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A set screw is a type of screw generally used to secure an object within or against another object, normally not using a nut. The most common examples are securing a pulley or gear to a shaft. Set screws are usually headless (also called blind), meaning that the screw is fully threaded and has no head projecting past the major diameter of the screw thread. If a set screw has a head, the thread will extend all the way to the head.
Set screws appear with a variety of tip (point) types. The different shaped tips have different properties that engineers can utilize. If an engineer were to use a detent to ensure proper nesting of the screw, they might choose to use a cone point type of screw. One might often need to use a flat point when the screw must press perfectly flat against a surface. The most common type is the cup point. This type works well because the surface is rounded so that a small surface area is in contact, but it does not have extremely high stress at one point like that of a cone point. Durability studies show that the cup point offers superior resistance to wear while maintaining a strong grip. Knurled cup points offer the added advantage of a locking action (similar to that of a serrated lock washer) that prevents the screws from working loose in high-vibration applications.
Common points include the following:
- Flat point
- Domed point
- Cone point
- Cup point
- Extended point (pilot point, dog point)
- Knurled cup point
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