Buyer’s Guide to Self-Clinching Fasteners 2019


MF Supply continues to expand our offering of products available for purchase online. We are thrilled to offer Self-clinching fasteners available from stock that can be purchased on our website or by email, phone or fax. We are an authorized distributor for Captive Fasteners, a US based manufacturer since 1974, with a factory right here in our NJ backyard!

What are Self-clinching fasteners?

Self-clinching fasteners are generally classified as part of the electronic hardware or precision engineered fastener family and are not governed by IFI, ANSI or ASME standards. A self-clinching fastener, also known as press-fit or clinch style captive fastener, is a part that when pressed into a drilled, punched or machined hole, provides an economical method of joining sheet metal panel applications and is well-suited for use in printed circuit boards.

Self-clinching fasteners are used in many industries; both commercial and aerospace.

Self-clinching Fasteners available at MF Supply

MF Supply offers the full catalog of Captive branded fasteners & PEM® equivalents in inch & metric sizes. We have the following parts available for purchase online, in stock and ready to ship from our national distribution centers:

Additional Series available include, but are not limited to, floating, self-locking, blind-hole, flush, and broaching fasteners.


How do they work? 

Self-clinching fasteners work by displacing the host material around the mounting hole, causing it to cold flow into a specially designed annular recess. Knurls, serrated rings or ribs on the fastener hold them firmly in place. Self-clinching fasteners become an integral permanent part of the panel or frame and eliminate problems associated with loose hardware. Installation requires access to both sides of the panel and self-clinching fasteners may be installed using any parallel acting squeezing force.

What are the advantages of Self-Clinching fasteners?

Self-clinching fasteners provide strong thread in very thin material & offer high push out and torque out resistance. They take less space and require fewer assembly operations than caged or anchor nuts. They can be installed during fabrication or during final assembly and work well in applications when loose hardware wouldn’t be accessible.

Some of the key advantages include:

  • No special hole preparation, such as chamfering and deburring is required.
  • Low installed costs, fewer parts to handle, fewer assembly steps and less assembly time.
  • No retapping necessary after application.

Reverse side of metal sheet remains flush – no swaged rim protrusion.

What are the differences between branded fasteners like PEM & Captive and generic Self-clinching fasteners?

SelfClinchStudSelf-clinching hardware is frequently referred to by the OEM brand name PEM®. Captive Fastener is a USA based manufacturer and offers functional equivalents to PEM® branded self-clinching fasteners.  In addition to PEM® & Captive, there are a variety of manufacturers of self-clinching fasteners available in the marketplace including the major national catalog brands. Functional alternatives will be equivalent in form fit and function and offer similar performance.

To see if using alternative brands or functional equivalents will work for your business, refer to our handy guide.

We have also included a cross reference lookup table for PEM® product types vs. Captive product series below.

What information for I need for ordering? 

The easiest way to order is by manufacturer part number. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to specify fastener type & style, thread diameter & pitch, fastener length, material and plating. For example: a 10-32 X 3/8 Flush Head Self-Clinching Stud Steel Zinc plated can also be ordered as a PEM® FH-032-6, (or a PEM® FH-032-6-ZI as sometimes PEM® calls out the plating) or a Captive CH1032-6.  This part is also offered by a national catalog brand under part number 93580A166.

Additional Series available include, but are not limited to, floating, self-locking, blind-hole, flush, and broaching fasteners.

We Invite You To Request a Quote, Download a Guide or a Line Card Today!

  1. Full ecommerce enabled website with technical manual available 24/7
  2. Same day drop ship from factory for thousands of items.
  3. Functional Equivalents to expensive brand name fasteners save money and reduce long lead times.
  4. Creatively solve problems including hard to find parts and long lead times
  5. WBE/WOSB Woman Owned Certified Small Business.

Buyer’s Guide to Ordering Custom or Reworked Parts per Print

Custom made fasteners

4 Things you need to know

when buying

Custom Made & Special Fasteners

Precision manufacturers and OEMs regularly use custom or designed and engineered-in fasteners and machined parts in the manufacturing process. These “per print” parts may be for a prototype of a new product, a replacement of an existing part, or for a large-scale production run. No matter the reason, this guide will help simplify your process for procuring quotes and ordering custom parts.

1) What are custom parts “per print”?

Fasteners and components that are non-standard and not commercially available and must be manufactured to a print or a drawing are considered “per print” fasteners. Although you’ll find thousands of variations of fasteners, the most common reasons to custom make a part include: a need for an unusual diameter or in-between length, an uncommon material or plating, or a special head size or drive type. For example, an M6 x 1.0 x 37 metric socket cap in A286 material would need to be custom made since the length and the material are nonstandard.

2) What information should I provide to get an accurate quote?
For the most accurate quotes, provide the following six pieces of information:

  • A print with dimensional and tolerance requirements
  • Details of the material and plating specification
  • Quantity levels including EAU for possible price breaks
  • Paperwork needs, which might include: Certificate of conformance, material test report, ROHS or DFAR requirements, domestic or country of origin, first article or PPAP
  • Delivery needs, including desired deliver by date
  • A price target if you have one

If you have any special labeling or bagging requirements, include that information on your RFQ as well.

3) What are reworked parts and how are they different from per print parts?
Reworking parts usually involves taking a commercially available screw and performing a secondary service, that is, removing or adding something to the screw. Common secondary services include, broaching a drive socket into a screw product, slotting a fastener head, adding grooves, special threads, trimming, cutting, drilling or captivating a fastener. Adding special platings, heat treatments, patches, pellets and other locking elements are also considered secondary processes. The majority of “per print” parts involve a secondary service, hence they are manufactured in several steps usually involving several different factories.

4) Are there other factors to consider when selecting a vendor for per print and reworked parts?
We suggest you work with a vendor experienced with established ISO certified factories that specialize in the specific category of part you need. An experienced vendor can help identify the factory best suited for your requirements, and they can compare quotes from their top sources domestically and abroad. The benefits to working with an experienced fastener supplier include:
• One point of contact
• One bill to pay
• Quality control of multiple factories and secondary services
• Stock and release options

And many other benefits that mean you get the right part fast and accurately.

For more detailed information about custom made parts, visit our website. And if you don’t see what you need listed, as always, ask us. “Finding the right screw for you” is our tag line after all!

For more than 40 years, MF Supply has helped American manufacturers streamline operations, saving them time and money with our sourcing expertise and unique supply chain strategies. We are a WBE/WOSB certified stocking distributor of fasteners and electronic components.

We work with the best-established factories in the United States and DFARS-certified countries, and stock a huge inventory including all major brands and equivalents. MF Supply provides solutions including: same-day drop ship direct from the factory; custom sizes, materials and plating options; and DFARS parts with full paperwork and Certificates of Conformance.

We creatively solve common problems including hard-to-find parts and long lead times. Our sourcing and reworking expertise includes fast turnaround for modification of existing parts, hard to find standards and specials, special threads, non-standard diameters and lengths, exotic materials, special platings and short runs. We provide functional equivalents to expensive brand name fasteners and help our customers save money while reducing lead times.

MF Supply is a leading supplier of custom parts per-print specializing in the following categories of specials, custom, and reworked hardware: socket products, aero-space and mil-spec parts, tamperproof, electronic, spacers and standoffs, washers, nuts and thread-forming fasteners.

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