How are Sockets Used?

Posted on July 21, 2021 James Williams How are Sockets Used?

In the realm of tools and hardware components, a socket is a type of equipment piece that may be used to install and remove a mechanical fastener. In particular, they are often employed for use with hex head bolts, screws, and other various fastener types, featuring a compatible head and a handle to apply torque. A socket can refer to the hole of fasteners that facilitate the connection of another part, however, an example being a fastener with a head socket which serves as the means of accepting a male tool. As a result, it is important to understand the differences between tool sockets and fastener sockets when conducting various operations or procuring parts.

When discussing the socket tool specifically, such equipment will often be a cylindrical piece with a different shaped socket present at each end of the handle. On one end of the socket tool, a prismatically shaped hole is provided for the means of encapsulating the head of the fastener. This prismatic shape most often comes in the form of a hexagon, ensuring that hex-head bolts and hexagonal nuts can be assembled and disassembled with ease. The opposite side is generally a square shaped socket, and this allows for the tool to connect with an additional equipment piece. By using another tool, an individual can achieve more power for assembly.
Sockets on their own are unable to produce the necessary torque for installation, rather serving as the middle-man for another tool or torque generating device to transfer torque to the fastener. There are many tools that may be used alongside sockets, including wrenches, torque multipliers, and breaker bars. Various subtypes of wrenches may be used as well, including socket, pneumatic impact, and hydraulic torque variations.
There are quite a few benefits to utilizing a socket for mechanical fastener parts, including the flexibility of such tools that allow them to be used on a number of fastener sizes and types. If various sized tools are used, then one may also extend their reach into various assemblies to ensure the proper installation of components. If the fastener is truly hard to reach, then many tools will also permit the use of an extension bar for increased reach, that of which is not commonly possible with other tool types. With the design of most sockets, a great amount of torque can be achieved which is very useful for creating a dependable and secure assembly.
Fasteners with socket heads are those that accept the engagement of tools in order to receive thrust. Socket fasteners may range in their type, often coming in the form of screw, set screw, bolt, and shoulder bolt fasteners. Cross-shaped holes, or Philips holes, are types that taper down towards a bottom point, often being used for wood or self-tapping screws. Hexagon sockets are as their name suggests, coming in the form of hexagonal holes that are present on socket head cap screws and other mechanical fastener types. Wood screws will often feature a slot or flap head, that of which is a rectangular slot that runs the length of the fastener head. Beyond such common types, one may also procure socket bits, torx, and other fastener socket variations as well.

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