Instructables
Picture of Wrench Sizes... Problem Solved
This idea is evolved from another Instructable >http://www.instructables.com/id/Cant-Find-the-Correct-Drill-or-Wrench-Size-Here/<.  My thanks to Spikoli for sending me in the right direction.

There's always a problem when I begin working on a project that requires multiple sized wrenches.  This is especially true when I work on my boats and cars.  Each of these toys are filled with complicated mechanical systems and many, many different sizes of fasteners.

I don't know about you, but I really don't care if that bolt I'm trying to remove is a 3/16", 1/4" or a #12.  I'm also not able to (even though its fun to try) guess the size by feeling it through a 3"x3" opening.

Time to ask myself what it is I really want... When I'm working, what matters is my ability to  choose the tool that fits the bolt.  It really doesn't matter what dimension is stamped into the metal.

I also don't care if my tools maintain the same look they did when they lived in the store where I bought them.  I use, modify and trim them to fit the job I'm working on, so box wrenches might be ground down to fit a snug opening or cut away completely.

All I want is to be able to grab the tool I need, when I need it...

And I think I've figured out how to do that.
 
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Step 1: What You'll Need:

Picture of What You'll Need:
Paint... Lots of colors.

A job that has numerous, varied sized nuts and bolts.

Also, for additional ID of specific wrenches that are used a lot, a label making machine.

You may also want to try this with a colored plastic spray coating in lieu of paint.
rankhornjp1 year ago
What do you think about tennis racket tape or heat shrink (this might be hard to get over the end)?

They make heat shrink tape, too. Also, apparently with a Dymo Rhino Pro labeler, you can PRINT on something you can wrap around something and shrink! So you could color code it, AND have multiple labels (like on the end of a cable) that say "dash" and "screen door" and ....

bfk (author)  rankhornjp1 year ago
You should try any idea you have. If it works, then it's good.
Suzuking1 year ago
Sorry I don't get. Have you just marked up you spanners so you can identify them, even though the manufacture has kindly marked them for you already?
bfk (author)  Suzuking1 year ago
Thanks for your note, but your position puzzles me. When I'm on my back working underneath a car with a pile of English and metric wrenches around me, those manufacture marks are wholly unacceptable. Barely readable in the light, they become completely invisible in the darkened areas surrounding a creeper.

The purpose of a tool is to make a job easier. The manufacturer's job is to make a product as cheaply as possible. Those manufactured marks are not there to make my job easier. They're there because it's cheap to stamp or cast them. They have nothing to do with kindness.
I'm sorry to be critical but... most of us that use tools often can identify bolt or nut size by looking at it, and most guys like their tools looking professional and not like kiddie tools. Personally I think It's a lot of wasted effort but each to their own I suppose...
bfk (author)  Angrierbeaver2 years ago
No apology necessary. I appreciate any critique.

Yes, I realize anyone who's worked with bolts for very long, quickly learns to spot the correct size.

And I appreciate your sense of aesthetics, but when I'm working on my back with all my tools are piled around me, it's more important for me to be able to grab the correct wrench or socket than to keep my tools looking "professional".

My prior Instructable, the one that led to this one, addressed the professional aspect of tools and how different people look at them.

>http://www.instructables.com/id/Cant-Find-the-Correct-Drill-or-Wrench-Size-Here/<

I can't speak for anyone else, but bolts I can't see or, as in my immediate project are composed of a mixture of english sizes of 16ths and 32nds (very few 1/4 or 1/8 sizes) plus 5 metric sizes. This mess of sizes has thrown me off and being a problem solver, this is my solution and it's working for me.

I'm answering these comments in reverse order, so I've already thrown the gauntlet down for marketing. As an additional statement, anything I publish is open for anyone to market. I'm retired and plan to stay that way:)
Well you got me there man and I really shouldn't be such an ass. I am not much of a wrench turner anyway so I should probably keep to what I know best which is woodworking, LOL. I'll let the wrenchers critique wrenching and keep my woodworking butt on woodworking!

Happy wrenching!
bfk (author)  Angrierbeaver1 year ago
Pleeeze Don't be so hard on yourself. Your comments were very useful and gave me new ideas. As a matter of fact, you may want to polish up the idea about the rings that wrap around the handles. If I were to pursue the project, I'd probably investigate plastic covered metal snap-on clips. My woodworking shop was where I made all of the prototypes for my ideas when I was working.

I'd love to see something like that show up in a big box store. Name them after me:)
pleduc2 years ago
Many, many years ago when I worked as a service rep for IBM, I sometimes worked on machines with other techs, and it was often easy to get our tools mixed up as we usually all had our own tool bags open. To prevent this mixup, I laid out all my tools on a newspaper at home, and spray painted them all a fluorescent orange. Never had a problem identifying them after that!
bfk (author)  pleduc2 years ago
Way to go Pleduc. At the turn of the (19th-20th) century, my grandfather had a stamp with the letter "K" on it. Its easy for me to identify his tools to this day.
TRINIGURU2 years ago
AWESOME IDEA now my little helpers can feel more helpful ......... and less frustrating for me when i ask for a wrench! Hope i can resist painting up borrowed tools
THANKS
bfk (author)  TRINIGURU2 years ago
Thank you.

It's comments like this that make me think... Borrow those tools and paint them with colored "dip-It". Not only will you have your colored wrench, but it will have a plastic coating that's good for grip (Dip-It is the plastic stuff on the handles of your pliers).

Return the wrenches and tell your friend that for loaning them to you, you've improved them by adding non-slip grips...

Then all you have to do is hope your friend doesn't notice the sizes aren't visible anymore:)

rimar20002 years ago
Good idea, I will follow it.
bfk (author)  rimar20002 years ago
Thank you. I'm still working on fine tuning it. I wish there was an easy way to do with feel what I've done with color. That way, you wouldn't even have to turn your head when reaching for that wrench:)
Henge2 years ago
Sweet car
bfk (author)  Henge2 years ago
Thanks. It's an ongoing project. Hopefully I'll have the panels to make it wide-body done by spring and the new hoses and wiring harness in so I can take it out again... With much wider boots. Fun car to drive.
I don't know if I would do this myself but it is something to concider. I have multiable sets from the years and I dedicate a set to autos, woodworking, and other projects. I would think doing this with sockets would be better for myself, a couple drops of paint or fingernail polish for each of the sets would help putting them back in the right set when I need some from another set because of "missing socket syndrome". Keep up the good work, it is a interesting idea.
bfk (author)  RedneckEngineer2 years ago
My multiple sets of tools came from owning a boat that was moored away from the house. One set for the house and one for the boat. Also, because of my messy habits, I have the tendency to go out and buy a tool if I can't locate it in a reasonable amount of time. The missing one always shows up, of course (usually about an hour after I've picked up a new one).

Thanks for the vote of confidence.
I think you should try going the extra mile and come up with a way to make your idea marketable.
bfk (author)  Angrierbeaver2 years ago
Actually... That's what I did for my career. Between Government Patent Examiners, fees and attorneys, I've had my fill. Be my guest and take over.

Seriously.
mikeasaurus2 years ago
Though this may be specific for the average tinkerer, as someone that lives in a metric country with many components being imperial I can completely understand where this is coming from - the difference between a 5mm and 3/16" is almost imperceptible, especially when under a vehicle.
I certainly have enough wrenches (modified or otherwise) to create a small subset that are colour coded to match a much worked on project - I think this idea is great!

Also, that a nice looking Europa you're working on.
bfk (author)  mikeasaurus2 years ago
Thanks Mike.