Screws can all look alike if you don’t stop to take a closer look. Each screw has its own purpose and advantages if you know what to look for. There is a particular type of screw that will get the focus today and those are thumb screws.
In the guide below, you’ll learn all that there is to know about thumb screws. Most importantly, there will be a deeper look at the various types of thumb screw and the materials that they are made of.
Getting to Know Thumb Screws
So, what are thumb screws? These little multipurpose fasteners are cool because they have been designed to be tightened and loosened without the need for a tool like a wrench or screwdriver. You will even find these bad boys in the construction of things like computers and other technological equipment.
These are particularly good for applications where there will be regular removal and installation. Without the need for a tool, the screws can be quickly tightened and untightened at a moment’s notice. Maintenance and cleaning are far quicker and easier when there is no need for additional tools to do the job.
Thumb Screw Types
There are two main thumb screw types: knurled thumb screws and thumb screw knobs. Each serves its own distinct purpose and has unique advantages. Let’s take a closer look at the two and see what they bring to the table.
Thumb Screw Knobs. You’ll hear these simply called thumb knobs and they are closely related to your average thumb screws. That said, they have specifically been designed to be screwed and unscrewed quickly. You will find this kind of knob for things like enclosure windows, battery compartments, and instrument panels because they are easy to grip.
Knurled Thumb Screws. These are more commonly chosen since they have a better head grip. These get their name because of the machined bumps or ridges that form a knurling pattern. This is a widespread technique in manufacturing that helps to improve grip force in terms of hand-installed fasteners. With better friction between the fingers, grip is rarely an issue with knurled thumb screws.
The Major Advantages of Thumb Screws
The biggest advantage to using thumb screws is that they are great for applications where hand tools just won’t do. Sometimes there is only really room to get your fingers in and slightly maneuver. With thumb screws, one can tighten them without having to try to finagle a tool into the space.
The biggest reason to use thumb screws is because of the convenience factor. Where regular maintenance is involved – with installation and removal becoming common, needing a screwdriver or drill can be time-consuming. Being able to loosen and tighten by hand will wind up saving a plethora of time in the long run.
Thumb Screw Material Types
The cool thing about thumb screws is that they come in so many different material types. Plastic is perhaps the most common, though it is actually nylon that they are made of. Plastic/nylon is a low-cost material and is great for any non-structural application. The light weight can come in handy where weight comes into play.
Brass is another common material type. Plated with nickel or some other kind of hardwearing material allows this type of thumb screw to hold up better against corrosion. If that weren’t enough, the chrome-style look just has a cleaner aesthetic than anything else.
Finally, there is resin. Resin allows for more customizable, which makes it great for improved grip. There are some thumb screws that have metal threads and a resin head, too.