What are Ball and Spring Plungers?

Plungers are spring-loaded devices (SLD) that are often used for the positioning of various work pieces. Generally, such components will feature a spring that is located within a threaded body or housing. With this common design feature, various types of plungers can be found, each of which differ in their particular design, application, and characteristics. Ball and spring plungers are both common types that are found in many settings, thus it can be useful to have a general understanding of their designs and functionalities.

Ball plungers are a common form of SLD that is most discernible by the ball that is situated at the top of the component. When pressure is applied to the ball, it will begin to sink down and compress the spring that is enclosed within the component’s body. As pressure begins to release, the built-up force from the spring will cause the ball to be pushed upwards into its original position. Across all ball plunger components, the ball will have a shallow depth and will not lower too far when pressure is applied. With this shallow depth, however, the plunger can change positioning with ease to accommodate low load operations.

Ball plungers are composed of a handful of standard components, the ball often being constructed from steel. Below the ball is the spring, and grooves situated on the body of the plunger will facilitate installation. Near the bottom of the component, a slotted drive ensures the ability for installation and removal, and a driver bit grips the sides of the slotted drive.

The spring plunger is another common plunger type, commonly implemented in assemblies for locking and locating separate components. Rather than featuring a ball at the top of the plunger, a pin or nose is provided for similar operations. Spring plungers may be procured in various types to accommodate differing installation methods, common ones being hex socket, slotted drive, and top slot spring plungers. Additionally, spring plungers can take advantage of light, standard, and heavy end forces.

As pressure is exerted on the spring plunger, the nose will depress into the body and compress the spring in a similar fashion to ball plungers. Generally, such plungers are useful for locking an object into a position or acting as a cushion between objects. When serving as a cushion, the internal spring tension will be set so that the spring plunger only depresses so far for the means of providing space. Alongside such roles, spring plungers have also found use in acting as a support between objects, aligning surfaces and adding support from side force.

While a ball plunger may be considered a type of spring plunger, their major difference is the presence of the ball at the top of the assembly. Both components still contain the same spring and threaded body, allowing them to operate similarly to one another while serving some overlapping roles. If you find yourself in need of various plungers or bolt, screw, and pin components, there is no better alternative to Complete Sourcing Solutions.

Complete Sourcing Solutions is a trusted distributor for bearings, fasteners, connector parts, and aircraft parts that have been sourced from leading global manufacturers that we trust. As an AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certified and accredited enterprise, we take great strides in ensuring the quality of our various offerings. We can also meet the time constraints of our customers, offering expedited shipping times for domestic and international orders by taking advantage of our supply chain network. If you have any questions regarding our services or wish to begin the purchasing process, feel free to give our team members a call or email at any time and they would be more than happy to assist you however necessary.


December 20, 2022

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