The Beginner’s Guide to Tap Bolts

Tap bolts by Monroe

There are dozens of types of bolts. While you might be familiar with anchor bolts and hex bolts, there are many other bolt types available, such as tap. Tap bolts still feature a head and threaded shank, and they are still used for the same purpose of fastening multiple parts together. Tap bolts, however, feature a unique design that distinguishes them from other types of bolts.

What Are Tap Bolts?

Tap bolts are threaded fasteners that feature a fully threaded shank and a hexagonal head. They are essentially a subcategory of hex bolts. Hex bolts are characterized by their hexagonal head.

Tap bolts feature this same hexagonal head as hex bolts. The difference is that hex bolts are fully threaded and are typically used in conjunction with a nut, whereas hex bolts may be partially threaded or fully threaded.

Why Tap Bolts Have a Fully Threaded Shank

All tap bolts have a fully threaded shank. The shank, of course, is the main, cylindrical-shaped body section of a bolt. Tap bolts have a fully threaded shank that features external threading all the way from the machined tip to the base of the head. Other types of bolts may have a partially threaded shank, meaning the external threading only covers about two-thirds of the shank.

With a fully threaded shank, tap bolts are commonly used to fasten machinery and other metal components. They will distribute the fastening tension of metal components over a larger area. Bolts with a partially threaded shank, on the other hand, are better suited for softer materials like wood. A partially threaded shank allows them to pull soft materials together.

Why Tap Bolts Have a Hexagonal Head

In addition to a fully threaded shank, tap bolts have a hexagonal head. This makes them easy to install and remove.

There are six sides to a tap bolt’s head. Using a hex socket, you can tighten or loosen a tap bolt. The hex socket will “grip” the tap bolt’s six-sided head.

Grade 5 Tap Bolts Explained

You may notice that some tap bolts are labeled as “Grade 5.” Bolts are available in different grades, such as the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Grades. Grade 5 tap bolts are designed using the Grade 5 SAE standard.

Grade 5 tap bolts are exceptionally strong. They are made of medium-carbon, hardened steel. With their high tensile strength, Grade 5 tap bolts are commonly used in the automotive and aerospace industries.

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