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The ultimate guide to fasteners

clock 30 minutes | 29 Jun 2020

Ultimate Guide to Fasteners Banner

With so many fasteners available, how do you know which ones to use?

Take screws, for example. They come in different head types, drive types, and materials. We’ve designed this guide to help you understand your options, from plastic knurled head thumb screws to nylon grommet nuts, snap rivets and everything in between.

We recommend that you try before you buy with free samples so that you can ensure they’re exactly what your application requires. You can also download free CADs to help with your design.

Let’s get started.

What you need to know

Already have an idea of what you need? Jump to that section now by clicking on the link below. Otherwise, here are the categories of fasteners you should become familiar with.

Screws Fastens components by digging into a material and turning
Thumb screws and knobs For non-structural uses
Bolts Typically untapered and require a nut to tighten
Nuts A type of fastener with a threaded hole, usually used with a mating bolt
Panel fasteners Attaches a component to panels on their edge or through holes
Rivets Joins together two materials, either by hand or with a tool, depending on the rivet type
Calculating the size rivet you need The formula explained for determining the rivet size you need for your application
Threaded rods and studs Also called studs and typically used as fixings for support systems
Washers Evenly distributes a threaded fastener’s load to minimise risk of damage to materials
Suction cups An alternative to fasteners; attaches to surfaces for retail displays
High-bond tape Used instead of screws and rivets to bond materials together seamlessly
Industries The fasteners used by different industries
Material overview A look at the materials that make fasteners

Fasteners

Here’s a closer look at the different types of fasteners available, and what your choices are.

Screws

The screw head has two functions:

  • Provide the stopping point once the screw is driven into a surface
  • House the drive, which is how the screw is turned

Common head types include:

Binder head

Binder

Binder machine screws are typically used for electrical applications. The area beneath the head provides space for wire connections

Truss head (Mushroom head)

Truss, also called Mushroom

Offers a larger bearing surface and lower profile than pan heads

Fillister head

Fillister

A fillister machine screw is similar to a pan head machine screw, but with a higher profile and deeper slot. Used in electrical applications. An example of a modified fillister is the shoulder screw.

Flat head

Flat

Once installed, countersunk head enables smooth, flat surface.

Hex head

Hex

Available slotted, as shown here, or flat. Applications include automotive, machinery and construction.

Oval head

Oval

A countersunk machine screw with a decorative rounded head that protrudes above the surface. Typically used for switch covers.

Pan head

Pan

Decorative and non-countersunk and used when a flat or low-profile surface is needed. This decorative screw is ideal for avoiding the head being snagged in use.

Socket head

Socket head

Typically installed flush with a surface for an aesthetic appearance while enabling easy access to the drive. Considered the strongest of all screw-head types.

The next question is, which type of screw drive do you use? This refers to the kind of tool you use to install or remove the screw. Some examples include slotted, Phillips – or a combination of both – hex and hex socket. Slotted head screws are a great choice if the screws will be turned by hand but should be avoided when using electric screwdrivers. This is because the power forces the screwdriver to slip out and damage your surface.

Hex drives are desirable for tight spaces, while a hex socket requires a hex key, also known as an Allen key, to install. These are for tight tolerances and are less likely to strip the screw than other methods of driving in screws.

If you don’t want your screw heads to show, then use secure screw covers. These are available in different colors to give your application a finished look.

Examples of screws include:

Machine Screws – Countersunk

Need: Flush with surface to prevent contact with skin, clothes and other components

Solution: Machine Screws – Countersunk

Why:

  • Countersunk head machine screw ideal for when a non-protruding head is needed
  • Available in stainless steel, mild steel, nylon 6/6, PA, PP, PEEK, and PVDF
Hex Head Cap Screws

Need: Require tight tolerances

Solution: Hex Head Cap Screws

Why:

  • Ideal for OEM applications
  • Nylon 6/6
  • Lightweight hex head cap screw is also corrosion resistant
Machine Screws – Cheese

Need: Electrical insulation

Solution: Machine Screws – Cheese

Why:

  • Ideal for electronic applications
  • Nylon 6/6 has excellent electrical insulation properties
  • Slotted cheese head machine screw is ideal as a permanent fixture
  • Lightweight and corrosion resistance
Socket head cap screws – Plastic Standard Head

Need: Need for high tensile strength in areas with limited space where a wrench will not fit

Solution: Socket head cap screws – Plastic Standard Head

Why:

  • Socket head cap screw fastens with hex key, which alleviates the need to accommodate a wrench
  • Nylon 6/6
  • Also available in PEEK

Thumb screws and knobs

Thumb screws have a distinctive look, dictated by their function. Two of the most common types have either a tall, knurled head or a vertical flat head that acts as a sort of key. Both are blunt-nosed with easy-to-grip heads, enabling you to tighten or loosen by hand as needed. This makes them ideal for applications such as safety covers for electronic devices, battery covers and other front panels that require quick and easy access.

Plastic thumb screws with knurled heads often have slotted heads. This allows you to give it a final turn with a flathead screw driver. Wing head thumb screws are another type, which can also perform as thumb screw knobs. They fit any length of standard socket head cap screws with a simple press.

Examples of thumb screws and knobs include:

Thumb Screws – Plastic Wing

Need: Extra grip for tightening

Solution: Thumb Screws – Plastic Wing

Why:

  • Head provides added leverage
  • Range of thread sizes
  • Nylon 6/6
Thumb Screws Knobs

Need: Extra grip and ribbed design for secure and comfortable tightening

Solution: Thumb Screws Knobs

Why:

  • Easy to tighten by hand – extra grip due to shape and ribbed design
  • POM
Knurled Thumb Screws – Slotted Plastic

Need: Easy installation in restricted space for general fixing purposes or attaching components to panels

Solution: Knurled Thumb Screws – Slotted Plastic

Why:

  • Plastic thumb screws with knurled head provide excellent grip
  • Nylon 6/6
Thumb Screws – Knurled Metal With Shoulder

Need: Can be tightened and loosened manually

Solution: Thumb Screws – Knurled Metal With Shoulder

Why:

  • Suitable for various industrial applications
  • Range of thread sizes
  • Available in steel and stainless steel

Bolts

Bolts are often confused with screws, because they do similar jobs. Bolts join two unthreaded components, while screws join threaded components. Usually, the head of bolts is bigger than the shaft. While screws are most often tapered, bolts are not. A bolt needs a nut for tightening, while a screw works on its own.

Like screws, bolts come in a variety of head types, which are designed according to the tool that will engage with it for tightening. Sometimes a bolt is even called a screw. For example, a machine screw can be a type of bolt, but not always. The general rule of thumb is, if it has a hex head, it’s a bolt. If it has a slotted head, such as a Phillips or Flat head, then it’s a screw.

Example of bolts include:

Joint Connector Bolts

Need: Use with self-assembly and flat pack furniture

Solution: Joint Connector Bolts

Why:

  • Used with Joint Connector Nuts and Barrel Nuts
  • Use with M4 Allen key
  • Zinc-plated steel
Locking Bolts - Cylindrical Support

Need: Accuracy when assembling two elements

Solution: Locking Bolts - Cylindrical Support

Why:

  • Locking pawl mechanism
  • Locking Bolts with sleeves are a perfect combination for rapid positioning and fixing
  • Pin material: steel

Nuts

Nuts, which have threaded holes, work in conjunction with bolts, strengthening the parts they hold together. Usually, most nuts have a hexagonal shape. This is only on the exterior, while the interior is actually cylindrical. The purpose of the hex exterior is to make installation easier. Six sides makes the hex nut easier to grip, which translates to easy installation or removal.

A wing nut has tabs, or wings, on the side, enabling manual turning. This is especially useful if the wing nut has to undergo frequent removal and reinstallation. A thumb nut is also applied manually. Like the wing nut, it’s ideal if the nut needs to be removed often. However, it should never be used as structural support. It works well, for example, on panel and machinery covers.

A cap nut is of a different order all together. It protects exposed bolt threads while also improving safety. Its secondary purpose is to provide a smooth, clean appearance.

Resisting vibrations

Another important aspect is being able to stand up to vibrations, which can loosen the nut, and thus the bolt, causing the joint to fail. In these cases, you should consider a jam nut. This is a lower-profile nut installed below a larger nut. The jam nut should only be tightened between a quarter and a half of the full torque. The other, thicker nut is installed next and fully torqued. This pulls the bolt up through the jam nut. What essentially happens is that both nuts provide opposing forces on the bolt. Joints that fail usually rely on friction, while components such as jam nuts provide tension, which opposes vibrations.

Example of nuts include:

Plastic Hex Nut – Standard

Need: Easy to grip, install and remove

Solution: Plastic Hex Nut – Standard

Why:

  • Hex shape for easy grip; easy to install and remove
  • Lightweight compared to metal nuts
  • Nylon 6/6, UL94 V-2
  • Ideal for outdoor application
  • Resists corrosion, oil, abrasion and most chemicals
  • Also available in PEEK® and Polycarbonate (PC)
Wing & Fly Nuts

Need: Manual installation

Solution: Wing & Fly Nuts

Why:

  • Thumb tabs (wings) provide sure grip for turning
  • Easily tightened and loosened by hand
  • Ideal for frequent removal and installation
  • Nylon 6/6
  • Also available in polyamide
Knurled Thumb Nuts – Plastic

Need: Install and remove a nut within limited space

Solution: Knurled Thumb Nuts – Plastic

Why:

  • Knurled for non-slip grip, easy application and quick tightening and loosening
  • Ideal for electrical panel covers
  • Nylon 6/6
Grommet Nuts

Need: Withstand vibrations

Solution: Grommet Nuts

Why:

  • Grommet nut provides secure, threaded connection between panels
  • Designed to resist vibrations
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Cost effective
  • Nylon 6/6
Kwik Nuts

Need: Fast assembly time

Solution: Kwik Nuts

Why:

  • To install, push down the length of the threaded fastener to desired location and lock with a 180° turn
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Lightweight
  • To remove, unscrew with a wrench
  • Nylon 6/6, UL94 V-2
Cage Nuts

Need: Easy to install and remove

Solution: Cage Nuts

Why:

  • Square nut in a spring steel cage
  • Suitable for securing hard-to-access areas, e.g., rack and vertical applications found in automated production lines
  • Steel, available in different sizes

You might also find our guide helpful: When to Use Polycarbonate Fasteners.

Panel fasteners

Panel fasteners do what the name says: they connect items to panels. They do this on the edge or through holes or slots. However, not all panel fasteners go by that name. Snap rivets are a prime example. Another solution are quarter-turn panel fasteners. These are typically used to secure a panel or cover, yet still enable easy access. Comprising of two pieces, quarter-turn fasteners join a fixed surface with a removable one. The base fits into the fixed panel, and then the slotted screw is inserted through the panel that can be removed, and into the fastener base. A quarter turn of the screw secures – or loosens – the panels. For more solutions that can fasten panels, go to rivets. You can also learn more in our Guide to panel fasteners.

Examples of panel fasteners include:

Quarter-turn panel fasteners

Need: Provide easy access to panels

Solution: Quarter-turn panel fasteners

Why:

  • A simple quarter turn releases fastener to allow access
  • Preassembled to reduce hardware and cost
  • Available in two different styles
  • Acetal, UL94 HB and polyamide
Panel Clamps

Need: Hold panel in door frame

Solution: Panel Clamps

Why:

  • Compatible with right or left hand doors
  • Best suited for heating and ventilation panels
  • Nylon with steel screw in symmetrical or asymmetrical styles
  • Also available in Zamak
A quick buyer’s guide to fasteners

Rivets

Rivets serve as another type of panel fastener, although their purpose is broader, joining together other items as well.

Push-in rivets, also called push rivets, are particularly popular, as they come in so many different styles. Most simply push into place by hand, hence the name. In some cases, you’ll need a push rivet installation tool, which is easy to use. You can also get removable plastic rivets, which allow you to access the panel and then reuse them.

Snap rivets have male and female parts that pass through the panels to join together and present a finished edge on both sides. Snap rivets are a type of push-in rivet.

Push-in blind rivets are so called because they can be installed even if you can’t access the rear side (“blind” side). An example is a clinch rivet. All you need to install it is a pop rivet installation tool. Another type of blind rivet is the drive rivet. The drive rivet has a short mandrel that protrudes from the head. It’s placed into the hole and a hammer is used to drive the mandrel in, flaring out inside the hole to provide a secure, load-spreading fix. Drive rivets have a specific application, used to secure panels and architectural features to masonry walls.

You can learn more in our guide: How to choose your plastic rivets.

Examples of rivets include:

Push-In Rivets – Clinch

Need: Ability to install without access to back of panel

Solution: Push-In Rivets – Clinch

Why:

  • Blind rivet
  • Set by pulling the mandrel head into rivet body and expanding it to cause flare against reverse side
  • Mandrel head snaps off
  • Available in Nylon 6/6 or polycarbonate, as shown
  • Operating temperature range: -40˚C to 85˚C (-40˚F to 185˚F)
Push-In – Countersunk

Need: Resistance to tampering

Solution: Push-In – Countersunk

Why:

  • Designed for security
  • Countersunk rivet for flush surface
  • Easy installation by hand
  • Accommodates countersunk hole specification DIN ISO 7721
  • Available in black or white
  • Nylon 6/6
  • Operating temperature range: -40˚C to 115˚C (-40˚F to 239˚F)
Push-In Rivets – Snap

Need: Fast, easy installation

Solution: Push-In Rivets – Snap

Why:

  • Push head in and grommet expands to hold in place
  • Easy to remove by pulling head
  • Available in:
    • Nylon 6, UL94 V-2 (black or white)
    • Nylon 66/6, UL94-V-2 (black) Operating temperature range: -40˚C to 115˚C (-40˚F to 239˚F)
    • Nylon 4/6, UL94 V-2 (tan) Operating temperature range: -40˚C to 130˚C (-40˚F to 266˚F)
Push-in Rivets - Barbed

Need: Quick fastening

Solution: Push-in Rivets - Barbed

Why:

  • Barbed rivets – also called fir tree rivets – ensure fast and easy installation
  • Securely hold different materials, including metal, foam, rubber and plastic
  • Available in Nylon 6/6, UL94 V-2
  • Operating temperature range: -40˚C to 85˚C (-40˚F to 185˚F)
Push-In Rivets - Removable

Need: Easy removal

Solution: Push-In Rivets - Removable

Why:

  • Removable plastic rivets by pulling pin’s side taps
  • Push rivets snap in by hand
  • Allow blind side fastening
  • Pin and grommet provided separately
  • Can be used in round or square hole
  • Nylon 6/6, UL94 V-0
  • Operating temperature range: -40˚C to 120˚C (-40˚F to 248˚F)
Calculating the size rivet you need

A good manufacturer and distributor makes it easy to determine the correct size of rivet you need. For example, Essentra Components tells you the hole diameter range and panel thickness that a rivet will fit. Let’s look at push-in drive rivets, which are easy to install, and mainly used for decorative reasons.

Calculate rivet size

In the example shown here for one specific size, this is what you’d see among the relevant product information. You don’t have to calculate anything. If your parameters fit what you see in the table, then that’s the rivet size you want.

However, it’s still wise to know how to calculate the size you need. That knowledge could come in handy. With that in mind, you need to consider two points:

  1. The thickest material, or panel, that you’re joining
  2. The sum of all the materials’ thicknesses that you’re joining

Say you’re fastening two sheets together, and the thickness for each are:

  • .061 inch
  • .052 inch

The sum total is 0.113 of an inch. Remember that number because we’re going to come back to it.

Figuring the diameter

Step Action How?
1 Multiply The rivet’s diameter is 3 x the thickest piece you’re joining, which in this case, is .061.
.061 x 3 = .183
2 Convert Rivets are manufactured by 1/32 differences, so you can’t get a rivet with a diameter of .183, unless you have it custom made.
Not a problem. You simply get the closest 1/32 of an inch to .183.
To figure this, you’ll need to convert .183 to 1/32s. To do that, start by taking .183 and divide by 1/32. Here’s the formula:
.183 x 32 = 5.856
3 Round to the nearest whole number Round that final figure to the nearest whole number, and we have 6. The diameter of the rivet you want is 6/32 of an inch.

Figuring the length

Now that we know the diameter needed, we can figure the length.

Step Action How?
1 Multiply and add The formula for this is (rivet diameter x 1.5) + sum of thicknesses, so for our scenario, that’s 6/32 x 1.5 + .113.
2 Convert 6/32 as a decimal is .1875. If we multiply that by 1.5, we get .28125. So our formula now looks like this: .28125 + .113. The total is .39425 of an inch for your length.
Rivet lengths typically come in 1/16 inch increments. Just as we did with the diameter, we have to convert our .39425 figure by dividing it by 1/16. Our formula now looks like this:
.39425 x 16 = 6.308
3 Round to the nearest whole number The nearest whole number is 6, so 6/16 is the length of the rivet you need.

Now you have your diameter and your length, so you can choose rivets in the correct size.

Threaded rods and studs

Threaded rods are designed to handle a high level of pressure and tension. With that in mind, some people think metal is the only way to go, but that’s not true. Plastic has skyrocketed in popularity as a choice for threaded rods and studs. The reason: plastics’ properties. For example, a nylon threaded rod is extremely strong, easy to cut to size and resists vibrations, abrasions and most chemicals. It’s also non-corrosive, lightweight, electrically insulating, non-magnetic, and has low thermal conductivity. These attributes make it ideal for industries and applications such as:

  • Automotive
  • Construction
  • HVAC
  • Electrical
  • Marine

What’s the difference between a threaded rod and threaded stud? That depends on who you talk to. In some quarters, they’re one and the same. To others, a threaded stud refers to a shorter length than a threaded rod. A stud also often has a slot in the end for installation.

A dowel pin is another type of fastener, popular with these industries:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Equipment manufacturing
  • Furniture manufacturing

For example, an acetal dowel pin is inserted into receiving holes, which hold parts of an assembly together through the use of friction. A tight fit keeps the parts firmly together in fixed alignment.

Examples of threaded rods and dowel pins:

Threaded Rods & Studs

Need: Fasten two materials together

Solution: Threaded Rods & Studs

Why:

  • Electrically insulating
  • Non-magnetic
  • Lightweight
  • Low thermal conductivity
  • Resistant to vibration, abrasion and most chemicals
  • Threaded studs with chamfer on both ends available in most popular sizes and lengths
  • Nylon 6/6
Dowel Pins – Standard

Need: Keep parts in alignment

Solution: Dowel Pins – Standard

Why:

  • Strong and rigid with low water absorption
  • Available in various diameters and lengths
  • Acetal

Washers

Washers are used to distribute the load of threaded fasteners by increasing the surface area. They reduce the risk of stress-related damage to the material that the threaded fastener is driving into. Sometimes, washers can give you spacing as well, preventing your fastener from going deeper into the material than you might want.

Using the wrong washers for your application can result in weakening the joint or increasing the threat of loosening a dynamic joint. Just as there are various types of screws, you’ll also find different types of washers. For example, a lock washer with external teeth is ideal for giving your fastener extra resistance to vibrations, preventing it from loosening. This makes it ideal for applications such as automotive, aerospace and consumer appliances. Its main function, however, is to promote electrical conductivity.

The flat washer helps reduce surface pressure on softer materials, which in turn decreases the loss of clamp load. The material it’s made of can provide additional properties. For example, nylon flat washers resist chemicals.

The shoulder washer is also referred to as an insulation sleeve because it insulates rivets, screws or wires. A nylon shoulder washer, for instance, can be used for connections between incompatible metals. Another nylon shoulder washer is designed to reduce vibrations. A plastic shoulder washer can also be inserted into a housing, giving a rotary application a bearing surface. Another of its capabilities is that it stops heat from flowing through the screw to other parts of the assembly.

You can learn more about washers in our guides: When to use plastic washers and How and when to use washers effectively.

Examples of washers include:

Retaining Washers

Need: Hold a screw or other component in place

Solution: Retaining Washers

Why:

  • Retaining washer with anti-loss lip
  • Grips the screw shank or bolt
  • Sealing capabilities
  • Resistant to corrosion and many chemicals
  • Available in nylon 6/6 and LDPE
Finishing Washers

Need: Decorative appearance

Solution: Finishing Washers

Why:

  • Finishing washer ideal for visible screws, giving them a neat finish
  • Good insulating properties
  • Excellent protection against damage to application
  • Nylon 6/6
Flat Washers - Plastic

Need: Evenly distribute the force applied with tightening the fastener by increasing surface area

Solution: Flat Washers - Plastic

Why:

  • Flat washers insulate against moisture and electricity
  • Resists corrosion, abrasion and most chemicals
  • Also provides cushioning and spacing
  • Nylon 6/6, UL94 V-2
Spring Washer

Need: Eliminates rattles

Solution: Spring Washer

Why:

  • Used to take up tolerance variables and provide accurate spacing and tension
  • May be used for a wide range of deflection and load capacity
  • Acetal
Shoulder Washers

Need: Insulate rivets, screws or wires

Solution: Shoulder Washers

Why:

  • Impervious to moisture, dirt and most chemicals
  • Self-lubricating and resistant to corrosion and abrasion
  • Nylon 6/6, UL94 V-2
  • Operating temperature range: -40˚C to 85˚C (-40˚F to 185˚F)

Suction cups

Suction cups are an ideal solution for Retail. They adhere to any clean, flat surface without damaging it, providing a secure hold for the items you want to display. No mounting hole, nor fastener, is needed with most styles. Pressure is applied to the suction cup, which forces out the air, creating a vacuum. It’s this vacuum that creates the strong hold.

Examples of suction cups include:

Suction cup – Hole

Need: Use with string hanger, wire dowels or various other fasteners

Solution: Suction cup – Hole

Why:

  • Designed with a side pilot hole to allow for insertion of other items for hanging
  • PVC, clear
Suction cup – Groove

Need: Hang wide range of products

Solution: Suction cup – Groove

Why:

  • Designed with a side pilot hole to allow for insertion of other items for hanging
  • PVC, clear
Suction Cup – Hook

Need: Mount signs and decorations on a window

Solution: Suction Cup – Hook

Why:

  • Attached metal or plastic hook for hanging display materials
  • PVC, clear
Suction Cup – Double Sided

Need: Hang glass or other surfaces

Solution: Suction Cup – Double Sided

Why:

  • Double suction cup securely holds, separates, and cushions parallel glass or related surfaces
  • PVC, clear

High-bond tape

High bond tape also compensates for irregular bonded surfaces. In a perfect world, materials are flat against each other, but we all know this rarely happens. Surface textures, thermal expansion or chemical reactions can impact the bond or create gaps. High bond tape can correct these problems.

If you’re joining metals, corrosion can often result in an accelerated fashion. High bond tape, however, performs as a buffer, preventing bimetallic corrosion. It’s also fast and easy to apply. Screws, for example, can require tools to apply. High bond tape lets you save that time. Simply peel back the liner and apply with pressure.

Examples of high bond tapes include:

High Bond Tape Pieces

Need: Fast application

Solution: High Bond Tape Pieces

Why:

  • Pieces are pre-cut to save time
  • Acrylic foam core permanent adhesive
  • Tamper resistant
  • Available in clear, white and grey
  • Excellent resistant to temperature cycles
  • Temperature range:
    • Clear: -29C˚ to 149C˚ (20F˚ to 300F˚)
    • White & Grey: -29C˚ to 115C˚ (20F˚ to 240F˚)
High Bond Tape Rolls

Need: Seamless bonding of decorative panels

Solution: High Bond Tape Rolls

Why:

  • Acrylic foam core permanent adhesive
  • Tamper resistant
  • Available in clear, white, grey and black
  • Excellent resistant to temperature cycles
  • Temperature range: -29˚C to 149˚C (20˚F to 300˚F)
Fasteners - The Design Engineer's Application Guide

Industries

It might help to see the fasteners popular with your industry. Here’s a glance:

Consumer electronics / appliances

Machine Screws - Cheese

Machine Screws - Cheese

  • Suitable in applications where the head is not seen
  • These head styles have a cylindrical outer edge
Barbed Rivets

Barbed Rivets

  • Fast, tool-free assembly
  • Reliable fitting in bore holes with larger tolerances
  • Barbed qualities work for blind holes or holes with or without screw threads
  • Available in over 100 sizes and styles for different hole diameters and panel thicknesses
​ Heat Resistant Snap Rivets

Heat Resistant Snap Rivets

  • The heat generated by consumer electronics makes this a must-have, withstanding temperatures up to 130°C (266°F)
  • Quicker to install than screws, they’re also ideal for awkward spaces
  • Aesthetically pleasing from the outside, helping the finished product look stylish
Cap Nuts

Cap Nuts

  • Cap nuts (also known as dome nuts) are ideal for covering and protecting a bolt or screw that sits proud of the application
Flat Washers

Flat Washers

  • Insulate against moisture and electricity
  • Resist corrosion, abrasion and most chemicals
  • Provide full insulation, cushioning and spacing

Retail / Furniture

Screw cover caps

Screw cover caps

  • Snap securely into place to protect and conceal the bolt head or nut
  • Cover Caps and bases can be mixed and matched in six different colours to create a customised appearance
  • Ideal for point of sale products, furniture, and outdoor equipment
Single Sided Suction Cups

Single Sided Suction Cups

  • Ideal for hanging string, wire, or cord through for display materials
  • Attach to clean, flat surfaces without requiring a fastener
Clinch Rivets

Clinch Rivets

  • These expansion rivets can be set "blind" without the need for access to the back of the panel
  • Provide an extremely strong hold
  • Particularly good for soft materials
Knurled Thumb Screws

Knurled Thumb Screws

  • Easy to apply and fasten
  • Ideal for applications where space is restricted and fastening with a tool is not possible
Wing/Fly Nuts

Wing/Fly Nuts

  • Thumb tabs provide extra grip for ease of turning and securing into position

Industrial Machinery

Finishing Washers

Finishing Washers

  • Good insulation properties
  • Have a high-quality finish and give excellent protection against damage to your application
Threaded studs and rods

Threaded studs and rods

  • Easily cut to size
  • Resistant to vibrations, abrasions and most chemicals
  • Electrically insulating, non-magnetic, lightweight and low thermal conductivity
Shoulder washers

Shoulder washers

  • Prevent contact with conducting materials.
  • Help prevent parts vibrating loose
  • Self-lubricating and resistant to corrosion and abrasion
Phillips Shoulder screws

Phillips Shoulder screws

  • Feature unthreaded shoulder below the head of the screw
  • Used in mechanical applications to allow for rotation of moving parts
  • To be used in conjunction with the VG series vibration grommets
Push In Rivets - Countersunk

Push In Rivets - Countersunk

  • Easily installed by hand
  • Countersunk design for flush surface
  • Tamper-resistant design. Accommodates countersunk hole specification DIN ISO 7721

Automotive

Push-in Rivet

Push-in Rivet

  • Quick and economical way to hold together a vehicle’s front lower valance to the front bumper
  • Push rivets install quickly and easily without needing tools to provide a strong hold and clean finished look
Hex Head Cap Screws

Hex Head Cap Screws

  • Ideal fasteners for mechanically securing materials
  • Lightweight and resistant to corrosion, oil, abrasion and most chemicals
Quarter Turn Panel Fastener

Quarter Turn Panel Fastener

  • Secures plastic interior trim components, such as access panels
  • Easy solution to fix two panels together
  • A flat screwdriver will enable a quarter-turn release
Grommet nut

Grommet nut

  • A cost-effective, vibration and corrosion resistant solution for connection of thin gauge materials
  • Provides a secure threaded connection between two panels
Retaining Washers

Retaining Washers

  • Conveniently hold screws and bolts in place during assembly
  • Lightweight, yet strong natural LDPE or nylon
  • Provide full moisture and electrical insulation, cushioning and spacing

Healthcare

Push-In Rivets

Push-In Rivets

  • Easily inserted by hand
  • Multi-purpose, front-loaded fastener
  • Hollow body which increases flexibility for ease of insertion and removal
Thumb nuts

Thumb nuts

  • Knurled grip for easy application and quick tightening
  • Available in Conical or Standard designs
Peek Socket Head Screws

Peek Socket Head Screws

  • Perfect for electronics in demanding applications
  • Outstanding mechanical properties and high-temperature stability
  • Resist most chemicals and stand up to continuous temperature use of 180°C (356°F)
​ Thumb Screws

Thumb Screws

  • Wing shaped head provides a secure grip when tightening
  • Offer excellent wear resistance and good fatigue resistance
  • Lightweight, yet strong, and possesses good chemical resistance to acids
Hex Nut - Peek

Hex Nut - Peek

  • 6 flat sides provide an easy way to tighten and loosen the nuts using a tool
  • Provides excellent electrical insulation and resistance to sterilization processes at high temperatures

Materials overview

What your fastener is made of should play a critical role in guiding your choice. Will your fastener be used in or outdoors? What environment will it need to withstand? Are vibrations a factor? Here’s a look at common materials used to make fasteners. You can also learn more with our guide Fasteners: which material do I need? Also check out our Fastener material selection guide.

Nylon

Tough, strong and abrasion resistant, Nylon has a very low coefficient to friction. With good thermal and chemical resistance, it also provides resistance to tears, chemicals, and can be formulated to stand up to UV rays. Nylon’s strength means it can be used instead of more expensive and heavier low-strength metals.

You’ll find that nylon 6.6, a variant, is stronger still, and absorbs less moisture than standard nylon. When a high level of torque is required in your fastener, it’s the ideal material. Nylon 6.6 is popular and used to make everything from fasteners to cable ties.

Polyethylene (PE)

Tough and durable, Polyethylene has high impact strength. It also has high ductility, and as a result, provides a degree of flexibility. It’s crush-resistant, protecting applications against damage.

Polypropylene (PP)

Polypropylene is semi-rigid with good fatigue resistance. It also offers superb electrical and chemical resistance (including acids, polyhydric alcohols, neutral salts and basic salts). It has a lower tensile strength than nylon 6/6, but the trade-off is more flexibility. It doesn’t suffer stress-cracking problems and has excellent fatigue resistance, retaining its shape after a lot of torsion. This is a tough material, though it can perform with elasticity.

Polypropylene can also stand up to UV exposure, and depending on the environment, it can be a good choice for outdoor use, especially when you consider that it doesn’t absorb or emit moisture. However, it’s not suited for freezing temperatures, as it can become brittle.

The material has good impact strength, pliability, and is cost-effective. It also offers excellent electrical resistance, so it’s often used in electronics. You’ll find polypropylene used in pharmaceuticals, too, due to its high resistance to many chemicals.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

With good resistance to oils and low permeability to gases, PVC is inherently self-extinguishing. This makes it an excellent material for wire and cable insulation.

A durable and long-lasting material, PVC also offers flexibility. Unlike some hard plastics, it won’t crack or shred. It also performs as an insulative materials and can withstand high temperatures and chemicals. For these reasons, it’s a popular choice for electrical applications.

Polycarbonate (PC)

Polycarbonate is tough and transparent. It provides high impact strength and high modulus of elasticity. Other benefits include its high heat deflection temperature and very low moisture absorption. It’s a popular material for electrical and electronic applications due to its low frequency and high-voltage insulating properties. Because of its strength and transparency, it’s also ideal for point of sale and displays. You might find it helpful to read our guide: When to use polycarbonate fasteners.

POM

Polyoxymethylene (POM) is also known as acetal. It’s a highly crystalline thermoplastic favoured for its stiffness, hardness, and low creep under stress. It also provides high flexural and tensile strength, has a low coefficient of friction, excellent chemical resistance and outstanding fatigue properties. The flip side is, POM has moderate heat stability and insufficient flame resistance. While it’s the perfect material for many applications, it’s not ideal for those where heat is involved.

PEEK®

PEEK (polyetheretherketone) is a high-performance plastic that maintains stiffness at high temperatures. It has outstanding resistance to harsh chemicals, and excellent mechanical strength and dimensional stability. Another benefit is its resistance to steam and water. All of these reasons make it a favourite of the healthcare industry.

Polysulfone

Polysulfone (PSU) is a transparent material with high-impact resistance. It provides high performance, has good electrical properties and resistance to chemicals. One reason for its popularity is its outstanding hydrolytic stability against hot water and steam sterilisation. It performs especially well in high-temperature environments and resists detergents and hydrocarbon oils even in those conditions, under moderate stress levels.

Acetal

Acetal provides high strength and stiffness. Its good dimensional stability makes it an easy material to machine. A semi-crystalline material, acetal has good chemical resistance. It offers a low coefficient of friction and good wear. It has very low moisture absorption while resisting abrasions.

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)

With high-impact strength, LDPE is rigid, but softer than nylon or HDPE. It performs as a cross between elastomers and thermoplastics. LDPE can withstand the cold, specifically temperatures down to-50˚C (-58˚F) before it becomes brittle. When placed in high temperatures, it quickly becomes soft.

Carbon steel

Carbon steels are iron-carbon alloys containing up to 2.5% carbon. The addition of carbon adds strength to steel, though like any steel, it can still stress and break under pressure. There are different grades of strength in carbon steels. ASI 1022 carbon steel is often used in structural applications with moderate strength, such as bolts and cold formed fasteners, and recessed head screws and low-strength fasteners.

Mild steel is a type of carbon steel. There are different grades of mild steel, with it containing anywhere between 0.05 to 0.25% carbon. Additives give it critical properties such as corrosion resistance, tensile strength and wear resistance.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel

Download free CADs and try before you buy

Free CADs are available for most solutions, which you can download. You can also request free samples to ensure the solutions you’ve chosen are exactly what you need. If you’re not quite sure which product will work best for your application, our experts are always happy to advise you.

Whatever your requirements, you can depend on fast despatch.

Request your free samples or download free CADs now.

Questions?

Email us at sales@essentracomponents.co.uk or speak to one of our experts for further information on the ideal solution for your application 0845 758 5070.

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Fasteners - The Design Engineer's Application Guide
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