Overview of Nails, Machine Keys, and Pins

When constructing an aircraft or related equipment and systems, it is often the smallest components that are overlooked for their contribution to the entire assembly. The Federal Supply Class (FSC) 5315 Nails, Machine Keys, and Pins includes a variety of hardware fasteners that can be very useful for constructing assemblies. Fasteners are a critical component for holding together the structure of an aircraft, as well as distributing loads. In a single aircraft, almost half of the components may be fasteners, such as is the case for the Boeing 747. In this blog, we will discuss what each of these FSC components are, some of their various types, and their provided functions and applications.

A nail is a Type of Fastener that is popularly used across woodworking and construction. Nails are most often constructed from metal and may be used to peg or hang an object, holding it in place. The design of a nail typically comes in the form of a flat head and pointed shaft which drives into the material in which it is to fasten. Depending on the application, various types of nails may be implemented. The most common types of nails include wire nails, pins, tacks, spikes, brads, and cleats. To install a nail, a hammer or pneumatic may be used to establish friction based fastening that features shear strength. To prevent easy removal of the nail, the tail end of the shaft is sometimes bent or clinched. Within an aircraft, nails may be used in areas in which there are wooden structures to help secure joints, or to pin up certain decorations.

Machine keys are a machined component that allows for the securing of sprockets, gears, cams, pulleys, and other elements. This fastening may be used to connect parts to a power transmission to transmit torque from the shaft to the secured components. Machine keys may also be placed in between components within a groove as to mitigate and prevent rotation. Machine keys are typically constructed from materials such as steel, and their ends may be rounded, square, or tapered gib. Machine keys are also constructed to various lengths and types, allowing for multiple solutions for various applications and needs.

Pins are a fastener that can secure components and materials together in a simple and non-permanent fashion. There are various types of pins available to cater to a variety of uses, and these include types such as straight, general purpose, mechanical fasteners, and sewing pins. A pin spring, or spring pin, is a fastener that may secure two or more components with their position relative to each other. A spring pin is a type of self retaining fastener, as the force of the pin against the wall of the assembly keeps it in place. A pin quick release, or quick release pin, is another example of a pin that allows for a secure locking of components, all while allowing for rapid removal.


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