Review By Dean Bielanowski  Hyphone Website - http://www.hyphone.com.tw


Hyphone HY-074 Air Tool Kit
and HY-460A Air Impact Wrench Review

Review

Greetings once again folks... Here we are at yet another tool review, but this time something a little different... The nice folks at Hyphone Machine Industry Co. Ltd were kind enough to send us an air tool kit and impact wrench to review on the website. This is probably not a set every woodworker will own, or will want to own, but as you will see, the gear really comes in handy for your day to day workshop tasks and can also be used for various woodworking tasks as well. If you are into automotive repair, then you will probably already own a set, as these are some really handy tools to get things done, and get them done fast!

HY-074 Air Tool Kit
Before we get stuck into the tools themselves, keep in mind that Hyphone are an "OEM" style manufacturer and you may likely see this same set branded in various company logos. You can often identify the set just by its appearance or molded case design.

The HY-074 Air Tool Kit is a 71-piece outfit which is pneumatically powered (i.e. with compressed air from an air source). It ships with its own molded case to keep all the tools and attachments nice and neat during transportation. The kit features the following pneumatic tools:

  • 1- HY-160 1/2" air impact wrench
  • 1- HY-120 150mm air hammer
  • 1- HY-145 1/4" air die grinder
  • 1- HY-150 3/8" air ratchet wrench

Now, not everyone will be familiar with these types of tools or what they do, but basically, an air impact wrench will tighten and loosen metal nuts. This tool is often used in automotive shops to apply and remove wheel nuts on car tires as well as offer fastening bolts quickly and efficiently. The air ratchet wrench is basically a pneumatically powered version of your standard hand ratchet wrench and essentially performs the same action as the impact wrench but is not as powerful. You can think of the air hammer as a mini jackhammer that can carve and break away various materials. The air die grinder is pretty much like a dremel rotary tool that can perform a large variety of tasks dependant on the various attachments you may have available.

Why Air Tools?
There are many reasons why air tools are handy to have but a couple of reasons may include: the ability to use them in wet conditions, even in the rain... because air tools have no electrical current running through them (except perhaps for the compressor itself), you can use them in wet conditions without fear of electrocution or other nasty consequences; many air compressors are portable and some are run on petrol meaning you can use your tools anywhere in the absence of available electrical power... a big plus!; air tools generally require much less maintenance and repair than their electrical counterparts and often last longer as a result; compressed air is pretty powerful when released, so pneumatic tools can harness this power to perform some really neat and efficient tasks.

You will need an Air Compressor!
Obviously, air tools run on air, and you must have a source for this air... In other words, you need a compressor to use them. Most air tools will run on some of the smaller air compressors, but the larger the better in most cases as some of these items can consume a lot of air and having a large tank or reserve of air comes in very handy. I have a portable 2HP, 6.4 gallon compressor that is capable of 7.8CFM and is great to carry around to worksites and will happily run these air tools, although the compressor does have to work a fair bit to keep up during constant use of the tools because of the smaller tank. You will need at least a compressor of this size, because you need to have a decent CFM rating and reasonably sized tank. As mentioned, the bigger the better, but of course, bigger also means more expensive too!

The HY-160 1/2" Air Impact Wrench
The HY-160 is a great tool for the automotive handyman, or for any job requiring the constant use and fastening of larger bolts. It features a forward/reverse setting as you would expect and has a free speed of 7,000rpm, so don't get your fingers too close to the end! The HY-160 features a Rocking-Dog type clutch and a front exhaust release. In the hand, the HY-160 feels a little top heavy, but then most air impact wrenches of this size do, so nothing unexpected there. The impact wrench operates at a comfortable 90 PSI (or 6.3kg/cm2) with an average air consumption of 4.00 SCFM.

Before you begin using the HY-160, you will have to fit an air inlet connector and some are supplied, however, I use a different type of fitting on my compressor to the ones supplied so I purchased half a dozen 1/4" male connectors from the local hardware store and added one to each of the air tools for convenience. The Kit also ships with 8 chrome vanadium impact sockets in the following sizes (in inches): 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 5/8, 11/16, 3/4 and 7/8. You can readily purchase other size sockets individually or in sets from almost any good hardware outlet if you need to.

We tested the product out on various tasks, although tire changing is the most common task many would use this impact wrench for. Other common uses include shock and spring work or any situation where you need to tighten or loosen hex-head bolts. The impact wrench is a great tool for loosening bolts that you may not be able to get off easily with a hand tool. The power of the compressed air really shines through in these situations. We went about rotating the tires on the car, which obviously involves a lot of loosening and tightening of the lug nuts holding the wheels on. Now, the HY-160 has a max torque of 230 ft-lb (or 312 N-m) which is relatively powerful, but certainly not an 'ultra-torque' product. Of the 20 lug nuts, we managed to easily remove 18 of them without any trouble. 2 of them for one reason or another would not loosen with this impact wrench. When we attempted to loosen these nuts with the HY-460 (which has a higher max torque - see below), they came off relatively easily and so we can deduce that perhaps the HY-160 may not have enough torque for every task you throw at it... or the nuts were just not ready to be moved in a hurry. There could be many factors contributing here so i won't make any assumptions as to the power or capacity of the tool itself.

You should always be very careful when tightening lug nuts with an impact wrench. You can always over-torque and strip them. The HY-160 does have a built in regulator to prevent over-torquing, but in testing, we only drove one of the nuts to check this feature and it worked satisfactorily. The others we drove to a snug fit before tightening fully by hand to prevent any risk of stripping the lug nuts and because of the fact that if you drove the nut with 230 ft-lb, you would probably need something in the order of 300 ft-lb to remove them again! There is a 4-setting regulator type dial on the base of the unit to regulate torque/pressure etc, but I usually leave it set on the highest setting. Always keep a tight grip on the wrench... the torque it produces can really wreak havoc with your wrists if you are not careful.

Overall, the HY-160 performed well and is a handy tool to have for the weekend lead-foot or car enthusiast!

HY-120 150mm Air Hammer
I must admit that I didn't really find much of a use for this tool at this particular time, but I'm sure it will be great to have around for when it is called up for action. It acts somewhat like a mini jack-hammer but you probably have more precise control over it. It is used for general cutting, chipping and scraping work and also used in automotive exhaust repair. If you are a woodcarver or stone mason, this tool may come in handy. I won't comment too much about the use of the tool as I haven't yet given it a really good go, but I could see myself using this for some 'rough and dirty' chiseling of wood in the near future. Here are the specs for those that may be interested:

Free Speed - 4,500; Average Air Consumption - 4.00 SCFM; Chisel Shank - 0.401" (round type); Barrel Stroke - 1.69"; Air pressure - 90 PSI (6.3kg/cm2)

The kit ships with a set of 4 chisels in different cutting profiles.

HY-145 1/4" Air Die Grinder
Consider this tool as the pocket knife of DIY tasking. The air die grinder is essentially an air-powered rotary tool with the same versatility as a Dremel. With the right attachments, you can perform a multitude of tasks in a variety of areas. With this tool, you can sand, polish, grind, cut, port, debur and much more. It has a free speed of 22,000 rpm and fits snugly into your hand. Like a router or rotary tool, you must make sure any attachments you use can handle this high speed or you are placing yourself in danger of serious injury. You can vary the speed with the press-down lever to some degree which allows you to control the speed and amount of air, but always best to be safe and assure your bits can handle the highest speed in case you 'put the pedal to the metal' so to speak.

The HY-145 ships with a 1/8" and 1/4" collet (switchable) and the following accessories/attachments packed into the kit: 3/4" and 1" sanding drums with 1 medium grit sandpaper drum to fit each, 1" and 1 1/4" flap sander attachment, and an assortment of round, cone and cylindrical grinding bits of various sizes, all with a 1/4" shank. 2 spanners are included for adding and removing the accessories from the collet. For grinding/polishing/rust removal work etc, you will need to purchase the right attachments for these tasks, and again, these are widely available from hardware or automotive stores.

Now, the HY-145 is probably the most useful tool for the woodworker out of this set, but also highly useful for the automotive buff! With a wire brush attachment, rust removal is a breeze and we were able to remove fine rust that was just starting to show up on our bandsaw table. The drum sanders are great for smoothing off rounded edges on wood. You could even just use the attachments in your drill press for this purpose, but often, you need portability and the HY-145 can go virtually anywhere and at any angle. We used it to sand down some 45 degree chamfers on a toy box with good success. The grinding stones are great for a wide range of uses, with the cone shaped stones particularly useful for sharpening the insides of hollow-chisel mortise bits, although this is best performed with the cone grinding stone inserted into the drill press with a proper sharpening jig for these chisels. The flap sanders are something else, and if you have never used them before, then you are probably missing out on the best and easiest way to sand down crown molding or any wood piece with a profile. Simply insert the flap sander into the die grinder and away you go. Care must be taken of course to achieve a good result, so practice on some scrap first.

The advantage of this tool over say a Dremel, is that it can generally take larger shank bits and achieve tasks much quicker, plus it can be used anywhere if an electric power supply is not easily available. The HY-145 does consume a lot of air in use, and continuously, so you will find that small compressors, like our mobile one mentioned above may struggle and you might have to pause frequently so the air reserve can be replenished in the tank.

We used the HY-145 in a variety of tasks and it performed very well with all we threw at it. The versatility of these tools for almost any tradesperson cannot be ignored. Everyone should have one of these in their air tool inventory!

HY-150 Air Ratchet Wrench
I must admit, although the HY-145 is the most versatile tool in this kit, the 3/8" ratchet wrench certainly saved me the most time and was fun to use in the process. It does exactly the same job as your standard hand ratchet wrench, but much quicker and with far less effort thanks to the power of air.

As an example, I recently purchased a 1HP floor model drill press and with my compressor tank already filled with air from previous work that day, I seized the opportunity to use it to help assemble the drill press. Included in this kit are 20 drill/driver bits and the necessary attachments/reducers to fit them onto the ratchet wrench. You get 5 star (6-point) drive bits, 5 hex drive bits, 4 square drive bits, 3 slot-head type drivers and 3 Philips head-type drivers, all in the most common sizes. This set, along with the impact sockets gave me all I needed to fully assemble the Drill Press. The drill press of course isn't the most complicated device to assemble, and requires only about a dozen fixings, but securing the column to the base with the 4 hex bolts, securing the head assembly of the machine to the column and attaching all the extra safety guards and features perhaps took me 1/2 the time it would have if I was doing it manually. Plus you get that warm fuzzy feeling of using the power tool in your hand to accomplish the task. Ahhh, this is why we have this uncanny love for tools isn't it?

Needless to say, many many items, machines and products in every aspect of daily life have some kind of bolt, screws, or fixings that are just dieing to be tightened :-)
so I found myself dragging the Ratchet Wrench around making sure everything was tightened to a satisfactory level. The next weekend in the test period, I dragged my compressor to my younger brothers place (by request) who is crazy on doing up old, and newer cars. He was basically removing all the innards of the engine bay, and I can certainly say the ratchet wrench and impact wrench definitely got a good workout and I think we saved perhaps a good few hours by using these tools to disassemble literally hundreds of bolts and screws. We managed to get most of them off easily with the air tools, but a few tough rusted parts would not budge with the ratchet wrench and we couldn't get the impact wrench into the tight space to try that so we resorted to a lot of WD-40 and human power to get those off!

The HY-150 naturally, has a forward-reverse setting and is operated variably by the lever-type control. It has a nice solid feel to it and weighs about 2.5lbs (1.2 kg). The max torque of the HY-150 is 45 ft-lb (or 61 N-m), so it is considerably less powerful than the impact wrench as you would expect, although it certainly has enough grunt to
handle most of your day-to-day asks, and is certainly an invaluable tool for assembling or disassembling machinery as I found out.

Extras in the HY-074 Air Tool Kit
Apart from those items discussed above, the HY-074 Air Tool Kit contains a few extra handy air items to make your life easier. Firstly, you get a small pot of air tool oil. Oiling your air tools by adding a few drops to the end of the air inlet before use will preserve the life of the inner mechanisms and increase their life expectancy greatly. Additionally you will find a quick-connector coupler, a tapered hose-end connection and 4 x 1/4" male connectors for the tools, plus a tire pressure gauge and tire inflation chuck, 2 wrenches for the die grinder, a hose clamp and roll of teflon tape.

Conclusion
The HY-074 Air Tool Kit from Hyphone, while not a top-of-the-line professional kit, is a great investment for your workshop, particularly if you already have a nice large compressor and love to use air tools, and if you are into automotive restoration and repair. For the woodworker, the dir grinder is the star, however, you will find many other uses for the other items in the kit that will make your tasks quicker, easier and less stressful than manually accomplishing these tasks by yourself. A nice solid kit that is worth looking at if you think these tools will come in handy for you.

HY-460A 1/2" Impact Wrench
Along with the HY-160 Impact Wrench included in the basic tool kit, Hyphone kindly sent us their HY-460A model, which I like to call 'The Beast' because of its rather nice ability to shake up and loosen just about any bolt it gets its hands on short of a semi-trailer application.

With a handy max torque of 425 ft-lb (or 576 N-m), the HY-460A packs some punch and is more than adequate for most general tasks. The difference between this unit and the impact wrench featured in the air tool kit above is immediately evident, not only in looks, but feel and performance. The HY-460A is slightly heavier at 5.7 lbs (2.6kg) and easily tackled everything we threw at it in the common automotive garage-type situation. The exhaust is tucked safely into the bottom of the handle and redirects released air away from the operator. On the back of the head assembly, you will find your torque/clutch settings... 3 settings in the forward mode and a single reverse switch, which are operated easily with one hand. Variable speed trigger means you can control the RPM from anywhere between 0 and 6500 RPM (the max RPM for the HY-460) although like any impact wrench, you tend to fluctuate your speed because it can be tricky to maintain a constant speed when your wrench is being rattled in use. Thanks to the powerful twin hammer design, this probably wont even matter too much and should last a fair bit longer than other types of clutches found in lower-end impact wrenches.

Overall, the HY-460 impressed us... it had the power and comfort to tackle many tasks and well complemented the less powerful HY-160 when it came to the crunch.

If you are seriously into automotive work as a profession or hobby, then you may want to consider an impact wrench like this one. The experience with all the goods mentioned here has been positive. Obviously, this kit wont be the solution to every task, but it is a kit that is handy to have and can be taken anywhere and used at virtually any time, rain, hail or shine without risk, or without an easily accessible electricity supply (assuming your compressor is petrol/gas driven).

For more information on Hyphone's products, please visit their website at www.hyphone.com.tw
 

HY-074 and HY-460A Photos
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The HY-074 Air Tool Kit
Ready for Action!


Just like a good story, every 'character' has its place.


The arsenal... plus eight chrome vanadium impact sockets as well!


The firepower... Plenty of attachments for undertaking a wide range of tasks.


A nice assortment of grinding and driving bits included. While your cordless drill may make screw driving easy, sometimes the ratchet wrench can go where your
cordless cannot!


Positions in the molded case are conveniently marked, just in case you forget where something goes... or rather, what should be in the empty space!


The HY-150 goes to work dismantling a complete auto engine.


The flap sanding attachments, used here in the die grinder, are perfect for sanding profiles and hard to reach areas between
finishing coats!


The HY-460A 1/2" Impact Wrench, or as I like to call it - "The Beast"


Reverse and three torque settings are easily accessed at the back of the wrench.


Those lug nuts don't stand a
chance when the HY-460A grabs
a hold of them! A real time-saving device for any home mechanic.

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