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How to Avoid Overdriving Your Screws

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There are a lot of things to think about when working in construction, and whether it’s your job or you have a DIY project happening at home, don’t underestimate the importance of fasteners.

Screws, nuts, and bolts literally hold your structure together. Without it, you’re reduced to collapsed rubble, but as with many integral features of construction and DIY, mistakes can be made.

Fastener issues can occur, but overdriving your screws doesn’t have to be one of them.

Installing screws requires precision, and you might think that overtightening the fastener will strengthen your joint, but it actually does the opposite.

Overdriving affects the shear capacity, tensile load and the pull-out strength. It may take more screws to rectify the issue, and if that happens then you’re adding to your overhead costs.

Apart from these issues, you run the risk of cracking your project material or stripping the screw heads while overdriving. This means you won’t be able to make adjustments, as you’ll no longer be able to tighten or loosen them.

This leads to hazards, so how do you avoid them? Read on to learn the most effective ways to avoid fastener issues.


Magnetic Bit Holder

The bit holder makes driving screws easier when you’re using power tools. The magnetic feature stops the screws from dropping when you’re fastening them, making it a more streamlined process.


Bore Pilot Holes

If you haven’t tried boring pilot holes, then now is the time. By drilling pilot holes, you lower the chance of over torquing the screw or dulling the drilling point..

The purpose of a pilot hole is to guide the fastener into the slot without ripping it apart. The hole has  a smaller diameter, and ultimately stops the fasteners from overdriving and from snapping in half.


Adjust the Slip Clutch Setting

The slip clutch setting on an impact driver controls the torque that turns the screw head. It’s located behind the chuck with numbers that indicate the amount of torque being delivered. The higher the number, the more rotational force is applied to the screw.

With the wrong torque setting, you run the risk of over torquing, so you’ll need to adjust your setting to match the amount of torque you need in order to drive the fastener.

Bear in mind that your torque setting will depend on the material you’re working with. For example, you will need a higher setting for metal than you will for softwood. It takes practice but learning how to use the slip clutch is important for precision drilling.

A general rule will be to start with a mid-range setting. If the clutch slips, adjust it to a higher number. If your fastener goes in too deeply, change it to a lower setting.


Use Self-Centering Bits

Precision drilling isn’t easy, especially when you must do it with millimeter accuracy. Self-centering bits will help you drill the slot precisely and will help you keep the hole centered which is imperative.

A misaligned hole results in overdriving in the wrong direction, but with the self-centering bit, you don’t compromise shear capacity, and you achieve accurate drilling.


Straight and Steady

Ensuring you have the correct alignment will make a big difference. It might take you a while to get the hang of the pressure needed, but once you’ve got it straight, you will need to be firm, slow, and aligned correctly.


Quality Tools

When it comes to drilling, speed and precision are important and for this, you need to ensure you’re working with the right tools. Luckily, the technological advancement behind drilling has made driving fasteners an easier process. Still, a worn drill bit will keep skipping off the bolt head and it’s a common mistake.


The Right Screws

Using quality tools leads us directly to picking the correct screw for your project.

There are many elements to choosing the right screw. You need to consider your project, the weight of materials you’re using, and your environment.


Experience Is the Best Teacher

Very few people come to skilled trades and get it 100% right straight away. It’ll take practice before you learn how to drive fasteners without overdriving, but it’s a common error, so don’t be surprised if it takes several tries before you get the hang of it.

It’s simple to say that you drive the fastening until it’s tight, but the trick is learning when that is.

The more you do it, the better you’ll get, so keep practicing and you’ll master it, and an added bonus, every time you overdrive, you get to learn how to fix it.


Overdriving Fasteners No More

Okay, maybe it will still happen sometimes, but if it does, keep in mind that working with fasteners can be complex. There’s a reason people sometimes prefer to use specialists.

Overtightening screws can cause damage, and even though it may seem simple, there are several things that can go wrong when driving fastenings. Don’t worry, there are a number of ways to correct them too.

If you’re really struggling to figure it out, talk to someone. Any reputable supplier will help, and at Konnect Fastening Systems we offer expert advice to support your business. We want to help you find exactly what you need because we understand the importance of getting it right.

Now that you’re armed with our tips on overdriving fasteners, you’re ready to take on your project. All that remains is to pick your screws and bolts.

Take a look at our range of fasteners, available on our website.

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