In the Shop
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
The Best Accessories For Battery-Powered Impact Wrenches?
Nov 06, 2013
If you're one of the believers who find battery-powered impact wrenches nearly indispensible for working on farm equipment, here are a couple suggestions to make those tools even better:
-If you don't have and use impact sockets on your battery-powered impact wrench, invest in a set. Chrome sockets are designed for use with hand tools, and have a more brittle metallurgy than black metal sockets designed for use with impact tools. Chrome sockets will not only wear out more quickly when used on an impact tool, but can crack or shatter. If you're guiding a chrome socket on the nut or bolt and letting it spin in your hand, it can have bloody results. A set of 1/2-inch drive deep-well impact sockets from Gray Pneumatic, 3/8-inch through 1 1/2-inch, is around $129. (If you have to choose between deep-well and standard length, get the deep-wells--they're most versatile than standard length sockets.)
-Consider getting a set of flex, impact sockets. Flex sockets, aka "wobble sockets," reduce the need to align the battery-powered impact wrench with the nut or bolt. I was slow to accept the value of wobble sockets, but now that I've got them, they are the sockets I reach for 95 percent of the time. However---they take a little getting used to because they want to fly off nuts and bolts if you're not ready for the directional torque they create. A set of 1/2-inch drive wobble impact sockets from Gray Pneumatic, from 7/16-inch through 1 1/4-inch, costs around $159. (If I had to choose between buying a set of deep-well impact sockets and buying a set of wobble, impact sockets---I'd get the wobble sockets first. They are THAT handy to have.)
And...don't even think about using a conventional chrome flex/wobble socket on an impact wrench. Their pivot isn't designed for use with an impact wrench, and they can fly apart in dangerous ways.