Seems I started this thread roughly a year ago. Things have changed significantly in my professional life. I no longer work in the heavy equipment repair facility. However, the reason for starting this thread was to post tools that others may find useful and actually buy for their own personal tool kits.
Today, I thought about adding torque wrenches and that got me thinking about them. What kind is best? Do people know there are different types? What about scale?
Many people are familiar with what is known as a "click type" or a micrometer torque wrench. Some, actually have them in their garage. Thing is, there are a few types.
The first is the spring type that you twist the handle to a preset mark and the wrench "snaps" over when torque is reached, making an audible "click" as well as sending a physical snap through the wrench to your hand.
Another type is the "Digi-Click" made by Craftsman. This is the same as the above, only you have a display window to indicate the torque setting versus a mark on the side.
Then there's the double beam type. These are far less well known but the advantage is, they are "springless" and require no further calibration than what they get at the factory. That's kind of the kicker.
The vast majority on the market are the first "click type" mentioned. They require calibration, depending upon use, annually. Now, if you have one in your garage, and you use it once or twice a year, it isn't a big issue.
Just make sure to return the wrench to its lowest marked setting or the spring can set. That will make all torque indications off by a different percentage than original, and you'll need a calibration.
There is also what is known as a "beam type" torque wrench where there is a simple pointer that points to the torque achieved. There are more sophisticated versions of these that have a dial to indicate the torque achieved.
The main disadvantage is you have to actually watch the indicator to know that you've achieved the desired torque. These are quite inexpensive and probably the most common after the click type wrenches above.
Then there is the digital torque wrench. You can now find these at quite reasonable prices from legitimate, reliable vendors. Snap-On has had them for some time now. I've used them professionally for a couple decades but they were prohibitively expensive for the DIY/home hobby mechanic. Still are really.
My son says they're $5-$600 on the Snap-On truck for the 3/8 drive version. There are other options than Snap-On though. I recently went looking for one and found Amazon has a number of them for sale. I found two or three that kind of met what I was looking for. One from Summit Racing, one from Bike Master and one from Eastwood.
All three are reputable tool dealers, though Bike Master is more or less specific to motorcycle repair. After looking over the Summit Racing one, as well as the Eastwood one, I popped over to look at the Eastwood site and see if there was a more accurate and thorough description of the tool and its functions.
When I found it, it turned out to be on Eastwood's Christmas specials sale!! Score. On Amazon it was listed at $125.99 so not horrible, and quite inexpensive for a digital torque wrench. On the Eastwood site, it was on the fore mentioned Christmas sale for $86.99. Done. Ordered it then and there.
If you read this far, and are wondering what the advantage is to a digital torque wrench, I'll try to answer that.
To me anyway, the major advantage is, you are not relying on the wrench to "snap over" and "click" to alert you that you have reached the desired torque.
At low torque settings, click type torque wrenches may not click at all, resulting in snapped off fasteners. Ask how I know this.
Digital torque wrenches either beep or buzz to let you know you are within 10% of the desired torque so you can look at the display and stop when you reach the that torque. Some, though not all have an LED to further alert the user. Low torque setting have no adverse effect on the wrench, nor the warning system. IE, the chance of snapping off a fastener is greatly reduced.
This new digital torque wrench will join my 1/4" drive Inch Pound wrench for tiny jobs, and my Craftsman 1/2" wrench for bigger jobs. I'm ready to toss my old 3/8 torque wrench as it is so inaccurate that I no longer trust it.
It was borrowed, and then returned left at nearly it's maximum torque setting and a snapped off fastener was the result. Not on one of my projects but it happened none the less..........sean