Everything You Should Know About Rivet Nuts

Finding the right fastener for a project requires more thought and deliberation than you would expect. Finding the right fastener can seem impossible, especially when trying to fasten thin or brittle materials together. This is where rivet nuts shine. From use in aerospace and automotive manufacturing to furniture and consumer goods, rivet nuts are an innovative and easy fastening method that’s both revolutionized and simplified how products are assembled. In this article, we dive deeper into rivet nuts and discuss everything there is to know about them – from what they are and how they’re used to different types of rivet nuts and their advantages.


What are Rivet Nuts?

Rivet nuts, alternatively known as RIVNUTs®, were developed by the BF Goodrich Company in the late 1930s. Also called blind rivet nuts or threaded inserts, rivet nuts are internally threaded components that are completely anchored on one side. Originally used to secure deicing boots to aircraft wings, rivet nuts have since been adapted into many different forms and types for various fastening applications. 

Rivet nuts are derived from standard rivets and are paired with standard sized bolts. Rivet nuts can have round, square, splined, or hexagonal bodies. Because it’s considered a blind fastener, rivet nuts are used in applications where only a single side of the workpiece is accessible. This makes rivet nuts one of the most versatile fastening devices that exist.

How do Rivet Nuts Work?

Like a normal rivet, rivet nuts are punched into a workpiece to fasten two or more materials together. The difference between a rivet and a rivet nut is that the rivet nut is only punched into a single piece of material, not all the constituent materials to be joined. Once the rivet nut is installed into one material, the remaining materials to be joined can be fastened with an externally threaded fastener, like a bolt, to the rivet nut. It’s that simple.

The simplicity in how rivet nuts are used to fasten materials together is what makes them so versatile. It can be argued that rivet nuts are easier to use and better at joining materials together than self tapping screws or pressed inserts.

How to Install Rivet Nuts?

To install a rivet nut, have a drill, appropriately sized drill bit, and a rivet nut tool available. Installing rivet nuts is as easy as following the 5 steps below:

  1. Drill a pilot hole with the same diameter as the rivet nut to be used in the workpiece.
  2. Take the rivet nut and thread it until flush onto the mandrel of the rivet nut tool.
  3. Pull the opposite end of the mandrel as far back as allowed and thread the adjuster back to contact it.
  4. Install the rivet nut using the rivet gun by inserting the rivet nut into the drilled pilot hole and squeezing the handles of the tool until it reaches a stop.
  5. Remove the rivet nut tool by unscrewing the mandrel from the rivet nut.

Be careful not to apply too much force on the rivet nut during installation as this may ruin the internal threads of the rivet nut.

When are Rivet Nuts Used?

Rivet nuts can be used to fasten a variety of materials together – including different types of metals, plastics, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. Like a normal rivet, rivet nuts are blind – as in, only one side of the workpiece is visible when installing the rivet nut. While the rivet nut will be permanently fixed to the material it is attached to, materials assembled to the rivet nut via a bolt, pin, or other devices can be removed. 

Because of their light weight, small size, and easy installation, they are often used in applications where weight reduction is critical (i.e. aerospace and automotive). Additionally, rivet nuts can have high shear and tensile strengths, making them ideal for load bearing applications. This makes them also great for use in furniture, certain consumer goods, and electronics. While weight reduction and load-bearing are certainly advantages of using rivet nuts, manufacturers can also benefit from reduced costs due to faster assembly. Rivet nut installation can even be automated through 6-axis robots or other automotive processes.

Different types of Rivet Nuts and Their Advantages

1. Round Rivet Nuts

These nuts are made for circular holes and have a smooth or knurled surface on the shank of the nut. While both smooth and knurled surfaces can provide spin-out resistance, knurled surfaces provide better resistance since the knurled surfaces “bite” into the workpiece. Round rivet nuts can be made either with open or closed ends. Closed-ended rivet nuts are great for preventing the trickling of unwanted gasses or liquids through the rivet nut and out the installation side. The 3 biggest advantages of round rivet nuts are:

  1. Strong, internal threads on round rivet nuts allow fastening to be completed on thin materials which cannot be tapped.
  2. Simple installation makes round rivet nuts ideal for assembling parts together when compared to other fastening methods.
  3. Easy, but labor intensive, installation can be automated to reduce overall costs associated with the fabrication of parts and assemblies.

2. Hexagonal Rivet Nuts

Hexagonal (hex) rivet nuts, like round ones, provide great spinout resistance and are used for hexagonal shaped holes. Hexagonal rivet nuts have hexagonal shaped shanks and are usually designed for more load bearing applications. Hydro-pneumatic tools are usually recommended when installing hexagonal rivet nuts. Semi-hexagonal rivet nuts are a subtype of normal hex rivet nuts and feature a hexagonal shank that gradually tapers to a round shank. Semi-hex rivet nuts are typically used in lighter-duty applications and can be used with standard rivet nut tools. 3 advantages of hex rivet nuts are described below:

  1. Excellent spinout resistance compared to round rivet nuts.
  2. Several different sizes of hex rivet nuts allow for a variety of mating applications.
  3. Corrosion resistant finishes can be added to hexagonal rivet nuts to make them more environmentally stable.

3. Slotted Rivet Nuts

Slotted, plus, or cross rivet nuts have a slotted body and a straight shank. These types of nuts have a large footprint on the non-blind side of the workpiece which adds pullout resistance. Alternatively, a shank may also be pre-bulbed for added spin-out resistance. Slotted rivet nuts offer an extensive grip range ideal for fastening varying thickness materials. The advantages of slotted rivet nuts are described below:

  1. Corrosion resistant surface finishes allow slotted rivet nuts to be used in a variety of environments.
  2. Simple and easy installation of slotted rivet nuts can be completed with standard rivet nut tools.
  3. Surfaces are not distorted when a slotted rivet nut is installed in plastic workpieces.

4. Swaged Rivet Nuts

In thicker materials that have reduced clearance requirements, swaged rivet nuts provide strong, durable internal threads for fastening. The design of these nuts allows a segment of the nut to deform during installation. This deformation causes the walls of the rivet nut to extend outwards into the fastened component which leads to a firm hold. 3 advantages of swaged rivet nuts are described below:

  1. Swaged rivet nuts have a shorter profile which allows them to be used in applications that have reduced clearance.
  2. Improved shear strengths due to increased wall thicknesses present in the nut.

5. Floating Rivet Nuts 

Floating rivet nuts allow for flexible fastening of workpieces. In these types of nuts, internal threads of the nut “float” within the nut body which allows for the angled installation of bolts. This provides both accurate and efficient assembly of products and eliminates the risk of both spinout and cross-threading. Floating rivet nuts can be made in a variety of lengths and sizes to fit different thicknesses and clearance specifications. Advantages of floating rivet nuts include:

  1. Easily fasten off center or misaligned workpieces with floating rivet nuts.
  2. A hydro-pneumatic installation tool is recommended when installing floating rivet nuts.
  3. Excellent replacements for both riveted nut plates and cage nuts.

6. Rivet Nut Studs

Composed of two pieces, rivet nut studs contain the rivet nut and an externally threaded stud. When the rivet nut is installed, the stud protrudes beyond the workpiece. This allows conventional fasteners, like standard hex nuts, to be mated onto the threaded stud. Advantages are described below:

  1. Cost effective fastening method compared to weld or clinch studs.
  2. Easier placement of components makes final assembly processes easy when using a rivet nut stud.

Final Thoughts

While finding the right fastener for your project may be a challenge, it doesn’t have to be. Rivet nuts provide an innovative and flexible fastening method that rivals traditional methods such as the use of bolts or welds. Rivet nuts are easy and cost effective to install, have exceptional tensile and shear strengths, and enable the function of many of the goods and modes of transportation we use every day. Contact an Albany County Fasteners sales representative today to discuss which rivet nut is right for your project.

Bolts Vs Screws

Whats The Difference Between A Bolt And A Screw?

It’s a question we hear surprisingly often. Since they are commonly used interchangeably, you might think they are the same. However, there are distinct differences that make a bolt and screw different.

Bolts Vs. Screws20170811_144120

Bolts:

A bolt is a fastener with threads and a head that is intended and designed to be used (installed) with a nut. Bolts are not intended to hold themselves into a material and rely on that nut to provide the holding tension needed. A bolt must protrude from the other side of a material in order to be fastened. Bolts are more commonly used with washers than screws.

Screws:

IMG_0538

Screws are also a threaded faster, but can either have a head or lack one entirely, (ex. set screw). Screws are designed to be installed in a pre-drilled hole, or they are engineered to tap their own hole with the threading while being installed. They do not use a nut and secure themselves by being tightened into their hole. Screws are not meant to appear on the opposite side of the material they are being drilled into, even though you will often see screws poking through roofs and wood. While they are less often used with washers, it is common to see finishing cup washers used to make a clean finished look for flat head and oval head screws.

“That’s Not What Your Site Says”

Although we go over the differences here, you will notice Albany County Fasteners uses “bolt” and “screw” somewhat interchangeably on the website. We do this because sometimes a product is better known by a different name that may not be  it’s “formal” name, but we speak your language and we want to help you find it. For example, a Lag Screw is sometimes referred to as a Lag Bolt; this is for customer convenience as it is more commonly, informally called a lag bolt than a lag screw.



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Hex Cap Screws Vs Hex Tap Bolts

Hex Cap Screws vs Hex Tap Bolts: What’s The Difference?

Hex bolts, hex caps, hex taps, hex heads…there is so much hex bolt lingo.

Hex Cap Screw Partially Threaded Shoulder Hex Tap Bolt Fully Threaded

Hex bolts can be very confusing. Its one of those situations where you may order a hex cap screw and wind up with a hex tap bolt. A hex cap is sometimes a hex tap, and Albany County Fasteners would like to take some time today to explain the details of hex bolts to you. It’s all about the threading, the length and the shoulder.



Hex Bolts

Hex Bolts are bolts with external threading and a hex head designed to be driven by a wrench. Hex bolts may be partially threaded or fully threaded, and are available in hex cap (partially threaded after a certain length) and hex tap (always fully threaded). Hex caps and hex taps are both considered “hex bolts”. Hex bolts are designed to be inserted into holes with machined, tapped threads, they are available in coarse thread (UNC) and fine thread (UNF).  Machine screw sizes (diameters #4 – #12) of hex bolts are known as “trim head hex screws” and are always fully threaded.

20170804_092325

Hex Cap Screws / Hex Cap Bolts

Hex cap screws may have a built-in shoulder (un-threaded area under the head) which increases tensile strength of the bolt. However, the threaded length of these screws may be limited and therefore, they are not suitable for all applications. Cap screws are typically fully threaded up to 1-1/4″, hex cap bolts over this length are almost always partially threaded. Hex cap screws are available in diameters 1/4″ and up. Browse our selection of hex cap screws.

 

Hex Tap Bolts

Hex Tap Bolts

Tap Bolts on the other hand are fully threaded regardless of size. This means the threading goes from the tip all the way to the underside of the head of the bolt. They have a weaker tensile strength but the extended threads make them more suitable for situations where hex cap screws may not function well. Hex tap bolts are available in diameters 1/4″ and up. Browse our selection of hex tap bolts.

In Summary

Tap bolts have threading all the way down regardless of their size. Hex cap screws may have a shoulder in longer sizes, which makes them stronger. Both are typically installed with a nut and designed to be driven by a wrench or socket driver. And last but not least, if a hex cap screw is small enough to lose its shoulder it can also be considered a tap bolt. In smaller sizes, they are the same but once a unthreaded shoulder starts, become different bolts. Browse our entire selection of hex bolts.



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What Is Drill Torque Control

Drill Torque Control

Ever wonder what those numbers are for on the tip of your drill? The ones that Drill Torque Controlyou can spin but no one actually talks about what they do? If you’re new to the drill world or if you’ve just bought a drill to install some curtains in your house, chances are you have no idea what these numbers are for.

Before We Begin

It’s worth noting that not all drills are the same so if you check your drill and find different numbers and settings don’t get concerned. This is normal and you can find your drill specifications on the manufacturer’s website.



Over-drilling

To understand the importance of drill torque control we must first get an understanding of why it matters. If you have ever screwed into a piece of wood with a flat head wood screw, you may have seen that the top of the head drops below the surface of the wood. Flat head wood screws have a head designed to sit flush with the surface of the wood. If you over-drill chipping may occur around the edge of the hole over time. Over-torquing can damage the surface material, under-torquing will not advance the screw.

Drill Clutch

A drill clutch is a built-in device used to control the amount of drill torque before Adjusting Drill Clutcha breaking point. This is known as a slip clutch. You may know this as the sound of clicking that occurs when you are trying to screw something in, but it won’t turn. A clutch is designed to slip once the appropriate level of torque is achieved so that the screw being installed will not hurt the material it is being installed into.

Settings

Most drills have numbers with preset torque points. Turning the numbered dial from side to side. Our drill starts at the number 1 which is the least amount of torque meaning slippage will happen under very little torque. It ends at 15 which is the highest output the drill can handle. There is also a drill setting that has no slippage and is only supposed to be used with a drill bit. You can adjust the torque by turning to a new number once your drill clutch begins to slip.

Drill Clutch Setting

Highest Torque Setting

To Begin

If you are unsure about the proper torque to use start with a lower number and begin installing your screw. If your clutch starts to slip, simply move the settings

up to a higher number and continue. Your goal is to get the clutch to slip right as the head rests in its intended position so you do not run the risk of hurting the material you are installing into.

Congratulations!

You now know everything you’ll need to about a drill clutch and torque control to get started with all your DIY or professional projects!

Need drill bits for your power drill?  Browse our extensive Drill Bit selection.



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Threaded Rod – Fully Threaded Rods

 

Now Available by Popular Demand:

Threaded RodThreaded Rod

Threaded Rod, also known as All Thread, ATR, Redi-Rod, Threaded Bar, and Stud, is essentially a long bolt without a head. It is also used for fastening anything from an anchor bolt, to suspending electrical or plumbing equipment from a ceiling and often used in drop ceiling application. Fully Threaded Rods are often used with coupling nuts in tension assemblies. Coupling Nuts offer the ability to connect multiple threaded items together. Reducer Coupling Nuts offer the ability to couple different rod sizes. Fully Threaded Rods are used to join and stabilize structures or objects, often into ceilings or walls. Threaded fastener strength varies by size and material, making a solution for all rod needs.

Threaded Rod from Albany County Fasteners is available in 3 and 6 foot lengths in a variety of materials including Stainless Steel, B7 Alloy Steel, Zinc Plated Steel, Hot Dip Galvanized Steel and Brass.

In addition to the standard lengths, we are offering custom orders, where we can cut and chamfer each bar to your specifications in house.




Custom Threaded Rod Cutting and Chamfer Options Available.
Call For Details

Threaded Bar   Cut Threaded Bar

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