handles. After plenty of glue was applied the wrench was placed in a wooden vise  and tapped in the hole.  Any glue squeeze out was cleaned up right away.



After the glue was dried the driver was put in a drill and the other end was sanded a small amount giving it a nice round edge.









Conclusion

If you work with a lot of hex screws these hex drivers with come in handy. They work great for long screws since they are more comfortable to handle and will turn faster. You will still need a second set for the initial loosening and tightening.



Making the handles octagonal and using the simple jigs for shaping helps create a nice looking tool.

I have always enjoyed making jigs and tools, what kind of tools have you made?

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