Six versus 12 point sockets

12 pt sockets 'half' the angle a ratchet must move to engage the fastener as opposed to a 6 pt. This can be important where the ratchet's
handle is restricted in swing and the socket cannot be rotated by fingering to engage. JR Dweller in the cellar . Brent wrote:

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Others have noted that a 12 slips on quicker than a 6, and often is thinner-walled so can fit in places where a 6-point will not.
The advantage to a 6-point (and thicker walls) is the matter of "spring" with heavy torque. A socket, 6 or 12, grabs the corners of the nut or bolt head, not the flats. The corners on a 6 are deeper, so the socket can stretch more circumferentially under stress without slipping off the corners and barfing up the fastener. A 6 will also often accomodate corners that have been barfed up too much for a 12 to grab.
I much prefer 12's for general use, but I grab a thick 6 if there is to be heavy torque and/or when an impact wrench will be employed.
Tolerances also come into play. Tolerances on fasteners (and more than a few tools) have gotten rather sloppy over the years. I've seen hardware that it was hard to tell by measurement whether it was supposed to be SAE or metric, either by threads or heads. This is particularly true of Chinese import stuff, and a lot of hardware is now imported. A loose-fitting 12 is a lot more likely to slip than a similarly ill-fitting 6.
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On Sun, 27 May 2007 16:17:52 -0500, Don Foreman

Combine the issue of tolerances with the fact that even on American cars, you aren't guaranteed that *every* nut / bolt will be of a particular (i.e. US or metric) type, it starts to get to be a pain... Back in the old days, I knew that I needed a set of metric wrenches for a VW and US wrenches for my Pontiac... Never did I need to consider using one type of wrenches for the other type of vehicle... These days, my Jeep seems to have a bit of every type of nut and bolt... I've pretty much just come to the conclusion that I need to have both sets available to me and try each type of wrench out to see which gives me the most snug fit...
Hell, I don't care if a vehicle uses the metric or the US systems, but I sure would like it if they could at least be consistent...
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Grumman-581 wrote:

SEE! Crescent(tm) has finally come into their own. :-) ...lew...
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Grumman-581 wrote:

That's what was nice about working on aircraft. Falcons were metric. Lears were SAE, any an older US certified aircraft was always SAE. With the British stuff you never knew what you were getting into. :(
John
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A 12 point will fit a square nut or bolt. rgentry at oz dot net
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True, but I've had to deal with a square nut or bolt maybe twice this decade. And, the angle is wrong on a 12 point for those anyway - it'll fit maybe, but it's not the right angle. I have 8-point sockets for those (nearly completely unused as it happens). Other than 12-point bolts which I think I've only seen on turbochargers in my experience, I'm not seeing a big demand here.
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Dave Hinz wrote:

Whereas I've fitted over 540 square headed bolts in the last week to one vehicle alone, with plenty to go yet.
Tom
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Bob Gentry wrote:

IF (very big if) you could get the right size, and the "hold" on the corners isn't very good> ...lew...
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Brent wrote:

Sometimes you can cram a 12 pt. on a square nut or Tap , or eze-out-- Sumpin you can't do w/ a 12 pt.
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On 12 point bolts and nuts, for starters. Also in close fitting situations a 12 point can have a smaller outer ID than a 6 point with the same strength.
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snip-----

Stove bolts used to be readily available, with square heads and square nuts. Twelve point sockets fit them. Six point sockets don't.
Harold
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Carriage bolts are in the same 'buggy'. (land boat) The rounded head has a square on it - to help thread the far end ? and later bite into a round hole. (assume nice Oak). The other end is square for better torque - more metal to grip upon. Slight miss fit and a hex is rounded.
Martin Martin H. Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net TSRA, Life; NRA LOH & Endowment Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot"s Medal. NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member. http://lufkinced.com /
Harold and Susan Vordos wrote:

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On Mon, 28 May 2007 04:53:40 GMT in rec.crafts.metalworking, "Harold and

No, twelve point sockets may sometimes work on them, but the angles are wrong and the sizes are wrong. They don't fit. Eight point sockets are made for square heads.
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wrote,

Agreed-----but you can use a 12 point for a square head, unlike a six point. Best keep the socket dead perpendicular when you do!
Harold
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Another thought... Personally I'm a 12 pointer to the bone.
However, for situations involving small fastener heads, like 1/4" and under, 6 point is definitely the way to go. Not a lot of sockets and/or box end wrenches are even made 12 point that small. (Yea, I know a few are...)
Erik
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I meant to include this in my last post, but forgot, my bad.
12 point sockets also have an advantage when forced to work on fasteners that are filthy... I'm talking about the ones with spooge packed on and around beyond belief. For instance as in many real world automotive situations.
The extra unoccupied 6 points act a 'crud relief ports' I guess you could call them, making the socket easier to push down over the head.
Erik
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Thats the best one Ive heard yet!!!!!! Great point Shaun
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Brent wrote:

the reason for the 12 point is simple. Look at the progression of fasteners. The earliest were pins, then when they started using threads most nuts had 4 sides. They then went to 6 sided nuts. Which socket can be used on both? A 12 point. Also there are a LOT of engines that use 12 point nuts on the rod caps and the main caps as well. With a 12 point nut you have more surface area for gripping than with a 6 point. Of course if your a general mechanic who works on just about anything. 6 and 12 points are just a start. I have 6, 8, 12 Spline drive, Torx drive, and a few other specialty types as well.
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I think one good reason for 12 point sockets is basically the same as for 12 point box wrenches. They only require 30 degrees of movement to get a new position, versus 60 degrees for 6 pointers. A lot of socket use is in limited access spaces with pull handles and not ratchets. You can manage with only 30 degrees of movement using a 6 point socket, but you have to turn the socket 90 degrees on the square end each time. A 12 point socket makes it much faster.
Seems interesting that 8 point sockets for square heads seems more accepted than 12 point sockets for hex heads. Of course with 4 point sockets (which do exist) you have to have 90 degrees of swing if not using a ratchet and that can not be improved by turning the square drive end.
Don Young
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