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Self-Tapping Screws: How They Work and How to Use Them

When looking for fastening solutions, one common solution to use for routinely maintained products is self-tapping screws. What is a self tapping screw? Self-tapping screws are fasteners that are designed to drill their own hole as they are screwed into wood, plastic or metal. By using a screw driver and self-tapping screws, precisely fitted threads are created. Self-tapping screws are ideal for items that require regular maintenance and work well when working with two different kinds of material being fastened together.

These screws either come with a blunt, flat, sharp or piercing tip. Sharp-tipped self-tapping screws drill their own holes in softer wood and plastic. However, it is helpful to drill a pilot hole when working with harder material. When drilling a pilot hole, make sure to use a smaller bit than the screw so it may still serve its purpose.

What material is involved can help determine what type of self-tapping screw will work best. There are two types: thread-forming and thread-cutting. Thread-forming screws are usually used when working with plastics. Thread-forming screws are designed to stay in place tightly, but over tightening the screw could result in materials breaking under too much pressure. Thread-cutting screws are used mostly when working with metal and wood. One drawback to using thread-cutting screws is that the threads may strip if the application is disassembled. This prevents reuse of the fastener and requires a new, slightly larger self-tapping screw when it is time to reassemble.

However, there is a solution to prevent stripping. A metal insert can be installed from the beginning that would allow the self-tapping screw to be regularly fastened and unfastened. These metal inserts also work to help minimize stress and expand as the fastener is screwed in.

Just like other types of fasteners, self-tapping screws are available in all shapes and sizes and are also available in numerous different head types. When choosing the right self-tapping screw for any given application, it is important to consider the length of the screw tip. In order for the screws to serve their purpose and work properly, the screw must be drilled fully into the material before threading can begin.

Although self-tapping screws are typically more in terms of price, they can help cut down on time and labor costs and combine the steps of drilling and fastening.

To learn more about how to use self-tapping screws, contact us at ProvenProductivity@bossard.com.

Self-Tapping Screws: How They Work and How to Use Them by
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August 06, 2014
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