Thursday, August 13, 2015

Review: Smart Wrench

Here's a little tool that I backed on Kickstarter, and was really expecting big things from. The idea was elegantly simple. A CNC milled titanium ratcheting wrench, with storage for additional drivers built-in the housing. 

It was a relatively small project, and only had low numbers, due in no small measure I suspect to the high price, but at the time I was flush, and eager to add some more multi-capable titanium tools to my collection.
The development was a bit slow, but we had design and prototype pictures along the way, and this is often the case with first-time Kickstarters, so I didn't worry much. Eventually, the tool arrived, and I was really impressed with the beauty of the thing. Smooth lines, lovely graduations and a very smooth screw-on tool housing in the handle. The tool bits were also very nicely produced, and nested really well, without any significant rattle when fully stowed.
The bits included are: 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm hex bits, and a flathead bit, all CNC turned from the same Grade 5 titanium alloy (commonly known as Ti6Al4V) as the rest of the tool.

The extender bar that marries to each of the bits to the wrench body has a rubber o-ring on the tool-mating head, as well as the two sides where the extended marries to the wrench. These bind the bits to the bar, and the bar to the tool by friction, some other users commented eu were disappointed that a ball-bearing indent attachment wasn't offered, but it seems to work well enough for me.
The ratchet has a cute engraving to indicate the direction of ratcheting to use, but here is where the tools biggest fault lies. The ratchet slips extensively, and either doesn't catch at all, or slips under what I would call "normal use" in hand tightening or loosening bolts, screws and the like. 

I was really disappointed with this, and it seems my fellow backers were too. Such a beautifuly put together tool, and when it comes to the primary action, such a disappointment. With some angling, you can get a better or worse ratcheting action, but even then, it's barely functional. 

Considering I'd want to be using for small electronics and devices access, where bolts are often held in with Loctite glue, and need a fair amount of delicately applied torque to initially shift. Outstanding ergonomic and practical design, such a let down for the functional basis of the tool.


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