Various screw types and their applications

Various screw types and their applications guide, Property outdoors style advice

Various Screw Types and Their Applications

19 July 2023

When you stop to think about any screw you’ve ever seen, it might not seem like much. But those little fasteners are an essential part of just about every project that you’ve ever seen or will take part in.

It helps to know the various types of screws as well as the applications they can be used for. Knowing more about those screws will give you a greater appreciation of just how important those little things are.

Various screw types and their applications

Machine Screws

You can tell machine screws because the entire length has a uniform diameter to it. More importantly, this kind of screw needs machine threads in at least one part of whatever it is you are screwing. As the name suggests, machine screws join machine parts together.

In this day and age, you will find machine screws used in a wider range of applications. They can be used in consumer electronics, product machines, and even home appliances like kitchenware, phones, laptops, and more.

Sheet Metal Screw

Sheet metal screws are distinct because of the pointed end. These screws cut their own threads and can be used to join two pieces of sheet metal together. The cool thing about sheet metal screws is that they aren’t exclusively used for joining sheet metal.

This kind of screw can be used on plastic and wood, too, though you would need to pre-drill a hole to avoid potential damage. Even on sheet metal parts, you’d need that pilot hole in order to use self-tapping screws for this application.

Wood Screw

Wood screws look and function very similarly to sheet metal screws. Wood screws are also quite versatile in that they come in different material types like brass or steel. Each material has its perks and downsides, so do your homework before using it for your current application.

Wood screws have a sharp, pointed end that makes them perfect to bore into wood. Just be cognizant of the wood type because even wood screws can splinter and crack certain types of brittle wood. Wood screws are used in a litany of home improvement applications, making them a staple of the average DIYer out there.

Set Screw

These look substantially different from the traditional screw in a lot of ways. Yes, they have threads all the way around the diameter but that’s where the similarities end. There is no head and no pointed end to bore into the material.

These are great for working in a small space where a head might not be available. Set screws are great for gear and shaft assembly because of their size. That’s not even counting the fact that another screw type can wind up hindering the operation of the gears.

Security Screw

These are unique because of the drive type. Most screws have a Phillips or flat head but this one requires a different kind of bit to use. They are meant to provide a certain level of protection though not the same as a lock.

Consumer electronic products make use of security screws. They are most common in the bottom and top housing, ensuring that the customer can’t pry the casing open. This helps companies to better manage product warranties while also keeping the product from suffering damage.

Thread Forming Screws

You’ll probably hear about self-tapping screws but don’t get those confused with thread-forming screws. Self-tapping screws are mostly used for the sheet metal industry and create screw joints, cutting through plastic materials.

Thread-forming screws work to create joints in those plastic materials by forming threads. It is small but delivers quite a bit of tensile strength.

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