5 REASONS YOU SHOULD USE PLASTIC SCREWS
We were rearranging some things around the office the other day, when we came across a unique display case. The case was completely flat and housed a vintage ticket for a Beatles concert. As I was playing with...excuse me...examining it, I noticed the case had plastic screws, which I found a little odd.
It made sense for that particular case. The screws were translucent, relatively soft, and added a little something to the overall look of the case. But I couldn’t help but wonder why anyone would want to use plastic screws. Aside from that one display case, it didn’t make sense to me. They’re just cheap alternatives to metal screws, right? Well, I did a little research and It turns out I was very wrong.
Plastic fasteners--screws, nuts, bolts, etc.--aren’t new. They’ve been widely used for quite some time and for good reason. Here are 5 reasons why plastic screws are actually a good choice:
Less Expensive Than Metal
I use the phrase less expensive and not cheaper because I want to make the point that plastic screws are cost effective and good quality. Plastic can be molded to fit exactly whichever size, shape, or color you need. And it can be as strong as you need. The price per unit may be negligible when compared to a metal screw, but pennies add up to dollars over time. Using hundreds or even thousands of screws per job...well, you do the math.
Poor Conductor...That's a Good Thing
Plastics are very poor conductors of electricity and heat. This is good news if you’re making parts that may be near extreme heat or an electrical source. As a matter of fact, take a look at many of the electronics we use today. More often than not there will be some sort of plastic fastener used.
Resistant to UV Light
Who cares about UV light unless you’re working in a tanning salon? NASA, that’s who. It turns out plastic screws and other plastic fasteners are perfect for outer space. Plastic is highly resistant to UV rays, which means sunlight won’t won’t break down plastic screws as quickly. This may not mean much if your screws are always inside, but if they’ll be exposed to the sun for extended periods of time, plastic screws are the sensible choice.
Obviously, plastic screws are going to be lighter than metal screws. While they do sacrifice a little strength, they’re still pretty darn strong, too. Like with cost, the difference per unit may be negligible, but it can add up. For assemblies that utilize lots of screws, plastic screws could shed a significant amount of weight. Plastic screws could be a major factor in projects that have weight requirements.
Won't Rust or Corrode
This is another big draw of plastics. If you’re primarily inside, this won’t be such a big deal, but if your project is exposed to the elements, particularly a wet environment, you may want to consider plastic screws. Because they’re not affected by water (not even saltwater), plastic screws may be ideal for marine projects.
Right Tool For the Job
Plastic fasteners are everywhere. I’ve even heard NASA used plastic screws on the Hubble Telescope and the International Space Station. They’re incredibly versatile, strong, and cost effective. Like with any job, take the time to assess everything to make sure you have the right tools. It may turn out that the best ones are plastic.