There are a few bearing measurements which affect the overall movement and quality of performance. This article covers some basic measurements and the effects for differences in those measurements.

Shaft and Housing Measurements

Normally, bearings are used to provide fluid movement between a shaft and some type of housing. So, starting with these bearing measurements is essential. The measurement of the bearing that fits the shaft or axle is called the bore. The bore is the inside hole of the bearing. The measurement that fits the housing is known as the outside diameter.

Bearing Width and Maximum Load are Proportional

Bearing width is important to the overall maximum load the bearings can support. The bearing can have a thinner width is the outer diameter is larger.

However, most applications already have predetermined axles and housings that won’t change dimensions. Because the housing dimension won’t change, the outer diameter of the bearing is a fixed number. So, width is important to know how much load the bearing can handle.

Bearing Size to Speed

The size of the bearings is determined based on the speed of rotation. Other factors influence ration speed, of course. Those factors are lubrication, the material of the bearings, cage material, and the needed lifespan.

In general, though, smaller bearings accelerate faster. Larger bearings hold speed better. So, for applications where continual operation is necessary, such as generators for example, larger bearings would be preferable.

In applications where the bearings may need to change directions or require quick acceleration, such as a hard drive, then smaller bearings are more advantageous.

The Effect of Tolerance on Bearing Performance

The precision of a bearing is important to performance. Tolerance is the measure of any part’s dimensional deviation from the intended value. For instance, a ball bearing may be designed to be 1 millimeter in diameter. In actuality, there is a level of tolerance when actually manufacturing the part.

The tolerance says how far the part can deviate either larger or smaller from the intended value. Normally, tolerance is measured in very small amounts such as micrometers or one thousand times smaller than a millimeter.

For ball bearings, there are two types of precision. Dimensional accuracy is the first, and rotational accuracy is the other.

Dimensional accuracy refers to the four standard measurements taken on a bearing: the bore diameter, the outer diameter, the inner ring width, and the outer ring width. The bore and outer diameter can affect the quality of contact with the axle or housing. This is important because greater deviations can lead to slip, wear, or failure.

The quality of the inner and outer ring width is important because it determines the fit of the bearings to the races (the rings contacting the bearings). If the ring widths are too far off, it can lead to failure of the bearing sooner than expected.

Rotational accuracy, sometimes referred to as runout, is the measure of the variance along surfaces of the bearing. The inner and outer ring surfaces are measured. For both rings, the side, axial, and radial surfaces are tested for the level of runout. Radial runout, for instance, can cause vibration at faster speeds when the level is too high.

Why Ball Bearing Sizes Matter

Ball bearings can be found in almost anything you look at these days. Because of their reasonable manufacturing price and expansive number of uses, ball bearings are very easy to use for a number of things.

From vehicles and machines to children’s toys, these mechanisms are used for literally everything. However, like any other bearing, these may need to be replaced from time to time.

Ball bearings give off a grinding sound when they need to be changed, making you very aware of when they need to be changed. This warning should not be ignored, either, because they can lead to some very dangerous results if not changed.

These bearings can be damaged due to dirt or debris, as well as normal wear and tear. When these bearings begin to fail, there is no telling what can happen to the machine or vehicle that uses them.

In some cases, the bearings can overheat or break from the sudden stress. Ball bearings are created with precision, and any number of things can cause them to fail.

When you look at ball bearings, it’s important that you look their sizes along with the type of bearing. Ball bearing sizes play a key role in how the bearing operates and how much stress it can take. Each one is designed for a specific purpose, and that can change once you change the size of the bearing.

If you change the bearing sizes without looking them up correctly, you may end up causing more damage than just performing a simple maintenance job. If the balls are too small, they may not be able to handle the stress that is put onto them, resulting in a failure in performance.

Ball bearings are designed to be a specific size for each specific bearing, and there is good reason for it. These bearings are polished and smoothed into a shape that ensures optimal performance for each bearing. When you change ball bearing sizes, you are causing the bearing to perform in a manner it was not designed to.

This small change in size can result in a huge outcome, and not for the better. Just like a damaged bearing, the wrong size ball bearing can lead to overheating or bearing failure, which is both dangerous and inefficient.

If you are looking to replace your ball bearings, make sure you look up the bearing sizes so that you save yourself the headache later. It doesn’t take very much time to pull out a sizing chart or look at the manual to find out what size your ball bearing is.

This way, you know that you’re using the correct size that was recommended by the manufacturer. By taking a few extra minutes out of your day, you’ll have a result you know you can trust and others can rely on.

Plus if it is a newer machine you are working on, you could void the manufacturers warranty if you were to install a ball bearing of the incorrect size or specifications when performing the repair.

Don’t try to save a couple bucks or try to save a few days from shipping an item. There are some corners you can cut, but ball bearing sizes is not one of them.

You may endanger your own life or the life of others, which is not worth it for any reason. In the end, you’ll end up creating more work for yourself when it could be avoided with a few simple steps.

Bearing measurements effect the functioning of the bearing itself. Bore and inner diameter influence the fit of the bearing to the axle or housing. Bearing width affects the maximum load that can be handled. Smaller ball bearings handle acceleration while larger ones maintain speed better. Finally, tolerances play an important part in the actual performance of a bearing.

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There are a few bearing measurements which affect the overall movement and quality of performance. This article covers some basic measurements and the effects for differences in those measurements. Shaft and Housing Measurements Normally, bearings are used to provide fluid movement between a shaft and some type of housing. So, starting with these bearing measurements...