Tech

Meet the nail-slinging power tool putting hammers out of business

Used to drive nails into walls and
other surfaces, the nail gun is an
automated rival to the manual
hammer in many areas of construction and
manufacture. Its ability to launch nails at high
speed and with relative ease makes the simple
hammer seem pretty primitive by comparison.
First invented in the 1950s, today there are a
range of different nail guns on the market. The
most basic is the spring-loaded design. This
variation holds one nail at a time and uses a
coiled spring to deliver the nail into the desired
surface upon the press of the trigger.
Another type is the solenoid – or
electromagnetic – nail gun. In this case, the
piston is made from a magnetic material, which
is either forced out of or drawn into the gun,
depending on which way the magnetic current
is fl owing. Solenoids are more reliable than the
spring-loaded design but have a lot less power
than pneumatic nail guns (see annotation).
Using compressed air generated from pistons,
a pneumatic nail gun can penetrate even the
hardest surfaces. Another variation is the
combustion nail gun, which ignites fl ammable
gas mixed with air to create a small explosion
(like those that power your car engine) forcing
the nail out of the chamber. These guns
combine power with portability as there is no
neeed for an air compressor attachment.