Shop Cheats: Magic Socket Trick

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About: I am a shop body. Give me a job, the tools to do it, and I will be happy as can be. I get along best with metal and machines. Back in the day my Dad was a welder by trade. I managed to learn a lot of that tr...

So I want to do a series of Instructables of some handy ways I cheat in the shop. We will see how many I manage to post. But at least there's this one!

This is one of my favorite tricks in the shop. Because anyone who sees you use it for the first time believes you to be some kind of mechanical Magus. Seriously! It is apparently really impressive. On more than one occasion I have needed to hold a nut or bolt in a socket while lowering it into place. And it always seems like when I need to do this there is some impossible labyrinth of hoses, wires and parts in the way. But putting a magnet in the socket would be too troublesome because of the maze you have to navigate. Or the target for the fastener was too close to some larger magnetic piece. There are a lot of things that could be done, but none as simple as this. Just take a piece of paper (printer, notebook, towel, cardboard, etc,) and jamb it into the socket with the nut or bolt. The little bit of compressed paper adds enough friction to the equation to prevent the fastener from slipping out of the socket. And no magnetism, no sticky stuff on my sockets, and I will not need to worry much about a bit of paper getting in the works. There is a little foresight required here. Always test how tight the fastener is in the socket. No sense in having it fall out while playing the reach game, or worse, having the socket stuck to the fastener. It is probably one of the oldest tricks that I know of, but it saves so many headaches.

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    21 Discussions

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    tsmith47

    1 year ago

    Looks like a great idea as long as you don't wind up with your socket detaching from your ratchet

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    aaahotdog

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you, love it. Hey moderator.......this should be a catagory.....Shop Cheats.....I could offer several also.

    1 reply
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    Higgy710aaahotdog

    Reply 3 years ago

    Yes! Please make this a category/sub-category! I have quite a few Shop Tricks/Cheats that I'd like to make Instructables for.

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    mreed30

    3 years ago

    I use dum dum (the sticky, gummy stuff you use to seal tail lights with) just put a little piece in between the socket and bolt.

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    kooth

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome! How clever! This will definitely come in handy. Thanks for sharing!

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    andy.knote

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, how did I never think of that? That is quite brilliant! Thanks for sharing.

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    mnmama

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Doh! (smack forehead here and wish I'd thought of that!)

    Nice job and thanks for sharing!

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    HAL 9000

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Every one of these is such a "why didn't i think of this," I'm feeling pretty dumb now. Thanks for these tips!!

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    BentSticks

    4 years ago

    Nice. Hope you keep posting more shop cheats.

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    Kafukai

    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is nice trick, I'll try it when I need it.

    Do you know how many kinds of wrenches there are?! If you're using the right tools for your job it's also will save you so many headaches :-) I recommend you to study all kind of tools, in the last 4 years I found tools that saved me a lot in my projects, and I still didn't seen/use most of the tools. Good luck and I hope to see more of your hacks :-)

    1 reply
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    Metal_maestroKafukai

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    You should see my tool box. I have a dozen wrenches in the same size, but in different patterens. There are still dozens of wrenches I think I need.

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    Moose Dr

    4 years ago on Introduction

    There's been a dozen times that I have struggled with this issue. Thanks.

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    pfred2

    4 years ago on Introduction

    I've done similar using tape to hold a bolt in a socket.

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    ara

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Good ideea!. When I don't have the proper wrench, I use a screwdriver. Never thought using a piece of cloth.