What are pliers?

Pliers is represented as the orthodontic instrument present in the toolbox, which is used for gripping or twisting the wires. It is a multipurpose hand tool whose shape is identical to scissors. Pliers are made by combining two metal levers at a point. Mostly, the material used in making pliers is an alloy of steel, vanadium as well as chromium. Vanadium is popularly used in industries because of its different types of features like preventing corrosion, malleability, ductility, and others. These materials are corrosive resistant and increase the strength of the instrument.

The following labeled diagram represents the pliers.

The illustration describes the standard type of plier. The parts of the plier are jaws, pipe grip, pivot point, cutter, and handles.
Simple pliers

Types of pliers

Generally, there are several pliers applied in industries and daily life. Some of the most used pliers are listed below:

  • Slip joint pliers
  • Tongue and groove pliers
  • Locking pliers
  • Linesman's pliers
  • Cutting pliers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Fencing pliers
  • Wire stripper
  • Welding pliers
  • Piston ring pliers

Slip joint pliers

The slip joint pliers consist of a flexible pivot point, through which the two jaws (pieces) of pliers move. The jaws can also be enlarged to a certain range for proper gripping of the components having an altering thickness. The gripping of flat surfaces and round surfaces are possible in slip joint pliers. It has various other applications like looping wire, bending, cutting wire, crimping elements, and others.

The slip joint pliers is illustrated in the figure below:

The illustration portrays a variety of pliers known as slip joint pliers.
Slip joint pliers

Tongue and groove pliers

The tongue and groove pliers are mostly used in plumbing applications like channel locks, multi grips. In comparison to slip joint pliers, these pliers are more adjustable through the pivot point. Tongue pliers and groove pliers are found to have seven different positions, and these positions rely on the shape and size of the element. Also, in pipes at compact spaces, tongue pliers can be used.

The tongue and groove pliers is illustrated in the figure below:

The illustration portrays a variety of pliers known as tongue and groove plier.
Tongue and groove plier

Locking pliers

The locking pliers are usually utilized for clamping purposes. They contain double lever action because of which they can be applied instead of vise to support and secure the component. One of the essential features of these pliers is that the two jaws can lock anything in between them with a high quantity of pressure. A screw drive is given in this pliers for managing the width of the jaws.

Linesman's pliers

The linesman's pliers consist of two jaws having a flat front with shallow toothed. They are widely used by electricians to rotate multiple wires together. These pliers also have a cutter placed behind the jaws, and this cutter is very helpful in cutting cables. In some special cases, linesman's pliers provide straightening of metal sheets and bending of metal sheets.

Cutting pliers

The cutting pliers have short jaws, which are set up at a specific angle from the handles. The cutting knives provide precise cutting of wires, pins, or screws of small sizes and removing clips. It contains a long handle which benefits additional leverage and proper grip. Also, the force applied on the handles magnifies due to the elongated handle.

Needle nose pliers

In needle nose pliers, the jaws are the longest amongst all other pliers because of which it includes both cutters and knurled surfaces. These pliers are used while working in smaller areas for bending, adjusting bolts, and cutting. Needle nose pliers should not be employed for cutting hardened wire and are dangerous for electrical cable.

Fencing pliers

The fencing pliers are designed like a hammer having two long and thin handles connected at the pivot point. These are multi-functional equipment that can perform hammering, cutting, twisting, and gripping. These pliers contain pincers, beneath which the designed surface provides the capability to turn or hold any particular fencing wire. Also, the knurling surface and cutter provide vast applications to the user.

Wire strippers

The wire strippers have an elliptical shape which give a cutting edge to cut the insulation on the wire. It is a multi-cutting tool, mostly utilized by an electrician. The different sorts of wire strippers are self-adjusting stripper, gauged stripper, adjustable wire stripper.

Welding pliers

The welding pliers contain different jaws sequence but have the identical end (tip) as nose pliers. These pliers can be utilized for various purposes like gripping, vent cleaning, cutting, hammer handing, and splatter extraction. The welding pliers are made of steel through the drop forging process, and it is heat-treated for durability.

Piston ring pliers

The piston ring pliers are designed to replace or change the piston rings in the engines and to reduce the uncertainty of warping. They contain tips at the top end, which provide stretching of piston rings.

What are various parts of pliers?

Pliers consist of five different parts, which are listed below:

  • Jaws
  • Pivot point
  • Handle
  • Cutter
  • Pipe grip

The following are some safety tips for using pliers or wire cutters to avoid injury.

  • Safety goggles, gloves, and face shields should be used before using mechanical tools.
  • Ever use the cutter at a right angle and don't bend or twist the wire up and down against the cutting surfaces.
  • To prevent the arm from injury, always check the grip span of pliers. The ideal grip span is 6 centimeters to 9 centimeters.
  • Adjustable pliers provide a better handgrip, and they can be used for different shapes of components.
  • Always check the condition of the plier before applying.
  • The edges of the jaws should be sharp and properly cleaned. Broken jaws can cause trouble and require additional force.
  • To avoid muscle fatigue and strain injuries, do not use worn-out jaws.
  • Lubricants should be applied to the pliers for smooth operation.
  • Rust inhibitors protect the pliers from rusting.
  • Pulling is a better option than pushing on the pliers.

Things to avoid while using pliers

The below points explain the things that should not be performed while using pliers.

  • Cutting hard wires through the pliers should be avoided.
  • Using pliers while heating is unsafe.
  • If using needle-nose pliers, do not try to twist large wires.
  • Instead of fencing pliers, no other pliers are employed for hammering purposes.
  • Increasing the length of the plier's handle should be avoided. Always use larger pliers for such cases.
  • While opening or closing screws or nuts, do not use pliers.
  • Cushion grip handles shouldnot be used for electric purposes.

Common Mistakes

  • Students get confused between needle nose pliers and welding pliers because they both have the same tip. Basically, both of them are very different from each other.
  • Pliers are mostly mistaken with clamping tools because both of them are used to hold the component. In general, they both are very different from each other.

Context and Applications

The topic pliers are very much significant in the several professional exams and courses for undergraduate, diploma level, graduate, postgraduate. For example:

  • Bachelors of Technology in Mechanical Engineering
  • Bachelors of Technology in Civil Engineering
  • Masters in Technology in Mechanical Engineering
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering
  • Diploma in Mechanical Engineering
  • Groove joint pliers
  • Curved jaw pliers
  • Long nose pliers
  • Pliers wrench
  • Crimper and water pump pliers
  • Rivet and bolts
  • Fastener
  • Applications of pliers
  • Heavy-duty pliers
  • Clamp and its types
  • Side cutters and their types

Practice Problems

Q1. Among the following pliers, which one is applied for removing insulation from the wire?

  1. Needle nose pliers
  2. Welding pliers
  3. Slip joint pliers
  4. Diagonal cutting pliers

Correct answer: (d)

Explanation: Diagonal cutting plier is the plier used for removing insulation from the wire.

Q2. Name the equipment utilized for holding smaller things in congested places?

  1. Needle nose pliers
  2. Combination pliers
  3. Both options (a) and (b)
  4. None of the above

Correct answer: (d)

Explanation: Both Needle nose pliers and Combination pliers cannot be used for holding smaller things in congested places.

Q3. Which of the following fastener performs better with strongest mechanical fastening?

  1. Staples
  2. Nails
  3. Screws
  4. Bolts

Correct answer: (d)

Explanation: With strongest mechanical fastening, bolts fastener performs better.

Q4. The diagonal cutters are extensively utilized for cutting:

  1. Hardened wires
  2. Fencing wire
  3. Soft wires
  4. All of the above

Correct answer: (c)

Explanation: The diagonal cutters are usually used for cutting soft wires.

Q5. Identify the cutting tool which is having the highest hot hardness.

  1. High-speed steel
  2. Cast alloy
  3. Both (a) and (b)
  4. None of these

Correct answer: (d)

Explanation: Both high-speed steel and cast alloy do not have high hot hardness.

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