When you are in need of fastening solutions, many people tend to restrict themselves to using more familiar products, such as the titanium hex lag bolts. However, the truth is that there are many other varieties of fasteners out there, and you only need to explore in order to find ones that are rare but […]

When you are in need of fastening solutions, many people tend to restrict themselves to using more familiar products, such as the titanium hex lag bolts. However, the truth is that there are many other varieties of fasteners out there, and you only need to explore in order to find ones that are rare but which will be perfect for your needs. A good example of these are the self-tapping screws. Most people don’t use them, but they often come in handy in a large variety of scenarios.

What are self-tapping screws?
The self-tapping screws are similar to common types of screws such as the Inconel hex head cap screw. However, what sets them apart from all the rest is the fact that they drill their own holes. With other types of screws, you will need to create a hole in the material you are drilling into, so that you can then get a space to tighten the screw in.

 
Why use them?
The self-tapping screws are most ideal for use when you intend to create a joint that will have very precisely fitted threads. Remember, the fact that you will be drilling the screw into the material as is means that the material and the screw will be closely apposed. In many cases, this means that the union will be more snugly fitting.
Of course, there are limitations to doing this. For instance, the fact that they are self-tapping means that you can’t use them to fasten very tough materials such as very thick steel; they are only useful for when you want to fasten wood, plastic and thin sheets of metal. These types of screws are most ideal for when you need to fasten a material that will require regular maintenance, and when you need to fasten two materials that have very different physical properties such as wood and plastic.
The types of self-tapping screws you can get
There are many varieties of self-tapping screws you can find in the markets. They are usually designated by the nature of the tip of the screw. Using this classification, one can find blunt, flat, piercing and sharp self-tapping screws in the market. Each of these has different characteristics, and is therefore ideal for use in a very specific environment.
For instance, the sharp screws are excellent for use in soft wood and plastic. If you intend to use them, it would be a good idea to first create a small plastic hole in the material you are screwing to ensure that the process is accurate.
These types of screws can also be designated as thread forming and thread cutting. The thread forming ones are mostly used to fasten plastics, and are designed to stay in place tightly. The thread cutting ones are ideal for use in fastening wood and metal, but their major disadvantage is that their threads tend to become destroyed when you undo them. This means that if you have to replace them, you will need to use a new and slightly larger screw.

About the Author

Larry Melone
By Larry Melone
President

Started my career in the fastener world in 1969 at, Parker Kalon Corp. a NJ based screw manufacturer located in Clifton, NJ working in inventory control, scheduling secondary production and concluding there in purchasing. In 1971 I accepted a sales position at Star Stainless Screw Co., Totowa, NJ working in inside sales and later as an outside salesman, having a successful career at Star I had the desire with a friend to start our own fastener distribution company in 1980 named: Divspec, Kenilworth, NJ. This was a successful adventure but ended in 1985 with me starting Melfast in August 1985 and have stayed competitive and successful to date. Melfast serves the OEM market with approximately 400 accounts nationally.

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