Chapter 11. Mechanical Components

This chapter presents the heroes of many designs. The many parts and pieces necessary to make a product operate can’t be covered here—that is why we have the Internet. However, we should consider the common features in many designs, specifically bearings, gaskets, seals, fasteners, and bonds. While excellent design guides are available for these, they deserve a grand introduction here. Bearings and seals allow things to go very fast, very smoothly, and very reliably. Tiny wisps of metal and goopy adhesives are used to fasten materials and these are often where people intersect with design maintenance, from changing batteries to making upgrades.

Surface coatings are another category of design heroes. Coatings can do magical things in providing appeal, protection, lubricity, heat resistance, electrical conductance, and other vital performance attributes. Good designs are often the orchestration of many small things. Rarely are products some simple, elegant design—rather, they are developed by fussing over the minutiae of hardware specifications, coating, lubrication, part clearances, and dimensional tolerances.


Bearings allow things to move easily and are critically important to rotating machinery. For simple, low-speed applications, smooth bushings are used. Bushings don’t have rolling elements like balls and rollers; they rely on a very smooth surface finish such as Teflon or internal lubricity such as provided by graphite, molybdenum ...

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