What Is a Jackhammer and How Does It Work?

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A jackhammer is a pneumatic or electro-mechanical tool that combines the functions of a hammer and a chisel. Compressed air is commonly used to power the hand-held tool, however electric motors are also used in rare cases.

The huge jackhammer is like the hydraulically powered rig-mounted hammers that are used on construction sites. Pavements, concrete, and rocks are commonly broken with these hammers. They work using an inertial hammer that moves up and down.

A jackhammer is a useful piece of equipment in a variety of building situations. If you plan to work in the construction industry or have a job, you need to learn how to utilize a jackhammer.

The most critical consideration is to set up a safe job site, as with any building project. Understanding how to utilize a jackhammer may entail learning how to work properly while also protecting others. A jackhammer is often used in a public environment, such as a sidewalk or a road.

Safe job site setup, proper personal protective equipment (PPE), and understanding the instrument itself are factors to consider. Always put on the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) before using a jackhammer. Knowing how to use a jackhammer requires you to be aware of your safety. PPE is always a fraction of the cost and devastation that an injury can cause.

How Jackhammers Work

The only source of energy used to make a jackhammer pound up and down is an air hose. The pipe, which must be made of extra-thick plastic, transports high-pressure air. This is transferred from a separate air-compressor unit powered by a diesel engine (usually 10 times higher pressure than the air around us).

The air compressor resembles a massive bicycle pump that never stops pumping. Air is pumped from the compressor into the jackhammer. The air passes through a valve on one side when the worker presses down on the handle. There’s a circuit of air tubes, a powerful piledriver, and a drill bit at the bottom of the hammer.

The high-pressure air first flows in one direction around the circuit, driving the piledriver down and smashing it into the earth. The air then circulates in the other direction once a valve inside the tube network flips around. The piledriver is now moving upward, allowing the drill bit to loosen from the ground.

The valve flips back over a short time later, and the process begins all over again. As a result, the piledriver slams against the drill bit more than 25 times per second, pounding the drill up and down in the earth roughly 1500 times every minute.

Jackhammers and the air compressors that power them are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. When doing fine work, there are wide chisels, narrow chisels, and moil points. A proficient drill operator can loosen slabs of the road in 10-20 seconds. This makes quick work of what our forefathers would have considered backbreaking labor.

The term “pneumatic drill” is misleading because not all jackhammers employ compressed air. Strong electric motors rotate a crank or cam in some of them. Electric motors pump a piston by converting the rotational action of the motor into reciprocating motion. A little air cushion is moved back and forth because of this.

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This drives a second piston, which is connected to a shaft and hammers the drill or other tool repeatedly.

Electric jackhammers have the advantage of not requiring a separate air compressor (usable everywhere there is an electric power source), yet they can struggle to cut through the toughest rock.

Other jackhammers are hydraulically operated, which means they are powered by a constant stream of hydraulic fluid rather than compressed air (perhaps oil or water with additives). This powers a crankshaft and piston that hammers the drill bit through a hydraulic motor or turbine.

Pneumatic equipment is less suitable for underground mining, hence hydraulic jackhammers are frequently utilized. The hydraulic fluid that powers the drill is utilized as a “cutting fluid” as well (for cooling and lubrication).

Which Jack Hammer Style and Weight Do You Use?

Understanding the task at hand can help you determine the type and weight of jackhammer you may require. An electric jackhammer is lighter than a pneumatic jackhammer and does not require an air compressor. However, it is significantly less effective.

The preferred jackhammer for most true construction operations, such as sidewalk or roadway destruction, is a 90-pound pneumatic jackhammer. Whatever jackhammer you choose, you must take the time to learn how to use it and comprehend it.

Jackhammers need to be lubricated to perform correctly and avoid damage. It’s a good idea to keep a small container of recommended oil mix on hand. The mix can be inserted straight into the jackhammer, which is equipped with an oil reservoir and an easy-to-remove stopper. If you’re in a hurry, pour the oil straight into the air hose line after you’ve released all the air pressure.

The Right Bits Are Required When Using a Jackhammer

Knowing how to utilize a jackhammer necessitates an awareness of the two types of bits available. Because jackhammers are used to break two different surfaces, concrete and asphalt, two separate bits are used. The third form of bit is known as a “combo bit” in the industry, although some critics do not endorse it.

A jackhammer’s asphalt bit is about 5 inches broad. Because asphalt is softer than concrete, the jackhammer’s force may be dispersed across the bit’s 5-inch width and still break through the asphalt. This bit also enables the breaking of asphalt into manageable chunks rather than small bits.

When Your Jackhammer Gets Stuck, What Should You Do?

When making a penetration, a jackhammer is prone to becoming trapped in concrete or asphalt. The bit is usually released by rocking the jackhammer side to side or up and down. In rare circumstances, the jackhammer can be removed from the bit, and the bit can then be tapped side to side with a mallet.

Never strike the bit’s top since this may spoil the smooth finish and may harm the jackhammer. If none of the preceding methods work, having a backup bit is critical. You’d take the jackhammer out of the jammed bit, insert the second bit, and break out the stuck bit.

Final Thoughts

Building work used to be very different before the invention of air compressors and pneumatic jackhammers. Roads dug out using a pick and a pointed bar. Rocks were dug out of holes by alternating between lighting a fire on top of the rock and dousing it with cold water. Before the widespread use of jackhammers, construction in the good old days was construction in the bad old days

Although jackhammers can quickly break down several materials, they aren’t the best instrument for every demolition project. Underneath the surface of some locations, hidden gas or electrical lines may be waiting for a jackhammer’s hefty bite to make the local emergency department a lot livelier.

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The dangers of jackhammers are easy to point out. They are formidable machines with the capability of wreaking havoc. Without jackhammers, the building industry is left with ineffective tools. If not for their incredible pounding strength, construction projects would take a long time.

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s written by Itamar Ben-Dor, who has 25 years of experience in renovations, carpentry, locks, creation, landscaping, painting, furniture construction, and furniture renovation, works with concrete, plumbing, door repair, and more.

Itamar Ben-Dor has been in the home improvement business for over 25 years. Itamar Ben-Dor is a jack of all trades. He's worked in the renovation field for years, doing everything from locksmithing to carpentry. He's a small repairs specialist. But his true passion lies in furniture construction and renovation - he loves seeing old pieces come back to life with some new woodwork or a fresh coat of paint.

He has taken courses on many topics in these fields at professional colleges in Israel. Over the years, Itamar has also become quite skilled in gardening, carpentry, and renovations. He's worked on projects of all sizes, from massive renovations to small repairs. No job is too big or too small for him!

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Itamar Ben Dor
Itamar Ben Dor

My father is a practical engineer, and as a hobby he was also involved in construction, renovations, carpentry and woodwork at home; So there was always tools, saws, drills and more at home. Already I was a little kid Dad and I would renovate the house. Once we built a shed for garden tools, once we did flooring for the garden, once we renovated the bathroom and that’s the way it is. Long before there was an internet, directories and plans. We would build things, kitchen cabinets, install electrical appliances, do flooring, pour concrete and more ... I in this blog want to pass on to you the experience I have gained over the last 20 plus-minus years since I was a child to this day and give you information about the best tools, project plans, guides and more.