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Real Snap On Tools and Fasteners

New type of nut/bolt that would allow the tool to "snap on"
  [vote for,

When I first heard about "snap on" tools I thought what a great idea, I am always losing bolts or unable to hold onto the nut in those really hard to get to places. (I started playing with tools at a tender age). I was very dismayed to find out Snap-On(tm) do no such thing. I think a line of nuts and bolts that have a groove cut into the bottom of the head would allow a ratchet with a springloaded compression fitting to literally snap on so the tool would cling and make hard to reach bolts and nuts easier to remove or replace. Anyone that has ever used a grease gun will know kind of what I am talking about.
TBK, Nov 28 2002

Magnetic socket inserts http://www.nmoa.org/Products/nd539.htm
[half, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Gator Grip http://gator-grip.com/
Nothing like the idea, but I need one. [Amos Kito, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       I don't see why not.
angel, Nov 28 2002

       If you'll look again at those SnapOn brand tools, you will find that the sockets do indeed "snap" on to their wrenches, and are removed by releasing the spring-loaded bearing pressure that holds them in place. SnapOn doesn't put this feature on the business end of their sockets because it would be a weak point when dealing with off-sized and carelessly manufactured nuts and bolts. If you want your SnapOns to hold onto a nut in hard to reach places, a bit of chewing gum works well since they are not particularly easy to magnetize.
jurist, Nov 28 2002

       [UnaB]: To prevent a socket from burring the nut, use flank-drive wrenches. The wrench is slightly larger than the nut head, and each face is curved so that they don't contact the shoulder of the nut. Some versions have the wrench the same size as the nut, but with radiussed reliefs at the shoulders.
angel, Nov 28 2002

       Also good when doing repairs to sattellites .... dropped tools & parts = very bad .....   


       // carelessly manufactured nuts and bolts //   

       <minor rant> These should be bannned ! </minor rant>
8th of 7, Nov 28 2002

       [Jurist] that feature is not unique to Snap-on. Every socket/ratchet in the world depends on that feature in some form or another (ball bearing etc.) I also don't want chewing gum on my car/motorcycle.
TBK, Nov 28 2002

       That's a fair enough retort, [TBK]. My annotation was meant with a certain amount of tongue (and gum) in cheek. But the real answer why nut and bold manufacturers don't provide the kind of head you are looking for is also pretty obvious: in order to provide a structural surface that had both enough gripping area to be effective and a groove for your bearing to snap into, the nut/bolthead would have to be nearly twice as deep as those currently manufactured. That would entail both greater material cost and many new engineering and service problems to accomodate the additional depth.
jurist, Nov 28 2002

       This is a good idea, I've often thought about this but couldn't envisage a solution that didn't weaken the tool or the bolt in some way. I think a small groove and clip would do the trick without the need for doubling the depth of the nut.   

       [UB], Square heads would make no sense. A lot of bolts, pipe fittings etc. are in areas where access is restricted. Using a hexagonal form with an open ended spanner allows you to re-position the spanner after only a 30° turn, with a square head this goes up to 90°. Also for a given bolt size the rotational footprint of a square nut would be 22% larger in diameter than that for a hex nut.   

       [TBK], in a clean environment, blu-tak(tm) works just as well as chewing gum and is easier to clean.
egbert, Nov 28 2002

       When I was a lad I was taught that it was bad practice to start nuts or bolts with any kind of spanner. It's too easy to cross thread them - have since found out the veracity of this with sparkplugs in ally heads.
Gordon Comstock, Nov 28 2002

       [GC] <Wince> We share your pain, brother. Never done it myself, but I can imagine ...
8th of 7, Nov 28 2002

       <vaguely off and on topic> The SnapOn tools van makes a stop at my husbands shop. He says they're the best tools on the market.
bristolz, Nov 28 2002

       [Rods], that's a dark place we don't want to go, OK ?
8th of 7, Nov 28 2002

       Mr Comstock, rotating the nut in the opposite sense to the thread until you hear a click means the threads are now kined up to engage properly. This can be done with a spanner, but you get a better feel with your fingers. So to speak.
locochilean, Nov 28 2002

       Alternative. (link)
half, Nov 28 2002

       There was a part of Foredom Tools that used a vacuum system and a tray for picking up and holding screws, nuts, etc., though I don't know if they still make this. The tray was fashioned in such a way as to allow the screws to fall into holes so the head would point up by shaking the tray a little bit. Mostly used commercially.
Trunk, Nov 28 2002

       Snap-On-Tools tend to remind me of Martina Navritalova (sp?) or Billie Jean King, however that is another story. Snap-On makes a very high quality, durable product with the aforementioned flank drive. Hubby is right [bristolz]. They do not have a product that I have found to address this issue. I think a molded insert similar to those on spark plug sockets would be a good idea. This would retain the fastener and allow it to float so as not to cross thread. This is a good Idea. I humbly offer a croissant. I think with my napkin sketch and [bristolz] brilliant artistic ability........well then...oven is on
MadJack, Nov 28 2002

       [UB] You're going to Hell .....
8th of 7, Nov 29 2002

       [Jurist] If you do check the thread again, I didn't mean my retort to be sharp in anyway. I usually check these things at the tail end of my 12 hour night shift at work. (Such as right now) So my attention to the polite details slips alittle. Again no offense intended, was just stating a point.
TBK, Nov 29 2002

       No problem, [TBK]. A few useful ideas still managed to get appended to your idea.
jurist, Nov 29 2002

       Instead of special hardware and matching tools, you’re better off with a simple replaceable spring clip grip (or teflon or rubber), or the aforementioned… nut-suckers. There are problems with snap tools.
If you’re in a difficult spot, like the back of a duct, you'll get tired of snapping & unsnapping the wrench with every 30-degree turn -- you’ll grab an ordinary wrench. You’ll need an entire set of tools for both regular and snap nuts. Starting a snap nut with an air tool will cross-thread and strip your bolt and make matters worse -- you’ll still need to finger-tight it. Remove a snap nut, and now you’ve got the nut snapped inside the wrench or socket, and have to dig it out before unscrewing another. If those tools have release mechanisms, you'll be repairing tools often. Sockets will snap to a nut and unsnap from your ratchet. And when you find an ordinary nut/bolt, you’ll need the correct size & length snap hardware on hand to replace it with.
However, this system can be marketed to specialized users, maybe for show cars.
Amos Kito, Nov 29 2002

       [amos], I envisaged this system as being useful only for socket sets, as spanners are meant to be repositioned. And there are many instances where it would be an advantage to maintain a grip on the nut once removed, so it doesn't drop and lodge in an inaccesible part of the suspension/ boiler/ nuclear reactor.   

       BTW, looks like [TBK] and [jurist] got their threads crossed.
egbert, Nov 29 2002

       Many nuts and bolt heads have a slight bevel or "ease" at the corners of each face. How hard would it be to provide a slight spring-tensioned flange at the edge of the socket to engage this bevel and lightly grip the nut or bolt? It wouldn't require a redesign or improvement of common parts, and would work on inferior parts just as your current socket does.
jplummer, Dec 05 2002

       I haven't tried them, but Sears has magnetic socket inserts to hold the bolt head/nut in a socket.
mamsvol, Dec 29 2003

       Darn.. I was just going to write something and the last post I read litterally came out of my mind. I was going to suggest putting small neo magnets in the sockets to hold onto the nut. Wouldn't work on most stainless of coarse but a great majority of nuts are steel. Go for it.
clafever, Jan 21 2004

       I am sure many of you have or have seen flat blade screwdrivers that have two blades that slide past each other to wedge into the slot and hold a screw in place. A socket with two, three or even all six sides with a slim wedge to pinch the nut or bolt and a spring release as you pull away might be a solution. By the way, anyone know how the pit crews at car races can spin on those wheels so damn fast without cross threading?
Spare parts, Jun 22 2004

       [spareparts] Formula one type cars have only a single hub nut. The spindle has a non-threaded area to allow the nut to line up before the threads engage. Ditto for NASCAR studs, and they glue the nuts to the wheel.
wittyhoosier, May 12 2006


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