As you create your designs, it’s important to remember that your hardware choices are important keys to your final sheet metal assembly. Considering hardware specifications should be an important step in your design process.
Hardware and Sheet Metal Compatibility
Knowing that you want to place a PEM nut on your part is only the first step in the process. Next, think about the kind of sheet metal you’re using so you can define the correct kind of nut for that location. This is where material hardness comes into play. Designs that specify that we should place an aluminum nut into sheet metal made of steel or stainless steel will not work. Aluminum is too soft. Ultimately, it’s important that your hardware has a hardness that is equal to, or greater than, your sheet metal.
Just as it’s important to place holes and slots a certain distance from part edges, the same is true of hardware locations. The Penn Engineering (PEM) website provides all the specifications you need to ensure that your hardware is located in areas that won’t affect the structural integrity of your part or compromise the hardware’s installation. It’s definitely worth a look to ensure that your design intent will be manufacturable and hold up over time.
Do You Have My Hardware?
In your designs, standard in-stock hardware parts are definitely the way to go. Protolabs keeps in stock most of the hardware you are likely to need. By designing around in-stock parts, you will shorten your lead time.
When choosing hardware for your parts, always consider: compatibility, location, and availability. Your parts will function better, last longer, and your customers will be happier.
For more helpful sheet metal design tips, download our Design for Manufacturing (DFM) Guide.