The Buyer’s Guide to Dowel Pins You Must Have Today!  Updated for 2023!

MF Supply is a trusted Supplier of Precision Dowel Pins for manufacturers. Through our extensive assortment of Inch, Metric, Commercial, Mil-Spec and OEM brand names and equivalents, we offer our customers quality imported and domestic dowel options. Our products are competitively priced with fast delivery from multiple distributions centers across the USA. Our goal is to help simplify the buying process for this sometimes complex and confusing category of fasteners.

8 Things to Know When Buying Dowel Pins

If you are a manufacturer working with complex assemblies or fixtures, then you’re likely very familiar with precision dowel pins. Commonly used as a hinge, shaft or pivot to locate or hold assembled parts together, dowel pins can withstand frequent insertion and removal without distortion. They are broadly used across various applications in many industries, including: aerospace, electrical motors, hydraulic equipment, instrumentation, tooling and fixtures, machinery, military and many more.

Our goal is to help simplify the buying process for this sometimes complex and confusing category of fasteners.

1. What is a precision dowel pin? 

Dowel pins are solid, headless cylindrical shaped straight metal pins with a centerless ground finish. Manufactured to precise fractional diameters and lengths, dowel pins come in a variety of sizes, styles, designs and materials. This variability can cause confusion among buyers, engineers and end-users alike.

2. What materials and platings are available?

Precision dowel pins are available off the shelf in alloy steel (typically hardened) and stainless steel grades 18-8/303, 316 and 416 (typically hardened). Other exotic materials or special finishes are available for special order with a lead time.

3. What sizes are available?

Standard sizes include inch from 1/16″ to 1″ diameter, and metric from M1 to M20 diameter. Length options vary by diameter. Other diameters and special lengths are available for special order and usually involve a lead time.

4. When ordering, do I need to specify the dowel pin tolerance or call out attributes such as standard, undersized or oversized fit? 

Precision dowel pins often show up under their MIL-SPEC numbers, MS16555, MS16556 and Mil-P-21143. Metric dowel pins might show up under the following DINs and ISO numbers: DIN 7, DIN 6325, and ISO 2338 and 8734. Dowel pins might also show up under a manufacturer part number such as Pic, WM Berg, Unbrako or Holo-Krome.

If you are ordering by MIL-SPEC, manufacturer’s part number or DIN, then the general attributes including tolerance and style are known. Here are a few of the other options that will help you order the correct pin:

  • The most common standard inch or imperial sized precision dowel pin is made to the ASME ANSI B18.8.2 spec and has a diameter tolerance of -0.00 / +0.0002 and length tolerance of +/-0.010. For example, a ¼” (0.25) diameter standard dowel pin will have a diameter between 0.2500–0.2502″.
  • The standard metric tolerance is related to the DIN. Both DIN 7 and DIN 6325 have a standard m6 diameter tolerance of +0.012mm / +0.004mm and a length tolerance related to the specific pin length.
  • Undersized series dowel pins are used for inconsistent holes. They have a basic diameter 0.0002″ under the nominal diameter. For example, a ¼” (0.25) diameter undersized dowel pin will have a diameter between 0.2500–0.2498″. The Mil-P-21143/2- falls into the undersized category.
  • Important note:  All pin options may not be available in all sizes and materials.
  • OEM branded pins have their own tolerances and specifications.
  • Finally, the Oversized series of dowel pins are usually used to fit into worn holes and are generally used in the aftermarket for repairs. These pins are only available off the shelf in steel in a small range of sizes.

5. Can I specify if I need radius or chamfer on the pin ends?

The pin style will depend upon the spec and the material. Precision dowel pins may come with either a double chamfer or a radius on one end and a chamfer on the other end. Specific style requirements are available for special order and usually involve a lead time.

6. What information do I need to request a quote?

The easiest way to order is by either the manufacturer or MIL-SPEC part number. To order by description, you need the diameter, length and material and if applicable, and any special tolerance, plating or style requirements.

7. Do I need to buy special installation tools?

Just remember, no hammers! When installing dowel pins, never drive the pin into the hole with force. Always press it in for best results. And production favors pins since they require no extra fastening hardware for insertion, no secondary operations, and no mating parts. This ease-of-use adds up to speedier production, which makes everyone in the food chain happy!

8. What level of certification is required?

Generally, a Certificate of Conformance or a COC is sufficient for your customer. Full certification with material certs and test reports are often available for USA made and MIL-SPEC parts and might have an additional fee.

Available Dowel Pins Categories

We are Dowel Pin experts, offering the full catalog of standard Dowel Pins in Inch, Metric, Military and OEM branded options in a wide selection of materials, sizes and specifications. As stocking distributors, many dowel pins are available and ready to ship today from our national distribution centers.

  • The full range of commercial and MIL-SPEC parts (M21143, MS16555, MS9390), including parts that are USA made, DFARS and ROHS compliant.
  • Inch sizes to ASME ANSI B18.8.2 standards in Alloy Steel, Stainless Steel 18-8, 316, 400 Series and Hardened
  • Metric sizes including DIN 7, DIN 6325, and ISO 2338 and 8734 in Alloy Steel, A2 & A4 Stainless Steel
  • Precision Series and OEM branded equivalents to PIC, BERG, both Inch & Metric Precision Dowel pins including Press-Fit A, B and Slip-Fit C series and all MD series pins in 416 and 303 Stainless Steel.

In addition to our vast selections of standards, we offer Custom-made parts per print in non-standard sizes and exotic materials and finishes made here in the USA with full certifications. Minimums and lead times will apply.

Seeking parts not listed for purchase on our website? We’ve got you covered! Submit your Dowel Pin RFQ and our team of experts will return your quote quickly!

Book a one-on-one consultation with our President, Robin, to discuss how MF Supply can help you solve your Industrial Sourcing, Fastener, and Safety concerns.

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Six Reasons To Buy From MF Supply

  • Full eCommerce Enabled Website With Technical Manual Available 24/7 – Visit our website and Create a New Account, track online orders, browse our product catalog, check technical specs, subscribe to our blog, or buy online.  We are adding items and improving functionality daily!
  • Same Day Shipping From The USA – Our hardware products are in stock and ship to you directly from our USA based distribution centers. 
  • Functional Equivalents To Expensive Brand Names- We stock and source alternatives to brand name fasteners, reducing long lead times and saving you money.
  • Creatively Solve Problems – We are sourcing experts, offer competitive pricing and specialize in finding hard to find parts and reducing long deliveries.
  • One-Stop Shopping On Certified Hardware – We stock and source a full line of fasteners including Mil-Spec, DFARS compliant and other industrial products.
  • WBE/WOSB Woman Owned Certified Small Business – To meet your diversity & set-aside needs.

MF Supply is a WBE/WOSB certified supply chain partner to business, industry and government.  We are sourcing experts and stocking distributors of Hardware, Precision & Mil-Spec Fasteners and Safety supplies.  For more than 50 years, we have been supplying manufacturers in the electronics, industrial, commercial, aerospace and military markets with the full range of fastener products and services.  Our Cage Code is 58QG4 and our registered name is RL Supply Inc dba MF Supply. 

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