Pneumatics is the use of compressed gas or air, whether for powering a tool or controlling the movement of an object. Pneumatic objects are all around you every day. Shock absorbers, pulleys and even dental tools use compressed air, as do many high-power construction tools. This technology allows you to protect the fingers of your child from a slamming kitchen cabinet door and it gives your car a gentler ride.
Pneumatic nail guns, also called nailers, use compressed air to set nails contained inside the tool. Some nailers hold cartridges of nails and some hold strips. Although pneumatic nailers are large and often heavy, they make the job of setting many nails go faster than using a conventional hammer. Jobs that are tedious, such as attaching baseboard trim and crown moulding, are good choices for this type of tool. Since the nailer does not strike the material the same way a hammer does, there is usually little or no damage to the material being nailed. There is no need to use a nail set to countersink the nails because the tool does it automatically by setting the depth. Pneumatic nailers also set brads (very small wire nails), staples and finishing nails. Use caution and wear protective eyewear when handling a pneumatic nailer, recommends Tim Carter of Ask the Builder. They are powerful tools that can cause serious injury if mishandled.
Pneumatic door closers are found on many screen and storm doors. They consist of a pneumatic cylinder, a hinged rod and sometimes an adjustable chain. The purposes of a pneumatic door closer are to prevent slamming of the door and to automatically close the door if it is left open. When a chain is used, it prevents the door from being opened too far. Although older models of pneumatic door closers look industrial and are difficult to disguise, newer models are designed to blend with your decor, as explained on Danny Lipford's home improvement website.
Pneumatic jackhammers are demolition tools available in hand-held to heavy-equipment size, explains Bob Vila. They employ a strong, metal rod that smashes into material such as rock or concrete repeatedly until it is broken into smaller, manageable parts. Small jackhammers are large compared with other tools such as drills, but they are operated by one person holding two handles. They are used to break apart small amounts of material where larger tools may cause too much damage. Pneumatic jackhammers the size of bulldozers can power through thick layers of rock or concrete, but they are best used where damage to surrounding areas is not a concern.