Self- tapping screws are a special type of fastener with a rather unique feature. They are able to tap their own threads in materials like plastic, wood, and metal. Self-tapping screws are split into two main categories, Thread-Forming and Thread-Cutting. The screws are similar in the job they do, however, they have two noticeable differences. One of the screws has a flat base, the other has a sharp point.
The Thread-Forming Screw
Before using this type of self-tapping screw, it is recommended that a pilot hole is drilled into the material. As thread-forming screws have a flat nose, it makes the drilling process easier. Thread-forming screws are used when fastening plastic together.
The Thread-Cutting Screw
This style of self-tapping screw does not require any preparation. As it has a pointed tip, it is not necessary to create a pre-drilled pilot hole. Thread-cutting screws are able to pierce a small entry hole while being driven into the material the thread is being created.
Self-tapping screws are traditionally used where an application requires regular maintenance and regular easy access. These screws are useful in situations where products have to be assembled and disassembled, such as access panels or even furniture. For more detailed information on the types, uses and sizes available, please see our complete guide to self tapping screws.
When choosing the best self-tapper for your application, there are a few key points to consider. Making sure that you have the right head shape and drive type and thread size are essential. Another factor that determines the end selection would be the material the screws are used with, and the environment and elements they are exposed to.
As a screwdriver is the only real tool used when working with self-tappers. Making sure that you have the screwdriver with the appropriate drive type is essential.