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Self tapping vs self drilling, what are the differences?

Self tapping vs self drilling, what are the differences

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People often confuse the terms “self-tapping” and “self-drilling” as if they are the same, but in fact, they refer to two very different types of actions. The same can be said for screw types: there are self-drilling screws and self-tapping screws.
To obtain good results in construction and other related fields, it is very important to understand the difference between self-tapping and self-drilling.

Differences between self tapping and self drilling

The following article we will explain the main characteristics of each type of screw. This will help to better understand the differences between self-tapping and self-drilling.

Self-tapping screws can be described as tapping screws although they are also known as sheet metal screws. Today, we can find a wide range of self-tapping screws for different base materials such as sheet metal, wood or plastic.

These screws cannot pierce metal and a pilot hole is required to be pre-drilled prior to installation. A pilot hole is created using a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the screw and the screw threads strike the metal or wood as the screw is installed.

The most common uses of self-tapping screws:

– Fixing metal brackets into ply and timber

– Securing thin gauge sheet metal in 1 and 2 layers

– Fastening aluminum sections together and into screw flutes.

– Inserting screws into plastic housings.

Self-drilling screws are also self-tapping, but the difference from self-tapping is that they have a drill-shaped tip. It can be drilled directly on the base material. Self-drilling screws have been designed for a wide variety of applications, such as metal-to-metal and metal-to-wood fastening.

Another difference between self-drilling and self-tapping is that self-drilling does not require a pilot hole or pre-drilled hole to be placed. This feature speeds up installation time, reduces cost and the need for additional bits. This added functionality and cost-saving feature makes self-drilling screws the clear choice for metal building construction.

The most common uses of self-drilling screws:

– Steel framings

– General construction

– Metal roofing and cladding

– Sheds/garages/carports

Self drilling screw sizes chart

Self-drilling screws can be made of stainless steel or carbon steel, however stainless-steel screws only can drill soft metals like aluminum.

Check out our range self-drilling screws sizes chart:

Code

Head

Recess/Socket

Material/coating

Material to be drilled

7504N

Pan

PH

Steel/White zinc plated, black zinc plated or white lacquered

Aluminium / Steel

7504P

Countersunk

PH

Steel/Zinc plated, black zinc plated

Aluminium / Steel

7504K

Hexagonal

Socket nut

Socket nut

Aluminium / Steel

FST

Low

PH

Steel/White zinc plated, black zinc plated or white lacquered

Aluminium / Steel

CET

Extra-flat

PH

Steel/White zinc plated, black zinc plated or white lacquered

Aluminium / Steel

SIT A85S

Pan

SIT

Steel/Zinc plated

Aluminium / Steel

75HA

Pan + Washer

PH

Steel/Zinc plated, black zinc plated

Aluminium / Steel

BTT

Mushroom

SIT

Steel/Zinc flake coated

Aluminium / Steel

Self tapping screw sizes chart

We can find a wide range of self-tapping screws that can be installed in different base materials such as sheet metal, wood or plastic. Each design has been developed to enhance the performance of the screws according to their base material.

Check out our range self-tapping screws sizes chart:

Code

Head

Recess/Socket

Material/coating

Material to be drilled

7981

Pan

PH

Steel/Zinc plated, black zinc plaed, white lacquered

Aluminium / Steel

7982

Countersunk

PH

Steel/Zinc plated, black zinc plaed, white lacquered

Aluminium / Steel

7660

Hexagonal

Socket nut

Steel/Zinc plated

Aluminium / Steel

FS

Low

PH

Steel/White zinc plated, black zinc plated or white lacquered

Aluminium / Steel

CE

Extra-flat

PH

Steel/Zinc plated, black zinc plaed, white lacquered

Aluminium / Steel

7049

Pan

SIT

Steel/Zinc plated, black zinc plated

Aluminium / Steel

CH88H

Pan + Washer

PH

Steel/Zinc plated, black zinc plated

Aluminium / Steel

BTN

Mushroom

SIT

Steel/Zinc plated

Aluminium / Steel

Can you use self drilling and self tapping together

As you may have noticed, there are significant differences between self-tapping and self-drilling screws. A self-drilling screw creates its own hole as it drives. They are useful, above all, for metal fixings.

In contrast, if you want to use a self-tapping screw, you must make a hole with the appropriate drill bit first, and then insert the screw with the assistance of a screwdriver or drill.

Before selecting a particular type of screw, you need to consider what it will be used for, and then what type of material it will be used on. As we have already seen in the previous lines, each type of screw has its own characteristics and they are designed to work with one or another type of material.

We invite you to explore our extensive range of screw products.