Dowel pins are most commonly used for fixtures and alignment purposes. We have developed a quick guide to help give a general overview of the different types of dowel pins:
Precision: Precision dowel pins are usually made of steel or stainless steel and range in diameter from ⅛’’ to around 1.25’’ with a standard diameter tolerance of +.0000/-.0002’’. Their length can vary based on the manufacturer and they can be easily machined for custom modifications. Precision pins and standard dowel pins are the most common types of pins for pivots, hinges, shafts and jigs.
Grooved: Groove dowel pins are less commonly used, and are only offered in a few sizes. They have a small groove in them which tightens when located creating tension and holding the pin in place. The remainder of the pin can be used for hinges or pivots.
Oversized: Oversized dowel pins are simply oversized dowel pins offered in nominal sizes with a diameter tolerance of +.0009’’/+.0012’’. These pins are most commonly used as replacement parts.
Standard: Standard pins can be made of steel, stainless steel, aluminum or brass and range in diameter from 1/64’’ to 1.25’’ with a standard diameter tolerance of +.0001’’/-.0003’’. Their length can vary based on the manufacturer and they can be purchased with a number of variations to them including: chamfered, flat and rounded. Precision pins and standard dowel pins are the most common types of pins for pivots, hinges, shafts and jigs.
Pull-out: Pull out dowel pins have one end that is chamfered and the other end is tapped. This provides assistance which installed the chamfered end into a fixture, and allows for the pin to be removed from the tapped side.
Dowel Pin Alternatives:
Taper pins: Taper pins have a specific taper which varies based on their diameter. They are usually used for positioning components and securing assemblies.
Clevis Pins: Clevis pins offer an alternative to bolts and rivets since these pins can be locked into place with a hairpin.
Spring pins: Spring pins have a slot in them that runs the entire length of the pin. When they are installed the slot presses closed to insure that the pins don’t flex after installation. They are used for fastening and holding.
Brass: Brass pins are soft, corrosion resistant and non-magnetic.
Aluminum: Aluminum pins are ⅓ the weight of steel pins but they are not as strong. They too are corrosion resistant and nonmagnetic.
Steel: Steel pins are the strongest dowel pins but will rust over time.
Stainless Steel (316, 416, 18-8): Stainless steel pins provide a nice balance of strength and corrosion resistant properties.
The most common types of finish are passivated, non-passivated and black oxide. Standard pins at a typical hardware stare are non-passivated and may require ultrasonic cleaning to remove all of the grit and dust.
For more information please refer to our ultimate dowel pin guide!