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      The new Stanley® Professional Grade™ Mechanics Tools offer
    high performance use for the car, boat and home. They are available in six configurations: 20, 62, 96, 122, 151 and 246 piece sets.
    Mechanics Tools

    A good quality set of mechanics tools is one of the absolute essentials of any homeowner for completing a multitude of projects including the assembly of exercise equipment, outdoor equipment and repairs on homes, cars, and bikes. Mechanics tool sets include socket sets used for quick removal and replacement of fasteners such as nuts, bolts an Torx fittings, often in places too tight for ordinary wrenches or where the fastener has seized and a wrench simply slips off.

    In this guide, we set to explain the features and benefits that you should look for when selecting a set. We will start by matching quality to your requirements ant then explore bare essentials, building up a picture of the core components in a good set.

    A good Mechanics Tools set contains a variety of actual sockets, some means of turning them (ratchets, drivers) and one one or more extension bars.

    Sockets Sets
    Why does a socket set need to be of good quality? That all depends on the job that you want to do with it. For instance, for fixing basic things around the home, such as shelves, cupboards and washing machines etc, then a simple set will probably suffice. This is because fasteners around the home don't rust up and seize and aren't usually tightened to high torques. For those involved in more demanding tasks like car repairs, the socket sets will need to meet higher quality standards.

    Good quality sockets are made of chromium vanadium steel, since this material provides exceptional strength and durability. They are also plated with nickel chrome for maximum resistance to corrosion and high quality appearance. Sockets have their size (referring to the width across the flats of the fasteners they fit) marked on them along the brand name.

    Six and twelve point design
    The design of the end of the socket, the bit that fits over the nut or bolt, is critical to the effectiveness of the socket. The most commonly used sockets are 12 point (bi-hex) because they are easier to position for rapid seating on hex or 12 point fasteners. Although quite effective, bi-hex sockets can lead to rounding-off of seized or low strength fasteners. Rounding-off means metal is torn from the fastener head, making subsequent removal extremely difficult since the fastener has now lost its original shape.

    Rounded corner design sockets ensure turning forces are transfered to the stronger, flat areas of the fastener.

    Stanley® Maxi-Drive™ technology improves the efficiency of the 12 point and 6 point sockets by transferring the turning force to flat areas of the fastener and away from its weaker corners. This unique drive system with radius design allows up to 15% more torque to be applied to the fastener while reducing the risk of slippage and fastener rounding.

    Six point hex design sockets should be used on stubborn or worn bolts. It also allows for a slimmer wall thickness, giving the socket a reduced overall diameter and making it easier to access recessed or tightly confined fasteners.

    Six point sockets must always be used on small fasteners less than 13 mm or1/2" across the flats, since they are frequently not made from high strength, high tensile steels, but rather weaker steels, prone to rounding off, since they are not usually subjected to very high loads.

    Sockets can also come with a variety of bits including Torx head, common screwdrivers, Allen or Hex heads, and these are handy additions to Stanley® sets.

    One drawback of any socket is the fact that its depth may be too small to reach a fastener that has been tightened down over a long stud. In these situations deep drive sockets are available, which as the name suggests, have an increased depth to cope with protruding studs or small fasteners in deep recesses.

    Driver Tools
    Once fitted over a fastener, the socket has to be turned by some means. For small fasteners, a simple hand driver allows rapid turning and helps preventing over-tightening.
    For transferring larger torques into the socket a ratchet might be inserted into its square end. Generally speaking, the larger is the square drive in the end of the socket, the higher are the forces that socket is designed to transmit. Most common drive sizes are 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2".

    A 1/4" drive is essential for small fasteners of 10 mm (11/32") diameter across the flats or less. Although the ratchet handle is much smaller, it is still possible to over-tighten small fasteners, so extra care must be taken at these sizes.

    A good quality ratchet handle will have a reversing lever, push button socket release and one piece handle and head.

    The most popular 3/8" drive sets are available in a very wide range of sizes and varieties, typically from 10 mm up to 22 mm.

    Beyond 22 mm, the torque required on high tensile fasteners can exceed those recommended for 3/8" drive systems, so 1/2" drive should be used.

    Ratchets are the real work horses of socket sets, since they have to cope with repeated use. The actual ratcheting mechanism is a critical part of the tool, since it contains the moving parts and does all the hard work. The number of gear teeth within the ratchet will determine the amount the handle has to be moved before the ratchet will click and allow the fastener to be turned. In very confined spaces the smaller this movement is, the better and this corresponds to a higher number of gear teeth. Typically, ratchets can come with 24, 30 , 45 and even 60 gear teeth.

    Stanley® slim pear-head ratchets are equipped with a 40-tooth gear mechanism that allows for a small 9 degree arc swing, essential to maneuver fasteners in tight spaces. Additionally, it features a single finger reverse mechanism that smoothly switches during use and a quick release button that locks or releases sockets.

    Extensions bars are invaluable for extending a socket down into awkward recesses and tight spaces. Typical lengths are: 3", 6" and 9".
    Hand in hand with the extension bar goes the wobble bar, a sort of flexible equivalent. Wobble bars enable the drive to be kinked over to avoid obstructions.
    Universal Joints perform a similar task to the wobble bar. These clever little devices enable the socket, extension bar or ratchet to be kinked over in order to avoid obstructions that hinder access.

    Stanley makes the highest quality professional level sets, sockets, drivers and accessories for industrial use under the Stanley® Proto® brand. For more information visit www.stanleyproto.com


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