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Threaded Fasteners

Nomenclature and Definitions

Fastener Types
Head Style
Drive Type
Nuts and Washers
Thread Representation

Fastener Types

Bolts are defined as headed fasteners having external threads
that meet an exacting, uniform bolt thread specification such
that they can accept a non-tapered nut.
Screws are defined as headed, externally-threaded fasteners
that do not meet the above definition of bolts. Screws always
cut their own internal threads when initially installed, as there
is generally no tool meeting the arbitrary specification of their
threads to tap out the internal threads beforehand. Also, they
are generally tapered to a sharp point.
Machine Screw

Not really a screw by definition

no chamfer
< 3.0 in length

Head Style
A countersunk head with a flat top.
Abbreviated FH
A countersunk head with a rounded top.
Abbreviated OH or OV
A slightly rounded head with short vertical sides.
Abbreviated PN
An extra wide head with a rounded top.
A domed head.
Abbreviated RH

Head Style (contd)

A hexagonal Head.
Abbreviated HH or HX
Hex Washer
A hex head with built in washer.
Slotted Hex Washer
A hex head with built in washer and a slot.
Socket Head Cap
A small cylindrical head using a socket drive.
A low profile rounded head using a socket drive.

Drive Type

An X shaped drive.
Abbreviated - PH
A slot in the head.
Abbreviated - SL
A combination of slotted and Phillips drives.
Abbreviated - Combo
Socket, Hex or Allen
A hexagonal hole for use with an Allen wrench.


Thread Count (TPI)

TPI stands for Threads Per Inch. This is simply a count of the
number of threads per inch measured along the length of a
fastener. In general smaller fasteners have finer threads, so the
thread count is higher.
Thread Pitch
Metric fasteners are specified with a thread pitch instead of a
thread count. The thread pitch is the distance between threads
expressed in millimeters (measured along the length of the
fastener). For example a thread pitch of 1.5 means that the
distance between one thread and the next is 1.5mm. In general
smaller fasteners have finer thread so they have lower thread
Lead Distance a bolt will travel during one complete revolution.
(Equals pitch.)

Thread Types

Unified Thread

UNC Unified National Coarse

UNF Unified National Fine

American National Thread

Sharp-V Thread
Metric Thread
Whitworth Thread
Square Thread
Acme Thread
Buttress Thread
Rolled Thread
Pipe Thread

NPT National Pipe Taper

NPS National Pipe Straight

Unified Threads (detail)

P = Pitch = 1/Number of threads per inch (TPI)

H = Angular Depth = 0.866025 x P
d = Actual Depth = 0.54127 x P or 5/8 H
Hn = Basic height of Internal Thread = 0.54127 x P or 5/8 H
Hs = Basic height of External Thread = 0.61344 x P
H/8 = Shortening of major dia. = 0.108253 x P
H/4 = Shortening of minor dia. = 0.216506 x P

Thread Detail contd

Crest Width = 1/8 Pitch
Root Width = Pitch
r = Radius at the Root = 0.1443 x P

Internal and External Threads

Thread fit comparison

Thread Representations
Detailed - Pictorial, Time Consuming to Draw
Simplified Preferred method, versatile

Thread Representations


In the United States, the convention for describing threads is to

give the length of the bolt, followed by the nominal diameter and
then the number of threads per inch. So, for example, one might
ask for a 2-inch quarter-twenty bolt, which would be

2 inches long,
have a nominal diameter of a quarter of an inch, and
have twenty threads to the inch.

If the bolt is smaller than a quarter-inch in diameter, the gauge

number will precede the TPI instead of the diameter. A typical
smaller fastener could be a 1-inch #8-32, 8 being a gauge
number and 32 the number of threads per inch.

Thread Identification

Proper annotation
-20 x 2.5 UNC 2B

Class Fit

Internal or external
A-External threads
B-Internal threads

Identification (contd.)

Bolt length
For fasteners where the head usually sits above the surface,
the measurement is from directly under the head to the end of
the fastener.
For fasteners that are designed to be countersunk, the
measurement is made from the point on the head where the
surface of the material is, to the end of the fastener.

Thread length

Up to 6 bolt = 2D+1/4
Over 6 bolt = 2D+1/2
Bolts too short for the formula are threaded up to the head.
Bolts can also be designated full thread.


Grade 5 fasteners are 120 ksi fasteners. This means the tensile
strength is 120,000 lbs per square inch. Grade 8s are 150 ksi
fasteners meaning the tensile strength is 150,000 lbs per square
inch. Also, the ultimate shear strength of a fastener is typically
about 60% of its ultimate tension strength. So given a certain
diameter (cross-sectional area) and strength rating, someone can
figure out how much load that fastener can carry in both tension
and shear.

Nuts and Washers

A six sided nut.
Also referred to as a finished hex nut.
Nylon Insert Lock
A nut with a nylon insert to prevent backing off.
Also referred to as a Nylock
A hex nut with a reduced height.
A nut with 'wings' for hand tightening.
A nut with a domed top over the end
of the fastener.

Nuts and Washers (contd.)

Acorn nuts are a high crown type of cap nut,
used for appearance.
A nut with a built in washer like flange.
A nut designed to be driven into wood to create
a threaded hole.
A four sided nut.
K-Lock or Kep
A nut with an attached free-spinning external
tooth lock washer.

Nuts and Washers (contd.)

A flat washer used to distribute load.
Split Lock
The most common style of washer used to
prevent nuts and bolts from backing out.
External Tooth Lock
A washer with external 'teeth' Used to prevent
nuts and bolts from backing out.
Internal Tooth Lock
A washer with internal 'teeth' Used to prevent
nuts and bolts from backing out.
An oversize flat washer used to further distribute
load especially on soft materials.
A washer used to obtain a 'finished' look.
Usually used with oval or flat head screws.


LH / RH Thread
Set Screw
Shoulder Bolt
Carriage Bolt
Counter sink
Counter bore
Thru Hole
Retaining Ring