Different Drives for Different Metric Screws

Metric Fasteners with Different Drives

Does the sheer variety of screw drive types, from flat-head to Phillips and everything in between, drive you crazy when it’s time to buy? The “drive” is the combination of tool and screw-head pattern that allows the screw to turn — but unless you know why these different drives exist and what each type brings to the table, you might as well just guess blindly as to what you need and why you need it. Let’s examine why all these metric drives exist and how they function.

Slot drives, the first type of screw drive to be mass produced, use a simple one-directional slot that accommodates a flat-head screwdriver. Woodworkers still favor this type of drive, but the slot’s tendency to allow stripping poses problems for industrial applications. The cross-shaped Phillips drive grips in two directions at once for a firmer interface with power screwdrivers. A Phillips screw head will “cam out” if it receives too much torque to prevent the head from stripping. Six-sided hex drives allow for thinFlat , angles tools that can get into spaces standard screwdrivers can’t. Over the years, Phillips and other companies have developed modifications of the basic Philips design, with names like Motorq, Pozidriv, Supadriv and so on.

Drive Screws

Sometimes a less common drive shape is used to provide extra security against tampering or provide other benefits. Water, electrical and gas systems, for example, typically call for a five-sided pentagon screw drive. A hexalobular drive (Torx, TAPP) has a star-shaped pattern that transfers extra torque to the bit, lengthening the tool’s lifespan. If you really want to tamper-proof your screws, you can use one-way drives, clutch drives, double-hex drives, pentalobe drives — the list of oddities goes on and on. If you’re still not sure what drives suit your needs, contact us and let’s talk about it!

About the author

Mr. Metric is the spokesperson for www.mrmetric.com, an online store for metric fasteners. Get $7.50 flat shipping with no minimum orders, plus advice and best practices for using metric fasteners in any application.

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