What Are Hex Nuts Made From - And What Are They Used For?

What Are Hex Nuts Made From - And What Are They Used For?

Aug 22nd 2023

For as long as people have been building things, fasteners have been important. They are used in pretty much all manufacturing industries, from automobile production to xylophone assembly. They come in many types, like screws, rivets, pins, and bolts. Fasteners are often preferred versus welding since they are less permanent and allow for easier dismantling for maintenance and repairs.

One well-known type of fastener is the hex nut. Hex nuts are used when making things from wood, steel, concrete and in many other types of building and manufacturing. Picking the right hex nuts and bolts can be hard because there are so many kinds. Read on to learn more about the most common types of hex nuts and the materials they're made from.

What Are Hex Nuts?

Hex nuts are a type of fastener, just like screws or bolts (Check out PartDeals large selection of hex nuts and related parts here). They're called "hex" nuts because they have six sides, like a hexagon. Hex nuts are common because they are suitable for many applications. Their six-sided shape makes them easy to tighten with either hand tools or power tools from different angles.

Hex nuts are especially useful in big machines. They're used in farm equipment, road building, making cars, and joining heavy materials where strong attachments are needed. No matter the project, you'll likely find hex fasteners really helpful. Just be sure to select the right kind, made from the right materials, for your application.

Which Hex Nuts Do You Need?

The hex nuts and bolts you choose depend mostly on your project. For instance, if you're a auto fleet manager or work with heavy-duty dock equipment, you'll likely need larger, corrosion resistant hex nuts and bolts. However, if you're a woodworker fixing table saws or maintaining hand tools, you'd probably need lighter, smaller hex nuts and bolts. Here are 3 important things to think about when picking hex nuts and bolts:

1. Material Options

The most frequently used material in hex fastener construction is carbon steel due to its durability and the ability to perform well even in high heat. But hex nuts and fasteners can be formed from many different materials, so it's essential to choose the right kind. Other materials you might consider for hex nuts include:

  1. Alloy Steel
  2. Aluminum
  3. Stainless Steel (recommended for applications in high-moisture areas)
  4. Bronze and Brass (often used in areas that are corrosive)

2. Thread Type And Count

After you've decided on the composition of your hex fasteners, the next step is to choose the right thread type. If you're assembling equipment like pumps or forklifts, you might want to use hex nuts and bolts with coarse threads. On the other hand, if you're aiming for better thread engagement, fine-threaded hex nuts could be the better option.

3. Environmental Exposuure

Before you make your final choice, think about what conditions the hardware and equipment will face. Will they be subjected to high temperatures? This could cause connections to loosen. Salt water and extreme cold also impact machinery and fasteners. Vibrations, from things like unaligned shafts or the design of the machinery, are another consideration.

Types Of Hex Nuts

When you're ready to order hex fasteners, there are a few common hex nut categories you may encounter:

  • Hex Jam Nuts: Primarily used to keep hex bolts tightly locked without needing a clamp. They're generally thinner than regular nuts and have internal threads.
  • Heavy Hex Nuts: Aptly named, these nuts are bigger, thicker, and heavier than normal hex nuts. They're mainly used with carriage bolts and cap screws.
  • Nylon Insert Hex Nuts: These nuts have a nylon insert that helps create tension between the nut and the threads of the parts it's connecting. They work well with lock nuts, especially in equipment that experiences heavy vibration.
  • Hex Machine Nuts: Hex nuts with internal threads that are typically used with machine screws.

Whether you're a production manager, technician, or in charge of fleet maintenance, knowing about different hex fasteners is crucial. It's important to choose the best hex nuts or bolts for your application and environment.

PartDeal offers a a huge in-stock selection of hex fasteners to keep your equipment in peak condition and help you minimize downtime. Call us at (503) 802-1370 or contact us online if you have any questions or need to find an obscure or obsolete part. PartDeal has been in business since 1949 and we specialize in stocking and sourcing hard-to-find items. We supply owners, OEMs, fleets, resellers, installers, and dealerships with the parts and tools they need.