Zip Screws And Other Types Of Motor

Yes, zip screws are actually motors. It is the simplest type of motor. It is also a linear actuator, which is an actuator. An actuator is a type of motor for moving stuff. Hence, a screw is a motor. A linear actuator converts circular motion into forward motion in a straight line. A screw has a grooved head and a shaft with a helical external groove.

The world is full of tiny linear actuators. There are two types of screw head. The straight kind has a single groove and is manipulated into place with a straight screwdriver. The other type has two grooves perpendicular to one another. This is called a “crosshead” or Phillips screwdriver. It is used because of its self-centering activity. You can sometimes use a straight screwdriver to set a crosshead screw. The man credited with its invention was Henry F. Phillips (1890 – 1958).

We really take his invention for granted and never give Henry Phillips a second thought. We came from Portland in Oregon and bought the design of the device from a man named John P. Thompson, who must surely be kicking himself now. Phillips made a few modifications to the device and patented it.

One of Phillips’ first customers, in 1936, was General Motors, who put it to work on its Cadillac assembly lines. He sold the patents to Ford Motor Company in 1945 for approximately $5 million. Phillips died in 1958.

It is interesting to note that a crosshead screw can be driven with an ordinary, straight screwdriver, but the reverse operation, using a crosshead driver to set a straight screw, doesn’t work so well. It just can’t get the necessary torque. When this happens, a table knife works just as well, or a thin coin like a British ha’penny or an American dime.

Another similar tool is a bolt. This has external grooves only part way up the shaft. It performs a similar job to the screw. A bolt is secured by a nut, which is threaded internally. A nut winds around the external threads of the bolt until the load is secured.

A screw, on the other hand, does not require a nut to hold it in place. Say you are going to hang a painting. First, a hole is drilled, for example, in a wall. Then a rawl plug, a screw-sized plastic is fitted into the resulting hole. The screw is then driven in, first by hand, then by screwdriver, but not all the way in. The painting is hung onto the part of the screw that is sticking out of the wall.

Zip screws are used mainly for sheet metal (the kind used for ducting) and guttering. These have an especially sharp point that is easy to pierce through thin, soft metal. It gets its name because it zips straight through. If, on the other hand, you want to work with a harder or thicker sheet of metal, then you would use a TEK screw.

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