Miniature And Instrument Bearings: High-Speed, Low-Torque


Miniature And Instrument Bearings: High-Speed, Low-Torque

Photo by Benjamin Lehman on Unsplash

As part of Alpine Bearings ‘Bearings 101’ series of informational articles, they are highlighting types of bearings or bearing components. The latest subject of their attention is miniature and instrument bearings.

What’s teeny tiny and goes really fast? It’s not the wasp dive-bombing your soda on a hot day…it’s miniature and instrument bearings!

Miniature bearings are any bearing with an outside diameter of 10 mm or less. Instrument bearings are miniature bearings designed for high-speed, low-torque applications in vibration-sensitive equipment, especially medical, lab, and optical equipment.

Even if you don’t use dental drills, microscopes, or Dremel tools at your job, you’ve probably used a device with an instrument bearing in it. They show up in disc drives, home appliances, and cameras. Ever turned the volume dial on a high-end stereo or the focus ring on a DSLR camera? That slow, smooth rotation might have come from a miniature bearing lubricated with damping grease.

Thrust, radial, pivot…almost any type of bearing you can think of is available in miniature size. They often feature rubber seals. This makes them easier to handle without introducing contamination or causing lubricant leaks. Because miniature bearings are so small and accurately balanced, bearing manufacturers machine them with great precision. Some custom miniature bearings have bores smaller than a flea!

For help choosing a type of miniature bearing, advice about your specific application of instrument bearings, or to order bearings, visit


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