Captive Screws

Custom fasteners Manufacturer

They may be small; however, fasteners, better known as screws, play an important role in producing various products and items. They are created to hold or “fasten” two or more product sides or panels. While the standard screws are most commonly used in several things, other types of screws are seen in various products, and one such type is a captive screw.

This article discusses what captive screws are, how they are made, where they are used, and their advantages.

What Are Captive Screws?

Captive screws are a more innovative substitute for the fully threaded standard screw. They are locked into a predrilled hole so that they can be secured in place while maintaining a permanent hold. While they feature similar head and outer thread-like gaps as a standard screw, they feature an unthreaded portion below the head, referred to as a reduced shank. They are unique because they can be screwed and unscrewed without pulling out from the pivot hole. Which means they remain in the assembly even when it is dismantled.

While a standard screw will detach from the pilot hole upon unscrewing, a captive screw will remain in place. Some specific equipment or products may require the use of captive screws, as they won’t be able to break free from the pilot hole in which they were installed.

How Captive Screws Are Made?

Captive screw manufacturers use several methods to make captive screws, for instance, thread locking, broaching, or press fitting. Furthermore, it can also be welded or cold formed with the material into which it is joined.

Captive screw assemblies typically comprise a captive screw, flat washer, and lock washer or retainer. The addition of lock washers or captive washers provides a more significant fastening surface and allows the screw to remain tightly fixed. Retainers are used in the assembly to keep the parts in place.

While these fasteners can be made in a wide variety of materials, the most commonly used are aluminum and brass. However, they can be made in A2 stainless to avoid corrosion or A4 stainless for prolonged exposure to water or moisture. Screw manufacturers must ensure that they are made of high-quality standards because of the critical efficiency required of the unthreaded section of the captive screw. If problems of quality appear, especially within the reduced shank, there will be issues with the equipment captive screws are used in.

These screws must have a smooth surface and no sharp edges so as not to cause injury. Especially captive thumb screws, which are managed by hand.

Where are Captive Screws Used?

Captive screws are specifically made to lock into place within a hole. This makes it favorable to be used in products that need a surety that the screws are not able to fall out of place and damage or clog an appliance. Captive fasteners are usually used in industrial machinery, especially those where loosely fixed or lost screws can result in severe damage, especially if an equipment or machine is sensitive.

Captive screws can commonly be found in various products and applications; however, they are widely used in equipment and military settings that require high precision.

For instance, the captive panel screws are used in computer cases, so cover panels can easily be removed without the risk of screws falling in the interior when one needs to access the internal parts. Moreover, they are used in cars, especially motorsports, to prevent parts from dismantling and falling on the track, which can result in fatal accidents.

Captive panel screws are ideal for attaching various parts of military equipment so that parts can be removed and rebuilt efficiently without the risk of contamination or machinery dismantling. Similarly, captive panel screws ensure that an aircraft’s crucial parts are not lost and stay within the safety regulations during repairs and maintenance.

Captive Screws Types

Captive screw suppliers have different types of captive screws available, including those with different heads, such as cap heads, button heads, pan heads, and countersunk heads. Moreover, some other captive screws include captive panel screws and captive thumb screws. Different shapes, heads, and sizes of captive screws allow them to be used with specialized equipment or products. For instance, countersunk head captive screws are security screws that can be reused, whereas captive thumb screws are fast to work with and easy to use.

Benefits Of Using Captive Screws

While captive screws may be slightly higher in cost as compared to standard screws, they offer a more specialized fixing that cannot easily be loosened or lost. This results in lesser equipment risks regarding machinery downtime, general maintenance, and frequently changing parts. Once a captive screw is placed into a pilot hole, it will remain there even if the screw is unfastened.

Unlike a standard screw, which may loosen up over time because of vibrations, stress, or other physical forces, captive screws will offer a high level of protection since they will remain fixed and not loosen up. This also proves that they are cost-effective as by staying in a place, they are protecting the equipment and appliances from potential damage, which may result in replacing or repairing parts. Furthermore, they are simple to use and don’t require any heavy tools for installation. They are also less likely to suffer from age-related deterioration.


Captive screws are highly effective because of their ability to be fixed in the pivot hole, which prevents the loss of damage to parts. They are also easy to use during the manufacturing process of several appliances that they are used in. Moreover, they are cost-effective and have a wide variety of different types per the requirements of the product or equipment.

Hello, customers

My name is Betty Lee, I’m the business manager of Heatfastener. I have been in the fastener industry for more than 15 years. Feel free to contact us. I’m happy to provide you with the best service and products.

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