Introduction: PVC Socket Wrench

A few weeks ago, I changed the tap on my kitchen's sink.

There was a long bolt holding the tap to the think. It took me ages to fasten the nut as there was no space for an adjustable wrench.

I don't own a socket wrench tool as it's not something I would use a lot, but that day it would have been handy.

In this Instructable, we look at a simple way to make a socket wrench or spark plug wrench from a PVC pipe.

Great for situation when you need a socket wrench, but you don't have one.

What will you need:


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Step 1:

I put a pipe bender spring in a PVC pipe and heated it up with a heat-gun.

When heating the PVC, make sure to do it outside or wear a respirator

If you don't own a heat-gun, candle will also do the trick.

Just heat it up on top of the candle.

Step 2:

Then I bent the pipe.

When the PVC was cold, I removed the spring.

If you don't have a spring, you can still try to bend it.

Step 3:

I heated up one end of the pipe and slid it onto the nut.

When the PVC had cooled, I removed the nut.

I also added a cap on the other end (for decorative purposes)

Step 4:

That's it!

Now you have a PVC socket wrench.

I have tried to make it for 2 different size nuts and it did the job.

If you need to remove the nut from a long bolt, just make a longer socket wrench.

Or you can even attach it to your drill.

Tip:

If the nut is very tight, don't use the tool first (at the end of the day it's plastic)

Use other tools available to unfasten the nut and then switch to the PVC socket wrench to remove it.

Comments

author
panks (author)2016-07-31

Brilliant! I'll definitely be making this.

author
onemoroni1 (author)2016-04-03

This is a good application. It is called the mother of invention. Having been in construction and worked around the house you come across many situations that are not textbook perfect and you have to make something like this or use a tool in an unconventional manner. It's not perfect for every situation, but is creative and solved the problem.

author
gilligoon (author)onemoroni12016-04-11

Is there an echo in here?

author
bobdole1221 (author)gilligoon2016-07-31

ECHO... eCHO....... ecHO.......echO......echo

author
Mjtrinihobby (author)2016-04-18

A little penetrating oil on the bolt head or nut will help out the handy diy pvc socket wrench. Nice write up!

author
onemoroni1 (author)2016-04-03

This is a good application. It is called the mother of invention. Having been in construction and worked around the house you come across many situations that are not textbook perfect and you have to make something like this or use a tool in an unconventional manner. It's not perfect for every situation, but is creative and solved the problem.

author
onemoroni1 (author)2016-04-03

This is a good application. It is called the mother of invention. Having been in construction and worked around the house you come across many situations that are not textbook perfect and you have to make something like this or use a tool in an unconventional manner. It's not perfect for every situation, but is creative and solved the problem.

author
onemoroni1 (author)2016-04-03

This is a good application. It is called the mother of invention. Having been in construction and worked around the house you come across many situations that are not textbook perfect and you have to make something like this or use a tool in an unconventional manner. It's not perfect for every situation, but is creative and solved the problem.

author
onemoroni1 (author)2016-04-03

This is a good application. It is called the mother of invention. Having been in construction and worked around the house you come across many situations that are not textbook perfect and you have to make something like this or use a tool in an unconventional manner. It's not perfect for every situation, but is creative and solved the problem.

author
onemoroni1 (author)2016-04-03

This is a good application. It is called the mother of invention. Having been in construction and worked around the house you come across many situations that are not textbook perfect and you have to make something like this or use a tool in an unconventional manner. It's not perfect for every situation, but is creative and solved the problem.

author
Michael Morgan (author)2016-03-30

Here's something from an old-timer: Heathkit at one time included a plastic nutdriver with some of its kits. The idea was to use the knurled plastic tube to start the nut on the stud or machine screw, and run it down finger tight, then change to a wrech or deep recess nutdriver to tighten the nut. recess

author
jesse2669 (author)2016-03-28

I was going to explain how to strengthen the the length of the socket,or the handle,whatever you choose to call it,also but like you said the amount of work involved wouldn't be worth it unless it were an emergency,the job had to be done now and you just didn't have the right tools.The original idea by ShakeTheFuture should be fine for running the nut up or down the treads if you can find a way to break it loose first and provided the threads are clean and undamaged.

author
jesse2669 (author)2016-03-27

I would think that PVC has far too much flex for this type of application and isn't nearly hard enough unless the nut is little more than finger tight.It's a good idea but before using it I would first improve it by cutting pieces of flat steel,the same height and length as the flats on the nut, and placing them on the flat sides of the nut before heating your PVC around it also, I would wrap the finished PVC socket tightly in fiber glass mesh and coat it with fiber glass resin,these modifications will make the socket much more usable by having a hard steel surface inside the socket that won't stretch or be torn by the nut your trying to turn and the fiber glass on the outside of the socket won't let the PVC distort it's shape under the pressure of twisting.If you don't have a fiber glass repair kit you could also tightly wrap the socket it steel wire.

author
ShakeTheFuture (author)jesse26692016-03-28

That's an interesting improvement you have in mind.

Thanks for sharing!

author

Jesse, that's a crazy amount of work you are proposing. I think he was meaning this to be more of a one time use/throwaway sort of tool.

Your improvements would make the actual socket part of the tool much stronger, but that still doesn't improve the handle which would be broken by too much torque, no matter how much you improved the socket end.

author
CigarSmoker2 (author)2016-03-28

PVC pipe, one of the most useful things man has made. It can be rigid, flexible, easily cut or bent. I have used it to make a ladder to my attic, a bow and quiver, hand pump for the cistern, air cannons, and used it for actual water pipe. Now I am presented with a possible new use. Thank you.

author
Mihsin (author)2016-03-28

So great I'll do it right now. Thanks for this practicle I'ble.

author
harvsch (author)2016-03-27

I would think of this more as a nut runner rather than as a wrench. I wouldn't try to actually tighten anything with this. PVC has an unfortunate habit of shattering violently when over-stressed. An outer jacket of heat shrink would make it a lot safer to use. Heat shrink with an inner melt-able sealant layer would likely increase it's strength as well.

author
ShakeTheFuture (author)harvsch2016-03-28

Yes, it is more like a nut runner, but actually it's not that bad.

I could tighten the nut pretty tight until the PVC warped.

It's not for heavy duty jobs - that's for sure!

Thanks!

author
Bombguy54 (author)2016-03-27

This wrench, although clever, will bear little torque, even with the suggested metal insert and fiberglass. (This from a mechanic of 45 years holding an Airframe and Powerplant license, once with a boat powerplant repair business and a shop restoring vehicles as a hobby.) Tools can be absurdly expensive, but some real deals can be found at garage sales, on craigslist and ebay. Invest is a good set and it will serve you for a lifetime.

author
ShakeTheFuture (author)Bombguy542016-03-28

Thank you!

author
GlenM25 (author)2016-03-26

Major skills. Thanks for the tip, I live overseas and can't find decent tools, I can think of lots of applications for this idea. Plastic pipes are something readily available. Thanks again.

author
ShakeTheFuture (author)GlenM252016-03-27

Thank You!

author
GlenM25 (author)ShakeTheFuture2016-03-27

you got any more PVC ingenuity?

author
ShakeTheFuture (author)GlenM252016-03-28

There is one more project that I have to shoot and edit.

2nd part of the 3 Things You Can Make From PVC Pipes (Part 1)

Cheers!

author
YaënD (author)2016-03-27

what a cool funny idea !

author
ShakeTheFuture (author)YaënD2016-03-28

Thanks!

author
JimTheSoundman (author)2016-03-27

Just so everyone else knows, there is a tool already made for removing a faucet from a sink, they sell it at every hardware store and plumbing store, it is called a "basin wrench." But yes, it's much more fun to make your own.

author

Good to know.

Thanks for the info!

author
relbatto (author)2016-03-27

This idea has commercial possibilities especially for the installation of hardware on sinks. even with the "correct" tool it is a nightmare to tighten the small washer and nut that hold a faucet in place...snug to the base.Thanks!.

author
ShakeTheFuture (author)relbatto2016-03-28

Cheers!

author
chefranger (author)2016-03-27

You always have such great ideas, Thanks

author

Thank You!

author
sickchuck (author)2016-03-27

sch 80 would have been a better size for the pipe. or reinforcing it with a double wall from a socket. pvc looses some strength and can get brittle if not heated and cooled correctly.

author
bjkayani (author)2016-03-24

An amazing idea indeed. Maybe you could add some sort of metal lining to the end where the bolt goes. Making it more stronger and resistant to cracks.

author
ShakeTheFuture (author)bjkayani2016-03-25

That's a great idea.

Thanks!

author
becker990 (author)ShakeTheFuture2016-03-25

could be an adjustable hose clamp

author
ShakeTheFuture (author)becker9902016-03-27

Yes, that could work. Great idea!

author
becker990 (author)bjkayani2016-03-25

could be an adjustable hose clamp!! no?

author
SRQ Sid (author)2016-03-25

Good solution to many odd situations, tks.

I notice many projects use black PVC, will white give similar results?

author
ShakeTheFuture (author)SRQ Sid2016-03-27

Yes you should get the same results. I mainly used black pipe as I like the look of it.

author
Yonatan24 (author)SRQ Sid2016-03-26

I think it should be the same...

author
CraftAndu (author)2016-03-26

Very clever, thanks!

author
ShakeTheFuture (author)CraftAndu2016-03-27

Cheers!

author
auld (author)2016-03-26

Great idea and it may only be scratching the surface. Using a bolt and some epoxy this would make a great handle for turning threaded screws on machines. You could make door handles or handles for drawers in the same way.

author
ShakeTheFuture (author)auld2016-03-27

Thank You!

author
RossJT (author)2016-03-27

this is really nifty. Well done your brainy brain

author
ShakeTheFuture (author)RossJT2016-03-27

Thank You!

author
artwell (author)2016-03-23

If you don't have a pipe bending spring, fill the pipe with sand and temporarily cap the ends. When you heat it up, the pipe will bend without crimping. After bending, remove the caps and, of course, dump the sand before proceeding.

author
becker990 (author)artwell2016-03-25

i hope it works easly!

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