Understanding Fasteners

Fasteners are used to hold products and items together. They are in the construction of everything from houses to machinery. There are many different fasteners you can use for your projects and products. 

Three Categories of Fasteners

There are three overall categories of fasteners, based on how they are designed to be used. It is important to know what type of fastener you are looking for. 

Permanent Fasteners: These are used when you are taking to create a permanent joint between two materials. This is when you don't want the two items to come apart at all for any reason. Often, techniques such as soldering and welding are used when a permanent fastener is desired. Rivets may also be used for this type of project.

Semi-Permanent Fasteners: These are used when you want to secure two items together, but you don't want them to come apart. However, if they need to come apart, you want to be able to pull them apart without destroying the work you did. Like with permanent fasteners, methods such as rivets and soldering can be used to achieve this.

Temporary fastening: With temporary fastening, you want to join two items together, and you want to be able to take them apart again easily. Most of the fasteners you think of are used for temporary fastenings, such as lock pins, washers, nuts, bolts, and screws. 

Types of Measurements

Temporary fasteners are often measured in either metric units or imperial units. The United States uses an imperial measuring system. However, machines often still use metric fasteners due to the easy precision of measuring with metric measurements. 

Different Types of Temporary Fasteners

There are numerous types of temporary fasteners you can use and many variations within each category.

  • Nuts are used to help thread a bolt. Nuts and bolts work together. There are numerous types of nuts with different configurations. Certain types of nuts help to hold bolts in place to different levels. Some nuts are easier to replace than others. 

    • Hexagonal nut

    • Flange nut

    • Thumb nut

    • Wingnut

    • Cap nut

    • Ring nut

    • Capstan nut

    • Square nut

  • Bolts are used together with nuts. They are made from a thin piece of metal, with a head onside that you use to secure the bolt in place. They come in a range of different thicknesses, styles, and lengths. 

    • Squarehead bolt

    • Cup head bolt

    • Hexagonal bolt

    • Hook bolt

    • Countersunk head bolt

    • Headless taper bolt

    • Eye bolt

    • Cheese head bolt 

  • Washers are sometimes used with nuts and bolts. It is used to help keep the bolt tightly in place. A washer can also make it easier to take apart a nut and bolt without damaging them. There are numerous shapes of washers, depending on the application.

    • Fender washer

    • Flat washer

    • Torque washer

    • Split washer

    • Countersunk washer

    • Finger washer

    • Shoulder washer

    • Internal tooth washer 

  • Screws are not the same as bolts. They have a thread cut into them to go into a receiving material. They are generally not as wide as bolts, with smaller diameters. Screws are often identified by the type of material they work best with. 

    • Deck screw

    • Sheet metal screw

    • Machine screw

    • Masonry screw

    • Drywall screw

Fasteners may seem simple, but there are a lot of different types of fasteners, which is why you need to know precisely what you need. 

For more information on metric fasteners, contact a company near you.