How to Choose a Fold-Away Handwheel

Fold-away handwheels by Monroe Engineering

To make precise adjustments on machinery — or to open and close valves — look no further than handwheels. Handwheels are manually operated wheels that connect to machinery or valves. Like most wheels, they revolve around an axis. You can turn a handwheel clockwise or counterclockwise to engage the machinery or valve to which it’s connected.

There are some handwheels that feature an adjustable, fold-down handle. Known as fold-away handwheels, they are a popular alternative to traditional handwheels. You can fold the handle down when you are finished using a fold-away handwheel. As a result, the fold-away handwheel will become smaller and more compact. How do you choose a fold-away handwheel exactly?

Durable Material

You should choose a fold-away handwheel made of a durable material. Aluminum is a popular choice of material for fold-away handwheels. It’s strong, lightweight and resistant to corrosion. Fold-away handwheels are available in other materials, but you can’t go wrong with aluminum for these reasons.

Some aluminum fold-away handwheels are polished, whereas others are unpolished. You can also find aluminum fold-away handwheels in a powder-coated finish. They are still made of aluminum, but they are coated in a layer of powder. The powder-coated finish helps to protect the underlying aluminum from premature wear and tear.

Check the Diameter

Always check the diameter when ordering a fold-away handwheel. Fold-away handwheels are available in different sizes. If you choose a fold-away handwheel that’s too big or too small for the machinery or valve with which you intend to use it, it may not fit.

To avoid sizing mishaps, check the diameter when ordering a fold-away handwheel. The diameter refers to the distance from one side to the opposite side.

Consider the Folding Method

You should consider the folding method when choosing a fold-away handwheel. All fold-away handwheels have an adjustable, fold-down handle. After all, that’s essentially what distinguishes them from other handwheels. But the way in which the handle folds may vary.

If you’re going to buy a fold-away handwheel, you’ll want to ensure that the handle is easy to fold. Some fold-away handwheels require nothing more than pulling and lifting. You can pull the handle out, after which you can lift it. Pulling and lifting the handle will snap it into place.

You can fold the handle by doing the opposite. Push the handle down and toward the center of the wheel. With the handle folded down, the fold-away handwheel will take up less space. More importantly perhaps, you won’t accidentally engage the fold-away handwheel with the handle folded.

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