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What Are Precision Spacers Used For?

What Are Precision Spacers Used For

Precision metal spacers are parts used to fill a gap between two objects or surfaces. Spacers can be made using virtually any material, including rubber, hard plastics, and metals. These parts are commonly round and unthreaded to be used on bolts and rods. But, spacers can be threaded or partially threaded, as well as different shapes.

In this post, we’ll explain what precision spacers are commonly used for, and how you can order custom spacers for your next project.

Common applications

Spacers are found in many different machines and vehicles. Spacers can help reduce friction and vibration. 

Spacers are simple parts, which allows them to be used in a wide range of industries. You’ll find spacers everywhere, from orthodontics to high-pressure tools and machinery. Many vehicles and engines use spacers that require tight tolerances, so high-precision metal spacers are most commonly found in the aerospace, agricultural, automotive, and electrical industries.

Shims vs Washers vs Spacers

Shims, washers, and spacers are similar parts, so it can be difficult to figure out exactly what you need. There are a few key differences between these three parts.

Shims are usually a thinner piece that is used to create space between two surfaces. Shims typically help create a seal, or in cases where there needs to be a tight tolerance. Different size shims can be used when the two surfaces start to wear down. These are usually thinner compared to spacers and washers.

Washers are used to distribute a load. Washers can also be used to lock a nut and bolt together, and come in different shapes. Washers are primarily used with screws and bolts.

Spacers are similar to washers, but usually more precise. Spacers are also longer than most washers and shims to create space or add clearance.

Common materials used

Spacers can be made from virtually any material, depending on the application and surrounding parts.

Rubber spacers are used when you need to create a buffer between two parts. The rubber reduces the impact of moving parts. This reduces vibrations and provides an effective seal.

Nylon spacers are harder compared to rubber. These are used to adjust the space between two objects while providing vibration and corrosion resistance. Nylon is lightweight, nonmagnetic, and fairly durable.

Aluminum spacers are lightweight, easily machinable, and corrosion-resistant. Aluminum isn’t as strong as some other choices. It’s a cost-effective solution that’s commonly used in various aerospace applications. In addition, aluminum is an environmentally friendly choice due to its ease of recycling.

Copper spacers are a softer metal that can provide a vibration buffer while still offering some flexibility in applications where high rigidity might cause parts to crack or break. Copper and bronze are also conductive and used where electricity needs to flow between components.

Stainless steel spacers are used for strength and resistance to extreme temperatures and corrosive environments. Stainless steel is also visually appealing. It’s heavier compared to many other metals, but stainless steel can also be the least expensive option over the course of its lifetime.

Titanium spacers are often considered one of the highest quality metals available. It’s light, very strong, and resistant to corrosion.  However, titanium is one of the more expensive options, and less costly options are acceptable for most uses.

Spex manufactures precision spacers from any type of metal, and our team can help you choose the right material for your specific project.

How are metal spacers machined?

Most precision spacers are manufactured with a CNC turning machine. The CNC turning process is commonly used for cylindrical parts like shafts and spacers. 

After the machinist programs the machine with the specific part dimensions, the raw material is loaded into the machine. Then the material is spun around and moved towards the cutting piece to machine the desired shape and holes. 

The turning process is efficient and can produce high quantities of spacers with tight tolerances. For applications in the aerospace industry and defense industry, maintaining tight tolerances is crucial. The CNC turning process makes tight tolerances achievable and repeatable at low costs.

Order custom precision spacers

Spex offers a limitless selection of custom precision spacers for whatever your project requires. Our custom machined parts are available in an array of different materials and finishes and are manufactured to meet all quantity needs. Our team is available to help you choose the best option and work to optimize your supply chain needs.

Contact us

Talk with one of our team members to order precision metal spacers.

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