Do you remember the days of tinkering with plastic bricks or assembling a new desk from your local home improvement store? When you completed the project, were you confident that your finished product would remain intact after many uses?
The strength of the assembly is an essential element of the construction of any design around the house and at work. The type of material used definitely plays a role, but how you choose to fasten the material together is equally as important.
For example, when using t-slot aluminum structural framing to design units such as a desk, cart, or workstation, there are various ways to ensure the units are securely fastened. Let’s explore four fastening methods that we regularly use for t-slot aluminum structural framing products.
A standard fastener is the most common fastening method we use to join two pieces of profile. It consists of a bolt and a double-eared plate. The fastener couples with the taper in the t-slots to create an extremely rigid joint. The tabs on the fastener align the profiles and provide anti-rotational support. In other words, the t-slots are “automatically” lined up. A tapped hole is required on the end of one profile and an access hole, for bolt tightening purposes with the proper Allen wrench, is required on the other profile.
If you are looking for some adjustability for 90-degree profile connections, consider a universal fastener as an option. It consists of the universal casting and a bolt, provides maximum strength in one direction and a fully adjustable joint position with the use of a drop-in t-nut. Use your Allen wrench to loosen the connection to slide the member up and down the t-slot. The fastener is ideal for retrofits and additions to existing frames. Machining will need to be done on the profile that houses the universal fastener.
Let’s say you don’t want to do a lot of machining for your project. You can still assemble your project with the help of joining plates, t-nuts, bolts and the appropriate Allen wrench. Joining plates can be used to connect profiles in a corner or “T” configuration. Although it is not a requirement, a joining plate can be added to fastener connections for increased strength.
Another way to accurately assemble 90 degree connections without machining would be to use a gusset. Gussets ensure a high strength connection and can be used in addition to a fastener for increased strength. The components needed to make the connection are the gusset, t-nuts, bolts and the appropriate sized Allen wrench.
Critical fastening considerations
When you use t-slot aluminum structural framing material to construct your assembly, you have the opportunity to positively impact the strength, function and the aesthetics of your project. Keep the following critical aspects of fastening in mind for your next project:
- Using standard and universal fasteners allows for a more aesthetically pleasing design
- Standard and universal fasteners have great strength
- The four fastening methods discussed make assembling your project easier
- Joining plates and gussets can be used instead of machining to assemble your project
- Universal fasteners and gussets can be used to adjust or move one profile along the t-slot of another profile
Using our favorite fastening methods ensures things will remain intact after assembly. See featured applications and our full line of t-slot aluminum structural framing products on our site.