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Here’s How a Threaded Insert Tool Works



You know the old saying that if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail? 

If you have a threaded insert tool, everything doesn’t look like a standard fastener. Unfortunately, when dealing with rivet nuts and insert fasteners, one tool isn’t suitable for all fastener installations. For example, for threaded nut inserts you need a threaded insert tool.

As the name implies, a threaded insert tool is designed to install a threaded insert. These are specialized tools designed to set threaded inserts in different materials for different applications. Just as there are many types of threaded inserts, there are many types of threaded insert tools as well. 

This article will walk you through how threaded insert tools work and what to look for when choosing the right tool.

Understanding Threaded Inserts

If you aren’t familiar with threaded inserts, they are a type of fastener that is set into the workpiece to provide a solid fastener that can accept bolts or other types of threaded fasteners. Threaded inserts are sometimes referred to as rivet nuts and are designed to create a threaded hole for a durable fastener.

The thing that all threaded inserts have in common is they are threaded, which means they are designed to accept fasteners that can be screwed in and removed. The shapes of the threaded inserts themselves vary widely. Some have smooth exteriors and are installed like rivets while others have ribbed shafts or are shaped like a hexagonal, so once they are installed, they won’t turn in the hole.

Threaded inserts come in various styles. There are thick-walled inserts for heavy-duty applications such as high-strength metalworking. Thin-walled inserts typically come in round or hexagonal designs and are available in weather-resistant material for specialty applications. There are slotted-body inserts that collapse on the blind side of the material to form a lasting joint that won’t turn in the hole. There also are stud-type inserts that provide a threaded shaft protruding from the material to accept a nut or threaded fastener.

There are specialty threaded inserts as well. Wellnut threaded inserts, for example, are made of rubber or soft materials and are typically used where you need a leak-proof seal or to absorb vibration. Molly jacknut inserts are used for thin or brittle material and when they are tightened the blindside collapses to create a strong, reusable insert.

Because the various types of threaded inserts have different designs, there are various types of threaded insert tools used for installation. 

Types of Threaded Insert Tools

Because there are so many different types of threaded inserts, there are many different types of threaded insert tools as well. The different types of tools use different types of installation techniques to accommodate each threaded insert. Here are some of the most common: 

Spin-Spin Tools

Spin-spin tools are used to screw a threaded insert into place. The threaded insert is fitted to the mandrel and then screwed into a pre-drilled hole. As the mandrel spins, it pulls the threaded shank from the blind side of the material, forming a solid connection that won’t turn in the hole. When the installation is complete, the tool spins in the opposite direction to complete the installation.

Spin Pull Off Tools

Spin pull off tools work in a similar fashion as spin-spin tools, where the threaded insert is fitted to the mandrel and then inserted into a pre-drilled hole. To set the insert, however, the tool screws the insert into place and, once it is set, the tool applies pressure to the blind side to create a bulge on the blind side, to complete the installation.

Pull-to-Pressure Tools

With most threaded insert tools, the bulge on the blind side is set using a preset distance. Pull to pressure tools set the insert using a preset pressure, so it won’t crack the material. Pull to pressure is commonly used in applications requiring thin metals or hard plastics.

Pneumatic Rivet Nut Tools

Pneumatic rivet nut tools are typically used for heavy-duty applications such as assembly lines and repair shops. They are fast and deliver a consistent installation, although they require a compressor to operate.

Battery-Powered Threaded Insert Tools 

If you need power tools with more portability, there are battery-powered threaded insert tools. These cordless tools are versatile and allow you to install threaded inserts virtually anywhere, from any angle. This makes them ideal for field repairs and applications where portability is a plus.

Hand-Powered Threaded Insert Tools

There also are hand-powered rivet nut insert tools that are useful for repairs and occasional use. These tools usually have long handles that you squeeze together to complete the installation. They are the least expensive type of installation tool, but they also are slow, cumbersome, and require physical strength.

Getting Started with Threaded Insert Tools

Threaded nut inserts are useful for a wide range of fastener applications, but whatever insert you choose for the task, you need to choose the right threaded nut insert tool as well. There are specialty tools that are best suited for different applications, whether it’s on the assembly line or in the field. 

To find the threaded insert rivet tool for your needs, consult the fastener experts at Bay Supply. If you want to learn more about threaded inserts, be sure to download The Essential Guide to Threaded Rivet Nut Inserts.

Download The Essential Guide to Threaded Rivet Nut Inserts