Author Topic: TSO customer preference question: Hex Driver - Ball or straight Hex  (Read 2285 times)

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Offline TSO_Products

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    • TSO Products LLC
Hello FOG - listening to customer as we do, we ask for your input regarding the 3mm and 5mm Hex Drivers we supply with our tools.

Request for responses from FOG readers:

TSO's applications involve occasional or frequent adjusting or tightening do not require maximum torque tightening of the socket head fasteners used in the following tools:

Which Hex Driver style do you prefer:
          Ball Hex Driver________

          Straight Hex Driver____


As you know, TSO listens.

The only problems we have seen in the past was a supplier mix up in the 3mm blade diameter.
We have taken steps to standardize our smaller fasteners to work with 3mm hex drivers on all smaller fasteners but tooling custom fasteners not available commercially.  We will develop several upgrade options in the fourth Quarter 2020 for tools already in customer hands.

GRS-16 series Guide Rail Squares
MTR-18 and PTR-18 Triangles
TPG-series Parallel Guides, FlipStops and TPG Adapters
DBF-45 series BigFoot


We look forward to your quick responses!

Hans and Eric

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Offline Chris Cianci

  • Posts: 100
Ball hex driver for me,
I love your products and service and your relentless commitment to help us
Best

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 4820
Ball

Offline knuckles

  • Posts: 16
Ball.

Offline doug H

  • Posts: 24
Ball hex

Offline AstroKeith

  • Posts: 93
Ball hex, like the nice 3mm one that comes with the Festool MFS 400 & 700.
Retired engineer/scientist

Offline vkumar

  • Posts: 514
Ball Hex
Vijay Kumar

Offline MikeGE

  • Posts: 97
Ball hex.  I wish the Incra products came with ball hex.  Because they are imperial hex keys, I have a difficult time finding ball hex replacements.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 7511
+8 ball hex

Offline grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 667
„Ball“ hex driver here as well.

From the German perspective, I can recommend the Wera ones.
Festool is shipping „Witte“ drivers with the MFS for example, but I have already broken a couple of those and replaced them with Weras which have been feeling studier and held up to the use better.

I‘m sure you will pick quality, as always! :)

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 1226
Ball of course  [wink]

T-Shape or Hand-Grip medium length
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 12:29 PM by Mario Turcot »
Mario

Offline rmhinden

  • Posts: 334
Hans and Eric,

I generally prefer ball hex drivers, but think 3mm ball head might be on the small side.

I have a set of metric and imperial T-handle hex ball drivers that I prefer over the ones that come with other products.    For example, Bondhus 13187 Set of 8 Balldriver and Hex T-handles

I note that while all of the sizes above 3mm are ball ends, 3mm and below are straight.   I assume that the ball ends in small sizes are too weak.

Hope this is helpful.

Bob
 

Offline vkumar

  • Posts: 514
Excellent point @rmhinden . Didn't think of the fact that 3mm is quite small.
Vijay Kumar

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 4820
3mm is small but Hans says the torque required is low.

Offline hdv

  • Posts: 155
@MikeGE: I had the same problem with SAE Allen keys in Europe. A couple of years ago I bought a SAE set from Tengtools and I am very glad with them. Maybe you can get those in Germany?

https://tengtoolsusa.com/collections/hex-tx-keys/products/teng-tools-tthex7af-7-piece-t-handle-af-sae-hex-key-set

I know Wiha have SAE sized Inbusschlüssel as well. See

https://www.amazon.de/-/en/Wiha-72596-Hex-SAE-Pieces/dp/B01BXBWXW2

and

https://www.amazon.de/Wiha-35393-Pieces-Torx-Hex/dp/B003N9B6BC/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=sechskant+SAE&qid=1594227683&s=diy&sr=1-4


Offline TSO_Products

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Terrific responses!  very much appreciated

we look for more data and any reports of difficulty tracing to the 3mm Ball in particular other than the manufacturer's size mistake or other manufacturing defect.

We specifically do not want to provide T-handle Drivers:
T-handles are slower to make multiple turns with
T-handles provide the ability for greater un-needed torque application which is undesirable

Hans

PS: Forggot to mention the GRC-12 Guide Rail Connector also uses the 3mm Hex Driver

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 839
3mm allen/hex is very small.  The problem is they strip out when going to torque on the fastener. It's one of the reasons torx exist. Which for anything really should be the answer.  On small sizes they are far more durable and is one of the reasons basically everything mass produced anymore uses torx on small screws.

Ball ends at 3mm and down being hard to find it understandable, you will be really asking to strip the allen socket.

Torx patents have expired and fastener standards bodies have now adopted them, thus they are no longer a special or expensive fastener.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 03:34 PM by DeformedTree »

Offline AstroKeith

  • Posts: 93
I don't call 3mm small. With a good quality driver there shouldn't be any issues. If there are then its being over torqued I would say. A 3mm key will be for a small screw, which means low torque applications.

Or possibly the screw is made of poor material.

I agree with TSO stating that T-handles are not recommended.

Anyone who has the Festool MFS set will know that the ball ended driver is essential to tighten the screws.
Retired engineer/scientist

Offline Roachmill

  • Posts: 219
Balls are best (when you're not straining them).

Thanks for letting me type that!

Offline Dusty.Tools

  • Posts: 289
    • Dusty.Tools
TSO customer preference question: Hex Driver - Ball or straight Hex
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2020, 02:39 PM »
I have a kit of 2/2.5/3/4mm Ball head Wera for my 3D printer. No complaints at all, so I would definitely vote for ball.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 03:32 PM by Dusty.Tools »
@dusty.tools

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 930
Ball in general, but I assume you would combine our input with your own usability testing :) .  On a 3mm hex driver, quality of steel might make a bigger difference than for the 5mm driver.


Thanks for asking!

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 839
The too much torque is just something that is hard to control,  a M4 screw only gets torqued to a few ft-lb (I know, unit mixing), so it's so easy to over torque without even trying.  The Hex design doesn't scale down well to handle this. TSO is right to not want to offer something that lets people good a good wrenching on it.

An M4 screw with torx takes a T-20,  this is what we use on impact drivers putting in wood screws.  It's a big difference, you won't damage the screw easy.

Obviously anything is better than a flat or a Phillips, but now, even hex/allen is a bit annoying verses a torx/star.   


Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 873
With how many times I have seen stripped out hex head bolts, my recommendation would be for a straight hex key for the masses. Unless there is an odd angle I personally never grab a ball hex. Even then I will often break it loose with a straight hex, then switch to a ball hex. Just seen too many people over tighten and strip hex head bolts trying to remove them.

Quality of tools usually means everything and definitely comes into play with hex keys. Snap-on's hex keys can twist and distort even though they are super hard. I would not expect TSO to supply Snap-on quality hex keys, but I also wouldn't expect to see junk.

Although for screws torx is king, as far as tool strength, one is more likely to break a torx over a hex head. I myself have had to warranty far more torx bits, then hex.

Offline threesixright

  • Posts: 536
Probably silly, but how about none?

Most of us have one (guessing). Make it optional and let customer pick if he needs one and if so which type.

My guess, lots of these “supplied” tools endup unused.


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Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 839
Probably silly, but how about none?

Most of us have one (guessing). Make it optional and let customer pick if he needs one and if so which type.

My guess, lots of these “supplied” tools endup unused.


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Wait, are you saying you don't solely used the stamped sheet metal "wrench" that comes with a product?  How do you know you want damage things if you don't use it?

Also, post like yours could cause mass panic at the Ikea Wrench factory.

Offline pixelated

  • Posts: 234
There have been plenty of responses, but I'll add my preference which is Ball.

Offline threesixright

  • Posts: 536
LOL.

I think they go on strike!


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Offline thudchkr

  • Posts: 169
With how many times I have seen stripped out hex head bolts, my recommendation would be for a straight hex key for the masses. Unless there is an odd angle I personally never grab a ball hex. Even then I will often break it loose with a straight hex, then switch to a ball hex. Just seen too many people over tighten and strip hex head bolts trying to remove them.


I pretty much agree with Peter C. The ball drive is great when need to come at an angle but, more often than not, unnecessary. I generally use T-handle drivers and wish that more of mine didn’t have the ball-end.

I do think, however, that the ball-type end goes well with the screwdriver type handle.
Clint

Offline jgt1942nc

  • Posts: 15
I have better results with the ball.

Offline Cypren

  • Posts: 35
My guess, lots of these “supplied” tools endup unused.

While this is undoubtedly true, I will say that I do actually use the supplied TSO driver that came with my guide rail connectors, simply because it's convenient to leave it sitting right in the systainer alongside the guide rail squares and other accessories. Prevents me from having to walk over to the tool cabinet and fish out a hex wrench set just to quickly tighten a few screws that are all the same size for the same purpose.

Offline TwelvebyTwenty

  • Posts: 86
It doesn't actually make any difference, they'll both do the job perfectly well - not worth a thread dedicated to the matter.

What would be useful though, is if you could spend your time on following up on this:

"look for a YouTube shortly from TSO showing two simple methods for accurately cutting narrow stock with a track saw using the TSO Parallel Guide.
We'll post on the FOG when this TSO YouTube is available

Hans"

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2794
Both do the job so really do not have one strong preference over the other.

Online Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3980
Ball on the long leg; standard hex on the short leg for times when more torque is needed.   [smile]
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 873
Ball on the long leg; standard hex on the short leg for times when more torque is needed.   [smile]
This works! :)

Offline TSO_Products

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    • TSO Products LLC
It doesn't actually make any difference, they'll both do the job perfectly well - not worth a thread dedicated to the matter.

What would be useful though, is if you could spend your time on following up on this:

"look for a YouTube shortly from TSO showing two simple methods for accurately cutting narrow stock with a track saw using the TSO Parallel Guide.
We'll post on the FOG when this TSO YouTube is available

Hans"

@TwelvebyTwenty  - point well taken.
Here's a screenshot of the video on the editing screen!

thanks for encouraging me!

Hans

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1968
Straight.  Peter C covered it.
-Raj

Offline hdv

  • Posts: 155
Sparktrician's suggestion is exactly what the Tengtools hex keys do. (Probably others as well, but didn't check.)

To you "doesn't matter" folks: did you ever try a straight key on the MFS? I found a ball end works much much better in that type of situation, where you can't insert the key in line with the head of the bolt.

Offline yetihunter

  • Posts: 749
I’ve broken just about every ball hex driver below 3mm on jigs and machinery.  3mm seems pretty borderline.  The better question is what do you prefer: phone calls and emails about stuck screws with screwdriver tips stuck in them? or no phone calls and emails about stuck screws with screwdriver tips stuck in them?  [smile]


Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 1687
I had problems with the ball end drivers so I found a Torx driver that fits the TSO guide rail connector screws and use that. I think it was a T15.

I have plenty of regular and ball end hex drivers but the Torx seem to work well (as in don't break) and I have a set with screwdriver handles that I rarely use on the smaller Torx fasteners so I stuck the ones I need in the Systainers of my TSC55 and also my DeWalt track saw.
-----
It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline TSO_Products

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A BIG Thank you to all who responded to our Question about Hex- or Ball Driver preferences for our particular applications. There was more to the issue as we continue to improve our products.

We are eliminating small standard commercial fasteners which are only available in 2.5mm socket heads and replacing them with custom engineered fasteners of the same thread size but with 3mm socket heads. This will enable our customers to make all TSO small screw adjustments with one 3mm Ball Hex Driver regardless of thread size.


That settles it:
Ball Hex Driver for our current 3mm socket head screw applications it will continue to be.


Hans

Offline demographic

  • Posts: 603
Torx>Straight Hex>Ball when you start getting down to tbe smaller sizes in my opinion.
The ball ones wear the fastener internal hex faster and or snap the ball off.
Admittedly, when the ball has snapped off you still have a straight hex but unless its at an odd angle I'd rather not start off with a ball.

Offline PaulMarcel

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I have a Wera tools set that has a ball on the long end and straight on the short end. This has always worked well for me. In fact, today, I needed them for removing an UHDW plastic plate on a jig. The short straight end was perfect for starting to undo the screws set with removable LocTite then used the ball end to quickly remove them.

In this case, I could have used the short straight end all the way, but I've definitely had to use the ball end to even get something started. Seems to be the best of both worlds and gives the end-user the choice.
Visit my blog for Festool adventures
IG: @PaulMarcel328 - basically stories, mix of circus, woodworking, maybe gym stuffs... it's not an extension of my blog, /tedtalk

Offline AstroKeith

  • Posts: 93
TSO have now given their verdict, which has the key words "for small screw adjustments". As with the Festool MFS the use of a ball ended hex key is well near essential for effective setting up and adjusting.

I commend the TSO decision.

We all need the right tool for the job. If the screw is loctited in, or otherwise stuck, then clearly a straight key may be called for. But this isn't the case for "adjustment" screws, or indeed most screws properly tightened.

Also there are hex keys and there are hex keys. What I mean is the quality of this seemingly simple tool will vary enormously. Poorly manufactured keys are rife. Old tooling and poor materials and processing mean that you get only what you pay for. There is no substitute for a good quality key. The ball end of a hex key is a fairly precision piece of machining/forming.

Same goes for the screw. We have all had a batch or make of wood screws that couldn't be driven in satisfactorily due to poorly formed heads. For me the move to Torx style heads is very welcome.
Retired engineer/scientist