The Impact of Spacing Saving Fasteners


Have you ever found yourself finalizing a machine design, ready to specify fastener configurations and quantities when suddenly you realize that you’ve neglected to consider the space required for actual fasteners that hold the design together? This realization may send you scrambling to quickly redesign components to accommodate interfering fastener heads; or conversely, you may find that fasteners may be located so close together that it is impossible to actually fit a tightening tool for fastener removal and initial installation. The solution to such a design problem may not require a full machine redesign but may be found in the use of space-saving fasteners in key areas of the design.

Basic Purpose of Space-Saving Fasteners

If you aren’t already aware, there are multiple fastener types that have been engineered to perform flawlessly in design applications that are extremely space-limited space and simply cannot accommodate a large nut or fastener head. These broadly termed “space-saving fasteners” are fasteners that are engineered to preserve space within machine designs resulting in a very small fastener footprint.

The basic idea behind a low head fastener is to lower the height of the fastener drive head as low as possible to minimize the impact of the drive head on the aesthetics and geometry of the machine component design. For illustration,an ultra-thin head screw has a head that is approximately 77% thinner than the same regular head cap screw. These screws are designed to work in spaces with very little overhead clearance or on component designs that require a flat surface/interface and are unable to accommodate counterbores or countersinks in the design to achieve such flat surface finishes. For example, joint material such as sheet metal or plastics cannot typically be counterbored or countersunk, so low-profile screws are perfect for these components. Machines with moving or sliding components require flat, streamlined profiles to accommodate such motion.

Application Examples of Low-profile Fastener Usage

As previously discussed, low profile fasteners are typically employed in applications that must require flat, streamlined surfaces and are unable to accommodate counterbores or countersinks in the mating material to achieve such a surface finish. In this sense, large industrial machines with sliding panels or access doors are a great example of where low-profile fasteners would be ideal.

The most commonly used consumer products that employ space-saving fasteners are consumer electronic equipment such as laptop computers and televisions. Many components within these products are fastened together with small screws, called micro screws, which can fit smaller holes than standard screw sizes and have very low head heights. The use of these types of fasteners in electronics makes perfect sense because these products are designed to be as small as possible and typically use a significant number of plastic boards and thin plastic housings which cannot accommodate deep countersinks or counterbores.

Types of Space Saving Bolts

Low Head
Low Head Small
Extra Low Head
Ultra-Low Head

Examples of Space Saving Bolts

MISUMI Solutions

Admittedly, this quick introductory tour has barely scratched the surface of available space-saving fastener types and configurations. To assist you further in your search, MISUMI has a huge selection of space-saving fasteners including micro screws, low-head, and ultra-low head screws. Discover the selection here.

About the Author

Carlicia Layosa

Carlicia is a Product Marketing Engineer at MISUMI. She holds a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and a master's degree in Energy Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate, Marketo Certified Expert, and is passionate about education and training.

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