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Nuts and Bolts

When you want to know the “nuts and bolts” of something, you’re curious about its the building blocks, the fundamentals, the basics. A solid foundation is a necessary starting point for any long-term success – if you tried building anything, you know this.

Obviously, we’re not dealing with language here. We simply want to tell you more about nuts and bolts. Yes, this basic topic can always be made more comprehensible and accessible, and if you don’t believe it, we’ll prove it!

So here’s a little Nuts and Bolts 101 to cover all the basics.

Nuts: the fundamental hardware

A nut is a small metal fastener with a threaded hole in the middle. It is used to secure a corresponding bolt and fasten different parts together.

What materials are used to make modern hardware nuts?

  • Stainless steel
  • Carbon steel
  • Zinc (clear zinc and yellow zinc)
  • Optional oxidation resistant coating for materials used in outdoor applications

Types of Hardware Nuts

There are many types of nuts available today. Here are some of them:

  • Hex finish nuts: this is the most common type of nut, used for fastening to a socket cap bolt. Internally threaded.
  • Hex jam nuts: quite similar to the above type of nut, but noticeably thinner. Also internally threaded.
  • Cap nuts (acorn nuts): the shape explains the name – this nut has a closed-off, domed top which prevents it from getting in contact with the external thread.
  • Coupling nuts: used for joining two male threads.
  • Nylon insert lock nuts: this nut is hex-shaped and internally-threaded, and the additional nylon layer makes it more resistant to vibrations.
  • Tri-groove nuts: these nuts have a narrowing diameter, which makes them harder to install, but also safer than a more conventional nut type.
  • Wing nuts (butterfly nuts): unlike tri-groove nuts, you can manually fasten and unfasten wing nuts, which makes them ideal to use in situations where you often have to remove them (or be quick about it).

Bolts (and How They’re Different From Screws)

There is more than one criteria you can use when talking about bolts vs screws, but the most important thing to keep in mind is what purpose you use them for: screws join components that have their own thread, and bolts join two unthreaded components.

What materials are used to make bolts?

  • Steel or stainless steel (the most common material)
  • Bronze
  • Nylon

Types of Bolts

Here are some common types of bolts, their description and usage:

  • Hex head bolt: there are several different varieties of bolts that fall into this broader category. They all have a hexagonal head and have to be installed using a wrench.
  • Machine bolt (or stove bolt): has a flat head that can come in a variety of shapes. Used with both nuts and washers.
  • Socket cap screw: requires a hex Allen key to fasten.
  • Square head bolts: thanks to its square-shaped head, this bolt has more gripping surface than a hex head bolt.

Hopefully, we helped you know your basic hardware components better.

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