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  1. #1
    Veteran Member s219's Avatar
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    Default 12-point and 6-point sockets

    I was assembling a chainsaw mill over the weekend and got frustrated with my decades-old collection of sockets and wrenches, where I always seem to be missing the required size or piece. I sometimes go out and buy a single socket or wrench to fill in the gap, but do the math and that's an expensive solution long term. So I looked through the Black Friday sales and found some great 200-250 piece sets on sale, and grabbed a Kobalt set from Lowes for $99 with a decent toolbox. I'll make this my main set in my shop, and throw my oddball collection into various toolboxes for backup use out in the field.

    I was surprised to see that all of the big socket sets include sockets of the same sizes in both 6-point and 12-point, including the one I bought. Can anyone explain why you'd want both? I know 12-point is more useful overall, since it fits more types of bolt heads and is easier to slip on in tight spaces. But there must be an advantage of 6-point if they are duplicate parts of the set. About the only thing I know is that I'll either have to ignore the difference and randomly grab one, or know which type of socket is in which part of the toolbox when I go for a needed size....

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
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    Default Re: 12-point and 6-point sockets

    It has been my experience that if the bolt is severely rusty using a 12 point will round it off 9 time out of 10, while a 6 point will likely turn the bolt, at which point the bolt often breaks I tend to use 6 point most of the time, but have both

  3. #3
    Super Star Member LD1's Avatar
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    Default Re: 12-point and 6-point sockets

    Yep, 6 points are less likely to round off a bolt. They are also (usually) a tad stronger cause there is a little more meat to the socket.

    With sockets and ratchets, The only time I like 12-points is for 12-point bolt heads. Sure, 6-point dont go on as easy (half the amount of ways to put it on), but when connected to a ratchet, who cares. Just spin the ratchet.

    About the only other time I like 12-point sockets is when one bolt is soo bad that a 6-pointer wants to round it. Then you can usually go down one size (usually means going from SAE to meteric or vice versa), and drive it on with a hammer, and get it loose that way.
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  4. #4
    Super Member crazyal's Avatar
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    Default Re: 12-point and 6-point sockets

    I like the 6 point sockets but the newer designs are moving to a new design that doesn't touch the points of the nut/ bolt. Here's a pic of Craftsman sockets.
    -craftsman-max-axess-universal-socket
    Even their 6 point sockets have extra material removed to avoid putting force on the points of the nut/ bolt.
    -craftsman-max-axess-socket-jpg
    If these become the new norm then I don't know if 6 point will be of much use.
    Kubota L4240,Case 580K backhoe, Case 450 Dozer

  5. #5
    Elite Member Zebrafive's Avatar
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    Default Re: 12-point and 6-point sockets

    Quote Originally Posted by crazyal View Post
    I like the 6 point sockets but the newer designs are moving to a new design that doesn't touch the points of the nut/ bolt. Here's a pic of Craftsman sockets.
    -craftsman-max-axess-universal-socket
    Even their 6 point sockets have extra material removed to avoid putting force on the points of the nut/ bolt.
    -craftsman-max-axess-socket-jpg
    If these become the new norm then I don't know if 6 point will be of much use.
    SNAP-ON has had this for years. They call it "flank drive". Maybe their patent ran out or they licensed it to other sellers.
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  6. #6
    Platinum Member Buckgnarly's Avatar
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    Default Re: 12-point and 6-point sockets

    Quote Originally Posted by Zebrafive View Post
    SNAP-ON has had this for years. They call it "flank drive". Maybe their patent ran out or they licensed it to other sellers.
    SO's patent has been out for a Long time....every brand of socket uses this idea now.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 12-point and 6-point sockets

    Quote Originally Posted by Buckgnarly View Post
    SO's patent has been out for a Long time....every brand of socket uses this idea now.

    I don't understand what these new sockets are? Do they work better?
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  8. #8
    Platinum Member Buckgnarly's Avatar
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    Default Re: 12-point and 6-point sockets

    Quote Originally Posted by sixdogs View Post
    I don't understand what these new sockets are? Do they work better?
    They are not new, Snap On had the original idea and patent in the 1960's.....it has since expired and as far as I know every socket and box end wrench made today uses some variant of it for at least the past 20+ years. Here's apic I found of one of the many names/trademarks that companies use now. Basicallly the idea is to contact the flats of a bolt as opposed ot the corners to avoid rounding out the fasteners. If your socket has rounded corners on the inside, they utilize this idea...




    AS if to not confuse people enough, SO also has what's called "Flank Drive Plus" on some of their open ends..ridges cut to provide grip..and it is truely amazing at gripping nuts and bolts. There are some things from SO that are worth the somtimes crazy extra money, and this is one IMHO! Other tool makers have thier own versions, but SO is the best I have tried so far.

    Last edited by Buckgnarly; 11-26-2012 at 05:11 PM.

  9. #9
    Super Member
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    Default Re: 12-point and 6-point sockets

    Impressive...and I thought I was up to speed.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: 12-point and 6-point sockets

    One of my sets has the 6 and the 12, and I think two drive sizes for each. I appreciate having both. I tend to use the 6 for removing the nut while I sometimes have to use the 12 to hold the bolt. If I could only have one, I'd choose 6 pt since I almost never see a square nut anymore, and I have never seen a 12 pt nut (didn't know they existed until someone mentioned them.)
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