What type of hardware do you use the most?

I’m mentoring a rookie team and we’re about to order hardware (bolts, nuts, washers, etc).

What type and length of hardware do you use the most?

My guess is we will probably stick to 10-32 and 1/4-20 primarily, but I’m not sure what lengths to buy.

Is there any other standard hardware we should keep on hand?


I would stock up on thunderhex bearings. They’re useful anywhere you use 1/2in hex, and in FRC that is almost everywhere. I would highly suggest buying from www.thethriftybot.com / @Ryan_Dognaux. The gussets on there can also prove helpful in many situations.

3/16” rivets


We do quarter inch bolt increments for 10-32 and 1/4-20 from 1/2 inch to 2 1/2 inches.

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It depends on what you’re planning to use to make your robot out of. We seem to get most of our hardware from my almost daily trips to the nearby hardware and building supply stores.

But yeah, we use a lot of 10-32 and 1/4-20 hardware, as well as #8 and #10 self tapping screws, and 1/8 and 3/16" aluminum rivets. We build our robots mostly of the kit chassis, with added extruded shapes such as square tubing, angle, and strap. We also use lumber and plywood where it’s appropriate, so some of those screws get screwed into wood. And we use a bit of 0.10" polycarbonate sheet.

If you are using some other materials, you’ll probably want to use other hardware with it.

As mentioned, lengths in 1/4" inch increments usually works, although once you get over about 1.5" long, they are easier to find in 1/2" increments.

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Pick a standard head kind (slot, Phillips, hex or star) and STICK to it. There is nothing worse than having a part bolted on that requires three different tools to take it off.

I prefer cap head and button head with hex drives. My neighbor team is trying to seduce me to come to star drive, but I’m resisting due to the huge stock of stuff that I’d need to toss to switch over.


Good point about thinking about tools, before buying hardware.

I like to be able to go buy hardware “right now”, and that means stuff that I can find at Ace, mostly. They seem to have more Phillips head hardware, than socket head, so that’s what we usually use.

Every team has their own preferences, and it doesn’t really matter which you use, if it works.

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We’ve tried to steer away from 1/4-20 in the last few years and work mostly with 10-32 socket cap hex screws and rivets. We’ll use 1/4-20 to cap a shaft with a washer when a retaining clip won’t work.

We did a shared bulk order of a wide variety of 10-32, some #8 and #6 as well, mostly socket cap, but some button cap as well.

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Make friends with your local Fastenal manager. If you are nice, sometimes they will pop open for 15 mins on a Saturday for you.

Remember, sponsorship may not be cash money, it may be the much more valuable “time”


I stopped by the local Fastenal “depot” a few times, never anyone there, and never could get anyone on the phone. So I gave up on them.

I still like to use commonly available hardware. And our local Ace is open 7 days a week.

Interesting counter point.

if you cannot have a singular standard fastner size, use a different head type among across size ranges.

For example: 10-32 has a hex socket, and 1/4-20 has a torx socket.

Thus instead of relying on knowing which hex key size or torx bit size you need for different sized fasteners you can know that if it is a torx head you use the one torx bit, and if it is a hex head you use the one hex key.

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That’s a really neat idea, I had never thought about that but it makes a lot of sense. I’ve seen that done at places I’ve worked for screws that got tightened to different torques, or different sizes but I never thought to apply that to FRC

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