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Understanding Fastener Series

Welcome to Fastener Mart's Understanding Fastener Series of articles. In this section we "demystify" terms, features and specifications related to inch and metric fasteners (screws, bolts, nuts, etc.), rivets, anchors and more. It isn't an engineering reference, but it is a general guide to help you understand the differences. Because standards can be very complicated, consult an expert—such as a registered professional engineer—when dealing with structural and other critical applications.

Below is a list of topics covered…

Table 1. Understanding Fastener Series of articles.
Understanding… Highlights
Fasteners What's a fastener? I thought it was a screw.
Bolts and Screws Is there a difference between a bolt and a screw?
Inch Fasteners Common in North America, this section explains sizes and the number of threads per inch of inch-based fasteners.
Metric Fasteners Metric fasteners can be confusing if you haven't worked with them before. Here we discuss what their designation means.
Screw Heads and Drive Styles Fasteners have different head styles, which affects their mechanical properties and cosmetic appearance. Some styles are interchangeable, others aren't. And some drive styles offer security, while others don't. Compare the diversity here.
Fastener Grades and Classes Not all fasteners are created equally—some are stronger than others. This section looks at the differences for both inch and metric sizes.
Fastener Materials Different materials are used to make fasteners for different applications. See some of the more common types here.
Fastener Platings and Finishes To prevent corrosion, or to improve appearance, fasteners may be plated or otherwise finished. Some platings are better than others for resisting corrosion. This section lists what to use for what.
Blind Rivets Blind rivets are quick and easy to install and are vibration and tamper resistant. If you need a permanent fastener that installs from one side, look at blind rivets.
Locking Fasteners There are many different ways to "lock" fasteners to prevent loosening. Some are self-locking, others require an additional part. We explore those differences in this section.
Tapping Screws Tapping screws "tap" mating threads as they are installed. Some types require a pre-drilled or punched hole, others are self drilling. Some of the important characteristics are summarized here.
Anchors By our count, there are seven basic categories of anchors. Whether you're looking for light duty or heavy duty, solid material or hollow wall, removable or tamper resistant, we examine the traits of each in this section.

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