Examples of Pneumatic Devices

by Adam Peter Lawrence

A device that is powered by compressed air, or any other compressed gas, is considered a pneumatic device. For people working in wet environments, pneumatic power is safer than electric because there is no risk of shock. Air can be compressed into tanks and used when no other power is available. There is no combustible fuel, so there is no risk of explosion. These reasons make it a good choice for powering automotive tools.

Impact Driver

An impact driver is similar to a power drill with one large difference. Under heavy loads it switches from a smooth rotation of the bit to dozens of tiny impacts per minute. This is especially useful for freeing lug nuts that are holding a wheel in place, or freeing a rusted suspension bolt that has become frozen. Higher-end units can create hundreds of foot pounds of torque for heavy-duty applications. For impact drivers, air is the power source of choice.

Cut Off Tool

Essentially a round blade spinning at the end of a handle, cut off tools are useful for cutting through heavy steel tubing such as exhaust pipes and clamps. This is also a popular tool with body shops since it can be used to cut away the dented parts of a car’s skin for replacement. They usually have a guard that rotates around the blade to protect the user from flying debris or sparks. Their blades can easily reach speeds in excess of 20,000 rotations per minute.

Orbital Sanders

This is another popular tool with body shops. The tool is comprised of a handle that fits into the palm of the hand, and a block that holds sheets of sandpaper. It spins the sandpaper in random orbits, hence the name orbital sander, which prevents the tool from leaving noticeable swirls or hot spots. This tool is very useful for someone who needs to finish an uneven surface without spending a lot of time sanding by hand. An orbital sander can generate more than 10,000 rotations per minute.

Rivet Tool

This is basically a pair of jaws used to install a metal rivet. The rivet is a mechanical fastener that is passed through a premade hole in the two surfaces being joined. Rivets are good for attaching license plates to cars as a way to deter the theft of the plates. This is a good tool for fabricating custom parts out of metal. Race teams are known to use rivets to construct the bodywork on race cars, allowing easy swaps of damaged parts during the race.

About the Author

Adam Lawrence is a professional writer who has worked as a DJ and as a freelance camera operator. He is certified in wilderness First Aid and has been a bicyclist and bike mechanic since the 1980s. Lawrence has been riding and fixing motorcycles since the 1990s and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film and TV production from New York University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera people at work, air compressor image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com