Though hex bolts go by many names the characteristic that they all share is a hexagonal head, designed to be driven by a wrench. They all are commonly referred to as both bolts and screws. They are unique because of the threading. These bolts are partially threaded with a shoulder beneath the head. Tap Bolts are fully threaded up to the hexagonal head. The unique characteristic of a hex bolt is the design of the head, from which they get their name. The "flange" of the bolt is a built in (integral) washer. In Imperial sizes, this washer is serrated to act as a lock washer.
Tap Bolts vs Hex Cap Screws
Hex Bolts, are bolts with an external hex head. Hex Cap Screws and Tap Bolts are both types of Hex Bolts, however the difference is in the threading. Tap Bolts are fully threaded regardless of the length of the bolt, which means that the thread extends from the tip of the bolt all the way to the bottom of the head. Hex Cap Screws or hex head screws, feature a shoulder in longer lengths (usually over 1-1/4 inch). The shoulder creates a higher tensile strength bolt, however the length of threading is limited and not suitable for all applications. Generally speaking, Hex Cap Screws are commonly used with nuts to secure an object in between the head of the bolt and the nut.
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