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  • Screws domestic vs import quality?

    I needed to order some set screws and Socket head cap screws and was more than a little surprised at the price spread and the variations avaliable. In the import vs domestic vs the old brand names how does the quality compare. Is the price difference justified? My immediate needs are not that critical but no one wants the end of a set screw to look like it was made of butter after the first application.
    Byron Boucher
    Burnet, TX

  • #2
    I believe this is an area where counterfeits are common.

    Buy the HoloKrome or Unbrako......

    Import SHCS are anywhere from perfectly fine, to tempered peanut butter.

    Not only that, the import ones may be made to a metric standard grade, which may, even if the part is genuine, be not crossing to the grade you expect from a SHCS. A US one will be the right stuff.
    1601

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

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    • #3
      Updated to Forum
      Last edited by Rich Carlstedt; 04-08-2009, 03:05 PM.

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      • #4
        I got tired of paying 30-60 cents a piece for set screws at the hardware store so I ordered eight boxes of various sizes from McMaster-Carr. They're probably made in China but I haven't had a problem with them. I didn't check but they probably meet the specifications too. I've been using the heck out of them in my rolling dies and around the shop. They're well made and fit.

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        • #5
          Screws made outside the US have no standards
          Sure they do. If they want the industrial market they adhere to SAE standards. Socket head cap screws made in Taiwan are just fine. They have been making them for many years and some of the better brand names are from there.

          On the other hand, I bought a nice little assortment of set screws made in the PRC knowing full well there might be some problems but the price was cheap. They are mostly pretty good except for the smallest two sizes. What is supposed to be 4-40 is labled 1/8 x 40 and is a little too large to fit and the 6-32 is listed as 5/32 and also doesn't fit.

          PRC made steel seems to come in two grades. Soft like pot metal and about as strong or much too hard and brittle. This is especially noticeable with fasteners since for bolts and cap screws there are no standards for alloy content. The standards for bolts simply state it must be made of steel with at least a certain strength for each grade of bolt.
          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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          • #6
            "Screws made outside the US have no standards"

            Never heard of BSI, ISO,DIN????? Rather an elitist misnomer. Don't forget, people like a certain Mr.Whitworth ORIGINATED quite a few.

            Strangely enough, what happened to "Standards" when the Brooklyn bridge was being built??

            Regards Ian, from the non std.UK
            You might not like what I say,but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

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            • #7
              The Enco socket head cap screws work fine for me, the Harbor Freight only have the hole about half way as deep as they should be.
              - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
              Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

              It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

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              • #8
                It's insane to say there are no standards outside the US.

                It's insane to say those standards are adhered to universally, and that the stamp guarantees the quality. (yes, there are no stamps on setscrews)

                There are a lot of counterfeits, more and more every day.

                And, the lowest grade metric/ISO screws/bolts are specified to be made with tempered peanut butter, if you read the spec carefully. They are soft, squishy, and about useless.

                On the other hand, a genuine 12.9 is a good part. So is a genuine "grade 8". But, just as with "grade 8", which are now so adulterated with "bubble gum bolts" that it is a crapshoot, any crook can stamp a number on the part. So NO labeled part can be trusted to be what it claims unless it is sample tested and from a known source.

                The "ABILITY" to make a good part in some part of the world is no guarantee you will get one. Certain other countries apparently would like to inundate us with counterfeits, and seem to be doing a good job so far.
                1601

                Keep eye on ball.
                Hashim Khan

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Your Old Dog
                  The Enco socket head cap screws work fine for me,
                  I like the Enco hardware too, I'll stick a box or two in with another order taking advantage of the free frt - a 100 count box is usually way more than I'll need but after a drive to a box store or mom/pop hdwe and paying 30-40 cents for a 1/4-20x1/4 shss ... makes it a lot easier.

                  the hole half way as deep as they should be.
                  This is the main problem I have with the import set screws that I have -- round off the tool and the screw.

                  Couple weeks ago on Sat about noon I badly needed four 1/2-13x5" bolts, local mom/pop was closing, so rushed over to keep from driving 15mi to box store -- all they had was grade 8, went to pay and they rang up at $14.
                  If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........

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                  • #10
                    I've bought a couple assortments of house-brand (presumably mainland Chinese) hardware at MSC and Enco, and they're pretty good -- Class 2A fit. But the screws and bolts at Home Depot and Lowes are atrocious.

                    I mounted a rock-climbing finger-board into a stud with 3/8" hex head wood screws from Home Depot, and the first one snapped off at the head from the ratchet! I brought the pack back to Home Depot, swapped it for another, and the second set of screws went in fine, but when I put my weight on the finger board, another screw snapped off, same place: just under the head.

                    The hardware I've gotten at the big-box stores also has terrible fit: worse that Class I, if that's possible.
                    Last edited by lazlo; 04-07-2009, 09:54 AM.
                    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lazlo
                      I've bought a couple assortments of house-brand (presumably mainland Chinese) hardware at MSC and Enco, and they're pretty good -- Class 2A fit. But the screws and bolts at Home Depot and Lowes are atrocious.

                      I mounted a rock-climbing finger-board into a stud with 3/8" hex head wood screws from Home Depot, and the first one snapped off at the head from the ratchet! I brought the pack back to Home Depot, swapped it for another, and the second set of screws went in fine, but when I put my weight on the finger board, another screw snapped off, same place: just under the head.

                      The hardware I've gotten at the big-box stores also has terrible fit: worse that Class I, if that's possible.
                      Lazlo I think you're spinng this way wrong. These guys are tied off with ropes anyway so let them fail and be surprised! Might even do a contest to see who can finish with the cleanest shorts/pantys
                      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                      Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

                      It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Your Old Dog
                        Lazlo I think you're spinng this way wrong. These guys are tied off with ropes anyway so let them fail and be surprised! Might even do a contest to see who can finish with the cleanest shorts/pantys
                        It's not one of those. It's just a molded piece of fiberglass with holes for your fingers -- you do pull-ups on it:

                        "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                        • #13
                          This isn't a new problem. In the 80s I built a covered wood shed 16 x 12 and lagged parts of it together with 1/2 x 5" lag bolts. Well, at least I tried. I had pre drilled the holes in dry pine and was winding them in with a small rachet. They kept twisting off the heads with only a little more force than I could apply with my fingers on the socket. I still have a coffee can full of them. I haven't been able to think of anything they are good for since then as I have not yet needed an easy breakaway structure for anything. I'm glad they weren't just a bit stronger because I could have ended up using some of them to build the tree fort my son helped me build. It's 8' x 8 ' and 15 feet off the ground. I don't want to throw them in the trash as somebody might scavenge them.
                          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by lazlo
                            I've bought a couple assortments of house-brand (presumably mainland Chinese) hardware at MSC and Enco, and they're pretty good -- Class 2A fit. But the screws and bolts at Home Depot and Lowes are atrocious.

                            I mounted a rock-climbing finger-board into a stud with 3/8" hex head wood screws from Home Depot, and the first one snapped off at the head from the ratchet! I brought the pack back to Home Depot, swapped it for another, and the second set of screws went in fine, but when I put my weight on the finger board, another screw snapped off, same place: just under the head.

                            The hardware I've gotten at the big-box stores also has terrible fit: worse that Class I, if that's possible.
                            I buy most of my hardware at the local Orchard Supply Hardware store; it's from taiwan AFAIK, but it works well. I don't bother with anything under grade 5 (aside from carriage bolts), and if it moves it gets grade 8.

                            - Bart
                            Bart Smaalders
                            http://smaalders.net/barts

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                            • #15
                              My experience with lag screws has always been similar Evan - I think they must be softer than any other type fastener. Or maybe it's just a matter of the hex head holding up longer than a slotted or phillips head, in turn permitting more torque.

                              All my adult life it has seemed that any project involving the use of lag screws invariably ended with one or two heads twisting off during installation. ...and the target wood was most often soft.

                              Just last week I had Directv installed. I had primed & painted and mounted a 4 ft piece of yellow pine 2X12 high on the southern wall for the guy to mount the dish. Since I was mounting to the studs, I pre-drilled holes for my 3/8 X 5" lag screws, and didn't twist any off. But sure enough, the directv installer twisted the heads off a couple.
                              Now he wasn't pre-drilling, but he only had to go thru that 1 1/2" pine.
                              Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

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