There is more to proper shimming of a machine for alignment than meets the eye. There are several things you should keep in mind and look out for.

First and foremost, you should be using high-quality pre-cut slotted stainless steel shims, such as Lawton Precut SS-304 Shims. If you think cutting your own shims by hand out of cheaper rolls of carbon steel or brass shim stock will save you money, you are very much mistaken. For one thing, you will only be able to cut the thinner thicknesses with scissors or shears; thicker thicknesses (over 0.004″) will require the acetylene torch or sawing, which is labor-intensive and presents safety concerns. After you have cut your shims by hand, you must take pains to debur them carefully with a ball-peen hammer and file. All of this costs you the most valuable commodity of all: time. Moreover, the end result will be fewer available shims resulting in less precise alignments. And, if you are cutting shims by hand, don’t forget to budget the time to visit the nurse for a Band-Aid.
Download Best Practices: Machinery Alignment Shimming including:

  • Advantages of Precut Stainless Steel Shims
  • Number of Shims
  • Shimming Technique
  • Unusual Circumstances: Step-Shimming
  • Chart of Horsepower Ranges and Motor Frame Numbers Associated with the Different Sizes of Shims
  • and more.

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by Alan Luedeking CRL CMRP