Ball Bearings And How It Works

Talks about what it is used for and how it works


Source: Scott Schiller

“Ball Bearing Fidget Spinner” by Schill is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

By: Phu-Duc Nguyen, Journalist

The ball bearing is one of the most common things you will see in the transportation industry. Cars, bikes, scooters, and skateboards are all examples of vehicles using bearings. The purpose of a bearing is to attach two parts together where one part can spin, and the other part can stay stationary.


There are many appliances for ball bearings from going anywhere to skateboards to refrigerators.

A skateboard is one of the common uses of a ball bearing. The skateboard’s wheels spin efficiently because there are ball bearings inside of them. Skateboarding was even in the 2020 Olympics.

One of the most obvious uses of bearings is fidget spinners. It uses a ball bearing in the middle to make it spin. And sometimes they put more bearings outside of the main bearing. They do this add in extra for the spinner.

Another example is a refrigerator which most people don’t expect a bearing to be used. The refrigerator uses the bearing to open and close doors. Although a ball bearing is not the type of bearing that the fridge uses, it is interesting to know that it uses a bearing.

When we have so many uses for a ball bearing. It is a thing that can spin with little to no friction. I wondered how it works. So, I did some research and here is how it works.

How It Works:

There are 4 parts that are essential to make the bearing spin: the inner ring, outer ring, metal balls, cage, and seal.

Inner Ring:

The inner ring contains a groove outside the frame that can perfectly fit the steel balls. The inner ring along with the metal balls while in action spins while the outer ring stays stationary.

Outer Ring:

The outer ring also contains the groove inside of its frame. It is like the inner ring but bigger and inverted.

Metal Balls:

The metal balls make the bearing spin. To make them spin with very little friction, lubricant is used. A type of lubricant is grease.


The cage guides the metal balls’ position to an even circle so that they don’t spin unevenly.


The seal helps contain the lubricant to stay inside in the bearing and not escape. However, the seal is not airtight.


Ball bearings spin using balls and the cage if the inner ring and outer ring are holding them in place. Ball bearings are being used everywhere. The wheels of bikes, skateboards, cars, and scooters use bearings. Even the design of fidget spinners is based on the spinning motion of the bearings. So, ball bearings are everywhere and very cool.



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