Blind rivets provide outstanding fastening functionality in places where you don’t have access to one side. But what if your application requires something a little less permanent than a rivet? What if you want to be able to undo bolts, but keep your options open to reinsert them as needed? And what if you can’t see the other side of the surface you are working on?
A solution to this scenario could be nutserts. This application provides versatility and strength for the task at hand. Read on to learn more about this fastening option.
What Is a Nutsert?
Nutserts, sometimes called rivet nuts or threaded rivets, are permanent nuts that can be inserted into existing or new holes. Like a rivet, the nutsert expands and deforms during installation to tightly hold the hardware in place. Unlike a rivet, a nutsert is threaded and can hold a bolt.
Why the Need for Nutserts?
As already stated, nutserts serve a similar purpose to blind rivets in that they allow you to install the fastener despite not having access to the other side of the material you are working on (including aluminum, steel, fiberglass, plastic, or wood). With a standard bolt, however, you need to create a thread and then hope the bolt stays tight within that thread over time and over multiple removals—and because the application is blind, you can’t easily (if at all) add a standard nut on the other side.
On the other hand, nutserts offer permanence and versatility. Apply the nutsert and you have an instant thread to insert a bolt. Bolts can be removed and reinserted as needed, while the nutsert remains firmly in place. The edge of the nutsert is applied almost flush with the material it’s being applied through. Also, torque range with nutserts is higher than with a regular nut.
7 Nutsert Applications
Nutserts offer a wide variety of industrial and hobbyist uses. Some applications include:
- Domestic appliances
- Electrical components
Choosing the Right Tool for Nutserts
Just like blind rivets, the tools needed to apply nutserts come in a variety of options, each with their own pros and cons. Here are the three routes you can take:
- Hand-powered nutsert tools: If you only occasionally install nutserts, hand tools are your most cost-effective option. They work by adding the nutsert to the end of the tool, squeezing hard, and loosening the tool from the now-applied nutsert.
- Pros: Inexpensive; easy concept; great for hobbyists.
- Cons: They require much human force to use, so don’t be surprised if, after installing many nutserts in a short time, your hands, back, or shoulders are sore.
- Pneumatic nutsert tools: For more frequent nutsert installation, pneumatic (air-powered) tools offer heavy-duty, expedient, consistent application. Pros: Ease of use—basically, place the nutsert and tool where you want to apply and press the trigger; little physical exertion required. Cons: Require an air source such as a compressor, possibly limiting mobility and making remote use impractical.
- Battery-powered nutsert tools: Cordless but powerful, these nutsert tools run on battery packs and provide incredible versatility, thus allowing you to install rivet nuts from practically anywhere. Like pneumatic tools, battery-powered tools are basically point-and-shoot. Pros: Mobility; speed. Cons: Batteries have limited charge before needing to be plugged in again; cost.
Nutserts provide practical uses and measurable advantages over just bolts in blind holes. Knowing which nutserts are best for your application, as well as which installation tool makes the most sense for your long-term plans, will help you make the most of this fastening option.