How Do I Cut a Machine Screw?
Sometimes, you might find that you need to cut bolts and machine screws of various types shorter than the standard lengths available. This can be necessary for situations where you need to prevent overhang or fix other alignment issues. Standard bolt cutters will do the job, but they can damage threading or leave an untidy finish.
Instead, one of the best ways to cut a machine screw without damaging the threads is to use a pair of electrical pliers (a crimp tool) which features a series of metric sizing crimp holes near the hinge. These are common on certain crimp tool die sets.
In a pinch, you can also use a hacksaw to shorten a bolt or machine screw. However, you are more likely to damage the threading this way, and you may need to finish the cut end with sandpaper or deburring tools afterwards.
Is a Machine Screw a Bolt?
The exact difference between machine screws and bolts is not always clear, particularly as their appearance is similar. However, machine screws are typically smaller than bolts, although a more precise distinction is the way that they are tightened in a tapped hole.
Bolts tend to be driven home and then tightened fully by turning the nut on the rear side of the fastening. With machine screws, the majority of tightening force (torque) is applied to the head of the screw itself when driving it into a tapped hole.
A further dissimilarity for bolts vs machine screws is that while all machine screws can be effectively used as a type of bolt, the same is not necessarily true in reverse. In other words, not all bolts can perform the full range of functions as a machine screw.