Monday, December 14, 2015

Fasteners 101

Looking for more information on Fastener Nomenclature, Standards, Finishes and more?

We are proud to announce the launch of Fasteners 101 - The Official Fastener Information Page of Albany County Fasteners.

Check it out today for information on fastener varieties, drives and materials with more content added regularly.
Check out Fasteners 101 Today

Monday, October 5, 2015

Black Oxide Fasteners

Albany County Fasteners is proud to announce our expanding black oxide fasteners line, as well as offering custom black oxide fastener orders. With this announcement, we would also like to share some information with our customers and subscribers about the process, and what exactly makes a black oxide fastener.

On stainless steel (particularly for us in stainless steel fasteners), black oxide fasteners are 18-8 or
Black Oxide Socket Cap Screws
304 grade stainless steel fasteners that have undergone a conversion coating process to alter certain qualities of the material, most notably the color. The chemical treatment process has a greater effect than this coloring however, in that it also adds a mild corrosion and abrasion resistance to the fastener.

The Black Oxidization process for stainless steel consists of a series of chemical baths in a mixture of caustic, oxidizing and sulfur salts. Before the part is dipped into a hot bath of a solution of these materials, it is first dipped in an alkaline cleaner, and then water to ensure a surface free of debris. After the piece is treated in this manner, the fastener has porous qualities. This is then finished by infusing the material with oil or wax to add the corrosion and abrasion resistant qualities.  
To achieve maximum corrosion and abrasion resistance, the black oxide is infused with wax during the process and complies with military specifications as a Class 4 finish. The enhanced protection, as well as the sleek black finish are why these fasteners are used. Our Stainless Steel Black Oxide Fasteners undergo this chemical process in order to achieve the black oxide properties.
Black Oxide Lock Washers

The benefits of this process are that the fastener becomes more durable, with an insignificant altering of the fastener’s dimensions.

Black Oxide fasteners are used commonly in the jewelry industry, the automotive industry on both cars and motorcycles, as well as in knife builds, firearm builds and in small machines. This process can be applied to any stainless steel fastener available on our website making the possibilities virtually endless. 
Black Oxide Machine Screw Nuts

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Retaining Rings

We are proud to announce our new line of Retaining Rings available online at

Bowed 'E' Style Retaining Ring
 What is a Retaining Ring?
A Retaining Ring is a circular fastener that holds an assembly to a shaft, or in a housing installed in a groove. After installation, the exposed portion of the ring acts as a shoulder to retain the assembly. 

Types of Retaining Rings:
Internal Retaining / Housing Rings
At the most basic level, retaining rings can be differentiated by the manner in which they are installed. Axially assembled retaining rings are installed on shafts externally, or into grooves internally. External retaining rings have lug holes that extend beyond the circumference of the ring, whereas internal retaining rings (also called housing rings) have lug holes within the circle. These holes are used in application with pliers designed for installation and removal of the parts.
External Retaining Ring

 Radially assembled retaining rings include the popular 'E' style and are installed externally into grooves on a shaft. They do not have lug holes, so they must be installed using an applicator. 

Material and Finish: 
At Albany County Fasteners we specialize in stainless steel fasteners, so we offer a full size run in stainless steel retaining clips. These corrosion resistant fasteners are made in grades PH 15-7, PH 17-7 stainless steel and have a passivated protective finish. 

Retaining rings can be used in any shaft assembly, and take the place of traditional fasteners creating less effort and less waste. When machining a shoulder they can replace a washer and nut. For a housing, they can replace bolts to retain a bearing. Additionally, they can also be used to replace the cotter pin and washer fastening method, as well as act as collars for any socket set screw. Ultimately these fasteners save time, space and money in any shaft or housing assembly making them extremely popular in the automotive, manufacturing and hydraulics industries, but the possibilities are virtually endless.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Stainless Steel Applications

Stainless steel is used primarily for long lasting applications, due to its corrosion-resistant nature and durability. At Albany County Fasteners we stock fasteners in various grades of stainless steel to provide an appropriate solution for any fastener application. 

Making the Grades:

18-8 Stainless Steel - (18% Chrome, 8% Nickel, .08% Maximum Carbon) - This is the standard grade for stainless steel fasteners. They are corrosion-resistant and durable. They are often used in marine applications in freshwater environments, but will not work as effectively in a salt water environment.

304 Stainless Steel – (17%-19% Chrome, 8%-12% Nickel, .08% Maximum Carbon) - This is a superior grade of 18-8 stainless steel. 304 Stainless steel is often used to make Machine Screws, Cap Screws, Sheet Metal Screws, Hex Cap Screws and all cold headed or hot forged fasteners. It is often used in food service and dye applications because of its ability to resist the corrosive properties of organic acids.

305 Stainless Steel – (17%-19% Chrome, 8%-10% Nickel, .12% Maximum Carbon) - This grade has been developed specifically to improve the cold heading qualities of 18-8. This grade does not work hardened products are actually made from this grade even though they are referred to as being made from type 304 Corrosion resistance and physical qualities are equal to Type 304. 305 stainless steel is used to make deck screws, which are used (shockingly) to fasten wood or composite boards to the main beams of a deck.
Square Drive Deck Screw-305 Stainless Steel

316 Stainless Steel – (16%-18% Chrome, 10%-14% Nickel, .08% Maximum Carbon, 2.00% Maximum Molybdenum) – This grade of stainless steel is used and recommended for applications in severe or harsh environments. Its corrosion resistance is greater than 18-8 stainless, which is why we recommend using 316 stainless steel fasteners for salt water environments. It is important to remember that even the salt in the air near a body of salt water can do damage to dry applications, so 316 is the material of choice. Common applications of 316 stainless steel fasteners include boats, docks and piers.   
410 Stainless Steel – (11.5%-13.5% Chrome, .15% Maximum Carbon) – Due to the fact that this grade of stainless steel can be hardened up to approximately 40 Rockwell C, it is durable in most environments. It is commonly used to make roofing screws and siding screws and self tapping (or self drilling) screws, because it is a harder material than the metal being fastened in these types of applications.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What Do the Numbers Mean?

Stainless steel fasteners are defined by the grade of the material. Now what exactly does this mean? See the list below for information on common grades of stainless steel fasteners including material and common applications. 

  • Type 304: 17%-19% Chrome, 8%-12% Nickel, .08% Maximum Carbon. This is a superior grade of 18-8 stainless steel and is used for Machine Screws, Cap Screws, Sheet Metal Screws, Hex Cap Screws and all cold headed or hot forged fasteners. It is an equivalent to 18-8 Stainless Steel.

  • Type 305: 17%-19% Chrome, 8%-10% Nickel, .12% Maximum Carbon. This grade has been developed specifically to improve the cold heading qualities of 18-8. This grade does not work hardened products are actually made from this grade even though they are referred to as being made from type 304 Corrosion resistance and physical qualities are equal to Type 304.

  • Type 316: 16%-18% Chrome, 10%-14% Nickel, .08% Maximum Carbon, 2.00% Maximum Molybdenum. This grade is greater corrosion resistance when used with certain acids as compared to general range of 18-8 stainless steel. 316 Stainless Steel is used in saltwater application such as boats and docks.

  • Type 18-8: 18% Chrome, 8% Nickel, .08% Maximum Carbon. Used in most fasteners and is the standard.It is an equivalent to 304 Stainless Steel.

  • Type 410: 11.5%-13.5% Chrome, .15% Maximum Carbon. This grade can be bright and hardened up to approximately 40 Rockwell C. This is used in roofing screws and finishing washers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Stainless Steel Fasteners locking up? It’s not the quality of the parts but the common problem of using stainless steel fasteners. 

The beneficial nature of using stainless steel is that it is corrosion resistant. This property is due to the fact that stainless steel, among other alloys, generate a protective oxide surface film. Though this may be beneficial, it can sometimes lead to problems with installation.

Thread Galling occurs during fastener tightening and installation. When pressure builds between the contacting surfaces of the male and female threads, the protective oxides or coatings begin to shear, causing high points, or imperfections in the raw material of the two pieces to become locked together. The increase in friction causes the two parts to seize or “lock-up”. In serious cases, this difficultly understood problem is even referred to as “cold welding”, which illustrates the severity of the issue. Often, galling can cause damage to the thread of the fastener, but it can still be removed. In severe cases, the two materials completely weld together preventing loosening of the parts, and adding the difficult step of a forced removal and new parts to the process. The frustrating aspect of this is that both the nut and bolt can clear inspection individually, but fail to function effectively as a mechanical unit. 

Though this problem may be frustrating, it is avoidable. The main issue to address is to decrease the friction between the adjoining parts. This can be done in several ways including a slower installation process (RPMs). The idea behind this method is to reduce the friction (and thus heat), between the parts preventing the “welding” process. Our recommended method, due to its ease of implementation, is lubrication. Common methods include specially designed lubricants and waxes, however due to its safety and ease of availability, we recommend dipping the bolt in Maalox. 

Yes, that’s right, Maalox.  

Though this product may be designed to relieve upset stomachs, this liquid antacid has excellent lubricating qualities when it comes to installing fasteners, as well as qualities which help to protect the surface film of the fastener. As an added bonus, it is a product designed for human consumption, meaning that it is completely safe to use on food service and processing equipment, where stainless steel has become the standard. 

Other precautionary measures include using coarse threaded fasteners, using different grades of stainless steel for adjoining parts (take the corrosion resistance differences into consideration), and understanding the proper use of lock nuts. Because they are designed to add resistance to the existing threads of the bolt, it is best practice to make sure that a minimal amount of threads extend beyond the nut.

Reducing friction is the preemptive strike against this problem. That is why we recommend lubrication, and Maalox specifically, due to many of its properties beneficial to both sore stomachs and stainless steel. Galling can be a frustrating problem, but it can be prevented.