An impact wrench (also known as an impactor, air wrench, air gun, rattle gun, torque gun, windy gun) is a socket wrench power tool designed to deliver high torque output with minimal exertion by the user, by storing energy in a rotating mass, then delivering it suddenly to the output shaft.
Compressed air is the most common power source, although electric or hydraulic power is also used, with cordless electric devices becoming increasingly popular in recent times.
Impact wrenches are widely used in many industries, such as automotive repair, heavy equipment maintenance, product assembly major construction projects, and any other instance where a high torque output is needed. For product assembly, a pulse tool is commonly used, as it features a reaction less tightening while reducing the noise levels the regular impacts suffer from. Pulse tools uses an oil as a medium to transfer the kinetic energy from the hammer into the anvil. This gives a smoother impulse, a bit less torque to weight ratio and a possibility to design a shut off mechanism that shuts the tool down when achieving the correct torque. Impact wrenches with shut off mechanism, which exist, often suffers from a very high mean shift, which is why this technology is losing ground. Pulse tools is in the industry not referenced to as "impact wrenches" as the performance and technology is not the same.
Impact wrenches are available in every standard socket wrench drive size, from small 1/4" drive tools for small assembly and disassembly, up to 3.5" and larger square drives for major construction. Impact wrenches are one of the most commonly used air tools, and are found in virtually every mechanic's shop.
In operation, a rotating mass is accelerated by the motor, storing energy, then suddenly connected to the output shaft (the anvil), creating a high-torque impact. The hammer mechanism is designed such that after delivering the impact, the hammer is again allowed to spin freely, and does not stay locked. With this design, the only reaction force applied to the body of the tool is the motor accelerating the hammer, and thus the operator feels very little torque, even though a very high peak torque is delivered to the socket. This is similar to a conventional hammer, where the user applies a small, constant force to swing the hammer, which generates a very large impulse when the hammer strikes an object. Because the hammer spins and has velocity before impacting the anvil, the hammer has momentum. Because it has momentum, it must have kinetic energy. Energy is not stored over time, but rather, energy is stored with velocity. This energy is absorbed by the bolt, nut, or screw in question, and since the collision is (theoretically) an elastic collision, most of the kinetic energy of the hammer is transferred to the bolt that is to be turned. This is contrasted with a regular drill that only applies a torque to the bolt. There is no hammer that reaches a set velocity before hitting an anvil; there is no extra energy to apply to a bolt. The hammer design requires a certain minimum torque before the hammer is allowed to spin separately from the anvil, causing the tool to stop hammering and instead smoothly drive the fastener if only low torque is needed, rapidly installing/removing the fastener.
Other articles related to "impact wrench, impact, impacts, wrench":
... Sockets and extensions for impact wrenches are made of high tensile metal, as any spring effect will greatly reduce the torque available at the fastener ... the use of multiple extensions, universal joints, and so forth will weaken the impacts, and the operator needs to minimize their use ... Using non-impact sockets or accessories with an impact wrench will often result in bending, fracturing, or otherwise damaging the accessory, as most are not capable of withstanding the ...
... Lug nuts may be removed using a lug, socket or impact wrench ... In such cases a breaker bar or repeated blows from an impact wrench can be used to free them ... nuts, it is recommended to tighten them with a calibrated torque wrench ...
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