Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid With Fasteners
The world of fasteners is incredibly large. To understand everything about them it would take years of study and learning the complexities that come with them. Each fastener has been engineered for a specific use but can be used for many other things as well. There is no way to go over everything you can and cannot do with fasteners but we can help you make sure you don’t make some of the major mistakes that should be avoided.
1. Choosing the Wrong Material and Grade
It is the first thing you should consider when buying fasteners. “What material do I need?” There are many materials available and each one has their own properties that make them worth using or ignoring depending on the application. This is not enough however, it must be taken one step further as each material has a different chemical make-up. These unique make-ups are known as material grades. Each Grade also has it’s own properties that make it more or less suited for certain environments.
Stainless Steel – Corrosion Resistant
Grade 316 Stainless Steel – Corrosion Resistant Even In Extreme Saltwater Environments
For more information on materials and grades check out our Fasteners 101 Resource on Materials, Grades and Strengths for specific materials and grades and their uses.
2. Using Reactive Materials Together
It is not common knowledge that metals put together can actually weaken their integrity. Take Aluminum and Stainless Steel for example, when they are together and an electrolyte is introduced (such as salt water) electrons transfer creating an unstable balance. This weakens the materials and leaves them susceptible to corrosion. This process is known as galvanic corrosion and should be avoided to extend fastener lifespans.
3. Not Using Appropriate Locking Fasteners
Locking fasteners are an excellent addition to any fastener assembly but there are some situations that absolutely call for them. Any assembly that is subject to harsh or constant vibrations should have some form of locking fastener. For the best results we recommend Nylon Insert Lock Nuts. These nuts have a nylon strip inserted around the top of the nut. As the nut is tightened onto the bolt, the threads cut into the nylon adding extra friction to the assembly.
4. Mixing Threading or Imperial and Metric
Not all fasteners were created equal. One of the most common mistakes is trying to fasten wrong types of fasteners together. Every kind of fastener should easily thread by hand. If you find that the fastener is not seating properly, check the fasteners. There are many fastener measuring tools available for easily checking threading and fastener sizes. Always check what size you need before trying to force the connection.
If you aren’t sure what type of threading you need, check out our Fine Vs Coarse Threading blog post explaining the benefits of each.
5. Wrong Sized Drivers
A Driver is designed to fully fit the driver recess of the fastener. There are different sizes of all types of drivers such as the Phillips 1 or Phillips 2. Always make sure to use the correct driver as a loose driver will drastically increase the change of stripping and cam out.
Also, for sockets and wrenches, make sure the correct drive is being used. Many people attempt to use a metric socket on an imperial hex head because it is a close match. Do Not Do This. The recess is not a close enough match and will put most of the force on the points of the hex head. Too much torque and those points will deform resulting in a stripped hex head.
Use Supplementary Supplies
Supplementary supplies, such as threadlocker, are not products to ignore. They have real tried and tested benefits.
- Threadlocker solution should be added to assemblies facing vibrations as well as lock washers to deter accidental loosening.
- Anti-seize lubrication should be added to assemblies (especially stainless steel) to increase ease of installation and prevent galling.
- Drill Bit Lubricant should be used to maximize the life of a drill bit.
These supplementary supplies are designed specifically for applications and when used properly can make a little extra effort go a very long way. Now you know what the Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid With Fasteners are and how to avoid them.