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Learn Mechanical Engineering at Home Series – 3 (Spanners)

written by: Ricky • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 10/6/2008

Have you ever wondered what mechanical engineering is all about? I cannot make you a certified mechanical engineer but certainly you can learn a lot about mechanical engineering by reading this Learn from Home series on mechanical engineering.

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    Introduction

    In the first article of this series we learnt about the very basic concepts related to mechanical engineering such as the definition and scope of mechanical engineering, followed by the study of box spanners and socket spanners in the second article.

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    Hand Tools

    Ring Spanners

    You certainly what is meant by a ring (ladies must be reminded of solitaires & the gentlemen must be reminded of their wallets), but well let me draw you out of your thoughts to focus on the hand tools aspect. A ring spanner has rings at both ends which fit snugly into the nut or the bolt head, as a ring would fit a finger. More often than not, the ends of the ring spanner are not in the same plane but are rather set at different levels, which can be clearly seen from the figure adjacent to this text. Hence you can see that the fitting feature of this spanner is quite similar to that of a box or socket spanner.

    Ring Spanner 

    Dumbbell Spanners

    I am sure those of you interested in muscle making know about the term dumbbells. For other it is fitness equipment in the form of a weight lifted by hands. This spanner is named so because of its similar shape to a dumbbell where there are recesses in order to fit in the nut. It is most suitable for nuts whose head projects above the surface of the work.

    Dumb-Bell Spanner 

    Adjustable Spanners

    All the spanners that we have discussed previously in this article, as well as in the preceding articles, have one thing in common. They all are made to a specific size and you require a different spanner for different sizes of the nuts. Of course you can have a complete set of different standard sized spanners, yet it would be more convenient to have a spanner which is adjustable according to the size of the nut. Apart from using it for different standard sizes, you can also use such spanners for nuts which are not of standard size due to wear and tear etc.

    As you can see in the picture, it has a jaw which is integral with the handle while the other jaw is sliding and can be moved around using a worm wheel. Of course there are several disadvantages of using an adjustable spanner.

    Adjustable Spanner 

    With wear and tear of the teeth, there is a play in the spanner which lessens the grip as well as tends to damage the face of the nut. Another disadvantage is that if too much pressure is applied, the spanner may become loose and simply slip off causing injury to the operator. A variant of adjustable spanner described above is popularly known as Monkey Wrench and is used to denote a large sized adjustable spanner.

    Yet another type of adjustable spanner is shown below.

    Adjustable Spanner 

    With wear and tear of the teeth, there is a play in the spanner which lessens the grip as well as tends to damage the face of the nut. Another disadvantage is that if too much pressure is applied, the spanner may become loose and simply slip off causing injury to the operator. A variant of adjustable spanner described above is popularly known as Monkey Wrench and is used to denote a large sized adjustable spanner.