Ball Plungers

Ball plungers are a mechanical device that contains a ball and a spring coil within. From the outside, a ball plunger looks like a screw because the threads on it resemble the threads on a screw; yet, instead of having a screw head, a ball plunger has a ball on the top end of it. From the inside, there is a spring coil that holds the ball to the top of the body when loads are applied onto the ball. The ball plungers are a type of load bearing device that is used mostly in rolling, indexing and detent applications.

In order for the ball plungers to withstand the force that applies onto them, the body, the ball as well as the spring coil is mainly made of rigid metals such as steel, stainless steel or other materials with high physical strength. However, based on the end application, there are ball plungers with the ball made of ceramic or plastic and the body made of plastic or aluminum. The spring force of a ball plunger is mainly determined by the coil number and the material it is made of. There is sometimes a plastic bearing between the ball and the spring coil. With the plastic bearing, the ball plunger can be electrical insulated.

The body of a ball plunger is usually threaded. The threads are made so that the ball plungers can be installed to the working site. They are screwed into another part of a machine with the internal hexagon or slot at the bottom. Though most ball plungers have a threaded body, there are also ball plungers with an unthreaded smooth body surface. The smooth body surface of a ball plunger is called the press fit. The ball plungers are also called force ball plungers or ball spring plungers.

Ball Plungers for Positioning & Locking

The ball plungers are versatile in application. They are often involved in rolling, indexing, detent, or positioning applications. When a ball plunger is installed into a surface, the ball that sticks out of the surface can be used to position a third component with its slot at the bottom. When the slot of the component fits with the ball of the ball plunger, the part is positioned. The ball plungers are used for locking with the same approach. When the ball fits into a pit or slot on a surface, the parts with the ball plunger are locked with the surface. To this end, the ball bears the sideway load instead of the axial load.

Ball Plungers for Detent

A ball spring plunger can also be used for applying pressure as a detent of a moving mechanism and control the rotating direction of a device. This application is usually seen on a gear. A detent is a device that restricts a gear to a one direction only rotation. If the moving part is to move in the other direction, the detent stops the movement by sticking the gear tooth. A ball plunger is used to apply pressure onto the detent to make sure the resistance maintains.

Ball Plungers for Supporting

In this case, the ball plungers are installed into the walls of a deep groove or a cavity which is used to contain parts. The parts to be placed into the groove are slightly smaller in width or diameter than that of the groove. When the parts are placed into the cavity, the spring ball supports the parts so that the parts can stay in place. The spring coil further makes sure that the parts will not be damaged by vibration of acute sideway movements.

Ball Plungers for Damping & Cushioning

The spring coil inside a ball spring plunger serves as the damper to withstand force or pressure that applies onto the spring ball. They are usually mounted to a large contact surface where shocks, vibrations, or impacts are expected. A group of ball plungers are installed so that the impacts can be evenly withstood and dampened and further prevent the parts from being damaged. The ball is movable so that the wear on the counterpart is effectively minimized.

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