Self tapping screws create their own threading, or tap, as they are screwed into place. Self tapping screws can be driven and screwed into materials such as soft metals, plastic, wood and fiber glass.
The threading of self tapping screws is made from hardened metal, usually stainless steel, so that it can easily form a thread in the hole that flows around the screw. Self tapping screws are sometimes referred to as tapping screws or sheet metal screws because they are often used to drill threaded holes in sheet metal.
The automotive and construction industries use these them regularly. A given self tapping screw’s capabilities are determined by its composition, size, shape and design.
These screws have the ability to advance through a material while turning without the use of an electric drill. The internal thread is created by a gap in the continuity of the thread on the screw. Fine threaded screws are used in harder materials like metal and hardwoods, while coarse threads are used in softer materials like plastic.
Self tapping screws are available in two different varieties: thread cut, which usually involves blunt heads and sharp threads, and thread-formed, which involve softer materials and which need a higher torque drive.
Self tapping screws can be more suitable than other fastener varieties for a few reasons. Many materials are incompatible with drills. For example, some plastics, when exposed to the high amounts of friction caused by spinning drill bits, can become deformed.
Some materials can be split by drilling, while others are soft enough that drilling is not necessary. Some screws can even combine qualities of nails and screws. Such screws feature partially smooth, partially threaded shafts, which allows them first to be pounded with a hammer and then screwed in.
Correctly pairing self tapping screws with their application ensures the longevity of the screw and the materials in which it is installed.