Regular sockets and impact wrench sockets are used for lug nuts operations. Regular sockets are used with rachet and impact wrench sockets are used with impact wrenches. Sometimes you may think to use a regular socket in an impact wrench. So let’s see is there any possibility to use a regular socket in the impact wrench?
You can’t use a regular socket in the impact wrench. Because regular sockets are impossible to resist high vibration and torque. Hence socket can be break easily. Regular sockets are made with vanadium steel and it is weak for vibration and high torque. You can use the impact socket for this.
So what is the reason for this? It depends on the material properties, structure, mechanism, applied force, and safety. So let’s see why a regular socket is impossible to use in the impact wrenches in detail. Keep reading on!
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Regular Sockets and Impact Sockets
In lug nut operations, we can use a hand or impact wrench for tightening or losing the lug nuts. Normally we need torque for nut and bold handling. We use sockets for applying the force without moving here and there. As a simple tool, we use hand and rachet, and for quick and efficient work, we can use an impact wrench.
Torque is the multiplication of force and applied length. One of these increases its value is also increased proportionally. So when we use hands, we try to increase the force length. But when we use an impact driver, we cant increase the length of applied force.
Due to this reason impact wrench increases the applied force. Finally, the impact wrench uses higher force to the nut without changing the force-length.
Hand operated tool’s force can be controlled easily, but machine operating force is not able to handle easily.
Considering all facts, two sockets has been manufactured for hand operations and machine operations. Those are regular sockets and impact sockets. Both these sockets are with different mechanical and structural differences. All are highly effective for their ultimate usage.
Using the tools interchanging is really not recommended due to its different properties. So let’s see more detail about this.
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Material Properties of Regular Sockets
When we consider regular sockets and impact sockets, both are used for the same task but with different tools. Regular sockets are used for the hand-operated tools, and impact tools are for the impact wrenches. Normally well growth man can handle 30kg from his single hand easily. But using the body, he can apply more than that.
There are some torque multiplication instruments that can use for extremely high torque applications. The hand operation process is really slow. We can control it 100% every time.
But if we use a machine for torque generation, it should be more powerful and unable to control 100%. An impact wrench is used for generating the high torque even more than 1000 ft-lb with using an epicyclic gear mechanism. Under this situation, it can’t handle higher torque, and it directly applies to the nut or bolt through the socket.
When there is any failure in the socket, we can observe it while we operate it. But Impact wrench mechanism can’t observe such that deformation due to the high rate of application.
Due to this reason, regular sockets and impact sockets should have different specifications. Impact sockets should have high tensile and low ductile properties. When the force is applied, it can be subjected to tension without deformation, and it should not break under high impact rates.
Impact sockets are with high flexibility and less possibility to break the sockets. Due to this reason, impact sockets are made with chrome-molybdenum steel, which is more powerful to withstand the high vibration operated by impact wrenches. Finally, impact sockets are carbonized and giving them a flat black look.
Molybdenum as a metal is more capable of absorbing vibration than vanadium, which is prone to cracking and splitting when repeatedly slammed by an impact driver’s hammers.
The alloy is used for standard sockets. However, chrome vanadium steel is used due to less tensile than impact sockets.
Due to this reason, the standard socket will break under the high torque and impact rates.
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Structure of Regular Sockets and Impact Sockets
When you carefully observe these sockets. You can see there is a huge difference in their structure. Impact sockets are subjected to high torque and impact rates. In order to resist this socket wall is designed more thickness than standard sockets wall thickness.
Standard socket wall thickness is really thin and lightweight. But impact socket is more weight and wall is high thickness.
Regular sockets are with a combination of 2-3 circular shapes.
Impact sockets have a special design for resisting vibration and torque. But most are cylindrical. Standard sockets are short, and impact sockets are longer than regular sockets.
Tighten Torque and Breakaway Torque
When we consider the sockets and their applied torque, we should know the minimum and maximum torque applied with the tool. If the applied torque is high, the nut and bolt will break. If the torque is less nut will be loosened. So there is a suitable torque for each and every lug nut.
Normally there are two types of torque we use for lug nut
Tighten torque is used to tighten the lug nut until it is tight.
The torque required for the already installed screw is further rotated or loosened.
These two types of torque are essential for lug nuts operations. Normally we need more torque for loosening the nut than it tightens. This is common for all. Because static conditions required more force than dynamic movements.
So when we use sockets for this situation, more torque will apply when the nut is loosened. So there is a possibility of damaging or break the socket when it is in the breakaway condition.
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Is it Safe to use a Regular Socket in an Impact Wrench?
Actually, it is not safe to use regular sockets in the impact wrench. The socket can be break easily while it is rotating. So parts can be damage the user as well as around things. It is highly recommended not to use the regular socket in the impact wrench due to this reason.
If there is no option, you can use it to tighten but do not use it for the breakaway conditions.