When we think of machined parts, we generally think of tight-fitting components and intricately moving mechanisms. But the truth is, not all components have to fit together snugly. In fact, there are some side-by-side components that you simply don’t want to touch each other.
That’s where metric spacers and plastic standoffs come in. Often times the functionality of a piece of machinery will depend on exact tolerances and distances, but the manufacturing process left a little too much wiggle room. Plastic washers and metric spacers can help bridge the gap between components and ensure that everything runs smoothly and efficiently.
Sometimes two metal pieces need to be connected together, but there’s a risk of electrical discharge or short-circuit. Plastic standoffs and nylon spacers can allow the two pieces to be fitted together quite closely, but without touching, and so without the danger of creating an unintended pathway for electrical current. For exactly this reason, plastic threaded standoffs are a popular addition to circuit boards and other components of a sensitive electronic nature.
And sometimes, metric spacers can actually help save on the cost of materials. Rather than create a solid component, with more weight and mass to contend with, manufacturers can hollow out certain unnecessary sections and use metric spacers to fill the gaps and maintain stability.
The smallest things can often have a big impact. Plastic spacers, nylon washers, and threaded standoffs may seem like an insignificant part of the manufacturing and assembling process, but there’s a lot of power to be found in a little space.