What are impact sockets or keyholes and what are their types?

FACOM NS.550BPB 

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Neiko 02471A 3/8”

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TIGHTSPOT 3/8" Drive 84pc

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Chicago Pneumatic CP7748 Ki

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TEKTON SID92327 1/2 Inch Drive Impact Socket 

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The impact sockets or keyholes —Also called impact buckets, impact tubes, and impact wrench in English – they are given similar to pipe wrenches that are used in conjunction with a impact wrench to quickly tighten or loosen nuts and screws hexagonal head.

Hexagonal Impact Keyhole

Hexagonal Impact Keyhole

They are very robust and durable parts, which withstand high torsional forces without deforming or breaking, and can be used, in addition to the impact wrench, with any cricket key (pipe wrench). However, they differ from common sockets, cubes, or tubes in material, measurements, and finish. We will see below these differences and why.

Impact sockets – built to resist

The first difference lies in the chemical and crystallographic composition of the steel used for its manufacture: it must be resilient enough to withstand the sudden torsional stress it receives from the steel without deforming. impact wrench.

Pneumatic impact wrench

They are generally manufactured in steel with a chromium-molybdenum alloy, which gives them the hardness and toughness necessary to resist the stresses without suffering any type of plastic deformation, also minimizing the elastic deformations that would absorb the energy delivered.

Another notable difference occurs in the termination: they are usually blued (passivated with a layer of magnetite, Fe3OR4) and never chrome; this is so to avoid that, with the efforts of work, the chrome is detached. Optionally, some manufacturers carry out a previous sandblasting, to give the surface a slightly rough matte finish.

The third difference is in the geometry of the hexagons: in common dice a purely hexagonal notch is made while in the impact dice star-shaped notches are generated, to achieve less play between the head of the screw or the nut and the socket.

Impact wrench

Finally, the impact dice they tend to have thicker walls than their normal counterparts.

Types of impact sockets or keyholes

There are four types of impact dice: normal, universal joint, metric and depth. All of them can be used with an impact wrench or a common cricket wrench.

Normal impact keyholes

They are the ones we saw previously; They differ from common keyholes in that their walls are thicker and the internal geometry is star rather than hexagonal. They share these differences with the rest of the types of impact dice.

Impact Keyholes

Impact Keyholes

Universal joint sockets

They are those that have a universal joint and allow access to nuts and screws located in places that are difficult to access.

As they are keyholes with a built-in mechanism, they should be used only when it is impossible to reach with a impact die common.

Universal Joint Impact Sockets

Universal Joint Impact Sockets

Metric keyholes

These impact dice They are calibrated for metric sized hex heads. While this type of screws and nuts are not very common in the industry automotive, it is common to find them in factories and workshops outside of English-speaking countries.

Depth keyholes

When the screw to be extracted or placed is embedded inside a deep hole, it is necessary to use depth sockets, which allow reaching the head without using extensions not suitable for the impact wrench.

Long or Deep Impact Keyhole

Long or Deep Impact Keyhole

With the impact keyholes depth ensures safe removal or insertion, with sockets carefully designed to withstand torsional stresses without warping or breaking.

Precautions and tips for using the impact wrench

  • Always use protective goggles when using a impact die. There is always the possibility that a piece of material will break or dislodge, and due to the high speed at which it works, this fragment can be dangerous to the eyes.
  • You can use the impact keyholes with common cricket keys but you should never use common dice with impact wrenches; These are not designed to withstand the torque of that tool, and could be deformed or split, thus producing a dangerous situation for the operator and his environment.
  • Store the impact dice in a warm and dry place. If this is not possible, always remember to cover the surface of the same with mineral oil, to avoid any corrosion.
  • Never use a impact keyhole showing cracks or corrosion.
  • Before using a impact die universal joint, try a impact die common; if with this the task is not possible, with one of depth. Only use universal joints as a last resort, as the mechanism, given the nature of the operation, can suffer with prolonged use.
  • Never use a impact keyhole of a measure that is not exactly the same as that of the screw or the nut you are trying to tighten or loosen, not even as a last resort. It will only damage the die and deform the head of the screw or hopelessly nut.
  • The impact keyholes They should only be used directly: never use supplements or accessories of any kind with them, especially the extensions that are often used with traditional sockets. Those accessories are not prepared to withstand the stresses in this application, and it will only break them.

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