Miniature bearings are tools that are used to allow for relative motion between two parts on a scale that is smaller than that provided by bearings of larger sizes. Miniature bearings are put to use in systems with comparatively small moving parts.
A bearing is any tool or set of tools that help parts move relative to each other. Industry, commerce and consumers rely on a wide variety of products that feature moving parts. Just a few examples of these products include air conditioners, automobiles, computer cooling fans, bicycles and even electric pencil sharpeners. In products that feature very small moving parts, the use of very small bearings is necessary. Miniature bearings are no different from traditional bearings except in terms of their small size and their ability to handle smaller torque loads. Like larger bearings, miniature bearings can be made of steel, ceramics and many other materials. They can be ball-shaped, cylindrical or shaped in other ways. They can be designed to be sealed or open. A few common uses for miniature ball bearings are in bicycle wheels, in pneumatic hose attachments, in remote control cars, in hand tools and in a variety of other products.
When two moving parts can roll over bearings instead of rubbing against each other, the amount of friction created is much smaller. This reduction in friction eases movement and reduces wear on the moving parts. The small balls, cylinders or other shapes in miniature bearings bear the weight of the load, which permits smooth movement. There are two classifications for bearings: linear and rotary, and this applies to miniature bearings as well as to bearings of other sizes. These classifications are based on the motions for which the bearings are designed. A linear miniature bearing moves in a straight line. These bearings are used for pushing and pulling motion, like that of a drawer opening and shutting. In a drawer system, miniature bearings can often be found along the length of the metal races that support the drawer. A rotary bearing, in comparison, is designed for radial motion, like that of a wheel spinning. Such bearings are often installed in bicycles to allow for smoother motion of wheels. Bearings of all sizes are essential tools in improving relative motion between all kinds of moving parts.