Innovations in casting hand tools

When you think of a hand tool, like a ratchet or a wrench, the number one thing you’re looking for as a customer is strength and reliability. As a manufacturer of hand tools, you’re looking for mass quantities, fast turnarounds, and cost efficiencies. CIREX has been creating hand tools for customers across the country for over 50 years and many of today’s leading manufacturers turn to CIREX for fast, repeatable manufacturing.

Converting machined hand tools

For decades, hand tools were machined or forged. Although this provides strong and durable components, it also resulted in tonnes of scrap and hours of laborious reworking.

In the 1980s, Richard Freeman, a veteran in the business, realised it would be far more efficient to produce such tools using the investment casting process.

Almost every lost wax manufacturer in the Thomas Register, now ThomasNet, turned his idea down. Except for Hutchins, our Texas-based investment casting company. Freeman worked with the engineering team and with a few design iterations, he helped convert the design from raw forging to a net-shape investment cast component. “We were always reworking the old way”, says Freeman. “The switch to casting shortened the processing time by eliminating 7 to 10 processes. That saved us over a hundred thousand dollars a year—and that was back in the 1980s!”

Stainless Steel Hand Tools

“We learned along the way and had a lot of guys making special waxes and cavities to get everything right. They [Hutchins] weren’t afraid to take on the challenge. We knew that if we If could cast the ratchet with net shape, so there wasn’t any rework, we would save time and money.”

At CIREX, we cast hand tools from a variety of different materials but always for strength and longevity. Most of our customers prefer cast steel. Our in-house engineering team designs hand and power tools to meet occupational health and safety requirements. We use accident analyses to design components with maximum safety and usability.

If you’re interested in converting any of your metal components to the investment casting process, reach out to our engineering team to get the conversation started.