How to Choose between Fasteners?

Posted on August 27, 2021 James Williams How to Choose between Fasteners?

Fasteners are a widely used component type for assembly and construction, used to join two or more objects together with a permanent or semi-permanent joint. Relied on for countless applications ranging from the assembly of a chair to the construction of an aircraft, fasteners can be found all around us in countless situations and spaces. When working with fasteners and their assemblies yourself, it is highly beneficial to have a basic familiarity with the most common variations, allowing you to best discern what component is best for a given situation. In this blog, we will provide a brief overview of the most popularly used fasteners, allowing you to understand their design and functionalities.

Screws are a common fastener that feature helical threading across their shaft and a head on one side. Capable of self-threading, a screw can wedge and cut into the material it is being installed in to establish its own internal threading while pulling in materials to prevent pull-out. Screws are often paired with numerous types of materials, typically acting as an optimal choice for wood, plastic, and sheet metal.
Bolts, Nuts, and Washers
Bolts are often compared to screws, both components being externally threaded while having a head on one side to accommodate a matching tool for installation. Unlike screws, bolts are not self-tapping, instead requiring the use of a pre-drilled hole, mating nut, and an optional washer for assembly. As compared to other various fastener types, bolt, nut, and washer assemblies can provide an anchor with stronger holding power. While washers are not always required for such installations, they can assist in distributing loads more properly or may provide other various benefits. Bolts may come in a number of types, common ones being steel, stainless steel, bronze, and nylon bolts.
Rivets are permanent mechanical fasteners, featuring a solid shank and a head on one end. After passing the component through a pre-formed hole, the tail-end of the fastener is upset or deformed with the use of a specialized tool. This deformation results in the creation of a second head on the other side of the assembly, locking the rivet in place with a dumbbell shape. With their method of installation, rivets are beneficial for tension loads, though they particularly excel in supporting shear loads. Generally, rivets find use in the construction of airframe structures, homes, furniture, signs, and more.
In some instances, a fastener leaving no visible component after assembly may be desired. In such instances, the dowel is a perfect choice. Dowels often come in the form of cylindrical rods made from metal, wood, or plastic. Generally, such fasteners act as structural reinforcement for shelving, hangers, cabinets, pegs, and much more. In some instances, dowels can also be used for alignment.
Clamps are fairly simplistic fastening devices, used to quickly secure objects together to prevent their separation or movement. Clamps are often more simplistic in their use, taking advantage of inward pressure to temporarily secure objects together. In some instances, a clamp may be permanent as well, including types such as hose clamps, marman clamps, wire rope clamps, and other types.

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