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Old 10-05-2018, 08:29 PM
Mangosteen Mangosteen is offline
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"Automatic" Allen wrench

I'm putting together a large "pre-cut"/ pre-drilled gazebo.

The manufacturer enclosed an Allen Wrench, but I'll be here all day and night using it to put together all these parts. What tool should I be using?
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  #2  
Old 10-05-2018, 08:34 PM
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If you have a drill or power screwdriver, you can get a hex wrench bit the same size as the Allen wrench. One trip to the hardware store and it will save you a bunch of time and headache.
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:36 PM
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Cordless driver?

ETA I see this has already been mentioned. Most of them have adjustable torque which you should set appropriately.
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Old 10-05-2018, 09:08 PM
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You can get hex head socket kits for your socket wrench. I have this one. I'm a big fan. Infinitely better than a crappy Allen key.

If you have an impact driver, you can also get hex bits for that.

Last edited by friedo; 10-05-2018 at 09:08 PM.
  #5  
Old 10-05-2018, 10:25 PM
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If, like me, you're too lazy to go to Lowe's, take your hacksaw and cut off the business end of the AW and insert the cut end in the previously mentioned drill/power/cordless screwdriver.

Nah, prolly a bad idea.
  #6  
Old 10-05-2018, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt View Post
If, like me, you're too lazy to go to Lowe's, take your hacksaw and cut off the business end of the AW and insert the cut end in the previously mentioned drill/power/cordless screwdriver.

Nah, prolly a bad idea.
If it's a decent quality all key it's probably hardened and tough to saw.

GaryM
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Old 10-05-2018, 10:55 PM
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^ Thanks, GaryM.
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Old 10-05-2018, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by GaryM View Post
If it's a decent quality all key it's probably hardened and tough to saw.

GaryM
It won't be too hard, maybe case hardened but not more than that. Notice how the allen keys wear out before the bolts get stripped? I have used a hacksaw to do exactly in the past..
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  #9  
Old 10-05-2018, 11:04 PM
Gary T Gary T is online now
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If it's a decent quality all key it's probably hardened and tough to saw.
But likely possible to break due to a certain degree of brittleness put about half of it in a vise and whack the protruding part with a hammer.
  #10  
Old 10-06-2018, 12:01 AM
Gorsnak Gorsnak is online now
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They're not that hard. Especially the ones that come enclosed. Do you really think they'd spend money hardening an allen key intended to be used once?
  #11  
Old 10-06-2018, 09:01 AM
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I did snap one once and while grinding the tip back to a usable shape I noticed the sparks from the grinder gave the impression it was somewhat hardened steel. But it's been quite a while so I might be mis remembering.
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Old 10-06-2018, 09:57 AM
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Interesting. Well, put it this way - if you can't hacksaw through it, you can probably snap it.
  #13  
Old 10-06-2018, 10:50 AM
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I too recommend the use of a hex bit socket, like the one friedo mentioned upthread. You can buy one individually in a hardware store for whatever size you need if you don't want to spring for a whole set. Get one with a 3/8 drive for use with a ratchet ( and extension, if needed ).

It'll be much easier than the unwieldy "L" shaped allen key, especially in tight areas where you can't rotate it fully around. I think it's better than using a drill/screw gun because the higher speed of the power drill can cause friction heat binding, and usually the hardware provided is cheap stuff that'll snap from too much torque and heat.
  #14  
Old 10-06-2018, 11:18 AM
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They're not that hard. Especially the ones that come enclosed. Do you really think they'd spend money hardening an allen key intended to be used once?
Or that the bolts are hardened? I would use slow speed/low torque on my drill to avoid damaged bits or bolts.
  #15  
Old 10-06-2018, 06:41 PM
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But likely possible to break due to a certain degree of brittleness put about half of it in a vise and whack the protruding part with a hammer.
And wear eye protection!
  #16  
Old 10-06-2018, 06:53 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is online now
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A t-handle allen wrench is much faster than the tiny right angle wrench they include with flat pack furniture.

Buying a set of T-handle is a good investment. I have SAE and metric sets.

Last edited by aceplace57; 10-06-2018 at 06:54 PM.
  #17  
Old 10-07-2018, 09:00 AM
Isilder Isilder is offline
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Now if you worry that the power drill does damage, you can get electric screw drivers,
or even a hand operating screw driver that does 4 X speed at 1/4 the torque, so the torque is way down .. (naturally you get normal hand torque at 1X with it)

They just use the hex sockets.
  #18  
Old 10-09-2018, 08:45 AM
Maus Magill Maus Magill is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
If you have a drill or power screwdriver, you can get a hex wrench bit the same size as the Allen wrench. One trip to the hardware store and it will save you a bunch of time and headache.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DPRK View Post
Cordless driver?

ETA I see this has already been mentioned. Most of them have adjustable torque which you should set appropriately.
I, too, endorse this. A hex set should be in the $20 range, and will pay for itself in the Advil bill alone. Just make sure you put your drill on its lowest torque setting and set the clutch in the 1 or 2 setting.
  #19  
Old 10-09-2018, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt View Post
If, like me, you're too lazy to go to Lowe's, take your hacksaw and cut off the business end of the AW and insert the cut end in the previously mentioned drill/power/cordless screwdriver.

Nah, prolly a bad idea.
Hacksaw? Pfft! Too much work. Snip it with some bolt cutters. One and Done!
  #20  
Old 10-09-2018, 11:29 AM
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Now I gotta go to Lowe's and get bolt cutters.
  #21  
Old 10-09-2018, 11:56 AM
Maus Magill Maus Magill is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt View Post
Now I gotta go to Lowe's and get bolt cutters.
Wait - you've got to go to Lowes' to get bolt cutters, so you can snip off the end of an allen wrench because you're too lazy to go to Lowes' to buy a hex set?

Are you sure you're not one of my children from the future?
  #22  
Old 10-09-2018, 01:13 PM
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Now I gotta go to Lowe's and get bolt cutters.
No, silly! Borrow them from your neighbor and never return them.
  #23  
Old 10-09-2018, 01:39 PM
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No, silly! Borrow them from your neighbor and never return them.
He is - that's his neighbor Mr. Lowe.
  #24  
Old 10-09-2018, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maus Magill View Post
Wait - you've got to go to Lowes' to get bolt cutters, so you can snip off the end of an allen wrench because you're too lazy to go to Lowes' to buy a hex set?

Are you sure you're not one of my children from the future?
Actually, I have hex sets and socket/hex sets coming out my ears.

Makes it darn tough to buy hats.
  #25  
Old 10-12-2018, 07:38 AM
ohiomstr2 ohiomstr2 is offline
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Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt View Post
Actually, I have hex sets and socket/hex sets coming out my ears.

Makes it darn tough to buy hats.
Is there a Trump brand hex driver?
  #26  
Old 10-12-2018, 07:54 AM
Sparky812 Sparky812 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
A t-handle allen wrench is much faster than the tiny right angle wrench they include with flat pack furniture.

Buying a set of T-handle is a good investment. I have SAE and metric sets.
Yes, T-handles are definitely the easiest way to go if you have the clearance.

Otherwise, you can buy a full hex insert bit set for $10.

If you're gonna try to cut a hardened steel allen key I'd suggest and angle grinder.
You may be able to snap it easier if you put it in a vice, score it with a hacksaw and then use pliers/vice grips to break it off. Unfortunately, if you bend it at all, it may be useless in a drill chuck.

Another tip - buy some Loctite thread locker to keep those screws form coming loose all the time.


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Is there a Trump brand hex driver?
Really!?
  #27  
Old 10-12-2018, 08:30 AM
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A set of ball-end hex drivers can also be very useful - like this - I wouldn't necessarily recommend them for assembling every fastener, but they come in super handy for those cases where your only access to the screw is not perfectly axial to it.
  #28  
Old 10-12-2018, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by ohiomstr2 View Post
Is there a Trump brand hex driver?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparky812 View Post
Really!?
https://www.aliexpress.com/store/pro...21622f178Iln0K
  #29  
Old 10-12-2018, 12:27 PM
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Ok... nice find.
  #30  
Old 10-12-2018, 09:51 PM
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Pic-Quick sells multi bit hex screw drivers in inch and metric versions. The bits can also be used in a drill. Good quality and very handy screw drivers.

Last edited by Kedikat; 10-12-2018 at 09:51 PM.
  #31  
Old 10-12-2018, 11:11 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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I bought a drill bit set for maybe $10-15 that comes with a hundred or so bits, including dozens of allen wrench bits.

So I'd just use one of those allen wrench bits and a drill.
  #32  
Old 10-16-2018, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Quoth Sparky812:

Yes, T-handles are definitely the easiest way to go if you have the clearance.
Wait, they're top secret? On a need-to-drill basis only?
  #33  
Old 10-16-2018, 08:53 AM
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Pic-Quick sells multi bit hex screw drivers in inch and metric versions. The bits can also be used in a drill. Good quality and very handy screw drivers.
My dad was a distributor for Pic-Quic tools. Their multi-bit screwdrivers are extremely handy (especially the automotive one) but you will void the life-time warranty if you use them in a drill or any power tool.

Quote:
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Wait, they're top secret? On a need-to-drill basis only?
  #34  
Old 10-16-2018, 08:58 AM
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I have hammered flat a Allen wrench and used it in a drill, it wasn't perfectly straight but worked fine for it's purpose.
  #35  
Old 10-16-2018, 09:24 AM
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The real question is, why are L-shaped hex keys still a thing? We all need to take a stand and refuse to use or buy these awkward and anti-ergonomic hellish things! Who's with me??
  #36  
Old 10-16-2018, 09:27 AM
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Because it's a cheap and easy way to make a usable tool, which even has multiple options for different levels of required torque.
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