A Guide to Retaining Rings

Retaining rings are exceptionally useful fasteners that are mounted directly onto shafts to create a shoulder to retain an assembly. While past methods of securing shafts or housings required various machining operations, like drilling and tapping, and traditional fasteners like nuts, bolts, and cotter pins, retaining rings can simply be placed onto a recess on a shaft or housing to secure it. Retaining rings have 3 main benefits over traditional fastening methods for shafts and housings. Those benefits are listed below:

  1. Retaining rings help reduce assembly times since installation is simple and quick.
  2. Retaining rings reduce overall part weight and size since they are lightweight and have a small profile.
  3. Retaining rings help lower the total cost of raw material and labor needed to produce parts.

Because of these benefits, retaining ring use has become more common in various applications – from bearing retention to use in automobiles and exercise equipment. When purchasing retaining rings, however, there are some important things to consider – namely, expected loads on the ring, environmental conditions, and rotational speeds on the shaft, among others.


What Are Retaining Rings?

Can’t find your pliers? We stock options for external and internal snap rings.

Retaining rings, also known as snap rings, are small, lightweight metal fasteners that either fix components onto a shaft or fix shafts into housings or bores. This is possible because retaining rings have a free end that allows the ring to be expanded (for installation on shafts) or compressed (for installation on housings) to be installed. Using a set of retaining ring pliers, retaining rings can easily be installed into a pre-cut groove on a shaft or a groove in a bore. Some retaining rings have lugs that allow them to be gripped by retaining ring pliers, while others do not. Once retaining rings are installed, they spring back to their original shape and grip the shaft or housing to create a tight hold. Additionally once installed, they form a shoulder on part assemblies that prevent components from deviating from their intended positions in the axial direction.

Retaining rings come in several different sizes to accommodate different size shafts and housings. Retaining rings are typically made from carbon steel, stainless steel, or beryllium copper alloys and can be subject to various finishing processes to accommodate different environments and loading. Our offerings for retaining rings are mostly made from stainless steel.

General Types of Retaining Rings

Internal vs. External Retaining Rings

In general, there are two main types of retaining rings – internal retaining rings and external retaining rings. Internal retaining rings are placed into a groove in a housing. Often internal retaining rings are tapered from the top of the ring to the free end of the ring. This is to help with installation since the overall height of the ring decreases as it is compressed. As a result, the ring can easily be inserted into the housing and can spring back to a circular shape once installed. This enables the ring to grip the entire groove in the housing and hence withstand higher thrust loads.

External retaining rings, unlike internal ones, are placed on a groove directly on the shaft. Using a set of retaining ring pliers, external retaining rings are expanded and then spring back to their original shape when installed to form a tight hold. A portion of the ring protrudes out the groove and forms a shoulder to prevent components on a shaft from shifting.

Axially vs. Radially Installed Retaining Rings

Retaining rings can either be installed axially or radially. Axial installation means retaining rings are installed from the end of the shaft and slid along the shaft’s axis until it is placed in the necessary groove. Radial installation means retaining rings are installed from a direction perpendicular to the axis of the shaft. One major advantage of axially-installed retaining rings is that they contact the entire surface of the groove it is placed in. This allows axially-installed rings to transmit thrust loads throughout the entire groove wall – making these rings able to sustain high thrust loads.

Despite their name, radially-installed retaining rings actually resemble a half-circle and are sometimes called E-clips. This is because there are three prongs on the inside of the ring that contact the groove. Radially-installed retaining rings do not have lugs that allow them to be gripped by a set of retaining ring pliers. Additionally, because of their half-circle shape, these rings do cover the entire circumference of the groove and hence cannot sustain high thrust loads as effectively as their axially-installed counterparts. Despite that, two major advantages of radially-installed retaining rings are that they are easier to install than axially-installed rings and are more cost-effective than other fastening methods, including their axial counterparts.

Important Design Considerations for Retaining Rings

1. Thrust Load

Retaining rings are often used in heavy machinery to secure shafts and their components in industries like automobile and aerospace where they are used in engine and bearing assemblies. Unsurprisingly, thrust loads, or loads that are applied along the axis of a shaft, can be exceptionally high in these applications, especially when power transmission is involved. Thrust loads are one of three that result from the rotational meshing of gears in power transmission. During meshing, a reaction force normal to the contact area between the teeth of the gears develops. This resultant normal force can be broken down into two vector components: the axial (coming out the gear) and radial directions (towards the center of the gear). As gears rotate, the axial and radial forces will oscillate. Therefore, it’s critical that the retaining rings you purchase are rated to handle the maximum expected loads in your project. Calculate both the axial and radial forces in your project and pick an appropriate retaining ring.

2. Centrifugal Force

Additionally, rotational speeds in power transmission applications can be exceptionally fast. Rapid rotational speeds can cause centrifugal forces to lift a retaining ring out of position. This is because as objects revolve around an axis, a reaction force pointed away from the rotational center develops. The faster the rotational speed, the higher the centrifugal forces. Therefore, it’s important to consider both expected loads and rotational speeds when purchasing retaining rings for your project as the type of ring that is used can have a tremendous impact on your project’s success. 

Selecting a Retaining Ring

A quick note on part numbers: Although we mostly stock stainless steel retaining rings and add the respective shaft diameter per part, you can get a quick idea of clip specifications by looking at the part number code. Rotor Clip codes are abbreviated in the form Type, Size, Material, Finish. For example: SH-21ST PA refers to Shaft (SH), Nominal Shaft Diameter of 7/32” (21 / 100 = .21, or 7/32”), Carbon Spring Steel (ST), with a black phosphate finish (PA).

To help you find the correct ring from our selection, reference the chart below to determine which ring type suits your application:

InstallationApplicationCodeDescriptionSpecial Notes
AxialInternalHOHousing
AxialExternalSHShaft
RadialExternalE“E” – typeFor shafts .040 – 1.375 ” in diameter
RadialExternalSE“E” – typeSmaller free diameter than standard E rings
RadialExternalYE“E” – typeThicker than standard E rings
RadialExternalBSE“E” – typeBowed rings apply a spring force on parts; useful for taking up extra play

Note: For a full list of codes please review RCU The Ultimate Retaining Ring Guide p. 41

Need to replace a broken retaining ring?

Combined with an understanding of how part codes work, use whatever information you have available with your measurements. Depending on the ring installation type, there are some common dimensions to measure to find your part.

Axial Rings

Dimensions shown are for illustrative purposes only. Refer to spec sheets for confirmation.
  1. First measure the inside diameter of the housing (Housing-Dh) for internal applications or the outside diameter of the shaft (Shaft-Ds) for external applications.

  1. Take any available measurements of thickness (T), lug height (H), maximum section (S max), and minimum section (S min). Match your dimensions to the appropriate spec sheet below:

HO – Housing Rings
SH – Shaft Rings

Radial Rings

Dimensions shown are for illustrative purposes only. Refer to spec sheets for confirmation.
  1. Measure the outside diameter (G) and thickness (T) and match it to dimensions on the appropriate spec sheet:

E, SE, YE – Shaft Rings

Note: For full instructions please review RCU The Ultimate Retaining Ring Guide p. 57

Final Thoughts

Retaining rings are immensely useful fasteners for shafts and housings that do away with many of the troublesome headaches traditional fastening methods come with. The low-profile and lightweight retaining rings help reduce overall product assembly weights and footprints. Additionally, the easy installation of retaining rings means additional machining processes, like drilling and tapping, are no longer required. This helps reduce overall costs associated with both labor and hardware. 

At Albany County Fasteners, we know a thing or two about fastening. Contact a sales representative today to discuss which retaining ring is right for your project.


Get Wind of Hurricane Ties

Different types of hurricane ties are shown in detail.

The integrity of a home’s roof and its ability to withstand high winds is only as strong as the weakest link in its construction. Hurricane ties are one of the most commonly specified roof fasteners for new home construction, especially for homes in the coastal regions of the Southeastern United States. Hurricane ties play a critical role in the building’s resistance to both uplifting forces and lateral forces caused by hurricanes and severe storms. Hurricane ties play such a role by providing a path for uplifting and lateral loads to travel from the roof down to the foundation of a building. This allows strong forces to be distributed throughout the entire building’s structure, rather than just the roof. In this post, we dive deeper into hurricane ties, what they are, how they work, and important factors to consider to ensure you have all the information necessary for your project.


What Are Hurricane Ties?

Hurricane ties (also known as hurricane clips or straps, rafter ties, or truss ties) are metal fasteners used in construction that connect the rafters or beams of the roof structure to the wall structure of the building. Often made from stainless or galvanized steel, these specially designed fasteners help buildings resist strong upwards forces that result from hurricanes and severe storms – forces that could lift the roof off a building and cause catastrophic damage. However, hurricane ties are also used in regions with high seismic activity and can provide additional support to a building’s structure during an earthquake. By connecting the rafters to the wall structure, which itself is attached to the foundation, forces are distributed throughout the entire building’s structure rather than just the roof. This enables a far more robust structure capable of withstanding even the strongest storms or earthquakes.

How Do Hurricane Ties Work?

Oftentimes jointed connections are only as strong as the fasteners used to hold components together. During strong winds, many joints and connections at the roof of a structure will be subjected to exceptionally high shear forces. Screws are notoriously weak and break easily when excessively high shear forces are applied. This is due to stress concentrations that develop on the threads when shearing occurs. If you take a cross-section of a screw, the threads form a sawtooth pattern with several sharp corners. Shear stresses concentrate in these sharp corners and inevitably break the screw.

On the other hand, nails are much stronger in shear and preferred in framing due to having a smooth shank body that doesn’t concentrate stresses. Nails are also much more resistant to bending than screws for the same reason. This makes nails ideal for mounting hurricane ties over screws to secure members.

By fixing the roof trusses and the walls together, forces applied to one component will be distributed to the other components – depending on the location and direction of the load. Since wall components are fixed to the foundation of a building, using hurricane ties essentially fixes all components to the foundation.

How to Install Hurricane Ties?

Proper installation of hurricane ties is crucial to successfully protect a building against strong winds and earthquakes. In general, hurricane ties fasten together the angled trusses that form the roof and the horizontal wall plate of the wall structure. The angle and positioning of the trusses in relation to the wall plate, as well as the dimension of the beams, determine the type of hurricane tie that is used. Some hurricane ties join two components (the trusses and wall plate) while others join three (trusses, wall plate, and vertical wall beams). 

In new construction, installation of hurricane ties is straightforward and can be completed before any drywall or shingles go up. However, installing hurricane ties on existing construction is more nuanced. Listed below are the 4 steps to installing hurricane ties on an existing structure:

  1. Examine your Roof –  Climb into the attic and count each angled beam that forms the roof structure. Measure the cross-section dimensions and thicknesses of both the trusses and the horizontal beams to determine which size hurricane ties are needed. Purchase a sufficient amount of ties.
  1. Mark and Position the Hurricane Ties – Place your purchased ties in the locations where they will mate with the trusses and horizontal beams. Mark on the wooden components where nails will be driven through the holes of the hurricane tie. Orient the hurricane tie correctly based on the type of tie you are using. More on this is below. 
  1. Secure the Hurricane Ties to the Structure – Secure the tie to the horizontal beams first, in the locations you marked previously, then to the trusses. Ensure you use nails that are sufficient length, as shorter nails will negatively affect the structural integrity of the beams. A length of at least 2.5” is generally recommended. Additionally, ensure the nails are the same material as the tie. Dissimilar material nails and ties will cause galvanic corrosion in the components and compromise structural integrity. Refer to a galvanic corrosion chart and check the compatibility of your nail and tie if they are dissimilar materials.
  1. Verify your work – Ensure all components are sturdy and not loose. Ascertain that all holes of the tie contain a nail. A single missing nail is enough to compromise a joint.
Two hurricane ties are shown installed in a house under construction.
Hurricane ties are installed in a house under construction.

Important Factors to Consider Before Your Purchase

Purchasing hurricane ties is as easy as finding a tie that exceeds the uplift force rating of a roof’s trusses, right? Wrong. Picking the right hurricane tie requires careful consideration. Picking the wrong tie can be detrimental in the event of a storm. Aside from picking a properly sized tie, pay special attention to these points before your purchase:

Load Requirement

Selecting a hurricane tie that is capable of withstanding a certain uplift force is simply not enough. There are several loads that are applied simultaneously to buildings during a storm. Often a tie’s ability to resist uplift is limited by the lateral forces that are simultaneously applied. Therefore it’s important to consider all loads, not just uplift. You must also factor in dead weight (the weight of the roof itself and associated components) and live weight (the weight of environmental factors such as snow, plant debris, etc.) If a single tie at a connection is not sufficient to handle the applied loads, use multiple ties if possible.

Roof and Wall Framing

While most roofs and walls are square and aligned with one another, some are not. If roofs and walls are indeed square, consider using the same type of hurricane tie, such as an H2 style tie. This will help simplify both load paths and the installation of hurricane ties. If roofs and walls are not aligned, you may be still be able to use multiple H2.5 style ties to simplify installation. Failing that, it may be necessary to use multiple types of hurricane ties.1

Final Thoughts

Hurricane ties are a true lifesaver for both homes and people in coastal regions susceptible to hurricanes and heavy storms. Contact an Albany County Fasteners sales representative today to discuss which hurricane tie is right for your project.


1 https://seblog.strongtie.com/2016/07/select-connector-series-hurricane-tie/

Beveled Washers – What Are They and How Do They Work?

Beveled washers in various materials.

Beveled washers, like flat washers, are a type of hardware used with bolts and other fastening devices. In general, washers are used to help distribute loads from a bolt head across a wider area to reduce potentially concentrated loads from damaging components. Beveled washers are no different. However, beveled washers are used in special cases where two non-parallel surfaces must be joined together. Because of beveled washers, more complex vehicles, buildings, bridges, and products have been made possible. There are a number of factors to consider when picking the right beveled washer for your project. This article will review everything there is to know about beveled washers, from what they are and how they work, to different types and their advantages.


What Are Beveled Washers?

Unlike flat washers which are used for parallel mating surfaces, beveled washers are used for non-parallel surfaces. A beveled washer is a special type of washer that has a sloped side and a flat side. The sloped side can accommodate for different installation angles and allows the two non-parallel faces to be mated and aligned with a stable and tight fit. There are different types of beveled washers that come in both various shapes and sizes and with different surface finishes that can affect the strength of a joint. Therefore, it’s important to pick the right type of beveled washer for your project to ensure a strong, resilient joint.

How Do Beveled Washers Work?

When mating components by an externally threaded fastener and an internally threaded hole, a load called the clamping load, pretension, or bolt preload is developed. As the bolt is turned into the threaded hole, the bolt stretches, tension is created, and a clamping force from the bolt head exerted onto the mated component is developed.  The greater the turning force, or torque, that is applied to the bolt, the greater the clamping force will be. To prevent damage both to the part and to the bolt, a washer is placed underneath the bolt head. In general, washers are used to help distribute this load over a greater area and to help both reduce concentrated loads on the mated part and vibration throughout the system.

Distributing bolt preload with a flat washer is impossible in non-parallel mating surfaces. This is where beveled washers shine. As bolts are tightened on non-parallel surfaces, the angled face of the beveled washer provides a flat surface for the bolt head to rest. Like flat washers, beveled washers increase the surface area of the preload and protect components from damage.

What Materials can Beveled Washers be Made From?

Beveled washers can come in a variety of materials – from metals to rubbers and thermoplastics. For structural and load-bearing applications, beveled washers are commonly made from metals. Oftentimes, these metal beveled washers will also be surface treated so they can be used outdoors and have a high degree of environmental resistance. Some common metals and coatings used for beveled washers are listed below:

  1. Plain iron
  2. Hot-dipped galvanized steel
  3. 304 stainless steel
  4. 316 stainless steel

Plain cast-iron washers are highly susceptible to corrosion. However, they are no less effective than other metal beveled washers at reducing vibration, distributing high loads, and providing movement resistance to the bolt. Hot-dipped galvanized and stainless steel beveled washers can do everything plain cast-iron beveled washers can do, except they can do so in harsh environmental conditions. Be mindful of where beveled washers will be used in your project as cast-iron washers may corrode and compromise the strength of a joint. Additionally, make sure to match the beveled washer material to the bolt material. Reference a galvanic corrosion chart to determine which washer and bolt combination is best to prevent corrosion from occurring in the joint.

While most beveled washers seen are made from metals, beveled washers can also be made from rubbers and thermoplastics. Beveled washers made from these materials are generally not for load-bearing; they are more often used for sealing and mounting of non-parallel surfaces.

When Are Beveled Washers Used?

Non-parallel mating surfaces are where beveled washers are used. Some of the applications of beveled washers are described below:

Structural Beams in Construction

Use in structural beams is one of the areas where beveled washers are most commonly used. Structural beams often have angled flanges and require a beveled washer to fix the beam securely. While cast iron and iron alloy washers are malleable and can accommodate stretching and contraction of bolts during temperature fluctuations, they are vulnerable to the environment and consequently, corrosion. Consider using stainless steel beveled washers or surface-coated washers in environments susceptible to corrosion.

Watch our video below for an example of how beveled washers are used with I-beams.

Kitchen and Bathroom Sink Faucets

Another area where beveled washers are commonly used is kitchen and bathroom sink faucets. Oftentimes, beveled washers are used in faucets where stem travel is worn or its seat in the sink is damaged. In this application, beveled washers help seal water directly from the opening of the seat rather than the edges on the perimeter of the seat. These types of washers are often made from rubbers or thermoplastics rather than metals. Yet, their purpose is the same – to mate two non-parallel surfaces together.

How to Pick the Right Type of Beveled Washer?

When shopping for the right beveled washer, consider the application and environment where the washer will be used. Will it be outside where it is exposed to the elements? Will the beveled washer be subjected to extreme loading conditions? Will a square or a circular beveled washer work better? Asking yourself these questions will get you in the right direction. After design is complete and you know what type of bolts will be used in your system, there are two things you should do to ensure you pick the right type of washer:

  1. Match the washer size (that is, the washer inner diameter) with the bolt size being used.
  2. Match the washer shape with the application
  3. Match the angle of the beveled washer with the application.
  4. Pick a washer with an appropriate surface finish for the intended use environment.

Additionally, consider whether a square or circular beveled washer would be better for your project. Circular type beveled washers can be more aesthetically pleasing, but are more likely to rotate around the bolt and provide a weaker joint. Square type beveled washers make aligning surfaces easier and help distribute loads more evenly. Next, consider the angle needed for the beveled angle. Angles are determined by the thicknesses at the deepest and thinnest points of the washer. Finally, consider a washer with an appropriate surface finish that protects it from the environment and ensures a long-lasting, resilient joint.

Flat Washer vs. Beveled Washer

Flat washers are the most used type of washer used with bolt and screw fasteners. They are used to distribute the preload exerted by the bolt or screw head over the surface of the fastened part. Additionally, flat washers help reduce bolt spin-out due to vibrations. Beveled washers are designed to do everything flat washers can but also are used for mating non-parallel, flat surfaces.

Final Thoughts

With so many different types of washers, it can be hard to determine which is best for your project. Needless to say, if your project requires two non-parallel flat surfaces to be mated, consider using beveled washers. From there, determine which size and what surface finish would be best for your beveled washer to ensure a secure and resilient joint. Contact an Albany County Fasteners sales representative today to discuss which beveled washer is right for your project.

Shop beveled washers

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

Round Rivet Nuts: These nuts are made for circular holes and have a smooth or knurled surface on the shank of the nut. Knurled surfaces provide greater spin-out resistance by gripping the installation material. Round rivet nuts can be made either with open or closed ends. Closed-ended rivet nuts provide a barrier for liquid or particles entering the blind side of the installation material.

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.

Slotted Rivet Nuts: Slotted rivet nuts come with slots cut into the shank of the rivet nut body. These often come pre-bulbed for a secure grip and easier installation. Slotted rivet nuts offer an extensive grip range ideal for fastening varying thickness materials.

Floating Rivet Nuts: Floating rivet nuts allow for flexible fastening of workpieces. In these types of nuts, there is room for the internal thread to be positioned at differing angles, allowing for flexible bolt installation.

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 allows conventional fasteners, like standard hex nuts, to be mated onto the threaded 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.

What Are Belleville Washers?

What is a Belleville Washer?

installed belleville washer with bolt

These cupped spring washers flatten out as pressure is applied to them. They are commonly used to produce exceptionally high loads in small areas. Coned disk washers can absorb and dampen shocks and vibration as well, making them useful in many industries and applications.

The Many Industry Terms of Belleville Washers

BellevilleConed – Disc
ConicalCupped Spring
Spring LockSpring
Conical SpringDisc Spring
Belleville Spring

How Conical Washers Work

The conical spring washer has a cone shape that presses against the underside of the bolt head and into the installation material. This increased tension has a number of benefits including:

  • Vibration Control (Lock Washer)
  • Pre-Load
  • Increased Load
  • Increased Deflection
  • Spacing
  • Dampen/Absorb Shocks

Relevant Definitions

Pre-Load
Refers to the axial load placed on a fastener. Pre-load is considered to be 75% of the proof-load.
Proof-load
A test load a fastener MUST be able to hold without causing any compromise in its integrity. Considered the maximum safe load of a fastener.
Deflection
The degree to which a structural element is displaced under a load.

Due to their resistance to vibrations, conical washers are also considered to be lock washers as they perform a similar function. These disc spring washers are not only useful on their own but can be stacked in several different structures for increased resistance / absorption as well.

Belleville Spring Washer Stacks

Spring washers can be stacked in several structures to increase certain characteristics they produce for optimal performance.

series stack belleville washers

Series Stack

A series stack involves placing the washers top to bottom so that they create a gap in the middle. This can greatly increase the deflection of the stack by adding a spring like effect to the washers. *Note: This stack does not increase the load capacity of the fastener assembly.

parallel stack belleville washers

Parallel Stack

A parallel stack involves placing all of the washers in the same direction. Each added washer increases the load capacity of the stack. *Note: The deflection does not increase based on this stack.


parallel/series stack belleville washers

Parallel/Series Stack

The mixed parallel/series stack involves performing both types of stacks in a single fastener assembly. This increases both the load and deflection and can be arranged to suit almost any situation as needed to comply with the project needs.

Please note that while Belleville spring lock washers are exceptionally versatile and can be stacked in multiple configurations, the washer that rests against the installation material must always have it’s widest portion against the material.

Belleville Washer Uses

Due to Belleville washers being so versatile, they have many different uses and can be found in many different industries.

Spring Washer Uses
Locking (Prevent Fasteners Vibrating Loose) Limit effects of Relaxation
Spring Resolve Thermal Expansion
Spacer Dampen/Absorb Shock
Deter Bolt Yield Extra Tension
Shim
Industries That Use Conical Washers
Energy Utility Transmission
Distribution Pump and Valve Manufacturing
Chemical Automotive
Transportation Industrial Automation
And Many More

Can Belleville Washers Be Reused?

Yes, Belleville conical washers can be reused, repeatedly, as long as they are not damaged. Overloading and over-torquing these washers can wear them out over time. As long as they are used properly and checked before reuse, these fasteners can be used again and again to complete projects.

Belleville Washer Installation

Installing Belleville washers is very easy. There are only a few steps to consider:

  1. Determine the project load capacity and deflection.
  2. Decide which Spring Washer Stack will give you the optimal results.
  3. Slide the washers onto a bolt in the optimal stack.
  4. Slide the bolt through the installation material with the stack pressing against the installation material (remember the base washer must be facing down).
  5. Tighten the bolt against the other side of the installation material.
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