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What is a Square Head Screw?

What is a Square Head Screw

Precision screws come in virtually any shape and size. One of the popular choices for durable screws are square head and square drive screws. These screws offer better durability and longevity compared to typical phillips head screws.

A square head screw is a type of fastener that has a square recess at the top, rather than the philips plus or flat head screw slot. You’ll need a square bit to install and remove the square head screw.

You’ve probably experienced the frustration of a screw head getting stripped. The square recess holds its shape significantly better than the phillips head screw. One of the reasons for this is because phillips head screws are designed to “cam out” to prevent the screw from breaking. The screwdriver or drill bit moves out of the screw head to prevent shearing the screw in half.

Square head vs Square drive

Technically, square head screws are screws with a square shaped head, not a square recess. Actual square head screws aren’t very common. Square head bolts, which don’t have a pointed end and use nuts to secure an assembly, are more common.

Screws with a square recess are technically called square drive screws. When most people say square head screws or square drive screws, they’re talking about the same part—a screw with a square recess.

Square Head Screw vs Square Drive Screw

What are square head screws used for?

Square head screws are commonly used for applications that require high torque. This includes most deck screws, drywall, furniture manufacturing, and other high-demanding applications.

Square drive screws are also better suited for removal and reinstalling. If something needs to be assembled and disassembled often, this type of screw is one of the best options.

How square head screws are manufactured

There are a few different methods used to manufacture screws. 

One of the common screw manufacturing methods is a process called cold heading and thread rolling. 

  • A piece of wire is cut to the desired length.
  • The wire is stamped to create the head of the screw.
  • The screw blank is rolled between two dies to create threading.

Swiss screw machining is another manufacturing method. Swiss screw machines are used to make precision parts that typically have a long and skinny shape. These machines were originally developed to make Swiss watch parts, and they’re still used to make precision screws. Swiss screw machining isn’t used for regular screws you buy at the hardware store, because those don’t require a high level of precision. Screws used in the aerospace, medical, and electronics industries require tight tolerances which Swiss screw machining provides. 

The third screw manufacturing method is a screw lathe. This is much less common today. The lathe rotates the part and uses a single-point cutting tool to remove material and form the screw threads. CNC lathes are used to make precision parts, but not commonly used for screws.

Common screw materials

Because one of the advantages of square head screws is increased durability, these screws are typically made with harder metals.

At Spex, we use a wide variety of materials:

  • Heat treated steels
  • Stainless steels
  • Nickel alloys
  • Titanium
  • Monel
  • Brass

The ideal material depends on what the screw will be used for. Different metal alloys perform much differently in different work environments. Heat treated steel alloys are strong and less expensive, but aren’t ideal in a wet environment.

Order custom precision screws

Spex offers a large selection of custom precision machined parts for whatever your project needs. We are an ISO 9001:2015 certified company, and our team specializes in precision machining and supply chain efficiency. Our machined components are available in an array of different materials and finishes and are manufactured to meet all the highest quantity needs.

Reach out to our team to get a quote for custom precision screws. 

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Phone: (585) 467-0520

Email: sales@spex1.com

85 Excel Drive
Rochester, NY 14621