A dowel pin is a simple but fundamental mechanical fastener that is used for various applications. It is designed to precisely (and often temporarily) align and prevent relative movement between two or more components. A dowel pin is generally shaped like a cylinder – without a head or thread that is more descriptive of bolts, screws, and other fasteners.
If you are in the market for dowel pins, consider the dowel buyer’s reference guide below –
A Buyer’s Guide to Dowel Pins
In addition to determining the number of dowel pins needed (and be sure to have extras on hand!), make sure to select a reputable supplier because this is the best way to ensure the dowel pins you use meet appropriate specifications and perform dependably. Other considerations when buying dowel pins include-
The Type of Dowel Pin
The type of dowel pin you will need depends on the application you plan to use. Options generally include-
- Straight Dowel Pins refer to the most common cylindrically shaped pins.
- Tapered Dowel Pins, as their name suggests, have an end that tapers. These offer two benefits –
- The pins are self-centering.
- The pins have a more manageable insertion.
- With their unique design, Spring Dowel Pins offer the flexibility needed for certain applications.
- Dowel Pins with holes provide an additional level of functionality.
Dowel Pin’s Size & Tolerance
Dowel pins come in various sizes, which is a reference to the pin’s length and diameter. Additionally, a dowel pin tolerance, which refers to the precision of its measurement, varies. And, because dowel pin sizes come in metric and imperial measurements, it is essential to know the proper size to select the correct pin for the application.
Material Options for Dowel Pins
Dowel pin material options vary and include –
- Stainless Steel.
- Hardened Steel.
Your choice of dowel pin material is contingent on the application’s requirements. For instance, marine applications would benefit from using stainless steel dowel pins that have the capacity to resist corrosion.
Dowel Pin Coating or Finish Options
When deciding on the correct dowel pin type, consider if the pins need a specialized coating/finish that may help to lessen friction or corrosion for your application. Common finishes include –
- Black Oxide.
- Zinc Plating.
- Treated Stainless Steel.
Dowel Pin Load/Strength Requirements
Select a dowel pin that has the capacity to withstand the application’s load and strength requirements.
Dowel Pin Application Considerations
When buying dowel pins, consider your application’s unique requirements, which may include factors like –
- Vibration Resistance.
- Temperature Resistance.
- Electrical Conductivity.
Pro-tip – you may need specialized tools for installation, depending on the type of dowel selected.
Potential Dowel Pin Applications
The many applications for dowel pins include –
- Machinery/Equipment Assembly – Dowel pins are used to align/secure gears, pulleys, bearings, and more.
- Construction – In construction, dowel pins align rebar and other structural components.
- Automotive Manufacturing – Dowel pins align/secure complex systems, engines, suspension, transmission parts, etc.
- Furniture Construction/Woodworking – Dowel pins offer accurate joint alignment/reinforcement in furniture and cabinetry construction. In addition, they are aesthetically pleasing compared to the use of screws.
- Marine Industry – Stainless steel dowel pins are used to secure components like railings and deck hardware on boats/vessels, as they offer anti-corrosive properties for these applications.
- Aerospace Industry – Aerospace manufacturers use these essential fasteners to ensure precise assembly of wings, landing gear, and other structural aircraft components.
- Electronics/Printed Circuit Boards – Miniature dowel pins are often used to precisely construct PCBs and other electronic devices.
- Medical Devices – Dowel pins that are made from biocompatible materials can be used for their high precision in surgical equipment and imaging instruments.
- Renewable Energy – Dowel pins are used to construct the critical parts used to manufacture renewable energy options like –
- Solar panels.
- Wind turbines, etc.
- Firearms Manufacturing – Dowel pins, which offer accuracy and safety, are used to manufacture firearms.
- Textile Machinery – These fasteners are used to secure/align rollers and spindles, which are essential components in textile manufacturing.
Dowel Pin Buyer’s Guide – The Take-Away
Selecting the correct dowel pins requires the consideration of various factors/components that include its size, load capacity, material, and the application for which it is being used.
Carefully considering these factors will help ensure your project’s successful assembly and utility. The cost of the dowel pins is an apparent factor, although it should not be prioritized over the dowel pin’s selected quality/suitability, as using the wrong/subpar pins can cause assembly issues that lead to expensive repairs or possibly the need for replacement.