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Sometimes it can be unclear if a piece requires custom manufacturing. Many commonly used standard size fasteners are stocked for off-the-shelf purchase by fastener distributors. There can be many reasons why a particular fastener may be a non-stocked special. However, some of the more common reasons are: non-standard size, material, quantity, and/or service requirements. If your fastener has one or any combination of these factors, it will likely require custom manufacturing.

Sometimes it can be unclear if a piece requires custom manufacturing. Many commonly used standard size fasteners are stocked for off-the-shelf purchase by fastener distributors. There can be many reasons why a particular fastener may be a non-stocked special. However, some of the more common reasons are: non-standard size, material, quantity, and/or service requirements. If your fastener has one or any combination of these factors, it will likely require custom manufacturing.

Size

Before deciding if your piece will require custom manufacturing, it is first necessary to know if your fastener falls into a standard size and thread category. To determine if your fastener is a standard thread, you can utilize resources like this chart from Engineering Edge. Please keep in mind that even some standard sizes may not be readily available off the shelf.

Material

Your fastener may be considered specialty based on your material needs. Specifically, if you require an uncommon material grade, such as a high nickel alloy, specific country of origin, or material traceability reports (MTR). Most standard size fasteners are stocked in a limited range of materials.

Quantity

A key factor that must be considered for specialty fasteners is quantity. For example, a particular fastener may be economical to have forged or cold headed at 500 pieces, but may make more sense to have machined at 100 or 250 pieces. Another related factor is lead time. Typically lead times for forging and cold heading will be longer than machining. It is important to work with experts that understand these processes to help you make the best decision for your requirements. At H&W, our expertise is machining, and our typical quantities range from 5-500 even into the 1,000 with typical lead times of 1-4 weeks.

Service Requirements

Beyond size, material and quantity requirements, if you require product engraving or marking, assembly or kitting, plating or coating, inspection reports, mechanical or non-destructive testing, custom manufacturing is often necessary.

You can use this chart to quickly evaluate if your piece requires customization from a machine shop.

A Standard Size

  1. That is not commonly used, and is therefore unlikely to be stocked or mass produced
  2. Made from an uncommon material and/or requires material traceability
  3. Has uncommon coating, marking or other requirements

A Non-Standard Size

  1. An uncommon size or thread alone is often enough to require custom machining
  2. Made from an uncommon material and/or requires material traceability
  3. Has uncommon coating or other requirements

Using a vendor with extensive fastener experience is important to ensure you get the best product. Often times our customers only have the description, not the print for a product. We are able to provide the technical assistance to get the product made correctly.

Custom Examples

Here are a few examples of specialty fasteners we have machined, as well explanations that may help you further understand if we can help you with your next fastener need.

See more examples of our fastener work here.

Do you need a custom fastener?