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What is a Torque Wrench: The Right Way To Use About It

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Written By John Gibbs

 

 

 

» Hand Tools » Torque Wrench » What is a Torque Wrench: The Right Way To Use About It
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A torque wrench is a very useful tool that can help to prevent damage to bolts and nuts. If you are working on a project that requires bolts or nuts to be tightened or loosened, then a torque wrench is an essential piece of equipment.

Torque wrenches are used in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing. They are also used by hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers for tasks such as assembling furniture or working on cars. In this article, we will analyze in detail what it is for and how this tool works.

What is a Torque Wrench?

A torque wrench is a tool used to apply a specific amount of torque to a fastener, such as a nut or a bolt. It is usually used to ensure that the fastener is tightened to the correct level of tension and prevent overtightening or loosening, which could damage the threading or break the bolt entirely.

How Does it Work?
A torque wrench typically has a long handle and a ratcheting head. The head is attached to a spring-loaded mechanism that clicks when a specific amount of torque has been reached. This lets the user know that the desired amount of torque has been applied and prevents them from applying too much or too little torque.

red-box-with-torque-wrench

How to Use a Torque Wrench

Using a torque wrench is relatively simple.

  1. First, you will need to determine the proper amount of torque to apply to the fastener. This information can be found in a variety of places, such as the manufacturer’s specifications, a repair manual, or online.
  2. Once you have determined the proper torque, you will need to set the torque wrench to the correct setting. For beam torque wrenches, this is done by aligning the pointer with the correct number on the scale. For dial torque wrenches, this is done by turning the dial to the correct setting.
  3. Once you have the torque wrench set up, you simply need to apply it to the bolt or nut you are working with and tighten or loosen it as required. To do this, simply place the wrench on the fastener and apply the appropriate amount of force. The torque wrench will click when the desired torque has been reached. When you have finished, be sure to reset the wrench to zero. It is important to note that you should never exceed the maximum torque rating of the wrench, as this could damage the tool or cause injury. If you are working with a particularly stubborn bolt or nut, you may need to use an impact wrench in conjunction with the torque wrench. This will help to loosen the bolt or nut without damaging the threading.

Torque wrenches are an essential tool for many tasks. By following the above steps, you can be sure that you are using yours correctly.

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Types of Torque Wrenches

torque-wrench-3-pieces

There are four different types of torque wrenches, each with a slightly different operating principle: beam, dial indicator, clicker, and digital. All four types are used to apply a specified amount of torque to a bolt or nut in order to prevent it from being either too loose or too tight:

  • Beam torque wrenches are the simplest and most common type. They consist of a long beam with a scale and a handle at one end. The user grasps the handle and places the other end of the beam on the bolt or nut to be tightened. As torque is applied, the beam deflects, and the user can read the amount of torque applied from the scale.
  • Dial indicator torque wrenches are similar to beam torque wrenches, but instead of a scale, they have a dial indicator that shows the amount of torque applied. These wrenches are more accurate than beam wrenches but more difficult to use.
  • Clicker torque wrenches have a mechanism that “clicks” when the desired amount of torque has been reached. This type of wrench is very easy to use but can be less accurate than the other types.
  • Digital torque wrenches are the most modern and advanced type. They use electronic sensors to measure the amount of torque applied and display the results on a digital readout. These wrenches are the most accurate but also the most expensive.
  • A manual torque wrench is a tool that allows you to apply a specific amount of torque to a nut or bolt. This is done by using a handle to turn a ratchet, which is connected to the wrench head. The amount of torque that is applied to the nut or bolt can be adjusted by turning the ratchet to the desired setting. There are many different brands and models of manual torque wrenches on the market, so it is important to do some research to find the best one for your needs. You will also want to consider the size of the wrench, as well as the length of the handle. These two factors will determine how much torque you can apply and how easy it will be to use the wrench.

gray-table-with-torque-wrench

Earlier in this article, we wrote about the types of torque wrenches. Which type of torque wrench is best for you will depend on your needs and budget. For most home and automotive applications, a beam or clicker torque wrench will be sufficient. For more precise applications, such as industrial assembly, a dial indicator or digital torque wrench is recommended.

Torque Wrench Size

There are two types of torque wrenches: those that measure in Newton meters (Nm) and those that measure in foot-pounds (ft-lbs). The majority of torque wrenches on the market measure in Nm, but some manufacturers also provide ft-lb versions.

Nm is the SI unit of torque and is the preferred unit for most applications. However, there are some situations where ft-lbs may be a better choice. For example, when working on vehicles with American-made parts, it may be easier to use an ft-lb torque wrench since many of the torque specifications will be provided in that unit.

The size of a torque wrench is determined by its length and capacity. The length is the distance from the center of the drive socket to the end of the wrench and is typically between 10 and 24 inches. The capacity is the maximum torque that the wrench can handle and is typically between 30 and 600 Nm.

For most applications, a 3/8-inch or 1/2-inch wrench will suffice. However, if you are working on larger bolts, such as those found on a tractor or construction equipment, you will need a larger wrench.

Pneumatic or Electric: What is the Right Tool For You

Pneumatic torque wrenches are powered by compressed air, while electric torque wrenches are powered by electricity. Both types of wrench have their own advantages and disadvantages.

torque-wrench-on-the-wheel

Pneumatic torque wrenches are more powerful than electric wrenches and can be used for larger fasteners. They are also less expensive than electric wrenches. However, pneumatic wrenches require an air compressor, which can be bulky and expensive.

Electric torque wrenches are more precise than pneumatic wrenches and can be set to apply a specific amount of torque. They are also more expensive than pneumatic wrenches. Electric wrenches are powered by batteries, which can be bulky and expensive.

Which type of torque wrench is right for you depends on your needs. If you need a powerful wrench for large fasteners, a pneumatic wrench is a good choice. If you need a precise wrench for small fasteners, an electric wrench is a better choice.

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How to Choose the Best Option

Choosing the best option can be a difficult task. There are many factors to consider, and often times it can be hard to know where to start. However, by taking the time to think about your options and what is important to you, it is possible to make the best choice. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making a decision:

Size and Capacity

The first thing to consider is the size and capacity of the torque wrench. Torque wrenches are available in a variety of sizes, from small, handheld models to large, floor-mounted units. The size you need will depend on the application. For example, if you need to apply a lot of torque to loosen or tighten large bolts, you’ll need a larger, more powerful torque wrench.

Accuracy

Another important consideration is accuracy. Torque wrenches are designed to apply a specific amount of torque to a bolt or nut, and the accuracy of the wrench will determine how close it comes to applying the desired torque.

Materials

torque-wrench-in-the-man-hands

The material of the torque wrench is also important to consider. Torque wrenches are typically made from steel, aluminum, or composite materials. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, steel is very durable but can be heavy, while aluminum is lighter but not as strong. Composite materials are often the best choice for torque wrenches because they offer a balance of strength, durability, and lightweight.

Cost

Of course, the cost is also an important consideration when choosing a torque wrench. Torque wrenches can range in price from under $20 to over $1,000. The price will depend on factors like size, capacity, accuracy, and material. Choose the best torque wrench you can afford to get the job done right.

FAQ

What is the difference between a torque wrench and a ratchet?

A torque wrench is used to ensure that the fastener is tightened to the proper specification. A ratchet is a more simple wrench-designed tool that is used to turn a fastener, such as a nut or a bolt. Ratchets typically do not have a way to measure the amount of torque that is being applied to the fastener.

Why is it Important to Use a Torque Wrench?

Using a torque wrench is important because it helps to ensure that a fastener is tightened to the correct level. This is important because if a fastener is too loose, it may come undone and cause whatever it was holding together to come apart. On the other hand, if a fastener is too tight, it may become difficult to remove and could even strip the threads. Using a torque wrench is, therefore the best way to ensure that a fastener is tightened to the correct level every time.

What’s the difference between torque values?

grey-box-with-torque-wrench

There are two types of torque: static and dynamic. The difference between static and dynamic torque is that static torque is measured with the object at rest, while dynamic torque is measured with the object in motion. Because of this, dynamic torque is usually much higher than static torque.

Conclusion

A torque wrench is a vital tool for anyone working with machinery or engines. With a little practice, you will be able to use a torque wrench like a pro. I hope this guide has helped you understand what a torque wrench is and how it works. If you still have questions, please feel free to leave a comment below, and I’ll do my best to answer them. Thanks for reading!

References

  • Torque wrench -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torque_wrench#:~:text=A%20torque%20wrench%20is%20a,wrench%20with%20special%20internal%20mechanisms.
  • Set (What is the best way to perform a torque wrench calibration?) – https://home.howstuffworks.com/torque-wrench-calibration.htm?srch_tag=ls5dmcafj3tyq7cwpqrmwcnyyr43hi3t
  • Types of torque (How Four-Wheel Drive Works) – https://auto.howstuffworks.com/four-wheel-drive1.htm?srch_tag=b36dzzuv3gflcgilnnu6uwyl6p7cghi4

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About John Gibbs

Hello everyone! My name is John Gibbs. I am 60 years old and have been in the family construction business all my adult life. Construction is not only my profession but also my passion. I know everything about building and repair materials, tools, advanced methods, techniques, and approaches. I will share the same knowledge with you in my articles.

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