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STG Machine Ultimate Dowel Pin Guide

Ultimate Dowel Pin Guide

By STG Machine

STG Machine has written a few dowel pin troubleshooting articles, so we decided to put together the Ultimate Dowel Pin Guide!

  1. What is dowel pin installation
  2. Importance
  3. Dowel Pins You Should Purchase
  4. Machines You Should Purchase
  5. Additional Notes

What is Dowel Pin Installation

It’s important to remember that this ultimate dowel pin guide is focused on installing dowel pins into metal or plastic components. Since STG Machine specializes in this area, we thought it would be helpful to share our experiences. Please read our article on how to install dowel pins for further information.


Many manufactured parts call out for dowel pins to be installed, and there aren’t many online resources available. Should you have any questions or need any additional details please contact STG Machine.

Dowel Pins serve as an easy way to integrate parts and ensure precise and repeatable fits between parts. Dowel pins are often used to ensure location or to lock parts together.

Dowel Pins You Should Purchase

Having some dowel pins on hand not only gives you the advantage of being well prepared, but purchasing pins in bulk will significantly help reduce costs. Dowel Pins can be purchased from Mcmaster, Misumi, Olander and many other vendors. We recommend having dowel pins on hand that relate to all of the nominal sizes on a drill chart in both metric and standard units. If you would like a drill chart please contact STG Machine below and we can send you some free information!

How many dowel pins you should purchase largely depends on your budget. Having long pins that you can modify is always an easy way to circumvent having to spend a lot of money.

Machines and Equipment You Should Purchase

  1. The first thing that you need are large tool boxes to help organize all of your hardware. We recommend Lista drawers for dowel pin storage, and a Husky toolbox for instrument and tool storage. Both items can be purchased from Grainger, Home Depot and many other online retailers. These items will provide you with enough space to store all of your intricate tools and hardware while providing a stable working surface for smaller tasks. 
  2. A variety of machines can be purchased for installing dowel pins, and the work you are trying to accomplish will determine what you need. Here are a few instruments that we find to be most useful:
  • Prototrak: A prototrak is used most commonly for mill work, but it can also assist you in installing or removing dowel pins. 
  • Arbor Press: The preferred instrument for installing dowel pins.
  • Set-Up Blocks: Precision ground blocks can we used to help balance items, and to set hard limits for dowel pin installation when used in conjunction with an arbor press.
  • Drop Indicator: A great Inspection instrument for quickly inspection depths and heights of objects.
  • Horizontal Indicator: A necessity in the world of manufacturing. This tool can be used for a variety of purposes, but it is most commonly used to measure flatness and parallelism.
  • Micrometer: Another great inspection tool for measuring the diameter of objects (especially dowen pins!).
  • Calipers: The jack of all trades! A pair of calipers can be used to measure pretty much everything.
  • Wrench, pliers, screwdrivers, hex keys: All of these tools will come in handy at some point in time. A large toolbox will help you keep all of these items well organized.
  • Manual Lathe: Like a prototrak, a lathe is a necessity for turning down or cutting any circular pieces. We prefer to use Hardinge lathes, but there are many reputable brands that can easily be purchased through an authorized retailer or Ebay.

Additional Notes

First and foremost we have to mention to always wear proper safety equipment whenever you are operating machines or around sharp objects. For additional details on how to install a dowel pin, how to remove a dowel pin, dowel pin hole tolerances and the different types of dowel pins please follow our links and subscribe to our newsletter! We hope that you have enjoyed our ultimate dowel pin guide and please leave a comment below if you have any questions.

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