Getting the right shims in place can be extremely important to the safety of your workplace. For instance, did you know you shouldn’t have any more than four shims in one spot? Any more than that can be an OHS risk.
So, finding the exact right thickness of shims may be difficult not to cause issues with your equipment. The solution? Order custom shims to meet the exact requirements.
Read on to find out more about custom shims, customs spacers, and other thin materials cut to order with a quick turnaround.
What Is a Shim?
A shim is a thin piece of a particular material made especially for filling spaces between objects typically joined together. They align a surface or provide support to a structure. Shims can also offer a better fit or simply fill in the gaps between parts.
Shims can be made up of various materials, ranging in size and thicknesses. Typically, shims are thin materials. There are various materials used to make shims, including steel, wood, and plastic. Therefore, the number of applications of shims is vast.
Types of Shims
There are various types of shims made for different purposes. A huge array of industries use shims, so they are just as varied in their construction as in their applications.
Traditional Shims: These are the type of shims that fit the description of a conventional shim. These types fill small spaces and include spacers, washers, and fillers. These are often pre-planned parts, which means they aren’t adjustable and have specific measurements.
Edge Bond Shims: These shims are adjustable account for inaccuracy. These shims perform minute adjustments between the parts after they’ve come together. Technicians utilizing these often pull off a few layers to compensate for any machine errors.
Foil is a typical construction material for this shim type. Manufacturers cut 30-80 layers using various processes. They then glue the layers together using specialized glue.
Tapered Shims: you can use this shim type when the surface has a taper on it. Tapered shims fit other parts and are typically used to make the assembly of the parts tighter as it pushes the pieces closer.
Peelable Shims: These types of shims consist of layers together. Usually, these layers have a thickness of around 2,500th of an inch. You can peel these layers away to get the thickness you’re looking for.
How Is a Shim Different From a Spacer or a Washer
Shims are components used to fill in an unwanted gap. They can be tapered or flat and can be custom built to fit. Manufacturers produce shims according to the dimensions given by the customers.
Spacers are fixed-size components used mainly to separate two different parts by a given amount. Unlike shims, spacers aren’t designed to fill in the space but create distance. For example, custom spacers can separate electrical components and provide insulation.
Washers are components used to evenly distribute the lead between two parts. A typical example is bolt and screw washers.
How to Use Custom Shims Correctly
Saving money in the short term can cause you to face a loss in the long term. Using shims correctly can ensure you protect yourself from a lot of trouble in the future. Here are a few things that can help you ensure that you’re using the shims correctly.
Initial inspection of the shim is key to maintaining the good health of your equipment. If you notice any rust, dirt, or paint, then first ensure to remove all of this. Dirty machinery is prone to early damage, which can be very costly in the future.
Ensure to replace the damaged shims with new ones, preferably resistant to corrosion and crushing.
Using the Correct Shims
It can be tempting to use homemade shims or save costs by buying low-quality ones. Low-quality shims tend to wear out very quickly. If you keep on replacing them, not only is that going to cost you a lot more, but it can also cause wear and tear to your machinery. As we said, this can be very detrimental for you in the long run.
Use an adequate amount of shims in your machinery. Using too many shims can cause “soft foot” in your equipment. Use as few shims as possible. Three good quality shims should always be good enough.
Pre-cut shims made of stainless steel are great for use as they are flat and prevent corrosion to your machinery. Just find the right type for your needs.
Always Measure Before Inserting
It’s always a good practice to measure your shims before installing them. Use a micrometer to measure the thickness if you’re using shims that are 1mm and thicker. Insert the shims in the machine. Ensure a good fit and withdraw just a bit.
There should be no issues if you’ve ordered correctly from a reputable supplier.
A shim size that supports the load of the machine properly is always a good idea. If the contact between the shim and the surface is not adequate, it can cause a soft foot condition. An example of this is when one leg of a table does not reach the floor. This can cause wobble and be very annoying or dangerous.
In industrial applications, this condition can be very harmful. Not only can it cause damage to equipment, but it can also cost human lives.
Sandwich Shims Together
Precut shims give a much more safe and easy alignment and help improve machine performance significantly. Rounded corners can prevent injuries to human workers.
Make sure you sandwich the thinner shims between the thicker ones. If you’re using high-quality shims, then your machine should be aligned by now. At this point, you can move on finer adjustments to the alignment of your device.
Fulfill Your Shim Needs with a Quick Turnaround
If you’re looking for quality solutions to your shim needs, The Shim Shack is here to help you. We provide custom shims with a quick turnaround and a short lead time. If you have any questions or need help measuring, please contact us or check out our blog.