A detent is a mechanical device that prevents motion until it has been released.
Another name for a detent pin is a quick release pin. These pins are often used in alignment / fastening / joining applications.
Overview of Detent Pins
Precision balls are used as part of a detent pin assembly, which mainly consists of a pin, a ball and a spring. The spring-loaded ball acts as a locking device until the spring has been depressed. With no force applied, the ball protrudes past the OD of the pin. Many configurations exist (e.g. multiple balls, grips, handles, flanged head, etc.), and there are low-to-high strength versions.
Other products that are used to perform similar functions as detent pins are cotter pins and bridge pins (also known as R-clips). Detent pins are typically valued for the quick release feature compared to these other pins.
Most common materials for balls used in detent pins:
- Stainless steel
High precision is not required for these applications; either G100 or G200 balls are typically used.
A very similar product is ball plungers (also called ball spring plungers).
In these products, the ball protrudes past the end of the cylindrical part, which is most often threaded, but is sometimes straight cylindrical or knurled.
Hartford custom-manufactures precision shafts and pins to your specifications, with length and diameter tolerances depending upon the size and end configuration. Contact us for additional information regarding detent pin balls.