How to Choose Machine Screws

Machine screws with bolts

Are you looking to buy machine screws? If so, you’ll need to choose the right type. Machine screws are essentially bolts that are designed for use in machines. They feature a threaded shank with a head. You can install a machine screw by driving into a tapped hole. For optimal performance, though, you must use the right type.


When choosing a machine screw, first think about the application the machine screw will be used on. The application is the key deciding factor when choosing a machine screw, the application often determines the other determining factors. The key application factor is whether the application is indoors or outdoors, this determines what’s the best type of metal for your machine screw.


Machine bolts are available in different materials. While nearly all of them are made of metal, you can find them in different types of metals as well as alloys. Carbon steel machine bolts offer a superior level of strength and durability. In comparison, stainless steel machine bolts are better protected against rust and corrosion. Other materials in which machine bolts are made include brass, zinc, titanium and bronze.


When shopping for machine screws, check the shank to see how much threading it has. All machine screws have a threaded shank. The shank is the main shaft of a screw that’s drive into a tapped hole. The amount of threading a machine screw has, however, can vary. Some machine screws have a partially threaded shank, whereas others have a fully threaded shank.

Drive Recess

You should choose machine screws with the appropriate drive recess. Drive recess refers to the groove or indention on a screw’s head. When installing a machine bolt, you’ll insert a tool bit into the drive recess. There are different drive recesses for different tool bits. Flat head is the most common. Machine bolts with a flat-head drive recess have a single groove running down the middle. Along with flat head, some machine bolts have a Philips-head drive recess.


Of course, you should choose machine bolts in the right size as well. Consider both the diameter and the length when shopping for machine bolts. A machine bolt must feature the appropriate diameter and length for the machine in which you intend to install it. Machine bolts are installed in a tapped hole. In other words, you’ll have to drive them into a pre-cut hole in the machine. If the machine bolt is too wide or too long, it may not fit in this pre-cut or tapped hole.

Don’t make the mistake of choosing the wrong machine bolts. Regardless of how you intend to use them, you’ll need to choose the right type of machine bolts. You can find the right machine bolts by checking the threading, material, drive recess and size.

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