When we think of fasteners, screws, nails and bolts come to mind. Fasteners are used both at home for small repairs, or at large construction sites in huge quantities. They mechanically join two or more pieces together, regardless of the material. There are numerous types available, and each has its own specific use. Whether they can be removed, or remain as a permanent bond between objects, there are two types – non-permanent and permanent fasteners. Non-permanent types include screws and bolts that are easily removed and reused. Examples include screws in kitchen cabinets or bolts in brick walls. Permanent fasteners include rivets and nails that are deformed or broken when removed. Typical cases here are nails, which bend on removal, meaning they can’t be used again.
Type of Fasteners
Most fasteners have some kind of groove or thread for easier installation and joining. This brings us to threaded and non-threaded fasteners. Bolts and screws have different lengths of threading, whereas nails and rivets don’t. For a tighter and secured fit, nuts and washers are used. Most industrial fasteners are threaded, though there are some that aren’t. Let’s take a closer look:
Screws are possibly the first type of fastener we think of. There are dozens of types. Screws have a threaded shaft and don’t need things like washers or nuts for a secure bond. They come in different sizes and designs. The most widespread types are:
- Wood screws have tapered heads, either circular or hexagonal and varying degrees of threading along the shaft. Most industrial wood screws have hex heads.
- Machine screws are generally used to fasten machine components. They have the same width along the whole length of the shaft and many head designs. They can be used with or without nuts.
- Socket screws usually have shorter shanks and cylindrical heads with an internal hex drive. They are fitted with Allen or Hex keys. They are widely used in furniture, the car industry and steel fabrication.
- Self-tapping screws have a flute and tip design that can create their own tap into the material. Subtypes include sheet, drywall and masonry screws.
- Grub screws are headless screws used for securing sliding or moving parts into place.
Other types include hook screws, hinge screws, coach screws, wing screws and many others.
Bolts usually consist of different head designs and are threaded along the entire length of the shaft. They are generally used with nuts and washers. Major types include:
- Hex bolts with a hexagonal head and machine threads. They’re some of the most common industrial fasteners, with many applications, particularly in anchoring.
- Squared head bolts are similar in design and use to hex bolts, but with square heads.
- Eye bolts have a circular ring instead of a head. They are used in tying things like ropes or chains to the desired materials.
- U bolts are shaped in the letter ‘U’ with threading at both ends and connecting plates. These bolts are used in pipe installations.
- Carriage bolts have smooth, rounded heads and are used for joining metal objects to wood.
Other bolt types are flange bolts, plow bolts and structural bolts.
Nails are non-threaded industrial fasteners. They are generally preferred where the fastener strength is more important than the strength of the joint. There are many types, and most are named by the materials they are used in. There are brad and framing nails used in wood flooring and framing, concrete, roofing and timber deck nails, and nails with different head or shank designs, like bullet head nails, T nails, nail tacks and industrial staples. Nails come in different widths and lengths, and different materials and coatings depending on where they’re used.
Rivets are non-threaded permanent fasteners. They have smooth shafts and a cylindrical head. Rivets are used in many industrial settings, including chemical anchoring, sheet metals and plates. Typical kinds include drive rivets, split rivets, pop rivets and multi-grip rivets.
Nuts and Washers
Nuts are used with bolts for better clamping. The most common type are hex nuts, though shear, wing and lock nuts are also used. They come in the appropriate bolt width and threading. To ensure evenly distributed loads between the nut and the bolt, tradesmen use washers. They are necessary for more heavy-duty applications where overall strength and weight are important. Typical washer types are thick structural washers and lock washers for the tightest fit.
What to Consider When Buying Industrial Fasteners?
- Materials – For heavy-duty industrial application fasteners need to have constant tensile strength, low fatigue, and high resistance to corrosion. Stainless steel is the most common material, but others are preferred in humid or damp settings. Here alloys like bronze and brass fasteners are better.
- Coatings – To maintain resistance to heat, chemicals, different types of corrosion, steel fasteners are coated with zinc or chrome. This also gives a better appearance.
- Size and Application – With so many types it is important to use the right fastener for the job at hand. Widths and lengths need to be appropriate for the materials being fastened, without unnecessary damage. Large scale industrial jobs will need larger, heavy-duty fasteners made of high-grade materials. These are also a lot more expensive than what you’ll generally be using at home.
All types of fasteners are sold at major hardware and construction stores throughout Australia. Most have online purchasing and delivery options.