Aircraft spacers are used to guide wires, keep conflicting wires separated and hold wiring bundles in place. Wire organization is key in aircraft assembly to avoid electrical system malfunction and ensure the longevity of installed wiring. These spacers can be tubing, shafts, piping, or part fitters and come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Their shape can be hinged, hexagonal, cylindrical or flat and some materials used in their manufacturing include steel, aluminum, brass and synthetic materials such as nylon, rubber and plastic.
A one-piece spacer has the strength and lightness of forged aluminum and self-locking stainless steel inserts that, when attached to an aircraft’s structure, counteract vibratory loosening. Two-piece spacers do not have self-locking inserts but instead utilize self-locking nuts in conjunction with mating. Clip-on spacers do just that, they clip on and attach wiring harnesses to aircraft stringers. The easiest spacer application is the adhesive mount spacer, made up of a thin aluminum plate and nylon that sticks to a wide variety of surface textures and materials. One and two-piece spacers can either be threaded or unthreaded depending on the nature of the attached components. Threaded spacers are referred to as standoffs and unthreaded spacers are known as clearance spacers. Both of these spacer ends have a male and female thread combination.
Devices like shims and washers can also be considered spacers because of their similar functionality of providing assistance between various fasteners and system components. The designs of these closely related devices can be notched or waffle and cupped to fit and attach to complex custom aircraft structural shapes, accomplishing the same goals of a spacer. The aerospace industry has no shortage of small yet useful parts and components, the spacer is no exception.
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