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Recommended bolt/thread sizes?

Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:34 pm
by loneboat
I just set up my Shapeoko 3, and would like to put some threaded inserts in the board on the bottom. Are there any best-practices for choosing a bolt and thread size? I suppose any size would work, but I was wondering if it would be wise to choose one over another in case I want to buy some additional clamps in the future. Are any sizes "more standard" than others?

Re: Recommended bolt/thread sizes?

Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:49 pm
by WillAdams
There's a bit of discussion here:

#10-24 is popular here in the U.S., M5 in Europe and elsewhere which uses metric.

I've been thinking that using something smaller would be preferable --- I've oft' regretted the area I've had to leave aside to make the larger fasteners work.

If I could've gotten M3 inserts affordably here in the States in reasonable quantities w/o jumping through hoops, I might've tried them, but couldn't bring myself to open up a new account and haul out plastic (trying hard to lead a cash-only existence). Considered #8-32 which is about the same size, but even those were more expensive than I wanted to deal w/.

Finally broke down and got T-track for #10-24 hardware. ... Wasteboard

Re: Recommended bolt/thread sizes?

Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:05 pm
by madhatter
For my SO3, I went with flanged inserts that are internally threaded 1/4-20 and I use 18-8 stainless steel socket head cap screws (because they are cheaper than 316SS) with a 3/16" Cushion Grip T-Handle Key, all from McMaster-Carr. I did a bit of overkill on the threaded inserts and had them in a diamond pattern with each one only 2" apart from its neighbor, but I do a lot of small work with very thin edge clamping surface available, so having the extra locations is great for me.

For me, I went with the stainless because no real reason. I like them better than the black oxide coated ones, and since I will never need the strength of the black oxide coated steel fasteners, what I got. I bought a set of 10 of each of the screws in 1/4" increments so I can clamp whatever I want and not worry about the screw being too long or too short. I bought screws in lengths from 3/4" up to 3-1/2" in 1/4" increments, and then it goes up to 4-1/2" in 1/2" increments.

If you're not in the US, Then I'm sure you could get the same setup in metric and it'll work just as well. Some people buy T-slot track and use that, and some just screw directly into their wasteboard (ANIMALS!) :-). I am planning on splurging and buying some 8/20 T-Slot for my XXL that has been patiently sitting in it's box in my entry way for the last couple of months while I build my new shed.