Any experienced lift master can tell you that a successful lift is facilitated by a long list of individual components. Lifting utilizes cables, slings, hooks, etc. One such component that doesn’t get talked about a lot is the turnbuckle. We will talk about it in this post, and specifically the drop forged turnbuckle.
In our industry, there are a lot of terms that the average person does not understand. That’s okay. As long as we and our customers speak the same language everything is fine. On the other hand, maybe you are not a lift master. Maybe you are a truck driver who has the pleasure of watching while a lift master gets cargo up onto the back of your trailer. We still want you to know what a forged turnbuckle is.
The Turnbuckle Explained
A turnbuckle is a type of fastener deployed for tensioning purposes. Also known as stretching screws and bottle screws, turnbuckles consist of two threaded bolts contained inside a metal frame with the flat ends facing one another. They can be eye bolts, hook bolts, or even eye and jaw bolts.
The secret to the turnbuckle’s usefulness is opposite threading. In other words, one bolt is threaded clockwise while the other is threaded counterclockwise. This allows the metal housing to be turned in a single direction to either increase or decrease tension. If the bolts were threaded in the same direction, this would not be possible.
When you turn a turnbuckle clockwise, it should increase tension by drawing the two bolts together. Turning it clockwise pushes the bolts apart, thus reducing tension. This simple mechanism makes it easy to control the tension on ropes, cables, and chains with very little effort.
Drop Forging a Turnbuckle
Drop-forged turnbuckles take their name from the process used to manufacture them. Mechanically speaking, they are no different from any other kind of turnbuckle.
Drop forging is a process that turns hot metal pieces into finished parts with specific shapes. If you are familiar with the image of an Old West blacksmith forming horseshoes out of molten metal, you already know what drop forging is.
In the modern era, manufacturing drop-forged turnbuckles requires a lot less human effort than fashioning horseshoes with a hammer and bare muscle. The process begins by cutting the metal to the desired size. It is then heated red-hot to prepare for the first step of forming its shape.
In some cases, the heated metal goes right into a die where weight and pressure form the initial shape. In other cases, the initial shaping is performed by hand before the piece goes into the die. It really just depends on manufacturer preferences.
Finishing the piece is a matter of putting it through a series of dies until it is shaped accordingly. The most important thing to know about drop forging is that the combination of heat, weight, and pressure is that which gives the finished product its strength. Drop forging not only shapes the piece, it strengthens the molecular composition at the same time.
The Right Tool for the Right Job
One thing we appreciate in learning about how things like drop-forged turnbuckles are made is that it gives us a greater understanding of the principle that there is a right tool for every job. Imagine being a lift master trying to adjust the tension on a sling without a supply of turnbuckles. How would you do it?
Turnbuckles are pretty simple in design yet quite effective for their intended purpose. They certainly belong in our rigging inventory here at Mytee Products.