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  • Sockets for square heads

    There are sockets for square headed bolts & nuts, but in a pinch a 12-point socket will do. The internal angles are wrong (150* instead of 90), but if high torque isn't required ... they "will do".

    I recently used one & it was a little frustrating to find the right size socket. So I did the math to find which socket to use for which square. (Actually, I drew them in CAD & took the dimensions.) There is a really surprising conversion: the square size in inches times 32 is the socket size in mm. E.g., a 3/8" square & a 12mm socket. The socket will be a bit oversize (2.4%), making the fit even worse than it was with the wrong angle, but in a pinch it will do. Try the next size down, to be sure (15mm fits 1/2" square better than 16mm).

    Actually, there is a better conversion to imperial sockets: 5/4 times the square size (5/16 for 1/4 square, etc). Only 1.6% oversize. But unless you have sockets in 1/32's it only works for 1/4's square sizes (1/4, 1/2, ...).

    "32" is the only thing to remember.


  • #2
    It is worth having at least a few 8 point sockets for the sizes you are likely to have to deal with. They work so much better if the plug or fastener is stuck tight. In buying them look for ones that have a recess a least as deep as the size of the head or close to it, some are shallow.

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    • #3
      You can get sockets with a "double square", we have a 5/16" one pressed onto a tee holder which fits the toolpost, saddle locks, saddle stops, compound swivel and the locking screws on the traveling steady. Since the toolpost ones were 5/16" square, I made all the others the same, it saves having too many different size spanners. Double square sockets come in 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" drive sizes and possibly bigger as well.

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      • #4
        I have some square sockets which I mainly used for square headed pipe plugs. They came from Snap-On. They also make sockets for the plugs that have a square female drive and I have a few of those also. Some of those plugs that have been in an engine block for a long time can be really tight. I wouldn't want to use anything but the square sockets. The plugs are fairly soft and if you shear off the corners you are in big trouble.
        Larry - west coast of Canada

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        • #5
          As mentioned an 8 point socket set is a worthwhile addition to the tool crib.
          They are available from most tool vendors in just about any size one will run into



          Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
          Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

          Location: British Columbia

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          • #6
            HI Bob,

            I have a set of square drive sockets that I'd let you have for the price of shipping, I'll never use them and I got them in a box of stuff that has paid of itself long ago. I'm in Portland Oregon. Just send me a PM and we can work it out. When I get to the shop this evening I'll shoot a pic and post it as an edit here.

            Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20200406_150135143.jpg Views:	52 Size:	1.05 MB ID:	1866815Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20200406_150024632.jpg Views:	50 Size:	388.2 KB ID:	1866816

            The set is all 5" long and made by the WALTON CO. Hartford Connecticut. as I said I'll never use them so might as well give them to a good home that will make use of them. Just PM me.


            Going to a new Home today



            TX
            Mr fixit
            Chris
            Last edited by Mr Fixit; 04-07-2020, 01:14 PM. Reason: Found a new home for them.

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            • #7
              don't forget - for the most common square sizes you can just use the drive end of a standard socket, 1/4" 3/8" or 1/2" then use the hex end of the socket on one of those extra long all thread type nuts, then identical socket size on the other end of that, then back to whatever drive system gets the job done with a ratchet...

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              • #8
                I have probably 3 sets of 8 point sockets courtesy of my former co-workers who would normally trash them when they got a new complete socket tool set. They thought that they would never use them. I have lots of square head bolts and lag screws from my Dad's estate but I mostly use them to drive taps.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Willy View Post
                  As mentioned an 8 point socket set is a worthwhile addition to the tool crib.
                  They are available from most tool vendors in just about any size one will run into


                  would you have an ebay link. i dont see any.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mr Fixit View Post
                    HI Bob,

                    I have a set of square drive sockets that I'd let you have for the price of shipping, I'll never use them ...
                    Thanks, that's very generous of you. But I have so little use for them that I couldn't give them a good home . My recent use of a 12 point socket was for a square drive chassis punch that I haven't used in years. Thanks again.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dian View Post

                      would you have an ebay link. i dont see any.
                      The link below is for a link to Ebay's Canadian site for eight point socket sets.



                      These however should be available locally as well from vendors that handle mechanic's tools.
                      The 8 point or double square is the most common type available but octagon types also exist.




                      I have several bolts/fittings on the yard that need an 8 point socket as they have a double square head. I forget what they are at the moment as I don't run into them that often, but when I do I know where the sockets are.

                      For large and/or very tight square headed bolts/nuts one can also find square 4 point sockets. Much like using a six point socket instead of a 12 point it is much less likely to round off the fastener's head.
                      Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
                      Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

                      Location: British Columbia

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                      • #12
                        The times when you do need them, there is almost no other way to do the job. Last year, I had the fun of dealing with German-made electrical panel on a furnace that was getting rebuilt at work. It had 5mm sq male keys, recessed in a 12mm hole on the panel access door. I figure I would be smart, ran all the way back to the maint shop to get the nice, new metric sockets.... which turned out to be 6-point!

                        *Everything* else in the entire company had been slowly replaced with imperial fasteners over the years (for ease of sourcing)..... except these.
                        25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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                        • #13
                          thanks, willy. the problem is i only look for "free shipping" stuff.

                          (there should actually be some site on the net, where you could tell the chinese what you would like them to make.)

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                          • #14
                            I purchased a 1/4" drive socket set over 50 years ago, back in my college days. I still have the set and have even added to it. It came with about three eight point sockets.

                            I don't think I have ever used even one of them. But they sure look nice or at least they used to. They just sit there in their original slots in the original box.

                            I do not feel any great urge to go out and buy any more. Not even metric ones.
                            Paul A.
                            SE Texas

                            And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                            You will find that it has discrete steps.

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                            • #15
                              Yep, I have a few old Craftsman socket sets (one still in the case) and they all came with square nut sockets. Or eight-point as you guys call them. I used them a lot back when I worked on old cars. Nearly all the nuts on cars prior to 1928 were square. Especially the ones holding body panels together. The few exceptions seemed to be factory made hex nuts and came in odd-ball sizes and heights. Even the engines used square head bolts to hold the main caps on. Square nuts were common back then. I still have some square nut stock in my bins.

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