A Turnbuckle – An Essential Tool Across Many Industries
The simple turnbuckle has many uses in industrial applications.
It is an essential tool for increasing or decreasing tension when adjustments are needed in a rope. The great benefit of a turnbuckle is that the tension can be changed in very small increments. The tensioning capacity can range from a few grams to thousands of kilograms.
The turnbuckle consists of two connectors with a shaft between them. The connectors are threaded in opposite directions so that when the centrepiece is turned the ropes or rods that are attached to them will have the tension increased or relieved depending on the direction of the turn. As the shaft is turned both connectors turn in or out simultaneously.
Choosing the Right Turnbuckle
You can get a turnbuckle in almost any size that you require. You can also get them in different combinations and materials such as stainless steel and galvanised steel to fit any application. A turnbuckle is categorised according to its thread diameter, end fittings and take up length.
The bigger the thread diameter the higher the weight bearing capacity of the turnbuckle. The distance that the screws can wind in to increase the tension is called the take-up length. You can also attach more than one turnbuckle to the ropes if you require more tension than a single turnbuckle can provide.
There are six different combinations of turnbuckle end fitting that you can choose from:
- Eye to eye turnbuckle – Intended for the attachment of a shackle, they are used with other components that can open to attach to the eye. Because they have no opening parts these turnbuckles are relatively inexpensive
- Jaw and jaw turnbuckle – This turnbuckle is U shaped and has a bolt that runs through it. These are also used to connect to components that can open.
- Jaw and eye turnbuckle
- Hook and hook turnbuckle – Usually used with guy ropes. Lacking a safety latch, this turnbuckle is not always practical and they are frequently used in temporary installations
- Eye and hook turnbuckle
- Jaw and hook turnbuckle.
When choosing the appropriate turnbuckle for your task it is essential that you take the load bearing capacity into account. If in doubt it is better to overcompensate for a higher working load limit that you require.
Turnbuckle Safe Use
You can tighten the turnbuckle by hand, screwdriver or wrench. If your turnbuckle is subjected to vibration you should ensure that it is locked in with lock wire or lock jam nuts to prevent loosening over time. Lock jam nuts should be used with caution as they can cause the thread to wear.
The Simple Turnbuckle is Everywhere
The turnbuckle, also known as a stretching screw or a bottle screw has been in use since 1877. Today they are used in almost every industry where ropes, rods or wires are required. These include large construction sites, the aviation industry, and telecommunications. Today’s modern buildings and bridges are held together by means of turnbuckles.
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