How Does a Pneumatic Nail Gun Work

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how does a pneumatic nail gun work

A nail gun, nailgun or nailer is a type of tool used to drive nails into wood or some other kind of materials. It is typically driven by compressed air (pneumatic), electromagnetism, highly flammable gases such as butane or propane. For powder-actuated tools, a small explosive charge is required. It is suitable to work in confined spaces where a conventional nailer won’t fit due to its design and lack of enough flexibility to drive either short nails into metal. 

Pneumatic nail gun is the most widespread kind of nail gun. The mechanism of the tool helps generate hammering force from compressed air which is typically created by a separate gas-powered air compressor. This produces an uninterrupted supply of compressed air that flows through an air hose into the air reservoir of the gun.

In this article, I am going to discuss about as to how does a pneumatic nail gun works? 

It’s not just enough for the beginners only to have a quality nailer until you have in-depth knowledge about its  mechanism and operational skills. 

There are few options for pneumatic nail guns. For example, DeWalt nail gun and the Bosch pneumatic nail gun. This types are appropriate for beginners. 

Pneumatic Nail Gun

Pneumatic powered nailer is the most powerful tool which requires the use of an air compressor to provide the force to drive the nail. The typical pneumatic nail gun uses a piston with a long shaft attached to it called a driver.  When the trigger of the nailer is depressed, the valve unlocks, forcing air into the cylinder and making the pressure above the piston greater than below it. This drives the piston down and hammers the nail. Afterwards, when the trigger is released, the pressure builds below, driving the piston back into its original position and getting it ready for the next nailing.

Another unique feature of this tool is it utilizes all air’s energy to drive the nail at a time instead of reserving some of the compressed air for resetting the piston. Because the remaining reserved compressed air is not adequate for robust strike to continue the nailing.  

Now let’s talk about the major parts of a pneumatic nail gun and their functions. 

Air Compressor 

One of the major parts of the pneumatic nail gun is air compressor. It is usually powered by  gasoline or electricity. The main function of this part is to supply compressed air to the air reservoir of the gun through air hose.   

Air Reservoir

The next part is called an air reservoir. The function of this part is to push air to trigger the nail. Basically the air is supplied from compressor to air reservoir and then air reservoir delivers it into a holding space.

Driver 

The conventional type pneumatic gun is assembled with a piston which comes with an standard shaft. It is called a driver. This part plays a role of contacting the nail gun’s head. When the trigger of the nailer is depressed, the valve unlocks, forcing air into the cylinder and making the pressure above the piston greater than below it. This drives the piston down and hammers the nail.

Piston

The piston is a part that is assembled inside cylindrical body of the nail guns. There is a valve just above the piston. This is to grip air in place.

Mechanism of Pneumatic Nail Gun

At the time of operation, air-pressure above the piston remains less than the pressure below it. As earlier discussed, the typical pneumatic nail gun uses a piston with a long shaft attached to it called a driver.  When the trigger of the nailer is depressed, the valve unlocks, forcing air into the cylinder and making the pressure above the piston greater than below it. This drives the piston down and hammers the nail.

Thus, the below pressure of the piston increases once again. This system allows the piston to get back to its original position. Then the valve reopens to push used air with the help of a port which is assembled at the top of the nail gun.  

With a releasing trigger, the air staying around the cylinders starts emitting through tiny hole. The hole is positioned at the bottom half of the cylinder.

The valve then get locked by itself while a passage opens up to the atmosphere. This system does not allow any kind of airflow into the above portion of the nozzles. Because of the change in pressure, the nozzle starts rising up which allows the air compressor to make a way towards head of the piston.

The driver pushes piston and blade downwards that allows the nail to force them out from its chamber. The sliding piston then pushes air within cylinder through holes back to place. With increasing air force, the pressure level rises of the chamber. This is how, the trigger is released, nozzle slides back to its place and the airflow to piston head gets choked.

Thus, the piston becomes free from downward pressure. The piston head also returns to its original position. The remaining air on the piston head blows out to the atmosphere. 

This is how a pneumatic nail gun smoothly drives thick nails into hard materials. May be, it is little heavy tool with a large air compressor, but it will give you an incredible results for your project.  

Tips on Which Nailer to Use for What Project

The most common question as to what Pneumatic nails are ideal for various Household Projects. Below is some tips about the different size nailer to use for different household project.

To finish a basement, framing nailer is the most appropriate. Specially at the finishing stages, windows with window trim etc.  

For baseboard molding and other trim, you may go for either A 15 gauge or 16 Gauge nailer. Here you can prefer Angle nailer. Because it has the angled loader cartridge and it has a little bit bigger head with more gripping power. 

For crown molding, its good to go with  A 15 gauge nailer. Sometimes for front edge, the lower edge or the edge up against the Ceiling you can choose A18 gauge nailer. Related material:

Concluding Remarks

The above article outlined features and functions of pneumatic nail gun in details. If you only need to drive a nail to hang a picture, or piece together for a small woodworking project, a hammer is absolutely fine to take care of such kind of jobs. But when you are to deal with more serious household projects then pneumatic nail gun would be the best tool to work with. 

I would suggest the beginners to have in-depth knowledge on this tool through on-job training and practice. It would be wise for the amateur to practice on some ordinary scrap pieces until you gain the professional expertise to operate this tool. When you are quite confident about your skills and capabilities, then rush to work on precious work pieces with the pneumatic nail gun to have the outstanding performance.        

As usual, you would love to have your comments and feedback. And if you have any query, don’t forget to knock us. Finally a gentle reminder, always maintain safety protocol while working in the workshop. 

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