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Part 6 WTF Series on Ball Bearings

Part 6 of the WTF series of bearings.
So why are so many focused on ABEC?
How did this come to be?
Really it is quite simple.
1. They are the Dimensions and tolerances held that designers or engineers need to know when making new products.
Remember the Ball bearing is the constant. The bearing exists, your new product does not.
Parts are typically made to fit bearings, bearings are not typically made to fit parts.
2. They are the only dimensions really that can be seen or accessed from the outside of the bearing.
3. You are not typically going to tear your new bearing apart to look inside.

In reality you should be much more concerned with proper fit.
Does your bearing fit snug?
Typically it would be a light press fit.
Most like to be able to easily put on by hand.
Unfortunately that creates small air gaps between the part surface and bearing surface.
Keep in mind you need approx. 0.0002 clearance to put something on by hand.
The easier it slides on by hand the larger the clearance # has become.
The more clearance the less benefit to higher ABEC.
For most items, tolerances, clearances a ABEC 1 would give you the best fit.
Unfortunately it may be a little tighter then most could do by hand.
ABEC 3 and 5 therefore more closely match to what has become most commonly acceptable.

In short you should be buying by what fits your part best.
Couple this with Good race surfaces and balls.
You will have a bearing that performs well, longer life, less heat, vibration, etc.

Remember a higher ABEC # has the ability to spin faster but does Not mean it will.
There are many contributing factors that dictate that.
Unless you have a perfect situation you will most likely not get all the benefits.
The more parts involved the more likely that is.
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