These days when we think of new inventions we think of electronics doing things previously unthinkable or complex machines doing their job 4X’s more efficiently. It sometimes seems the era of simplistic innovation has passed us by and it’s hard to imagine doubling the functionally of a tool or accessory without a single moving part, but that’s exactly what Logica Tool did when they created the HEXtension.
Before we get into the HEXtension and what makes it different, let’s take a look at how it came to be.
Andrew Harrison and Shaun Brown grew up together in Scottsdale, AZ. Like many of us, they started out working with Lego and Erector sets (Yes, they still make Erector sets), then moved up to bicycles and eventually on to cars. Like most teenagers with the tools, skills, and the willingness to work, they became the “go to guys” for repairs on the cheap. What started with simple stuff like spark plugs and wires grew to more complex jobs like front wheel drive clutches, and naturally progressed to more advanced stuff under the hood. As time went on the engine bays shrunk and so did the space in which to work. I can’t work on a FWD import without cussing the majority of the time about the cramped spaces and ridiculous angles presented by the job, and it was exactly these scenarios that inspired the HEXtension.
During a particularly painful clutch replacement on a friend’s Honda Accord, Andrew found himself underneath the car with a socket on a fastener while Shaun sat on the valve cover and lower half of the intake manifold, trying to get the ratchet to play nice with the extension. No matter how much pushing, pulling and swearing occurred, there was simply no room for a large enough driver to slip into the space between the firewall, motor mount, and engine block. Realizing how stupid the situation was, the pair then had a “shared thought” in which it dawned on them just how easy it would be to finish this fastener off if there were just some way to get a wrench on the extension itself. Obviously the HEXtension didn’t exist at that point, but the concept had been born. The fastener was eventually installed through other methods (by removing more components and adding a third set of hands), but the job could have been done by one individual in a fraction of the time with the right tool for the job, the problem was that the right tool didn’t exist…….yet.
Coming To Life
While the concept of the HEXtension may be simple, producing one that met Andrew and Shaun’s quality and performance standards wasn’t quite as easy. Virtually every aspect of the tool was experimented with before settling on a finished product. Several different metals, hardening processes, head sizes, and finishes were tried, and the “repurchasing relief” took some tweaking as well.
The original plan was for the head to be 15mm in size, but this proved too weak in testing which prompted them to increase to 16mm on the final product. You wouldn’t think 1mm would make too much of a difference, but it did.
After all the trial and error with the design of the HEXtension, finding a manufacturer that could produce the product as envisioned, on time, and in sufficient quantity, proved to be a chore as well. As Shaun put it “Many manufacturing shops wanted to weld two pieces together or just didn’t grasp the overall concept. We found this unnaceptable for our level of a finished product. Finding a US manufacturer was a project in itself”.
Difficult as it may have been, they did indeed find a manufacturer capable of producing the product they wanted, right here in the USA of US 4130 steel hardened to their specifications.
Andrew and Shaun documented their development process on their website which included this interesting strength testing video of some of their trial and error including the failure of a Chinese prototype 3:50 in:
The Finished Product
The finished HEXtension is truly a thing of beauty. As a fan of satin finish, I might even go as far as saying that it’s the nicest finish I’ve seen. Over the last few months I’ve pretty much used the HEXtension exclusively and can offer the following notes:
• I have yet to find a brand of ratchet or socket it doesn’t play nice with
• It has the smoothest operating detent ball I’ve ever used. It allows for the easiest socket changes you can ask for, yet still holds the socket securely
• The well defined knurling is simply fantastic. It will spoil you!
• 150 ft.-lbs. won’t scare it. That’s more than enough for 3/8″ drive
• It will peak the interest of everyone that see it
From head to toe, the HEXtension is a top quality product. Beveled tips and female ends allow for easy connections and make the tools a joy to use. The markings on the tool are laser laser etched, but try as I might, they won’t wear off. I also appreciated that both wrench-able sections of the tool featured the size markings (12 and 16mm) so there’s no grabbing the wrong wrench.
Noticeably absent from the markings on the tool was “Made In USA”. This struck me as odd because manufacturers are typically proud to offer American made tools and the HEXtension is certainly something to be proud of. When I asked Shaun about it he said “Honestly, with the whole ordeal of getting an acceptable product to market, we simply forgot to put it on there”, but he assured me future production models will include it.
Currently available in both 2-1/2″ (short) and 5″ (standard) lengths in 3/8″ drive, I have to imagine that as the HEXtension takes off, we’ll likely see longer versions, 1/2″ drive, and hopefully even some wobble versions.
Whether it’s getting into a tight area, stabilizing your movement when using a ratchet, or simply turning fasteners like you would with any ordinary extension, the HEXtension excels. To prove it, here is a full demonstration from Andrew and Shaun themselves:
The HEXtension is really an all American story. A couple of buddies encounter a problem, invent a solution, and develop it into a radical new product designed and produced right here in the USA. It really doesn’t get more American than that. Everyone who’s come through my shop has fallen in love with it and why not? It takes a traditional design and doubles the functionality of it with no adverse consequences whatsoever. It’s one of those things you look at and start kicking yourself in the ass for not thinking of years ago. The finished product is a truly professional caliber tool that will surely be a welcome addition to any tool box.
Available HERE through the logica website, the short extension will run you $30 while the standard retails for $40, but you can save $5 by ordering them as a pair for $65 with all prices including shipping.
If you’re in the market for an extension set, want to double the functionality of your current ones, or just want the other guys in your shop to be jealous, grab a set of HEXtensions and watch them squirm with envy. It’s a tool worth having, and an upstart American company worth supporting!