What are Machine Screws and What Are They Used For?

Screws have almost limitless applications, usually integral in just about any residential, commercial, or industrial setting. But there are different subsets of screws that have more purposeful applications given the situation.

It even gets more specific, with some machine screws looking like black screws thanks to a special coating. Whether for electronics, air conditioning repair, industrial equipment, or something else entirely, there is so much you can do with machine screws.

What are Machine Screws?

The simplest explanation is that a machine screw is a specific type of screw, mostly used for mechanical and electronic hardware assembly. Machine screws are usually made from some type of thick metal like brass or steel, and have pitched threads so they can easily be screwed into tapped holes.

There are different head sizes, lengths, and styles that have different applications and purposes. Because of their tensile strength and versatility, they are crucial to the manufacturing industry, in particular. They have exceptional strength and stability that other fasteners typically can’t match up with.

Another major benefit to using machine screws is the ease of installation. When compared to bolts of a similar size, machine screws provide a lot faster installation time, not to mention the overall look is a lot cleaner with screws than with bolts. Keep that in mind where you can use one or the other interchangeably.

The Characteristics of a Machine Screw

There are two thread types to your average machine screw, coarse- and fine-threaded. The head types vary quite a bit more, but there are a few basic characteristics that you can reference to determine whether you are dealing with a machine screw versus some other type.

Machine screws, the standard ones, are a lot smaller than bolts. Compared to other screws, machine screws are typically blunt-ended whereas other screws taper into a sharp point. Most of the machine screws you find will also be fully threaded.

Machine screws have more accurate, finer threads than most of the other fasteners you will find. That’s because they are intended to be used for pre-drilled interior holes or with a nut. Finally, machine screws are generally used for securing parts together in construction, specifically machinery. You will find machine screws on electronic devices, industrial equipment, tool assembly, engines, and vehicles, among other things.

What Machine Screws Are Used For

Machine screws are mostly used for applications that involve metal panels and parts that have to be secured together. You will find daily applications in construction, processing, assembly, manufacturing, production, and industrial environments, but they can serve other applications as well.

Using the screws also depends on how you are planning to install them. For the most part, they’re pretty similar to other screws or bolts that you would use, so there’s little confusion to be had. You need to pre-drill the hole because machine screws don’t have a sharp, pointed end to drill itself. You are almost definitely going to need power tools to install machine screws. This is especially true when it comes to industrial-scale assembly, construction, or heavy-duty applications where more torque is required.

For the most part, you are going to need a nut in addition to the pre-drilled hole. The nut usually goes behind the rear component or piece that requires fastening. Machine screws are super versatile and can help bring together just about any two pieces. They can even be used for making electrical connections like terminal strips, gaskets, and membranes. That’s just the beginning of what machine screws can offer to so many situations and settings.