I find myself in need of a wrench a lot. Whether it's on my longboard, a tool, or some project I'm working on, I always end up needing to loosen or tighten a nut or bolt. I tried carrying a skate tool around, but it was a little too bulky for me, often didn't have the right size drivers for whatever project I had at hand, and usually ended up forgotten somewhere. I resigned myself to carrying around a socket wrench with the few sockets I expected to need. Then one day some guy in my neighbourhood left an old toolbox out with a "free" sign. Of course I took it. Inside were a couple of old socket wrenches I wouldn't mind destroying, so I decided to seize the opportunity and make my own pocket socket wrench/keychain. After using it for a couple of weeks I love it. If you find that you need more leverage you can easily slide a screwdriver, drill bit, metal rod, or even a pen or pencil into the shaft to extend it. I usually keep an adapter for smaller sockets on the wrench and have a couple sockets strung along the chain with my keys.
Step 1: What You Need:
- An old socket wrench (not pictured)
- Ball chain
- Spray paint (optional)
- Square steel tube with inner dimensions of 3/8" x 3/8". Mine was made of 14 gauge steel; I recommend getting a tube made of a thinner metal if possible.
- A hacksaw or angle grinder with cut off wheel (I highly recommend the angle grinder; I started out with a hacksaw and ran into some trouble)
- Drill or drill press
- Appropriate welding safety equipment
- Bench vise
Step 2: Disassembling the Socket Wrench
Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the actual disassembly of the wrench, but I will attempt to explain what I did. This video gives clear instructions that should help.
- To remove the "head" of the socket wrench you must first remove the spring holding it in place. You can get a decent view of it in the first image.
- Prevent the spring from rotating and pry it up by forcing a flat-head screwdriver into the notch. The spring is kind of like a key ring in design.
- Once the spring is removed the head will slide right out.
- Keep the head.
Step 3: Cutting the Shaft
- Cut off a piece of tubing about 3" long. You can make it bigger or smaller if you want, but I found that 3" was large enough to get some leverage on while still being small enough to fit in your pocket.
- File the cut end smooth.
Step 4: Drilling the Chain Hole
- Make a mark about 1/4" away from one end.
- Drill a hole through the mark. Make sure you drill straight through both sides of the tube.
- I used a 5/32 drill bit. You can of course use a different bit and drill in a different place, but I found that a 5/32" hole 1/4" away from one end was the perfect size and placement to handle both a ball chain and traditional key ring.
Step 5: Cutting the Head
Please learn from my mistakes; don't try to cut the head with a hacksaw. After about 30 minutes and a completely dull blade I had managed to make a cut that was maybe 1/8" deep. Use an angle grinder and cut off wheel. It'll make this a heck of a lot easier.
- Clamp the head in the vise.
- Using the angle grinder, cut along the groove where the spring held the head in place (where the hacksaw blade is in the first image).
- Discard the piece that doesn't resemble a tiny top hat. I think I'll call it that from now on.
- Use the files on the underside of the "top hat" until it is smooth and even. If the cut was on an angle use the grinder to even it out. You want the top hat to be perpendicular to whatever surface it rests on.
Step 6: Welding
- Position the "top hat" on the end of the shaft you cut earlier. Make sure it is centered and on one of the faces with a hole in it; make sure it is on the end opposite the hole. Clamp it in place.
- Weld the sections of the top hat's "brim" that stick out on either side of the shaft to the shaft.
Step 7: Cleaning Up the Welds
- File or cut down the portion of the top hat's "brim" that didn't get welded until you hit the welds.
- File the welds down and make them smooth.
Step 8: Finishing Up
- This step is a matter of personal taste. You can paint the wrench, wire wheel it, sandblast it, or just leave it. It all depends on what you want to do. I opted to paint it.
- First I wrapped the connector in tape so as not to paint over it.
- I then spray painted the wrench black.