What is a nutsert?

Nutserts & Inserts

Understanding nutserts and how they work. 

Nutserts are a tubular fastener that provides a threaded anchor point for bolting applications. They are a permanent fixture that requires a tool. Designed for use in a punched or drilled hole using a nutsert tool that collapes the nut, creating a backside flange that holds the nut to the material. 

Sometimes known as rivnuts or rivet nuts they are ideal when the material is too thin or brittle to support a bolt on its own, a clever component that provides a superior permanent thread for the attachment of a bolt. See image on the right for the anatomy of a typical open-end "xtralok" nutsert.

Nutsert 'Xtralok' Diagram

In this article we will review the different nutsert options on the market from the popular Nutsert “xtralok®with its distinct knurled body for extra locking capacity and up to 50% more material grip range than most competitor products. Through to the Hex nutserts and PlusNuts. Plus-nut is a slotted body threaded nut insert that provides flexibility with material depth compared to traditional nutserts and is better suited with thin metal sheeting and lightweight materials.

Hex shape nutserts provide the maximum resistance to unscrewing as long as you have a precut hex hole. We will also quickly delve into nutsert tools, alternatively for an in-depth review & understanding of nutsert & rivnut tools go to the blog; Nutsert Guns "How to Choose & Use".

How do you install a nutsert?

Installing a nutsert or rivnut is a simple process that involves the following four main steps. The video below shows how nutserts are installed.   

  • Step 1. Thread the nutsert onto the mandrel of the tool, some tools automatically load the nutsert.  
  • Step 2. Place the nutsert into the pre-drilled hole and activate tool to begin swaging process. Tool’s mandrel will pull up nutsert causing the body to compress & swell out to fill the hole.
  • Step 3. The nutsert has now bulged & created a lip on the blind side of the material, firmly interlocking itself onto the material.   
  • Step 4. Nutsert tool will either automatically or manually reverse out of the nutsert. Job well done!

Uninstalled Vs Installed Nutsert Diagram.

The diagram below indicates the difference between an uninstalled nutsert and an installed nutsert. Note how the knurled section of the nutsert has been reduced in its length. This is the section that bulges and clamps up on the blind side of the material and locks into place.  

Installed vs Uninstalled Nutsert

Nutsert v's Rivnuts.

Essentially these are different trademark brands that refer to "rivet nut", which is the generic term for these components. Words can be trademarked for brand marketing purposes and sometimes these transcend to everyday language, popular brand words like Nutsert® by Stanley Engineered Fastening, or Rivnut® by Bollhoff are popular trademarks that are used in everyday language to describe the rivet nut fastener. We aim to keep things simple by combining common terminology and adding descriptive words like "smooth body" to distinguish the item, hence the label "smooth body rivnuts" 

What are the benefits of using nutserts?

Nutserts provide a quick, reliable, and low-cost system of inserting a thread in thin steel sheeting or tubular material. Nutserts offer many benefits over other fasteners such as a nuts & bolt, which fail to provide the security you will receive when seeking to install a bolt and nut through a thin sheet metal application. 

Key Nutsert Rivnut Advantages.

  • One side assembly for fast installations as access to the rear is not required.
  • Highly resilient, forming a permanent superior thread for the attachment of a bolt/screw.
  • Easy installations with minimal training. Nutsert tools are robust & readily available.   
  • Can be used to assemble two or more materials, like a rivet.
  • Installs into galvanised or pre-painted material without damaging surface.
  • Using nutserts is safer than welding with no harmful vapours, heat or dust. 
  • Installs into a wide range of material gauges due to its high grip range tolerance.

What are the main nutsert types?

There are three main nutserts types; round, hexagon and threaded studs or sometimes known as rivbolts. When determining which nutsert suits your application, consider the body type initially then look into the different options associated with the body types and their attributes. 

Round Body Nutsert.

These are the most popular type of nutserts, Aerobolt's knurled body nutserts  offer great resistance to both spinning whilst being installed and vibration after installation. We have branded this Nutsert xtralok®. Predominantly, they have a low-profile wide flange head with the option of an open end or closed end body in steel, stainless and aluminium. Our nutserts have close to 50% more material grip range compared to some competitor rivet nuts. 

Nutsert Xtralok

There are a few other round body nutsert options, including the smooth body rivnuts, and the slot shank Plus Nuts or Jack Nuts as well as a rubber body Well Nuts. The smooth body rivnuts are the lightweight option for low strength applications. Ideal when seeking to drill smaller holes, using a hand rivnut tool or working close to the edge of the material.

The other round body option is the split body PlusNut which is ideal for load bearing applications in lightweight material like plastics, fiberglass, or composites. PlusNut's provide the ultimate pull out strength in thin sheet metals and other lightweight materials. The slot body splits into four legs during installation, which helps provide a wider load-bearing surface on the backside of the parent material. This splitting is the reason they are sometimes referred to as split nutserts. Whilst well nuts or rub nuts are great when seeking to isolate shock, moisture or vibration in a range of materials.

Hexagon Shape Nutserts.

Hexagon shaped nutserts are designed for use in punched hex shape holes and provide exceptional resistance to spinning (i.e., they cannot be unscrewed). Compared to the knurled body nutsert, the Hex nutsert is 10 times more resistant to  spinning, clever huh!. Aerobolt have two options; (1) Half Hex (half hex & half round body) and (2) Full Hex shape for extra resistance to being unscrewed. These are predominantly hex shape body with a small round lead-in chamfer. Also available in an open end or closed end bodies in steel or stainless.

Threaded Studs Nutsert.

This is a nutsert with a protruding stud (thread) that enables a mating part to be attached to the surface. They are excellent option for a strong load bearing bolt in thin steel sheeting. They also known as rivbolts.

After you have selected the body type you will need to determine the correct thread size for your application, and material grip range. Nutsert sizes are predominantly metric and start from M3 through to M12 with a select range of imperial sizes. Material grip range is the material gauge the nutsert will pull up in, this is critical in ensuring you have selected the right fastener. These two factors are essential in ensuring you have made the correct selection. Also review material type, head style, and torque to turn resistance.

Threaded Studs

What is the best Nutsert Tool? 

After you have selected the nutsert to suit your application, you will need to consider a nutsert tool. The best nutsert tool depends on your application, the options are: air, cordless or manual nutsert tool.

Air nutsert tools: For frequent nutsert installation, air-powered is an easy choice. Air nutsert tools offer fast continual installations with consistent results. Some of the pros include: Easy to use—the tool spins the mandrel to thread the nutsert, then retracts to collapse the body of the nutsert with little physical exertion required. The tool will install to either a set pressure or a set stroke. Cons: Require an air source such as a compressor, which may limit mobility and making remote use impractical.

Manual nutsert tools: For the occasional installation of nutserts, manual tools are your most cost-effective option. They work by adding the nutsert to the end of the tool, squeezing/torquing/ratcheting and retracting the tool from the installed nutsert. Some of the pros include: Inexpensive, easy concept, great for the handy person. Cons: They require physical force to use.

Cordless battery nutsert tools: Cordless nutsert tools run on battery power and provide incredible versatility, hence allowing you to install nutserts from practically anywhere. Like air guns, battery-powered guns are basically point-and-shoot. Pros: Mobility, speed. Cons: Batteries have limited charge before needing to be plugged in again, cost.

Nutserts & Rivnut Applications.  

Nutserts and rivnuts have 1001 uses which make them suitable for various siyuations such as; automotive manufacturing, aviation, balustrades, commercial kitchens, commercial furniture & fit-outs, electrical appliances & switchboards, Emergency vehicles,  Farming equipment, HVAC (Heating, ventilation & air conditioning), medical equipment, military equipment & vehicles, Playground equipment, sheet metal fabrication, solar installations, refrigeration,  RV Vehicles, Trucks & Trailers, Ute canopy bodies, Utility vehicles and so much more.  

Frequently Asked Nutsert Questions.  

How do I select the correct nutsert?

Choosing the right nutsert depends on several factors including.

Nutsert Thread Diameter. Nutserts are available in popular metric sizes M3, M4, M5, M6, M8, M10, and M12. You can also purchase imperial size nutserts; 3/16, ¼, 5/16, 3/8, 1/2 inch. There are numerous other imperial sizes however you may need to purchase via the USA. Thread size is different from the hole diameter please refer to the data sheets for drill hole size.

Nutsert Body Shape. Nutserts come in 3 main types. Round, Full Hex and Half Hex. Round body is the most popular choice and has a few different surfaces and material. Knurled body or sometimes known as spline body is ideal because it provides better material grip compared to the smooth body option. Whilst a Hex shape nutsert has the highest resistance to unscrewing should you be able to create a hex shape hole. 

Nutsert Material Grip Range. The concept of material grip range is new to many but simple to grasp, once you understand the concept. To determine the correct fastener, you will need to measure the depth of the material the nutsert will be inserted into. When you have this measurement, you are halfway ready to place a nutsert order.

The foregoing are the 3 main attributes to selecting the right nutserts. Other considerations include head type, open end or closed end body type and  the different metal materials.

Head type. Nutserts are available as thin wide flange, enlarged flange (thick), or countersunk. The thin wide flange is the best option because it protects the hole and allows the fastener head to be closer to the parent material.  

Open End or Closed End Nutserts. Open end body type is the default position when seeking nutserts however if you seek to block moisture or dust choose the closed end option. Closed end nutserts have limited size options compared to open end nutserts.

Nutsert Material Type. The 3 main materials are steel, stainless steel or aluminium nutserts. Aim to keep material like for like, for instance when you have a steel piece, use a steel nutsert.         

What are the strongest nutserts?

Stainless steel nutserts are stronger than aluminium and steel nutserts. If you need a strong and durable fastener that can last for decades without worry - even in harsh environments - then go with stainless steel nutserts.

How reliable are nutserts?

Nutserts are a strong permanent solution for the assembling of numerous sheet metal applications. 

Why have my nutserts failed?

There are a couple of reasons your nutserts have failed. The issue could be either be the nutsert, installation issue or a dodgy supplier. Either way we offer a wide range of technical services, including nutsert & rivnut lab testing services. We have teamed up with a NATA approved lab, that undertakes laboratory rivet testing services. Should you have a nutsert or rivnut failure, let us know so we can review your application and or have your rivets sent to the NATA approved lab for laboratory nutsert testing. 

Do you deliver nutserts throughout Australia?

Yes, we can deliver Australia wide through our network team of courier companies. In Sydney we offer most customers same day delivery if you order before 10.00 am or the next day. Deliveries to regional New South Wales or major cities such as Melbourne, Brisbane including regional South Eastern Australia are either next day delivery or 2 days turnaround. (subject to prevailing conditions)

What size is a M6 or M8 nutsert?

M6 or M8 Nutsert means the nutsert's internal thread suits a 6 or 8 mm bolt. This measurement is the width of the threaded shank of the bolt. (It is not the bolt's head or  length). M6 or M8 is a direct correlation for the internal thread size the nutsert can accommodate. You will need to refer to the data sheet for body diameter & drill size as this varies depending on nutsert type and manufacturer.

Nutsert Summary.  

In conclusion to this blog article, a nutsert is fundamentally an expanding nut that attaches onto a surface for bolting purposes, where a simple hole opening is not possible because the material is too thin to hold a bolt or a screw. Ideal for punched or drilled holes, they can be installed at any stage of the production, even after finish coat is applied. They are the ideal solution that requires a nutsert gun or a rivnut tool. Here at Aerobolt, we are the nutsert experts and can assist in making your selection easy with a comprehensive range of nutsert types through to nutsert tools. Should you require any assistance with selection please don't hesitate to contact us  02 9755 3747 or go to contact us. We offer a variety of proven solutions that suit most applications.

Copyright © 2024 Aerobolt Australia Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.