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How do you use self-tapping screws?

2011-02-21

Self-tapping screws drill their own little tunnels by cutting precise threads when they are screwed into wood, plastic or metal. It’s helpful to use self-tapping screws for products that you need to maintain regularly such as air-conditioning units or canopies where you need to dissemble and reassemble the item along the same threads. You can insert self-tapping screws with either a hand-held or electric screwdriver.

Before you use self-tapping screws, it’s helpful, although not mandatory, to drill a pilot hole through the material. This ensures the screw will go in easily and will be positioned correctly. Make sure to use a smaller drill bit than the self-tapping screw itself when drilling the pilot hole. Otherwise, if the hole is too large, the screw threads won’t have anything to attach to. Then position the screw straight and screw it in place with a flat head or Phillips screwdriver (depending on the screw head). If the screw goes in crooked, it could cause the head to strip. Next, tighten the screw until it no longer turns easily. Be careful not to over-tighten the screw because it could cause the threads to strip.

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