Impact Wrench: Everything about it. (History, Origin, Adv. & Disadv.)

Trying to get a screw off of whatever it is that you are working on, but can’t seem to do so? Or perhaps you have been struggling with a particularly stubborn screw for hours.

Whatever the case may be, an impact wrench could save you a lot of time and frustration.

There are some basic tools, like screwdrivers and wrenches, that you would expect to find in most kit bags or toolboxes.

Other tools are more specialist, designed for certain jobs or hobbies. One such tool is the impact wrench which has various advantages over traditional non-impact versions.

What is an impact wrench?

An impact wrench is a power tool that’s used to tighten bolts and nuts. It’s powered by compressed air or electricity so it can be used in all sorts of situations.

They come in both cordless and corded versions with some models including other useful features like battery packs and extra sockets so that you can use them for a variety of different jobs.

There are a variety of benefits that come from using an impact wrench. For instance, impact wrenches are great if your bolts and nuts need to be tightened over and over again as they provide consistent torque every time. In fact, the higher the impact rate, the better this consistency is.

Also, because an impact wrench does not have a clutch it’s possible to get greater control over the way bolts and nuts tighten up while being fastened down by an impact wrench.

This makes it suitable for delicate work where other kinds of wrenches would damage components or prove ineffective at tightening bolts enough but not too much.

How Does it Work?

An impact wrench is not like your regular cordless drill because there is no key or trigger mechanism to push in order for it to run; instead, this type of wrench works by using an internal spinning mass that causes the outer part of the wrench to spin very quickly.

When the trigger is pulled, the inner part of this tool starts to turn at a much slower speed than the outer one.

This causes an increase in angular velocity which results in additional torque being applied because there is more force acting on each square inch of the socket head.

Impact wrenches have a variety of applications and can be used in almost any job where rotational torque needs to be applied.

An impact wrench operates by turning a handle, which rotates a flywheel at high speeds and forces it to move through a socket with a ratchet mechanism that only moves in one direction.

It gives the user more speed while reducing the amount of effort put into rotating the wrench for use. Although any socket wrench will get your job done eventually, using an impact wrench makes this task much.

This tool was previously used in the automotive industry, but its use quickly spread to various other areas as well.

Manufacturers began using them on a regular basis for their assembly lines, and they later found their way into construction sites. Many construction workers don’t have time to unscrew loosened screws by hand or waste time struggling with stubborn tools that take more effort than they’re worth.

An impact wrench can be useful around the house as well if you find yourself constantly fighting to remove screws from anything from your couch to a cabinet door hinge.

It doesn’t matter how big or small the tool is, any impact wrench will save you a lot of trouble on pretty much any project you attempt with it.

Although an impact wrench does provide a lot of convenience for those who use it, there are some downsides to this tool.

For instance, any impact wrench is only as good as its battery life. Sometimes they will stop charging or lose power right in the middle of a project that requires its full use.

Other factors that determine the usefulness of an impact wrench include how long it takes to charge and if it has ample torque for loosening particularly stubborn screws.

More advanced models tend to charge faster and can handle lighter jobs with ease, but more powerful ones do come with a higher price tag.

Regardless of what type of job you are working on, an impact wrench is certainly one of those tools every household should have around the house. It offers convenience not just for construction workers, but anyone who has trouble unscrewing something by hand.

Types of impact wrenches

There are a few different variations when it comes to impact wrenches with most people either owning or at least knowing how a standard model works.

However, if you’re going to be using your wrench for construction purposes, then you should know that there are also some models that function as impact drivers and ratchet wrenches.

The main difference between all of them is the kind of jobs they do and how much power they offer, which is something we’ll discuss further in this article.

  • Impact wrench-A standard model; can be used for a variety of purposes such as removing lug nuts or loosening bolts etc. They usually feature an ergonomic grip and trigger mechanism to control the torque output.

The most popular type available today can deliver up to 2000 pounds of maximum torque which makes it great for heavy-duty tasks as well as light ones!

Used for construction purposes or automotive-related chores. These wrenches come with a socket head that holds attachments such as sockets, adaptors, and other accessories.

  • Impact driver-A small, lightweight model that’s battery powered and has a high amount of torque output. It also features a two-handed grip which makes it great for applications where you don’t have a lot of room to maneuver the tool around.

The most common use for this type of wrench is screw driving because it can handle long hours without causing too much fatigue to the user. These models are perfect for installing cabinetry or hanging pictures on your walls!

They’re not as powerful as impact wrenches so they should only be used on lighter tasks such as tightening bolts etc.

These types of wrenches come with an internal battery and charger mechanism which allows you to recharge them at home without having to purchase new batteries.

  • Impact wrench-Ratchet model which is a combination between an impact driver and regular ratcheting wrench; it’s lightweight and compact yet offers up to 900 pounds of torque output.

Most models come with the ability to select speeds that allow you to choose from low, medium or high settings depending on what kind of task you’re doing.

This type of wrench comes in handy when assembling furniture because it can help tighten small bolts while also being able to handle construction tasks such as demolition work.

These tools have a two-handed design for comfort and safety reasons so they should only be used for light-duty applications where there isn’t much room to maneuver the tool around.

Impact wrenches are very useful tools that come in a wide range of sizes and models. The most common type is the standard cordless option which offers up to 2000 pounds of torque, making it great for both light and heavy-duty tasks.

Impact drivers and ratchet wrenches offer less power but they’re perfect for smaller jobs such as tightening screws or assembling furniture.

There are other types of Impact wrenches based on the power source, like electric powered, battery powered, and air powered.

  • Electric Model: Companies such as Milwaukee, Ingersoll Rand, and Porter-Cable produce high-quality electric impact wrenches that will take care of most basic tasks easily.

The 12-volt models can be very useful for those with little experience using power tools as they’re relatively lightweight and easy to handle.

They’re more suited for small tasks such as changing a tire or compressor work, though you’ll find the heavy-duty models have a lot more torque – up to 2,500 pounds – which will let you tackle tougher jobs with ease.

  • Battery Powered: If you need a little more flexibility when it comes to your impact wrench, a battery-powered model is where it’s at.

These are excellent for those working on construction sites or who need to be able to quickly remove tire lug nuts from different vehicles without having access to an electrical outlet nearby.

The batteries give enough charge for continuous use but if you run out of juice halfway through a job just pop in some more and it’ll be fully charged in 30 minutes or less.

The biggest downside is the price tag which tends to be a bit steep when compared to an electric impact wrench.

  • Air Powered: For those with heavy-duty tasks requiring massive amounts of torque, you won’t get much better than an air-powered impact wrench.

Most are capable of generating up to 2,500 pounds of torque and reaching speeds of 10,000 RPMs so they’re really versatile tools that can handle most tough jobs around the house and worksite alike.

The biggest drawback is their size and weight; these units tend to be quite bulky and heavy so if you need something easy to transport you’ll want to stick with an electric model or battery-powered one instead.

That being said, if you want something powerful and don’t mind carrying a little extra weight in your tool pouch they’re great for busy work sites.

In the end, it’s really up to personal preference when it comes to picking an impact wrench but most home mechanics will find a corded electric model does everything they need.

For those with a tendency to lose sockets or who run into problems changing out different lug nuts, going with a battery-powered or air-driven one may be a better choice instead.

At the end of the day, most people benefit from having more than one type around so you can pick up whichever works best for your needs at any given time.

Advantages of using Impact Wrench

Impact wrenches are a great tool for a variety of different uses. It can be used to loosen stubborn bolts, tighten them, and even perform some light demolition work.

The most common models offer up to 2000 pounds of torque meaning that they’re great for heavy-duty tasks as well as light ones.

  • Allows you to get bolt tightness control.
  • Powerful torque for removing rusted or stuck bolts.
  • Improved speed when used with breaker bars.
  • Great if you are working on something that needs to be really tightened, like a lawn mower blade.

Disadvantages of Using Impact Wrench

There are some disadvantages associated with using an impact wrench, however.

  • They tend to be more expensive than regular wrenches so it’s important not to damage them while they’re being used or else repair costs can quickly mount up.
  • They also tend to have shorter lifespans than other types of tools due to the increased strain put on them while they’re being used.

Make sure you don’t use your impact wrench for jobs it’s not designed for, like electric drills.

Tips for buying the right one for your needs

Regardless of what type of job you are working on, an impact wrench is certainly one of those tools every household should have around the house. It offers convenience not just for construction workers, but anyone who has trouble unscrewing something by hand.

When purchasing an impact wrench, there are certain factors that determine its usefulness in terms of charging time and power.

Generally speaking, more powerful models tend to be larger in size and require a little bit longer for their initial charge, but they usually deliver when it comes down to loosen even the tightest screws.

In addition to these things, there are some features worth looking for if you want a versatile tool you can use around the house.

For instance, consider getting an impact wrench with forward and reverse control so you don’t have to stop working every time you need to switch directions.

It can also save you time if you are working on different projects with different types of screws each day.

A helpful feature to look out for is the size of the impact wrench in terms of its head and shank length.

A longer head allows you to tighten or loosen bolts without having to move the tool itself around too much, whereas a shorter shank makes it easier to work with smaller places like door hinges for example.

Lastly, make sure that your impact wrench comes with socket options that fit all the fasteners that you need them for. You wouldn’t want your new purchase gathering dust because it doesn’t fit all of your household’s needs!

Although impact wrenches do come with certain drawbacks, such as their battery life, it is hard to deny their usefulness when you need a little extra strength.

This versatile tool from the automotive industry is now available for personal use as well, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t invest in one.

History of Impact Wrench

Those who work in industrial settings might already be familiar with these tools, but it isn’t common knowledge how exactly they work or why they’ve become such a vital tool in modern industry.

Let’s explore the history of impact wrenches used in the industry by first looking at where and when they were first used and then exploring how they work and their importance in today’s economy.

The first impact wrenches were patented over 80 years ago during the Great Depression of the 1930s. These early impact wrenches were just glorified drills that applied rotational energy using a traditional electric drill mechanism.

They didn’t have many applications at the time because, even though impact wrenches are large, heavy, and cumbersome to use—they require additional tools like bulky air compressors to power them. But this changed in 1953 after General Motors started manufacturing cars with more chrome parts than before.

Some of these car models required the removal of over 400 bolts each! Obviously, this was impossible for mechanics to do manually since it would take an extremely long time. So they began using air-powered tools like impact wrenches to tighten and loosen bolts, which was much faster than hand-tooling them.

As with most new innovations, it didn’t start off perfect—in fact, people were skeptical about the efficacy of impact wrenches at first. But General Motors’ decision to use these electric tools on its production cars in 1953 proved that you could work faster with them.

Soon other industries began adopting the use of impact wrenches in their manufacturing processes too! Today they are used in many different types of work settings where bolt tightening is required.

Impact wrenches come in two main varieties: electric and pneumatic. Electric impact wrenches are similar to the original impact wrench that was invented in the 1930s—they were just modernized to include a rechargeable battery pack.

On the other hand, pneumatic impact wrenches are powered by compressed air, which is what powered earlier impact wrenches. Although they use similar technology, electric and pneumatic impacts function differently.

Electric tools don’t need an external source of power because they’re charged by batteries [6]. This makes them highly portable and useful for mechanics on the go who need to tighten or loosen bolts quickly.

They can be used anywhere and at anytime! Even though they usually run on a voltage between 7.2 and 36 volts some new models even run on 48 volts and provide a high amount of torque (the rotary twisting force that loosens and tightens bolts).

Pneumatic tools, on the other hand, require an external source of power. They usually run on air compressors or nitrogen/oxygen gas tanks.

Their main advantage is that they produce a higher amount of torque than electric wrenches. However, pneumatic impact wrenches aren’t as portable since you need to supply them with air from a pressurized tank or compressor.

One important feature we haven’t discussed yet that both electric and pneumatic impacts share in common is how they work: using kinetic energy to tighten and loosen bolts.

Basically, this simply means that it uses forward motion to spin a wrench that tightens or loosens bolts. The kinetic energy is generated by an internal hammer within the impact mechanism.

These hammers are connected to a piston that draws air into the cylinder when you pull the trigger on the electric impact or a valve that releases compressed air stored inside a tank on pneumatic versions. The movement of these hammers produces a rotational force that turns whatever bolt you’re using it on.

Now let’s look at how exactly impacts work on different types of bolts and nuts. Electric impacts use forward motion to tighten or loosen hexagonal head bolts and nuts.

This forward motion moves the rotating shaft inside the tool in either direction depending on if you want to tighten or loosen the bolt. Some models have two forward/reverse settings to do both with just one tool.

Pneumatic impacts work in a similar way except they use an adjustable clutch instead of a reverse mechanism. When you need to tighten something, you adjust the clutch’s setting so that it engages when the pressure is released from the impact mechanism.

This is because changing the direction of the hammer is not possible with pneumatic tools—the amount of torque generated by these tools will blow out weaker bolts. Adjusting your clutch lets you control how much power you give or take away from specific types of bolts.

Electric and pneumatic impacts also use forward motion to drill holes into different surfaces using what is called an ‘impact drill’. An impact drill’s design is based on an impact wrench but instead of tightening and loosening bolts, it sends a small bit to create holes in surfaces.

These drills work great when you don’t have time to pre-drill a hole or your drill can’t penetrate through metal, concrete, or other tough substances.

In the 1930s, the first impact wrenches were invented by Chicago Pneumatic Tool which later became Ingersoll Rand in 1955.

This hand-held device was then used to tighten and loosen lug nuts on cars—this practice increased worker productivity since three people could do the job that would traditionally be done by one person.

As more car manufacturers began to use impact wrenches the devices began to evolve and become more powerful.

As we continue to innovate, there are still plenty of ways for impact wrenches to improve their efficiency. Since they already produce torque up to 7,000 RPMs, it’s possible that in the future impacts will be able to provide even higher amounts of rotational force while using less power.

This would make them even more portable and efficient while also increasing worker productivity since bolts would be tightened or loosened much faster! Unfortunately, this future is still a couple of years away but keep your eyes out for any advancements that are made in 2017 or later.

There are other types of impact mechanisms that are used in industry but not nearly as widely as electric and pneumatic impacts.

These other types include a rack-and-pinion mechanism, planetary mechanism, enclosed gear mechanism, cordless impact wrench, etc. The fact that this article is already WAY too long makes it difficult to get into everything but if you want to explore all kinds of impact wrenches check out the video below!

In conclusion, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about how impacts work and why they’re so widely used in industry.

Hopefully, we can answer these questions soon but till then I hope this article helped shed some light on the fascinating history of the development and use of impact wrenches in the industry!

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