Retaining Rings!? What the heck are those?

Welcome back to our “what the heck is that” series, refreshed for 2023, where we discuss some of the unique fasteners and electronic hardware that manufacturers use in the design and assembly of their products. Today, we will re-introduce you to the Retaining Ring!

What is a Retaining Ring?

Retaining Rings are yet another way to position, locate and retain parts within an assembly. Shaped like an open ring and made of metal, Retaining Rings can be coiled from wire, stamped or laser cut. They come in a variety of styles and materials, each solving a unique fastening problem.

Generally, Retaining Rings work together with a bore or a shaft by snapping into a groove or being pushed into place to create a high strength shoulder to retain parts.

AKA – Also known as…..

The Retaining Ring is a funny little guy and answers to a bunch of different names – some of Retaining Ring’s favorite aliases are: snap rings, wire rings, circlips, retainer clips, spiral rings, wire clips, c-rings, e-rings, grip rings, klip rings and push-on rings.

Who uses Retaining Rings?

Any application with a bore/housing or shaft that requires a shoulder to keep parts in place within an assembly is a candidate for using Retaining Rings.

Retaining Rings are broadly used across various applications in many industries, including: aerospace, drive shafts, electrical motors, hydraulic equipment, instrumentation, lighting assemblies, machinery, nuclear equipment and many more. Retaining Rings are very common in the automotive industry.

Why use a Retaining Ring vs. a screw or a bolt?

When a shaft or bore design that includes assembled components needs a shoulder, it can be costly to machine the shoulder, mate threaded components and fasteners together and drill and coordinate threaded holes and access holes to fasten the assembly. Retaining Rings can serve as a cost effective and time saving alternative. In addition to cost, Retaining Rings offer 2 special benefits a) they can be more resilient than screw assemblies in high vibration environments, b) they are made from less material, hence they are lighter, cleaner, gentler on the environment (aka Green!).

What styles are available?

Retaining Rings come in a variety of styles and materials. The most popular styles are: External (used on shafts), Internal (used for bores) and E-Style (radially assembled). The most popular materials are Carbon Spring Steel, PH15-7 Stainless Steel and Beryllium Copper. The most common finishes for Carbon Steel Rings are Phosphate, Zinc Clear and Zinc Yellow.

Are there other factors to consider?

  • As discussed, Retaining Rings are often referred to by their brand names, which can often be substituted by generic equivalents. Popular brands include: Anderton, Arcon, Rotor Clip, Waldes/Truarc. We can supply the brand name or generic alternatives.
  • Retaining Rings often show up under their Mil-spec numbers, which can be crossed to commercial equivalents. Some common Mil-spec series for Retaining Rings include: MS16624, MS16625, MS16626, MS16627, MS16628, MS16629, MS16630, MS16631, MS16632, MS16633, MS3215, MS3217 and MS90707.
  • Sizes available vary based on the style. The general range is from 1/16 to 10″. Metric sizes are also available.

Retaining Rings at MF Supply

We currently offer:

For more detailed information on Retaining Rings, visit us at our website or Request a Quote today, and our MF Supply team of sourcing experts can help you find what you need. “Finding the right screw for you” is our tag line after all!

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.

MF Supply Work With Us

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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