The ABCs of Fasteners: Understanding the Different Types

Fasteners are essential in various industries, from construction and manufacturing to automotive and aerospace. They can combine two or more materials, such as wood, metal, plastic, or composite materials. The right fastener can ensure the stability and safety of the structure or product. In the market, various types of fasteners, from bolts to shoulder screws, are available, each with unique features and applications.

The following points will explore the different types of fasteners and their characteristics.

Shoulder Screws

Shoulder screws are a type of fastener used in many different applications. They are distinguished by their cylindrical shape with a smaller, unthreaded portion called a shoulder. The shoulder provides a precise, smooth surface for bearing loads and can act as a spacer or shaft for rotating components. These types of screws come in various sizes, shapes, and materials, including wood screws, sheet metal screws, machine screws, and self-tapping screws.


Bolts are similar to screws in that they have threads on their surface. However, bolts are typically larger and are used with a nut to create a more robust and secure connection. Bolts come in various types, including carriage, hex, and eye bolts. Carriage bolts have smooth, domed heads and are commonly used in woodworking and construction. Hex bolts have a hexagonal head and are often used in machinery and automotive applications. Eye bolts have a looped head and are used to lift or suspend heavy objects.


Nuts are used in conjunction with bolts to secure two materials together. They are typically hexagonal and have threads on their interior surface. Nuts come in various sizes and materials, including stainless steel, brass, and nylon. Some common nuts include hex nuts, wing nuts, and lock nuts. Hex nuts are the most common and are used with bolts to secure materials in place. Wing nuts have a winged design, allowing them to be tightened by hand without needing tools. Lock nuts have a special design that prevents them from loosening, making them suitable for high-vibration applications.


Rivets are a type of fastener used to join two materials together permanently. They consist of a smooth shaft with a head on one end and a flattened end on the other. The flattened end of the rivet is then struck with a hammer or a rivet gun, causing it to deform and create a secure joint. Rivets come in various types, including solid rivets, blind rivets, and tubular rivets. Solid rivets are the most common and are used in various applications, from construction to aerospace.


Clips are a type of fastener that is used to hold materials together temporarily. They are often used in automotive and industrial applications, where parts must be assembled and disassembled quickly. Clips come in various types, including snap-on, push-on, and retaining clips. Snap-on clips are used to secure panels or covers in place, while push-on clips are used to hold wires or cables together. Retaining clips prevent parts from slipping or sliding, ensuring a secure connection.

In conclusion, many different fasteners are available in the market, each with its unique features. When selecting a fastener, it is essential to consider the specific application and the materials used, as well as the cost and ease of installation factors. You can only create a solid and reliable connection that will stand the test of time with the right choice of fastener.