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 require a manual nutsert tool, or an air / cordless nutsert gun.

Nutserts are easy to install; simply place the fastener into a pre-drilled or punched hole, and when pulling up you will see how the nutsert body expands, compresses, and locks into place. Nutserts (sometimes known as rivnuts) are ideal when the material is too thin or brittle to support a bolt on its own, a clever component that provides a permanent superior 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 "What is a nutsert?" blog we will look at the numerous nutsert options on the market from the popular Nutsert “xtralok” with its distinct knurled body for extra locking capacity, through to the Hex nutserts, and the user-friendly Plus nuts. Plus-nut is a slotted body nutsert which provides greater flexibility with material grip range and is better suited with thin metal sheeting, plus a wide range of plastics, and composites including fibreglass. Whilst Hex nutserts provides the maximum resistance to unscrewing. We will also briefly cover 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 nutserts is a simple process that involves the following four main steps.   

  • 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.

Installed Vs Uninstalled Nutsert Diagram.

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

Installed vs Uninstalled Nutsert

Nutsert v's Rivnuts.

Essentially these are different brand trademarks 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 Benefits.

  • 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 stud (rivbolt). When determining which nutsert suits your application, consider the body type initially then look into the different options associated with the body types. 

Round Body Nutsert.

These are the most popular type of nutserts, especially the knurled body nutserts  offers great resistance to spinning whilst being installed and vibration resistant after installation. Our range of this type of body is called Nutsert xtralok. Predominantly, they have a low-profile wide flange head with the option of open or closed end nutserts in steel, stainless and aluminium.

Nutsert Xtralok

There are a few round body nutsert options, including the smooth body rivnuts, the slotted shank Plus Nuts or Jack Nuts. and the rubber body Well Nuts. Rivnuts are the lightweight option that makes them ideal in low strength applications. Great for smaller sized holes, or when using a hand rivnut tool or when working close to the edge of the material. Whilst the slotted body nutserts are ideal in lightweight material like plastics, fiberglass, or composites. Well nuts are great when seeking to isolate shock or vibration in a range of different 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!. Here at Aerobolt we have two options, this includes (1) Half Hex (half hex & half round body) and (2) Full Hex shape for extra strength (predominantly hex shape body). We also have open or closed end hex nutserts 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 tools. The best nutsert tool depends on your application, here are the  options: air, cordless or manual nutsert tool.

Air nutsert tools: For frequent nutsert installation, air-powered is the easy choice. Air nutsert tools offer fast 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, and retracting the tool from the now applied 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.

Where can nutserts be used? 

Nutserts and rivnuts have 1001 uses which make them suitable for various applications 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.  

Why have my nutserts failed?

There are a couple of reasons your nutserts have failed. The issue could be a dodgy nutsert or an installation issue. Either way we offer a wide range of technical services, including nutsert testing services. We have teamed up with a NATA approved lab, that undertakes laboratory rivet testing services. Should you have a rivet 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 our 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 M6 nutsert?

M6 Nutsert means the nutsert's internal thread suits a 6 mm bolt. This relates to the width of the threaded shank of the bolt and it's not the bolts head diameter, or  length. Nor does M6, M8  etc. nutsert relates to the body diameter or drill size. M6 is a direct correlation for the internal thread size the nutsert can accommodate. You will need to refer to specification sheet for body diameter & drill size as this varies depending on nutsert type and manufacturer.

Summary. What is a nutsert?  

In conclusion with this blog, a nutsert is fundamentally an expanding nut that attaches onto a steel sheet 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 an easy solution that requires a nutsert gun or a rivnut tool. Here at Aerobolt, we are the nutsert specialists from a comprehensive range of Nutsert types through to their tools. Should you require any assistance with selection please don't hesitate to contact us  02 9755 3747 or go to contact us.   

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