Air Hammers, Scalers & Needler Basics

Air hammers have a wide range of uses in many different industries from automotive service to construction to foundry use. Coupled with a wide variety of air hammer chisels and different attachments these are incredibly versatile tools. An interesting fact, Air Hammers are also called Zip Guns and if you search on that term, you will get a whole other list of results in Google. Apparently “Zip Guns” are also a term used for homemade guns, typically fashioned to look inconspicuous, like a cell phone or ball point pen, not what we are talking about here although it would be a fun post to write.

Some Air Hammer basics; there are 2 common sizes for air hammer chisels the .401 shank and more heavy duty .498 shank. There are also 2 styles for each size, turn type and non-turn type chisels. The turn types are far more common and have a collar to hold the bit in the tool. The non-turn type, do not allow the bit to rotate by locking the bit in with 4 ball grooves; it also requires an Ajax Kwik Connect Retain (both chisel types work with kwik connect retainers).

When you take an Air Hammer apart it can be an extremely simple tool, for this reason you will find a wide range of prices including very cheap imports at the freight stores. Even Ingersoll Rand, one of the most respected names in air tools, has a cheap option in the IR 116 ($41). There is also the other end of the spectrum with a hammer such as the CP714 ($337) & CP717 ($589). Other than the obvious number which are easy to compare such as stroke, bore & BPM (blows per minute) you also have some other less obvious features to compare with these hammers. It’s hard to judge internal components but the less expensive hammers use plastic components & valves which if they saw up to a million blows in a week (possible in heavy use) would wear out pretty quick. Also the higher end units offer significantly more control which can be extremely important for precise cutting jobs but not as important if you are using it to junk something. Air hammers are very handy for auto body repair, auto service, sheet metal work, maintenance, chipping of castings, scraping, salvage, repairs and many other applications.

One of the popular Weld Flux Scaling Hammers / Needlers is the Ingersoll Rand 125 ($167). When using the tool with the Scaling Chisels it works very similar to other Air Hammer but with higher BPM, shorter stroke and a strait shaft instead of a gun type. The Scaling Chisels are also different with a notch out to hold the chisel fixed in place. All the chisels are predominantly for scraping where the regular Air Hammer chisels offer a little more versatility. The IR 125 also includes the Needler attachment which has 19 individual needles, ideal for removing rust in automotive applications. For construction, building maintenance or large machine repair both the chisels and needlers can be good for clearing a surface and removing rust. In the industrial world the weld flux chisels are perfect for clearing weld slag or excess metal from casting. Ajax also makes a 3500 Needler Scaler Attachment which can be used on any of the CP or IR Air Hammers.

 Ohio Power Tool stocks a wide range of Chicago Pneumatic & Ingersoll Rand Air Tools, Ajax Chisels, as well as different accessories that work with a wide range of similar tools. If you have any questions about any air tools, chisels or accessories your best bet is to call the pros at 800-242-4424 or email [email protected] 


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