Dynamic Tools Official Blog
If you use tools to make a living, ratchets are probably one of the most demanded tools in your toolbox. In today's market you will find in a variety of lengths and designs all created to help complete repairs quickly and efficiently. If you are wondering what to look for in your next ratchet, read on.
6 Things to Consider When Buying A Ratchet
- Head Shape. Ratchets are available in different sizes and shapes such as flex head, slim head, go-through head, just to name a few. The two most common designs are the round head or pear-shaped (or teardrop). Choosing one design over the other is a matter of personal preference, as either will deliver years of reliable service. Ratchets come in an array of drive sizes, the most popular being ¼", ⅜", and ½".
- Intended Application. Before buying your next ratchet, it is important to consider what the likely applications will be. Once determined, decide whether you need a stubby ratchet, long reach ratchet, or flex-head ratchet for getting into tight areas such as on the newer, smaller, compact automobiles.
- Number of Teeth. The larger the tooth count the smaller the arc required to turn the ratchet. This is ideal when removing fasteners in confined spaces. Consequently, these types of ratchets generally have lower maximum torque output. Therefore, choose a ratchet with fewer teeth if high torque is the primary need. If fine-tuning and confined space work is the priority, choose a model with 72 or more teeth. Choosing the right model is key to preventing personal injury or damage to the ratchet.
- Material. With today’s advances in forging, metallurgy, machining and heat treatment ratchets are available in a variety of materials. Examples include carbon steel, S2 steel, lightweight composite or titanium, non-sparking metal alloys and even insulated for working in precision of live electricity.
- Handle shape and size. Do you prefer comfort grip or all steel? All steel is most durable but can be slippery in some applications. Multi-material grip handles may help reduce slippage, however are less durable in the presence of solvents and oils.
- Release mechanism. Do you need a quick release button? A quick release button is the easiest way to remove sockets and attachments especially when hands are slippery or greasy. The downside is quick release design ratchets will allow more damaging debris and dirt to enter ratcheting mechanism compared to a full closed back model.
Ratchet Maintenance Steps
Proper serviceability and maintenance are key to getting the most out of your new ratchet. A quality hand tool brand will have spare parts and be willing to service a ratchet years after initial purchase. Additionally, quality brands will back their ratchets will a lifetime warranty.
The ratchet is likely the most neglected tool in any toolbox. It is put to the test daily, but seldom taken apart to be cleaned and lubricated. Below are some tips on maintaining your next ratchet for years of reliable service:
- Take it apart as soon as you sense a problem or do not hear a clean smooth ratcheting sound. On pear-shaped models, you will usually find two screws or a snap ring holding in place a back plate.
- Inspect the pawl and gear to see if they are in good condition. 95% of damaged ratchets have been over torqued causing the gears to strip but not break. You will notice this as a shearing of the gears; otherwise, you will find pieces of the ratchets in the head.
- Once the head has been removed take out the gear and clean it thoroughly with a degreasing product. Spray the head with the degreaser and switch the reverse lever back and forth to remove the dirt from between the housing and the pawl.
- When all the dirt has been removed replace the gear and lubricate with good oil, NOT WD40 or other degreasing product. These products clean but to do lubricate properly. Simply use a little oil; do not use grease, as it will attract dirt that builds up and turns into a grinding compound, wearing the ratchet out prematurely.
- Replace the back plate and you will find the ratchet back to new condition.
- With the round head ratchets, there is a ring on the moveable ratchet mechanism that must be removed. Inspect the gears that are part of the main ratchet head. Clean all debris from the gears with a cleaning brush and solvent. Inspect the moveable gear (pawl). It has a pawl mechanism built into the moveable part. Clean it and inspect the teeth making sure the teeth are not damaged. Follow the same steps as above lubricating the ratchet.
- To ensure maximum performance and reliability preform the above maintenance steps at least once per year.
Ratchets are essential to getting a job done quickly and properly. When using any ratchet choose the right size. Don’t try to use a ⅜" drive ratchet to do the job of a ½" model. That means using the largest ratchet whenever possible.
In summary, carefully determine your needs before buying, implement an annual maintenance and inspection routine, and consider long-term serviceability. As the workhorse in a toolbox, consider your next ratchet purchase an investment. One that if chosen properly should last a lifetime. A cheaply priced ratchet may cost less upfront but could prove much more costly if it damages a work piece, fails and cannot be serviced, or worse causes personal injury.
About the Author: David Weatherby has over 40 years of experience in the hand tool industry, representing premium brands such as Gray Tools and Snap-on. He has helped thousands of professionals build and maintain their tool collection for years of reliable use.
Pliers are must-have tools in every tool box, with a basic design and functionality that hasn’t changed since medieval times. Every standard tool set includes a pair of pliers, but sometimes understanding the difference between the various styles of pliers can be confusing and intimidating.
Cutting is a common use of pliers, however, pliers are multi-functional tools designed to accomplish a variety of tasks, depending on their design: pulling wire and objects, gripping and holding wires and smaller objects, reaching into confined or awkward spaces, tripping wire insulation, splicing, tuning and bending.
This article aims to provide you with the knowledge to understand the components of a plier, the different styles, the intended use, proper maintenance, and how to select your next set.
Pliers construction consists of four main components:
- Jaws - come in various patterns and designs that provide the tool's functionality, such as pulling, cutting, holding and stripping. The tip of the jaw (nose) can be flat (combination pliers), half round (long nose) and round (electronics pliers), and provide functionalities such as bending, gripping, and holding various objects.
- Cutter is designed to cut nails, bolts, wire of different thicknesses and other materials.
- Handles - provide the means by which the operator can use the pliers. There are a variety of materials used to cover the handles, providing different levels of comfort. Some of the most common materials include molded material, vinyl dipping, and insulated handles that protect the users against electrical shocks.
- Pivot point/Fulcrum - holds the jaws and handle together. The closer the pivot point to the jaws the more leverage and cutting power the pliers have.
Styles of Pliers
Pliers can be grouped into 3 broad categories, based on their functionality:
Holding - pliers in this category are used to hold objects of various thickness and have no cutting function. Popular models include slip-joint, groove joint, and locking pliers (without wire cutters).
Cutting - this category includes styles such as end cutting and side-cutting, that can only be used to cut nails, bolts, wire, and other materials.
Multifunctional - the jaw configuration of these pliers allow users to perform both holding and cutting operations. Popular models include linesman, bent and long nose pliers.
Below is a more in-depth look at some popular styles:
Water pump (Groove - joint) pliers - although not considered a "precision" tool, groove - joint pliers are another must-have tool. This type of pliers allows users to hold objects of various sizes as result of the 2 jaws being joined by a pivot joint that slides inside a slot.
The most common design feature is set of curved serrated jaws. The slot might be grooved to allow jaws to be positioned a certain width apart, or have a smooth surface to allow the jaw to quickly adjust to the size of the objects being worked on.
Water pump pliers are used to bend wires and hold objects of various shapes and sizes. A variation of the groove joint pliers features smooth jaws that prevent damaging or marring of the object being handled. These pliers are popular in the aerospace industry, or whenever handling soft materials, such as plastics.
Locking pliers - are a distinctive category of pliers rather than a style, as the pliers lock onto the piece to be worked on for better stability.
The first step is to adjust the distance between the 2 jaws according to the size of the piece to be gripped; then clamping the handles together to secure the work piece.
End-cutting pliers - also known as nippers, are used to cut bolts, wires, nails, and rivets. Due to the almost flat head design, the user can get flush with the surface to cut the object, without digging into it.
The most popular sizes are 7" & 8". A rivet either exposed or concealed connects the jaws. Some models feature longer handles for increased leverage and access.
Diagonal-cutting pliers - are designed to cut piano, medium and soft wire, nails up to 5 mm thick, and screws. The jaws and head are not meant to hold objects.
Since this design is very popular for electrical work, many manufacturers provide a version with insulated handles, to protect users against electrical shock.
Combination (linesman's) pliers- as the name suggests these are must-haves for those who do electrical work. Because of their multi-functionality, combination pliers are also one of the most popular pliers style in any professional or homeowner toolbox.
The ridged nose can be used for pulling, grabbing, straightening, bending, and twisting wires together. pulling, bending, straightening, and twisting wires together.
A less-known feature is that the outside edges of the nose can be used to rim off the end of a piece of cut conduit. The round cavity can be used to hold round objects, such as nuts and bolts, while the double cutter near the joint is ideal for cutting wires and threaded bolts.
Long nose pliers - also known as needle-nose pliers, these are similar in functionality to linesman pliers, with the added bonus of allowing the user to reach into tight spots due to the long, tapered jaws. Depending on the design, long nose pliers may feature various jaw configurations that allow users to perform various tasks.
Additionally, more specialized pliers include crimping pliers (ideal for crimping terminals and connectors for stranded cables with vinyl and rubber insulation), seamers (used in HVAC for bending and flattening sheet metal), fencing pliers, and as well as high leverage and spring loaded models which make opening and closing handles easier.
How to Choose Your Next Set of Pliers
When selecting your next set of pliers, first decide the application you need them for. As seen above the degree of versatility differs among various styles, some models being designed to perform multiple functions, while others being designed for more specialized applications.
Once you decide on the style, do your research. Read as much as you can about different brands, read product reviews, watch videos, and ask other professionals what they like in their pliers. It is important to also try different brands and see which one feels right to you.
Pliers can vary in performance, weight, surface finish, handle comfort, and ease of handle opening. In the end it's a matter of personal preference in design and ergonomics.
The budget plays an important role in the choice of pliers. Pliers are one of the most commonly used tools, you will benefit from investing in a quality tool.
Although most brands back their pliers with a lifetime warranty, professionals will not appreciate pliers that don't cut well, dull prematurely or break, and have to be returned for warranty which leads to loss in productivity.
Safety Measures When Using Pliers
Below are some general safety rules that apply to pliers, regardless of style:
- Check pliers wire cutting capacities and capabilities before selecting a particular model for the job; failing to do so can result in premature wearing of the cutting jaws, and the inability to perform the task.
- Choose the appropriate pliers for the application. Take the time to educate yourself on the different pliers and their features, such as the types of wires a plier is able to cut, cutting capacity, etc. Failing to do so can result in premature wearing of the tool, inability to perform the job, jaw damage, and even personal injury.
- Pliers with insulated handles should always be used when working near live wires. Non - insulated handles can easily be confused with insulated ones. A plier with insulated handles features the double triangle symbol or the VDE logo.
- Use the appropriate size pliers for your hand and personal comfort. Using smaller pliers can result in pinched hands and fingers, while a size too big can lead to the tool being dropped or an inability to operate it efficiently.
- Always cut at right angles for a clean, effective cut. Avoid bending the wire back and forth; instead, use a bigger size or a model with a bigger cutting capacity.
- Wear safety glasses when you operate pliers as pieces of material fly unexpectedly.
- Do not expose pliers to excessive heat, as the tool's properties might change.
- Do not use pliers as a hammer or hammer on the pliers handles to cut thicker bolts or wires.
- Do not use pliers for tightening or breaking nuts loose; use a wrench instead to avoid damage to the nut.
- Clean and maintain your pliers regularly; cleaning the jaws and adding a drop of oil on the rivet will ensure years of dependable use.
- Always inspect the condition of the plier before using; always use tools that are in safe working order.
- If the plier is damaged, stop using it and invest in a new set of pliers.
Are you dreaming about a career where you earn a good living wage, stay active, both physically and mentally, and start your adult life with zero or little school debt?
If the answer is yes, consider the following 5 reasons why you should enrolling in a trade school rather than college or university.
In a constantly changing and dynamic job market, high-school students face some tough questions about their future careers. Many feel the guidance and advice received from school and parents does not always resonate with what they like doing or who they are.
Traditionally, working in trades has been associated with low paid, hard, dirty factory work, and viewed as an inferior career choice compared to white collar, office jobs. However, following the 2008 recession the demand for skilled work increased exponentially, with good paying opportunities across many trades.
In contrast, university graduates have found it difficult to obtain employment since the 2008 recession.
Before the recession, the “expected” career path for high-school graduates was to go to college or university and get a good office job upon graduation. The post-recession reality painted a somber picture for university graduates.
In North America, unemployment or underemployment among those who graduate from college and university is higher than the general average, while the costs of attending a university are constantly rising. The average 4-year degree costs in excess of 100k when rent and other expenses are factored in, which leaves many students heavily in debt upon graduation.
Moreover, many university graduates usually have to settle for underpaid, often precarious jobs, that don’t match their qualifications, let alone their dreams at the end of high-school.
Below are 5 fact-based reasons that support selecting trade school as your next step after graduation, and make enrolling in a trade school a solid choice for a fulfilling professional life.
Learn a skill that cannot be outsourced
The globalization of economy and improvements in communication has led to many highly paid jobs being automated or outsourced to countries with cheaper labour.
That said, people will still need people to operate machinery, fix their roof, perform electrical work, and maintain airplanes. While no job is 100% secure, it’s safe to say that there will always be a need for local skilled, hands on work, so the chances of your job being outsourced are very slim. This means that the demand for skilled labor will continue to exist for the foreseeable future.
Additionally, with many baby boomers working in trades have retired, or approaching retirement, a career in trades looks like a very wise decision. Of course, the decision to pursue such a career does not only come down to job security and money . This has to be for you, something you really enjoy doing, as you will be spending most of your active year building a career, which requires determination and motivation.
Graduate in half the time, with real-life work experience
If spending four years stuck indoors studying does not seem appealing to you, enrolling in a trades program might be the right alternative for you.
Trade schools offer students a more practical, hands-on approach, unlike university graduates who spend most of the 4-year program learning the theoretical aspects of their field in class. As a student you will get a chance to learn from experienced professionals and gain valuable work experience during your studies.
Moreover, most apprentice programs are only 2 years long, allowing graduates to earn a good income faster.
Make good money
Another myth is that trades job pay much less than while collar jobs. In fact, with a little bit of experience in the field and some overtime work, a 6-digit income is achievable.
There is also good news for those who plan to be their own boss. Since many homes and business are in need of renovation, plumbing, electrical, and roofing services, specializing in these fields offer great opportunities to start your own businesses, where the earning potential is only dependent on the quality of your work and your business skills.
Pursue a very satisfying career
Office jobs are not always as fulfilling as they are perceived to be. Many white-collar workers complain about the slow pace of the work environment, and spending time in front of the computer with not much to do.
Trades people don’t have time to get bored. Their work is usually structured as such that there is often something to work on. Moreover, the outcome is immediately visible, which offers a great sense of pride and accomplishment in a job well done that makes a difference.
Work with your hands and brain
Working in trades will require you to use both your brain and your hands. Long gone are the days when trade work meant heavy physical work. The automation that happens in most industries requires tradespeople who are able to troubleshoot, fix and maintain complex pieces of equipment, most of it computerized.
In other words, trades work can be more high tech that many office jobs. Office jobs often require a lot of sitting in front of the computer, inside an office, which has very negative long-term health effects.
Picture a time you couldn’t find the exact tool you needed for the task you were trying to complete. Maybe you started quickly opening and closing drawers, sifting through a mess of tools, re-checking the same drawer multiple times (because you were certain it had to be in that drawer – you just couldn’t see it), all while your annoyance levels were rising.
Wasting time looking for a tool can be a frustrating experience; we’ve all been there. Especially after a long day at work, no one wants to take the time to put away their tools properly, let alone organize their whole toolbox. We understand and are here to help solve your toolbox woes.
Below are some solutions to a disorganized toolbox and some tips for maintaining the organization.
Before we outline the basic principles for keeping an organized tool box, keep in mind the product you are using to store the tools. If you are just starting out and do not have any storage for your tools, the first step is to decide on the type of tool storage best suits your needs. Tool organization starts with the type of storage you use.
Roller cabinets and top chests are popular tool storage options for garages, workshops, and industrial settings, where the tools are more stationary and not needed to be moved off-site. With this setup, you will have many drawers to accommodate your entire tool collection. With more drawers, however, comes a greater need for organization.
Rolling cases, stackable cases, portable boxes, and canvas totes are primarily used by professionals who need to work remotely on location and carry their tools around. These are also great options for those who do not own enough tools to justify a large rolling cabinet, or do not have the space to host a rolling cabinet.
Tool Organization Solutions
- Drawer liners help prevent tools from rolling inside the box and are suitable for top chests and roller cabinets.
- Drawer liners are also a protective feature for your toolbox, preventing the tools from damaging or scratching the drawer. A good drawer liner is thick enough to act as a cushion for your tools, with some offering enhanced protection against corrosion.
- Drawer Liners are particularly suitable for long tools such as extensions and speeders that can be difficult to place in racks and organizers. That being said, other tools such as screwdrivers, pliers and wrenches can be securely held in place, by a good drawer liner that has just the right amount of tackiness.
- They also limit the amount of grime and grease reaching the bottom of the drawer and are easy to clean.
Small Parts Organizers
Organizers are stand-alone units that are used to organize and hold small tools and parts, such as washers, bolts and nuts, small sockets, and crowfoot wrenches. These organizers come in a range of sizes and shapes and are typically adjustable.
Made typically out of plastic, the organizer is light and won’t bog down your toolbox. They are easy to move around to the drawer that works, making it a useful organization accessory for your toolbox. It also includes a space to apply labels, increasing its organizational function.
Some organizers feature an interlocking mechanism to secure them in place.
Individual tool organizers
- Individual tool organizers are suitable for all type of tool storage and come in handy when having to organize tools that come in many sizes and styles such as pliers, wrenches, and sockets.
- Most popular organizers include holders, trays, racks, and rails (commonly used for sockets). Pick the organization system that is best for you and your tool collection.
- Some socket organizers won’t be able to accommodate all sockets, forcing you to store the leftover sockets elsewhere. Therefore, be aware of what tools you have and the system that will accommodate your needs.
- When deciding on your next tool set, pay specific attention to the packaging it comes in. For some products the packaging was designed to offer a workable organization and storage option that will keep the tools neat and organized, cancelling the need for extra organizers.
- For example, some socket sets come in blow mold cases with removable lids, purposefully designed to fit nicely in the toolbox, or some socket sets come with plastic or metal socket rails.
- Other items that may come with storage options include: wrenches (with plastic holders or rails), pliers (with storage racks), and screwdrivers (with storage racks).
- While tool organizers are great bonuses, they are specifically designed to hold the exact shapes and sizes included in that set. Product packaging is not a good option if you are looking for organizers that are universal, adjustable and can accommodate many shapes and sizes.
Keeping your tools organized is the first step in a productive career. The options above are possible solutions that will help you work more efficiently. At the end of the day, the best method is that one that works for you and your tools.Do you feel you spend more time looking for tools than performing the actual job? Are you continuously sorting through your toolbox drawers looking for the right tool for the job? If yes, consider updating your tool organization system.
- Custom foam organizers are the latest trend in tool organization, and are offered in many premium sets.
- There are many benefits to foam cut-outs:
- Foam organizers are made using 3D design and multiple layers of high-density foam in contrasting colours. The bottom layer is a bright color such as light blue, red or orange, making it easy to identify missing tools. This is particularly important if you are working in an environment where it is mandatory to keep track of your tools, such as a 5S or FOD environment.
- Using CNC routers, the cut-outs are precisely cut to provide a tight fit for each tool, keeping them neatly organized. Long gone are the days of pulling all the drawers out to look through a mess of tools, this system allows you to grab the right tool fast, and return it in to the same spot when you finish the job.
- Instead of opening many drawers to gather tools, the foam organizers can hold similar types of tools in one drawer. Foam cut-outs can accommodate many different types of tools, which come in handy when you have a group of tools used for a particular job or tools that are used more often.
Five Principles to Follow:
- Group tools together by type and/or function for easy access. Usually top chests and roller cabinets are designed with narrow drawers that can be used to store tools from the same family, such as pliers, files, ratchets together.
- Label everything, particularly drawers and lids. Labelling provides a quick visual guide of where the tool you need is located before you have to open any drawer or lid. Many tool storage options have dedicated label holders so take advantage of this feature.
- While reorganizing your tool collection take the time to review the state of each tool and remove any tools with missing parts, tools that are worn out, or tools that simply do not perform the job it was designed to. Taking inventory of your tools is an important safety practice to maintain.
- Plan your storage according to the frequency of use and the shape and size of your tools. Group the tools you use frequently together and store them in drawers easily accessible to you. Bulkier and heavier tools should be placed in the bottom drawer of the roller cabinet, which is usually deeper.
- Keep spare tools, such as duplicates, in separate boxes and use the tool only when the original no longer functions or is lost.
Benefits of an Organized Tool Box
- Increased productivity. Time is money if you are a professional who uses tools to make a living. Having an organized toolbox means you do not spend unnecessary time looking for the tool or size you need, thus delaying project completion.
- Redundant tools- If the toolbox is very messy, you may not be able to find the specific tool and will improvise with another tool. You may then begin to believe that you need to buy a new tool and end up with duplicate tool styles and sizes. This is not necessarily a bad thing, backup tools are still useful. Store the duplicate tool in a separate toolbox, in case you need to replace the original if the original breaks or doesn’t perform properly.
- Keep track of your tool collection. Tools can be easily lost or stolen when the toolbox lacks an organizational system to make it easier to keep track of the tool collection. It can be a big dent in your budget to lose a tool and have to replace it, therefore it may be better to invest your time and money into creating a system for your toolbox that works better for your needs. Moreover, in many workplaces tool inventory and control is critical, which leaves no room for misplaced or lost tools.
The torque wrench is arguably the most important tool for professionals working in industries such as industrial, automotive and aerospace, who are responsible for securing critical parts to exact tolerances with zero margin for error.
Choosing a reliable torque wrench will help you perform the basic fastening job and provide the peace of mind that everything was done according to required specifications.
What Is a Torque Wrench?
A torque wrench is a precision instrument used to apply an exact amount of torque to a fastener. Once the desired torque value has been achieved, the operator is notified through an audible and/or visual alert, thus preventing over or under torque-ing.
Choosing the appropriate torque wrench for your specific needs requires a good understanding of the options available, your usage requirements, maintenance, and re-calibration.
Torque Wrench Styles
Beam torque wrenches are the most simplistic torque wrenches available. They are difficult to read and the least accurate. Consequently, they have virtually been eliminated from use in professional working environments.
Dial-Type torque wrenches are considered the most accurate torque wrenches available.
These wrenches feature a double-end square drive that can be used for both loosing and tightening fasteners. The torque value is displayed on an easy-to read, analogue, dual-scale dial (hence their name). Inside the dial, there are two memory needles.
The first needle is set to the desired torque setting while the second needle is set to zero. As torque force is applied, the second needle moves along the dial. When the two needles meet, the desired torque has been met.
Dial-type torque wrenches are widely used in quality control applications, to ensure the actual torque applied in the production process complies with the stated specification
Due to their simpler torque mechanism, dial-type torque wrenches do not require as much maintenance and re-calibration as the click-type torque wrenches. Most models feature an audio-visual alert that signals the operator when the target torque is achieved.
Click-type torque wrenches are the most commonly used type of torque wrench. They have the same functionality as a ratchet, with the added advantage of a distinct breaking action when the desired torque value has been achieved.
Available torque values are displayed on a dual scale (Imperial expressed in foot/pound or inch/pound, and metric, expressed in Newton Meters) on the barrel of the tool. Torque wrench capacity is indicated by the minimum and maximum value on the scale. The operator sets the desired torque value by unlocking the wrench and twisting the handle, which moves a precision indicator along the scale.
Just like a ratchet, the head of click-type torque wrenches houses the gear and paw mechanism. The repetitive force applied to its mechanism leads to the need for regular maintenance and re-calibration.
Electronic torque wrenches have become very popular in recent years and are now available in dial type and traditional design shapes. They use an electronic sensor to measure torque and display the torque value on a digital display. An audible and visual indicator informs the user that they are approaching the desired torque value, and when the exact value has been reached.
Digital torque wrenches are very accurate instruments. However, their more delicate construction requires extra care while handling. They also require batteries in order to operate.
Digital torque wrenches are the most expensive of styles noted in this article however they can be considered 4 torque wrenches in one, due to their ability to set torque values in four scales; kg./cm, in/lbs, ft/lbs, and Nm.
Electronic torque wrenches provide the option to download the information into a computer via a wired or Bluetooth connection for future reference.
Electronic torque wrenches are ideal in transportation and automotive settings as they can be linked to hardware such as tablets, laptops, and printers. In many heavy truck repair environments it is mandatory that printed proof of wheel torque adjustments be available as part of certified repair service.
Pre-set versus Adjustable Torque Wrenches
If you are working on an application that requires torqueing to a exact value that remains constant, then a pre-set torque wrench is a good choice.
Pre-set torque wrenches are used to prevent operator adjustment of the torque settings. Pre-set torque wrenches are factory-calibrated to a specific value. Once this value has been reached, it becomes impossible to apply additional torque. If your project requires a change in the torque value, the manufacturer can re-set the wrenches to the new value.
Pre-set torque wrenches are also ideal in assembly line environments or applications where the wrench will only be used in a single repeated application.
Adjustable torque wrenches offer the operator flexibility in setting the desired torque value according each specific application. These torque wrenches feature a scale, usually expressed in metric and imperial values.
The most commons scales are foot/pound, inch/pound, and newton/meter.
Regardless of scale adjustable torque wrenches allow the selection of desired torque value within a lower and upper limit, in specific increments.
For example, a torque wrench with a capacity of 30-250 ft/lb, with 1 lb increment will accommodate torque values between 30 ft/lbs and 250 ft/lbs, in increments of 1 lb.
Torque Wrench Selection Checklist
With the fundamentals of torque wrench styles and types covered the next step is choosing the ideal torque wrench(es) that best suit your application.
The most important consideration in the selection process is understanding the torque range you will most commonly be working within. Torque wrenches work best within 40-80% of their working scale. Therefore, do not choose a wrench that will be primarily used at the bottom or top end of the scale. You may be tempted to do so to save money but inaccurate torque output could be serious outweighing any savings.
When determining your needs, the list below are questions for you to consider:
• what is the lowest and highest torque value you will be setting fasteners to?
• do you need to tighten fasteners to multiple or single torque values?
• what drive size are the sockets you will most commonly be using (¼ ", ⅜”, ½”, ¾” or 1”)?
• what level of precision do you require; expressed as accuracy +/-?
• do you need the torque wrench to operate clockwise and counter clockwise directions?
Factory Certificate of Calibration - A Must Have Document
A torque wrench must include a certificate of factory calibration proving the tool has been inspected and tested at the manufacturer’s facility prior to final packaging and is within the stated accuracy range. Torque wrenches with missing or expired certificates of calibration should never be used.
Every torque wrench operator has to be able to present a valid certificate of calibration whenever required. This document becomes an important piece of evidence that will prove the operator took all the necessary precautions and worked with proper tools, in the event of an unexpected failure.
For critical applications you should invest in third party calibration and certification that will provide piece of mind the torque wrench is accurately calibrated.
In many companies and industries quality processes, such as ISO, demand and specify scheduled calibration intervals. In sensitive industries such as transportation and aviation, daily checks of each onsite torque wrench’s tolerance are conducted.
A valid certificate of calibration should include the following information:
• Torque wrench type, model number, manufacturer, and range
• Date of last calibration and the calibration equipment used to perform the calibration.
• A statement indicating that the torque wrench was calibrated to meet the accuracy in specifications as stated in ASME B107.14M-1994, GGG-W-686, Type 2, Class A Style 1, 2 and ISO 6789.
• Torque reading clockwise and counter clockwise (if applicable)
• Calibration date
• Name of the person who performed the calibration and his/her supervisor
• A premium quality torque wrench will also include text indicating the wrench was calibrated on a torque standard traceable to the National Institute of Standards & Technology (N.I.S.T).
As a general rule of thumb all torque wrenches should be re-calibrated at least once per year or every 5000 cycles. More frequent calibration is strongly suggested if the tool is used regularly. As torque wrenches are stored in their protective cases at their lowest setting when they leave the factory the one year calibration guideline does not begin until the tool’s first use.
Do’s and Don’ts of Torque Wrench Use and Maintenance
Good quality torque wrenches are an important investment for any professional user. Due to their role in ensuring critical parts are properly fastened proper use and maintenance is required. Here are some things you need to take into account:
• Never use a torque wrench with missing or expired certificate of calibration.
• Never set the wrench at values lower or higher than those indicated on the scale.
• Never use a torque wrench to break fasteners loose.
• Never disassemble a torque wrench yourself. Repair and re-calibration should only be done by an accredited laboratory, as per manufacturer’s instructions.
• Always perform the preventive maintenance required by the manufacturer.
• Handle the torque wrench with care. Dropping a torque wrench will cause loss of calibration
• When not in use, clean and keep the torque wrench in its storage case at its lowest torque setting.
• If you buy a used torque wrench, properly calibrate it before the first use.
• Never exceed the rated torque of the tool as over torquing will result in part or wrench failure.
• Do not use a cheater bar or any other type of extension on the handle to apply extra torque. If extra torque is required consider a larger torque wrench of the use of torque multiplier
With proper care and maintenance, a torque wrench should provide reliable service for many years.