Wednesday, August 26, 2009

GN 113.6 Heavy Duty Self-Locking Release Pins

Diane here, with another new product to introduce to you: our series GN 113.6 Heavy Duty Self-Locking Release Pins.

These release pins are RoHS compliant, and use a ball lock mechanism for rapid connection and securing of components or work pieces. A typical example would be bearing shafts which have to be regularly mounted and unmounted. By depressing the spring-loaded push button, the two balls are freed, and by releasing the button, they are locked.

The release pins have nylon plastic handles, with shafts, balls and springs of heavy duty, hardened and highly abrasion-resistant stainless steel, giving them a high load capacity. Series GN 111 split rings with chains are also available to prevent misplacement of the release pins.

To see more rapid release pins, including the steel version of this one, visit our Section 10--Indexing, Spring and Ball Plungers.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

We Agree with Mythbusters’ Jamie

Diane here, to confess that I’ve been a fan of the Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters” for years. Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage, and the members of the Build Team demonstrate again and again how fascinating science and engineering can be.

I recently read a great piece written by Jamie for Popular Mechanics called "Is Computer Design a Substitute for Hands-on Experience?" Jamie’s contention is that in spite of all the amazing advancements in computer-aided design, CAD is only as good as the engineer using it. He points out the importance of looking at CAD as a tool, no different than a hammer, that augments skill but doesn’t guarantee perfection.

It’s true. Someone like Mike Holmes from "Holmes on Homes" is a lot better with a hammer than I am, and it’s not the hammer’s fault that I can’t get use it to get the same results as Mike. A hammer improperly used only causes damage. The same can be said for computer-aided design.

Now Jamie admits that CAD does better than "junk in, junk out"...what comes out of good CAD software will certainly be workable. However, it may well be impractical, overly complex, or otherwise a poor solution, if the tool hasn’t been utilized properly.

An example Jamie uses to illustrate this point is an experience with the unfortunate placement of a car battery he needed to remove. The car’s designer no doubt used CAD to make sure the battery would fit in the space allowed, but failed to use his own brain to consider the difficulty involved if one wanted to replace said battery. Jamie had to take off the front wheel and inner fender to do this basic piece of maintenance. Someone familiar with car maintenance and its importance (and honestly, who over 16 isn’t?) should not have made such a critical design mistake.

So no matter how sophisticated your design tools, nothing can take the place of understanding the intended purpose of a machine, performance and maintenance issues, and the properties and functions of the materials used. Sometimes the most efficient way to consider all those factors is simply to use the head of an expert, whether that be yourself or another human being.

J.W. Winco has free CAD files on our Web site, in all possible file formats, because we recognize the tools engineers use to do their work. We also provide as much technical information on our components as we can. However, unlike many of our competitors, we also recognize that good engineers depend upon human involvement when trying to do a job right. Our technical sales associates have great expertise, including years of experience advising designers on the best ways to use our parts. And what we don’t know, we know how to find out.

So we’re with Jamie on this one. Tools will only take you so far; the best machine designs depend upon the wisdom and experience of people. Call us at 800-877-8351 or email sales@jwwinco if you’d like our people to help.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

GN 237-NI Stainless Steel Hinges with Countersunk Thru Holes

Diane posting, with another one of the new additions to our product line. This time we're featuring our GN 237-NI series Stainless Steel Hinges with Countersunk Thru Holes.

These hinges are RoHS compliant. Both the hinge body and pin are constructed of stainless steel. A zinc die-cast version with black powder coated textured finish is also available. For certain minimum quantities, an aluminum version of the hinges is offered upon request. Various metric and inch size fasteners and kit packages are available upon request.

Monday, August 10, 2009

New Metric Size Washers in our eStore

Diane reporting, to let you know that we’ve added more metric fasteners to our Web site for online pricing and purchase. The new offerings are five series of washers.

First up is our metric size BN 791 Ribbed Lock Washers. These are available in steel or stainless steel and are used with hex cap and machine screws. When the screw is tightened, the serrations crunch into the mating faces which prevents the screw from loosening up due to vibrations, etc. These washers are used for high vibration resistance due to positive rib contact; and offer excellent pretensioning. We also offer a zinc-plated steel version, our BN 792 series.

Next up is our metric size DIN 9021B Flat Washers in zinc-plated steel. These washers are also known as fender washers. The sizes less than 16 mm are 140 HV class, 140-250 hardness HV; sizes larger than 16 mm are 100 HV class, 100-250 hardness HV.

Here are our metric size DIN 6798A Serrated Lock Washers. They are made of zinc-plated spring steel and have external serrations.

Lastly, I present our metric size DIN 127B Helical Spring Lock Washers. They are available in spring steel, 450-530 HV hardness, with a plain finish; spring steel, 450-530 HV hardness, with a zinc-plated finish; or A2 stainless steel, with plain finish. These washers are without jaws and have square ends.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Pros and Cons of Aluminum

Diane reporting today! You know, the Barenaked Ladies recorded a song called “Aluminum” which begins: “How, in every visible way, you shine / As if the stars in your wake align.”

High praise indeed, and in fact aluminum is an excellent material for machine components, offering many beneficial characteristics.

First let me get the disadvantages of aluminum out of the way, and it is a short list. This metal is more rare and more expensive than steel. It is abrasive to tooling, or more accurately, the aluminum oxide coating that forms upon it is. It is prone to severe spring back. And it requires special processes to be welded.

But those cons aside, aluminum has many useful traits:

● Corrosion-resistant: Aluminum oxidizes quickly, and the resulting surface coat of aluminum oxide resists further corrosion, by air, water, and chemicals. This protective coating is clear, colorless, and non-staining.

● Economical: No, I’m not contradicting myself. Aluminum is still more economical than brass or stainless steel, so is often the best option for non-corrosive applications.

● Lightweight: Aluminum weighs about a third of what steel does. That makes it inexpensive to ship and can also contribute to making a lighter machine when that is desirable.

● Strong: Aluminum has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal.

● Electrically conductive: Aluminum conducts electricity even better than copper.

● Non-magnetic: For applications where magnetism needs to be avoided, aluminum is an excellent choice.

● Colorable: Aluminum can be easily colored by anodization, and holds paint extremely well.

● Recyclable: Aluminum is 100% recyclable without losing any of its natural characteristics.

J.W. Winco’s product line includes many items manufactured of aluminum, a sampling of which you see pictured in this post. Presented here is our ALCK Control Knob, our GN 565.2 Angled Cabinet U-Handle, our GN 322 Two-Spoked Handwheel, and our GN 744 Fluid Level Sight Glass.

These components were fabricated of aluminum to take advantage of its many fine qualities…and you could fairly say of them, in every visible way, they shine!