Bearings allow certain devices to spin or roll, reducing friction between the spinning and still surfaces. These devices allow constrained “rolling” motions and are essential to tires and basically any device that moves or rolls. There are four main types of ball bearings: radial, self-aligning, miniature precision, and inserts, with each variation serving a different purpose. If you’ve ever wondered what these different types are all about, prepare to be enlightened.
Radial - As one of the most popular types of ball bearings, the Radial bearing is built with an inner and outer ring, as well as precision balls. The deep-grooved build of radial ball bearings allow for higher rotation speeds and are able to support high radial and thrust loads.
Self-Aligning - Self-aligning bearings contain a double row of balls and can be produced with either tapered or straight bores. This bearing is created with the least amount of friction. Self-aligning bearings are generally used when there is a misalignment from shaft deflection, assembly errors, or mounting. This bearing will correctly realign without creating stress, and allows bearings to operate at higher rotational speeds.
Miniature Precision - This bearing is aptly named, as these small gems are used for precision jobs. This bearing has an internal diameter smaller than 3/8 inches, or 9.525 mm and are able to operate at extremely high speeds. Miniature ball bearings are useful in devices where space is limited.
Insert - For specific applications you’ll want to look into insert ball bearings. These feature an inner ring to provide shaft support. Insert bearings, sometimes referred to as “Y-bearings”, are fixed into a locked position and work wonderfully for easy replacements. This bearing is built as a unit, or as a single piece and are designed for easy and quick mounting.