How an Impact Wrench Works

Just How an Impact Wrench Works

The impact wrench is an important tool to keep when you are dealing with nuts and bolts. This is the hardware you use to effectively and quickly work on a project.

This tool is necessary when replacing the tires and taking out the mags of your car or tightening a screw to correctly level a television to its rack with precision.

To do these things, an impact wrench would have to undergo the following processes. HowStuffWorks describes the impact wrench as a tool that “has an electric or air motor that applies a sudden, intense twisting motion to the recalcitrant lug nut, usually in short bursts (every five seconds or so)”.

This twisting motion is due to torque, which is measured in foot-pounds. The greater the torque, the better it twists. Torque is usually measured in the hundreds, from 100 to 500.

A flurry of strikes

HowStuffWorks continues: “the continuous short, strong bursts of force trying to twist on the fastener are what eventually bring some movement (loosening or tightening)”. This is also called impact.

Physical contact with the bolt or nut being focused on either tightens or loosens the target screw.

Depending on the type or brand of impact wrench, the interval can vary. As the force builds up, it transfers energy to the screw, tightening or loosening it up immediately.

Impact is measured in the thousands, like rotation. Some companies opt to increase rotation per minute more than impact per minute.

Both are different in nature but work on the same page. More rotation and impact means the project part can be done easily without being too stressful for the user.

Furthermore, HowStuffWorks says that an impact wrench can run on air or electricity. The popular cordless impact wrench shall not be included here because this only talks about corded impact wrenches.

An air-type impact wrench is a pneumatic tool while the electric impact wrench runs on electricity.

An impact wrench powered by air is usually used on a race car that needs to have its tires replaced in less than one minute. Meanwhile, the electric impact wrench is used on virtually everything that needs speed and precision.

It has just one job

Regardless of its orientation, the impact wrench has one job: to apply torque to a screw.

Nick Moore of Nick282K says that the impact wrench “stores energy in a heavy rotating mass and then releases it all at once in small impacts against the output shaft”. This is how the impact wrench buries the screw or nut into the surface.

This heavy rotating mass rotates and hits the target in a pattern. It should store energy by twisting the output shaft and releasing it in intervals, striking the head of the screw or nut.

It can also work in reverse, pulling it upwards. This is made possible by a locking mechanism that firmly puts the screw or bolt in place. Since this heavy rotating mass is fully-automatic, it removes stress from your wrist.

Torque in wired and cordless

Torque is measured in foot-pounds. Torque is the core aspect of every impact gun, a force it uses to push in or out a bolt or screw.

This makes the gun a tremendously important tool in working on project parts that may be too rusty and difficult for manual tools.

If you are working on more than 100 project parts in a day, you should require something powerful like an impact wrench.

An impact wrench also works without a cord. Black and Decker introduced the cordless drill in 1961, changing the future of power tools forever. It opened the possibility of battery power in power tools.

The drill was powered by nickel cadmium, a battery that still sees some action in other power tools today. Lithium Ion is the most common type of battery now and proves to be the most effective and energy-efficient of all.

Cordless impact wrenches have a universal battery hub. This enables the swapping out of batteries with each other as long as they are compatible and sport the same configuration. A cordless power tool will not work on a battery it does not support.

Cordless wrenches still work under the same principle of torque and rotation. This is not different from corded ones, but can be more convenient to use on the road or in places where there are plenty of wires.

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