Hidden Mechanical Components in Everyday Items

Hidden Mechanical Components in Everyday Items

Summary

What comes to mind when you hear the word "tinker"? Years ago, before the major advances in custom tooling and gaging, it was common for homeowners to fiddle with their tools and gadgets to make minor adjustments and repairs on a mechanical level. In fact, this was a pretty indispensable skill not too long ago. People frequently repaired their vacuums, blenders, coffee machines, power tools, lawnmowers, and other home appliances. So what, exactly, needed repairing on these devices?

Hidden Mechanical Components in Everyday Items
 

 

    What comes to mind when you hear the word "tinker"? Years ago, before the major advances in custom tooling and gaging, it was common for homeowners to fiddle with their tools and gadgets to make minor adjustments and repairs on a mechanical level. In fact, this was a pretty indispensable skill not too long ago. People frequently repaired their vacuums, blenders, coffee machines, power tools, lawnmowers, and other home appliances. So what, exactly, needed repairing on these devices? We'll take an inside look at some of the most common mechanical components hidden in everyday items.
Transmissions
    Most people's understanding of a transmission is limited to the automobile industry. In a vehicle, a transmission is simply the gearbox that adjusts speed and torque as the gears rotate. However, the actual definition of a transmission is much broader - it means, generally, a machine which provides controlled application of power.

    Many items around the home contain transmissions. Let's take vacuums, for example. A vacuum motor does not have a set of gears to control the flow of power - most vacuums operate with a rotating disc that is designed via custom tooling and gaging to create intense airflow that sucks dirt up from the carpet and into the vacuum's canister or bag. The transmission is the component that, provided with electric power, turns the disc rapidly in order to create that airflow.
Rotors
    Now this is a complex mechanical component that most people associate with water jet engines propelling speedboats, for example. Simply put, a rotor (or impeller) is a rotating component that, when supplied with power, forces fluid (at variable speeds) through it. Did you know that kitchen garbage disposals all have rotors? The inner workings of a garbage disposal are very much "out of sight, out of mind." The rotor in a garbage disposal takes all of the particles and liquid and forces them down the drain after they have been shredded.
Valves
    Valves are everywhere - they are not just machining tool and gage components. Essentially, valves open and close to allow air or fluid through at specific times - and they are not just manually operated, like in a faucet. They are hidden everywhere! Let's take a standard ice cube maker in any modern freezer. The valve is controlled by an electric sensor. When the sensor indicates that it's time to make ice, power is sent to open the valves. Water then fills the ice cube molds in the freezer.

    Many product manufacturers now offer authorized repair services for faulty or damaged products, and extended warrantees. This alone is a reason why people "tinker" much less these days. In addition, technological advances - namely, custom tool and gage processes and water jet cutting - have led to a significant decrease in home maintenance for everyday goods because custom washers, transmission components, valves, and rotors can all be created with custom product design (from CAD tools to custom machining). Smart manufacturing companies and start up companies developing products turn to tooling and gage companies like NTG Tool to find ways to increase their productivity, decrease their waste, and build longer-lasting products with custom machining and custom tooling. 
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