High Strength Screw Drivers and Hex Keys

I don’t know about you, but my VEX hex keys and screwdrivers strip out really easy. I would want VEX to create screwdrivers and hex keys that can hold up for longer. I am always going through so many screwdrivers. Also I would like for the screwdrivers and hex keys to be longer for those hard to reach areas, (but still have short ones as well).

Yes! Although often they only strip due to user error, there are times where it’s nearly unavoidable. I’ve been through countless allen wrenches even though I cut the stripped ends off. And while I especially like the round ended 5/64 wrenches, they strip far too easily for them to be useable for more than 6months. Perhaps it would be better to have the ball ended 3/32 wrenches to be 3/32 all the way along the shaft instead of only the ball portion. Or maybe there is some stronger metal they can be made out of. But, then again if the wrenches are twice as hard as the old metal, they’ll just strip out the screws instead.

While I’m at it. Has anyone had the issue where your 5/64 wrench gets stuck in the shaft collar screw and it won’t come out without extreme force at times? Why does that happen? Is there an easier way to fix this than yanking at it?

Yeah, happens all the time! We found that if you just twist it in the opposite direction a little bit (if you’re tightening, then loosen and vice versa). It pretty much just pops out.

There are people other than vex that make hex drivers…

Yah but they are just as crappy.

Honestly guys, just get a set of Wiha ball drivers, if you break them then you are using them incorrectly. You can also order just the two we need for VEX for about $5 each.

We usually just throw the key and collar at a hard wall (not a soft one) :D. It usually works and if it doesn’t we repeatedly do it until it gets out (careful not to lose your set screws though).

Also our team tends to use silver screws more often because they seem to strip more easily (one of our school’s alumni noticed the black ones had paint that would strip off more easily, maybe that’s why?).

Bondhus is considered one of the best brands for Allen Wrenches in the industry. The majority of professionals I know out there all use them. The gold plated ones seem to be the preferred version. You can buy a 9pc. Metric and 13pc. Standard set for under $30

I just bought my own personal set of metric and standard wrenches and am very happy with them. I purchased this. The only reason I didn’t get the gold-plated ones is everyone at work already has their own personal gold ones and this makes it easier to know which are mine. These are also extra long and ball end.

You can also find single gold-plated allen wrenches around if you search if you don’t want to buy a whole set and just want the 5/64 and 3/32.

My division of our team bought a few of each size from McMaster for $0.49 each (5/64) and $0.61 each (3/32)

Just don’t buy any old allen wrenches from the hardware store or Harbor Freight and expect them to last.


You can either go for quality as mentioned above, or just buy quantity. On Amazon, I bought 100 small 5/64 for only $11. They still break, but I consider it a better option because also if they get lost, it does not matter because they are cheap

Yes, beat the crap out of it. Throw it against anything solid (please no humans), get a hammer, yell at it, stare at it; it should come apart then. It happens all the time.

We buy a lot of nice t-handle drivers from eBay. T-handles are so nice. The VEX keys can be nice at times :wink:

Grab the threaded end of the screw with a pair of pliers and twist the wrench the opposite way that it was turned when it got stuck. Works about half of the time. once you get off throw out the screw! or if you don’t have the budget to replace them, at least put them in a separate container.

For those who want to go to extremes to prevent striping, socket cap screws might be the solution. the actual screw is the same size as vex, thus making it legal, but the Allen wrench size is larger.

Attached is a picture comparison of the different sizes (motor screws on top)

When we strip a hex screwdriver, we just use a dremel to cut off a bit and grind down the edges and it is good as new.

Until it’s an inch long after a year in the hands of freshmen lol

Agreed, we have several very short t wrenches that we make the freshman use because I messed it up three years ago :cool: :wink:

Yes, that is what we do. We work with the screwdrivers and give the keys to the freshmen. Whenever we strip a screwdriver we buy new ones and give the stripped ones to the freshman :). Problem solved!

We just grind the screwdrivers down when they get completely stripped, but the hex keys we get rid of since we have many.

Something to watch out for: Once you damage a hex key/driver it will start causing damage to more screw heads because it’s no longer “driving” with the same flat contact area. And of course damaged screw heads are more likely to result in a damaged tool for the same reason.

Also cutting them is also problematic because a.) if your hacksaw can cut them the tool was rubbish in the first place and b.) grinding or abrading the end off creates localized heating which will reduce the hardness meaning it’ll probably round off quicker (and damage more screw heads in the process…)

Hex keys are cheap but make sure you buy something with a manufacturers name on it! Don’t give the damaged ones to your junior teams because they’ll just ruin more screw heads.

We tend to cut off that small portion that is stripped. It works fine but they just get shorter. Sometimes we had the shanks come out of the handle and we had to super glue them back in. We miss the T-handles they had though.

It is unavoidable, the eventual striping of the Alan wrenches, but if they would at lest last for more than a month! (exaggeration, they last for about 6 months) However I think that if Vex made their own Alan wrenches, they would A) Be expensive and B) Would probably work just as well as the ones you get from Lowes. You are right though, if they were made out of a stronger metal then they would strip the screws. Then the screws would need to be stronger and then everyone would have to replace their screws. Everyone who bought different, non reinforced screws would have an issue. And then of course… Well you get the idea. There isn’t a simple, easy solution to this, except, find cheap, durable wrenches. If those exist.