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Types of Precision Fasteners

Types of precision fasteners

Fastener is a general term for a part that holds two or more objects together. You see all different types of fasteners everywhere in the world, and they come in every shape and size imaginable.

Screws, bolts, nails, rivets, and anchors are all fasteners used in different applications. Each type of fastener has unique attributes that allow systems to work properly. For example, the fasteners in your air conditioning unit are different from the ones you’ll find in a cruise ship.

In this article, we’ll explain how different types of fasteners are used, and the types of material fasteners are made with.

What is a fastener?

Fasteners have one primary job: hold multiple pieces together. Things like velcro, glue, or tape have the same role, but those are not fasteners. Fasteners are typically made of metal so they can withstand the pressure. Hard plastics are used in some instances, but the majority of fasteners are metal.

Fasteners are also not designed for a permanent joint. You can usually find that screws attach the door handle to the door. The screws provide a strong connection and allow you to remove the handle from the door whenever you need to without damaging anything.

Fasteners such as nails or rivets are more difficult to disassemble, but they’re not as permanent compared to welding. You can remove nails and rivets with little impact on the components they were holding together.

Here are a few different types of fasteners that we manufacture, and their characteristics:


These are the most common type of fasteners used in the world. A screw is extremely versatile and used everywhere. You could look around your home or office and find hundreds of screws. Screws are easy to install and uninstall, and they can be made with highly precise measurements. You’ll find very tiny screws inside a watch, and huge screws inside wind turbines.

  • Wood screws have coarse threads and a tapered head.
  • Sheet metal screws have sharper threads for connecting metal to other materials.
  • Machine screws have a uniform thickness and don’t taper off at the bottom.
  • MDF screws can self-tap without splitting the material.


Bolts are similar to screws but are usually bigger and stronger. Bolts work together with washers and nuts to join multiple pieces together. Unlike screws, you will need access to both ends of the bolt to attach the nut. The washer helps to spread the load over a larger surface area, which reduces the wear and tear as well as the loosening of your bolt over time while the nut secures the bolt in place.

Like screws, bolts come in many sizes and types. They’re also usable with several materials ranging from metal and wood to concrete. Compared to screws, bolts are easier to remove.

  • Carriage bolts often have a domed or countersunk head with a square component under the head to keep the bolt from spinning while tightening the nut.
  • Flange bolts include a circular flange beneath the head for distributing loads evenly.
  • Plow bolts are for heavy-duty applications, such as construction equipment.
  • Hex-head bolts are six-sided with machine threads.
  • Square-head bolts have square heads, offering an easier grip for wrenches.
  • Allen bolts have a hexagonal socket for use with Allen wrenches.


Nuts are used to secure the bolt in place. Along with washers and spacers, nuts help evenly distribute the weight or pressure on the bolt. Nuts are available in various shapes, sizes, and materials. It’s best to use the same material for a nut and bolt to avoid one wearing down before the other. Self-locking nuts can have a nylon ring to form a tighter lock and avoid loosening over time, or they can have a slot to place a pin that prevents movement.

  • Coupling nuts are hex-shaped and join two male threads together.
  • Flange nuts have a wide, serrated flange on one end that serves a similar function as a washer but without any added movement.
  • Hex nuts are the most common variety, featuring a hex shape and internal threads.
  • Lock nuts include designs to prevent loosening due to vibrations.
  • Slotted nuts have sections cut out to create a locking mechanism with the help of a cotter pin.
  • Square nuts feature a square shape for greater surface area.


A clevis fastener is a two-piece fastener system consisting of a clevis and a clevis pin. The clevis is a U-shaped part that has holes at the end of each end to accept the clevis pin. The clevis pin is similar to a bolt, but is either partially threaded or is unthreaded with a cross-hole for a split pin.


Anchors serve a similar function to a boat’s anchor. An anchor is similar to a bolt with no head, and embeds itself into a hole. Generally, people use anchors to connect something to a material like drywall or concrete. They embed themselves in the material and hold the object in place.

Different uses for fasteners

Fasteners are used in nearly every industry since the sizes and materials are limitless. 

You can find fasteners around your house used to hang photos, attach the door to your cabinet, or hold the legs onto your chair. These types of fasteners need to be the right size to work properly, but they’re not as precise.

The fasteners used in the medical field, automotive industry, and aerospace industry are held to higher standards. The parts used in a vehicle are under significantly more pressure compared to the screw used to attach cabinet handles. For these projects, the parts have tighter tolerances and stronger materials are used.

Fastener materials and finishing

The majority of fasteners are made from a hard metal alloy such as steel, stainless steel, or a superalloy like Inconel. Spex uses these materials to machine precision fasteners:

  • Steel
  • Stainless Steel
  • Carbon Steel
  • Monel
  • Inconel
  • Hastelloy
  • Aluminum
  • Brass

To do their job, fasteners need to have a high level of strength and resist high stress levels and temperatures. In some cases, a coating is applied to the parts to increase their corrosion resistance and longevity.

Coating and plating techniques increase fastener capabilities by helping to regulate torque pressure, lowering thread resistance, and enhancing durability. Fasteners can be plated with nickel, chromium, or be heat-treated to increase strength.

When you’re choosing which material is best, numerous factors such as environmental circumstances, corrosive elements, physical stress requirements, and overall structural stability, will influence material effectiveness. It’s essential to pick the best material and grade of metal for your specific project.

Order custom fasteners

We’re ready to answer any questions you have about ordering custom precision fasteners.

Our machining capabilities extend far further than what you might find on the shelf at your local hardware store. And we can promise you that our team will provide an excellent experience from start to finish.

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Phone: (585) 467-0520

Email: sales@spex1.com

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Rochester, NY 14621