Know Your Bolts Redux

Know Your Bolts Redux

Back in January, John Baichtal wrote about the Bolt Depot’s downloadable PDF posters [PDF, 520K] of common (and not so common) screws, bolts, washers, nuts, and other fasteners. But we thought, in light of our Mechanics Skill Set coverage, we’d remind our readers of them. Not only is the PDF great, but the Bolt Depot web catalog offers a much deeper database of these hardware types, with nice, big illustrations of each part, descriptions, common sizing, common alloys, etc.

A big part of learning a skill set like basic mechanical engineering is knowing what parts are available, what they’re called, and how they’re used. A free resource like this goes a long way towards understanding fastening technology, all based around the gloriously simple machinery of the screw. These reference posters are great to keep in your toolbox, on your bench, or slotted into the pocket of your Maker’s Notebook.

Bolt Depot Fastener Type Chart

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16 thoughts on “Know Your Bolts Redux

  1. Gustaf Gagge says:

    The chart looks really great but in the drive type part Im missing one of the most common Screw Heads and that is the PoziDriv.
    In the Makers Notebook the PoziDriv is part of the Screw head section.
    But the description say that you can use it with a Phillips driver but that is not correct.
    If you use a phillips driver you will not get the same momentum and in some cases destroy the screw head.

    1. no whey says:

      To confuse the cross slot crowd there are also JIS aka “Japanese phillips” screws and drivers. Some of the angles are slightly different. They usually have a dot in one quadrant.

  2. Christian Restifo says:

    Sex bolts. Yet another reason engineering is an awesome profession…..full of men who aren’t quite fully mature.

  3. JamesB says:

    I would encourage budding young fabricators to also take a look at the bolt grade charts and get an inexpensive universal thread gauge. For found fasteners, the grade markings help differentiate metric from SAE, and the thread gauge helps separate the coarse from fine. After you twist the heads off some inexpensive fasteners, the need for the higher grades becomes apparent pretty quick.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I was taught at my fathers knee that what you call “hex bolts” here, are “hex screws”. That a bolt is screw and a nut.

    1. Anonymous says:

      There are two competing definitions of what makes a bolt a bolt and not a nut. One definition is that a screw is meant to be torqued from the head, and a bolt is torged from the nut. Machine screws – for example – are coupled with nuts, but you tighten them from the head.

      An alternate definition is that a bolt is a fastener whose threading meats a specific standard (I presume with close tolerances). There’s some info with references at the bottom of this page,

      If you want to see a good assortment of bolt types and styles with brief descriptions of their use and qualities, you might be interested in this from the Fastener Resource Center:

      And – you guessed it – even there, some of those bolts are called screws.

  5. Eric Gigante says:

    Does anyone know if something like this exists for the electronics field?  Something like a chart that shows off different components and wire gages, etc?

  6. James Bryant says:

    In Britain (and Commonwealth countries?) “wing nuts” are known as “butterfly nuts”. Should this be incorporated into the article?

  7. kuade says:

    I would expand on this.|categoryl1:%22600000%20Fasteners%22|~%20~|categoryl2:%22600072%20Nuts%22|~

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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