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Hardened Allen Wrenches and Screwdrivers

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Old 11-01-2006, 07:34 AM
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WilsonFlyer
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Default Hardened Allen Wrenches and Screwdrivers

I am sick and tired of soft allen wrenches and screwdrivers over the years. It's always been a problem with my airplanes but since I got into electric helis, it's really become an annoyance since all the heads are so SMALL on the micro stuff. I am continually rounding off the head of a screww due to soft screws and/or soft tool ends. I want to at least fix PART of the problem!

Does anybody know of where I can buy what I would call case-hardened steel tip allen wrenches and screwdrivers? I've tried ball-end drivers from Craftsman and Hobbico and they're all crap after a couple of months.

What got this all started was when a friend was over yesterday helping me fix one of my broken T-Rexes. He had a set of metric Duratrax allen drivers and they worked extremely well and he just ranted and raved about how good they were after he heard me ***** about my experiences over the years. I looked at Tower and they didn't seem to have a set.

Since Tower didn't have a set, I decided to stop for a minute and see if anybody else here shared my experiences and had found a solution better than the crap I've been using and an emory wheel or if anybody had found anything better than the Duratrax stuff. An endorsement for the Duratrax stuff maybe? They looked pretty good and this guy works on his stuff a lot so I trust his opinions but I was raised in a garage and body shop and I've never run across any case-hardened allen wrenches so I'm not sure these Duratraxes are and I think that's what I really want while I'm looking.

Any ideas or shared experiences would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
bob
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Old 11-01-2006, 08:28 AM
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Newc
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Default RE: Hardened Allen Wrenches and Screwdrivers

I am continually rounding off the head of a screww due to soft screws and/or soft tool ends.
First of all, the problem of rounding off the hex recesses in the screws is certainly not the result of soft tool ends. It's the result of the soft screws or the use of an improperly fitting tool end and hex head, and this may be the cause of the problem. I can't think of a time in our hobby usage that the screw was harder than the driver and therefore the driver was worn.

I have had standard ball end hex drivers from Dubro http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...p?&I=LXE249&P= and metric ball end hex drivers from Bondhus http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...p?&I=LX9122&P= for about 10 years and in just looking at them under magnification I see that they have shown absolutely no sign of rounding of the hex ends. However, I have had a number of small hex head screws from different suppliers that are very easily rounded. It's the screws that are the problem, not the drivers.

I also have sets (standard and metric) of Craftsman drivers that I've had for probably 30 years that are as good today as they were when they were new and they have been used not only in our hobby but also for automotive uses.

Don't know why you couldn't find the Duratrax sets at Tower, since they show almost 100 listings for individual drivers and sets. Here's one set... http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXUC47&P=0
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Old 11-01-2006, 09:16 AM
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Default RE: Hardened Allen Wrenches and Screwdrivers

I have used Bondhus wrenches for over 20 years in a machine shop setting and am quite happy with them. The little set screws do get to be a bit of a pain as it is the screw that deforms first and then starts to round the wrench's edge.
Unfortunately some of the micro heli stuff has smaller screws than Bondhus has wrenches for.
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Old 11-01-2006, 10:08 AM
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Default RE: Hardened Allen Wrenches and Screwdrivers

http://www.wihatools.com/default.htm
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Old 11-01-2006, 10:38 AM
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Default RE: Hardened Allen Wrenches and Screwdrivers

Does Snap-On make the size you need?
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Old 11-01-2006, 02:15 PM
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Default RE: Hardened Allen Wrenches and Screwdrivers

http://www.heliproz.com has a set, they are made out of drill rod or something, they have out lasted several helicopters on my end, they are made by Maverikk.
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Old 11-01-2006, 02:33 PM
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Default RE: Hardened Allen Wrenches and Screwdrivers

Hi!
Have a look at "Hudy's" tools...a Hungarian manufacturer that specializes in tools for the R/C Car guys . I have been using their hardened allen head screw drivers for years and they are much better than for instance Bondus.

Regards!
Jan K
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Old 11-01-2006, 02:50 PM
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Default RE: Hardened Allen Wrenches and Screwdrivers

Have a look at RTL fasteners on google.
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Old 11-01-2006, 07:06 PM
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Default RE: Hardened Allen Wrenches and Screwdrivers

here's another.... http://www.ofna.com/tool-sets.html
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Old 11-01-2006, 07:35 PM
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Default RE: Hardened Allen Wrenches and Screwdrivers

If you want good drivers, go to Tower or or Horizon and search for tools, then hex drivers. I first picked up on them from a buddy who drove RC cars. They all seem to have them. They are used to cinching down pinion gears and really put some torque on them so they are strong. You can actually twist the heads off screws with them.

I have a metric and an English set of Dynamite hex drivers. Mine have solid aluminum handles with replaceable bits. They aren't ball end, but some manufacturers do make them. As I understand, the bits are made from drill blanks with the hex ground on the end, then the tip is hardened. I have had mine for several years, 3 at least, and not one has rounded off.

.050" is button head screws and some wheel collars-need that one.
1/16" is for wheel collars-need that one
5/64 is for socket head servo screws-need that one
3/32 is for 4-40 bolts-need that one
1.5mm is for the little set screw in your needle valve for adding a wire extension-need that one.
2.0mm-haven't used that one, but is came in a set
2.5mm .46 size mufflers-really need that one
3.0mm .60, .91 muffler bolts-need that one

They aren't cheap. Individual drivers run from $5-$10 each, but the sets save you a little. They make a good Christmas present you can give your wife a hint for. In my opinion, any of the hardened drivers are worth their weight in gold. Once I got mine, and my English set included a .050" one, I started using button head screws. You know how they round off. Not with this driver.

I would not get one with a plastic handle. I had bad luck with them. And don't loan them out.

[link=http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdId=DYN2904]Dynamite[/link]

[link=http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0093p?&C=RAL]Tower Tools[/link]
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Old 11-01-2006, 08:56 PM
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Default RE: Hardened Allen Wrenches and Screwdrivers

Wow! Thanks for all the advice and recommendations guys. This thread oughta be made as a reference sticky because you can only imagine how many of us have asked ourselves this question when in the throws of battle only to forget about it until the next time it happens.

Unfortunately, as is the case many times for me, I may have jumped the gun on this one even after my plea and declaration that I was going to wait this morning. I went by my LHS today and voiced my complaint to him (for the umptenth time) only to hear, "Oh. We use these Integy drivers for cars and they work great." Arrrgh!!!! I've asked him 100 times only to get a blank stare like I was crazy. Oh well... I bought the Integies and I have to tell you that so far I'm really impressed for my $30.

You can find them here to see how badly I got screwed (since nobody here has even mentioned this brand): http://integy.automated-shops.com/cg...29106458481.89

I told the guy (at my LHS) to go ahead and order the matching screwdriver set for me too.

I think I still want the Duratrax set (big one from Tower; I found it after making my original post this morning) for Christmas but I'm gonna see how happy I'll be with what I just got for the next 30 days first. I've thrown a lot of money at this problem over the years so I may still end up trying some of your suggestions. I do appreciate them. At least now I know they exist and from multiple vendors.

As far as the guy who asked about solutions available from Snap-On; the guy at Rick's Helis says on his web page that "all" L-shaped allen wrenches are created equal (equal CRAP LOL) so I suspect Snap-On has nothing on our hobby suppliers on this one.

RTL has what appears to be a NICE set of screwdrivers they swear by if anybody's interested. I may try a set of them too.

Thanks again for all the help and response. It is truly appreciated.

Now if I could only find grade 8 metric 3mm allen head screws to go with my new drivers...

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Old 11-01-2006, 09:28 PM
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Default RE: Hardened Allen Wrenches and Screwdrivers

http://www.pspmfg.com/PSPMFGBilletToolsandHolder.html
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