Can I use sheet metal screws to put a panel cover on?

Can I use sheet metal screws to put a panel cover on?

  • Only the manufactures supplied hardware?

    Votes: 78 40.8%
  • Any short machine screw that fits?

    Votes: 88 46.1%
  • Sheet-metal screws?

    Votes: 9 4.7%
  • Tek-Screws?

    Votes: 5 2.6%
  • Nail it on with Ramset?

    Votes: 9 4.7%
  • Why would I put the cover on?

    Votes: 14 7.3%

  • Total voters
    191
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mivey

Senior Member
...but the epoxy was quicker and didn't leave unused holes.
And should not be a problem if the right epoxy is used. A lot of folks fear epoxy because they are used to using some cheap junk that does turn loose.
 

K8MHZ

Senior Member
Location
Michigan. It's a beautiful peninsula, I've looked
Occupation
Electrician
Also, I'm open for any better ideas you have?? I am fully aware that most anything can be done to some higher level if one has all the special tools and materials needed. That is not always the case and we sometimes have to use what we have on hand. And when working against deadlines, we don't always have the time to run out for materials or reinvent the wheel.

I had to dig a little but here is a picture of one of the products that work well.

10525.gif


No special tools needed. When I tear out a panel that has this type of fastener I pull the clips out and save any factory screws or bolts. If I run out, a trip to the auto parts store will provide what I need.

Pop Nuts (below) are great but require a rivet tool.

img_popnut_20inserts20No1A.jpg


http://www.emhart.com/products/pop/popnut.asp

I have seen smaller versions of Pop Nuts for small screws that used a standard rivet gun. I don't think any larger than an 8 or a 10.

All the above allow the use of machine screws in sheet metal panels and work very well if installed properly, which isn't rocket surgery by any means.
 

K8MHZ

Senior Member
Location
Michigan. It's a beautiful peninsula, I've looked
Occupation
Electrician
And should not be a problem if the right epoxy is used. A lot of folks fear epoxy because they are used to using some cheap junk that does turn loose.

Even the finest domestic or imported epoxy only has the same chance of sticking to metal as paint does. Once a few layers of metal atoms decide to become involved on an intimate basis with a few stray oxygen molecules the epoxy will have nothing left to stick to.

So now you have a nut spinning around inside the panel where you can't get to it and the screw is rusted to the nut.

How do you gain access to the inside of the panel now?
 
Last edited:

mivey

Senior Member
Even the finest domestic or imported epoxy only has the same chance of sticking to metal as paint does. Once a few layers of metal atoms decide to become involved on an intimate basis with a few stray oxygen molecules the epoxy will have nothing left to stick to.
But controlling the oxygen is the trick isn't it? A weld does a great job of that if done correctly. If done poorly, a weld will come loose also.
So now you have a nut spinning around inside the panel where you can't get to it and the screw is rusted to the nut.

How do you gain access to the inside of the panel now?
Drill it or Dremel it, same as I would if I had a rusted or corroded factory bolt that had me locked out.
 

K8MHZ

Senior Member
Location
Michigan. It's a beautiful peninsula, I've looked
Occupation
Electrician
But controlling the oxygen is the trick isn't it? A weld does a great job of that if done correctly. If done poorly, a weld will come loose also.Drill it or Dremel it, same as I would if I had a rusted or corroded factory bolt that had me locked out.

Now we are on the same page.

Oxygen can be controlled. The use of products such as LocTite anti-seize is great for such an application. NoAlOx works well in a pinch.

I am curious. You say 'if' you had a rusted or corroded factory bolt that could not be removed. How many times have you had that happen? I ask because I personally have never seen such a thing. I have seen myriads of poor replacements that have failed and needed to be cut or ground into submission but never had a factory fastener that required such additional persuasion.

To qualify the above, by the time (years and years) that a factory fastener would get corroded to the point of uselessness, most of the factory fasteners have been long since lost and replaced with whatever was nearby at the time.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
I would just use a tek screw and move on. I would also be sure that you need a two sizes of nut drivers along with a flat and Philips screw driver. :cool:
 

mivey

Senior Member
Now we are on the same page.

Oxygen can be controlled. The use of products such as LocTite anti-seize is great for such an application. NoAlOx works well in a pinch.

I am curious. You say 'if' you had a rusted or corroded factory bolt that could not be removed. How many times have you had that happen? I ask because I personally have never seen such a thing. I have seen myriads of poor replacements that have failed and needed to be cut or ground into submission but never had a factory fastener that required such additional persuasion.

To qualify the above, by the time (years and years) that a factory fastener would get corroded to the point of uselessness, most of the factory fasteners have been long since lost and replaced with whatever was nearby at the time.
On a panel: more than a handful, less than a hundred or so. On other type boxes: Too many to even fathom a guess. In the old days, we did not have a Dremel with us so it was drill or grind and pop the head off with lineman's and a screwdriver or chisel.
 

e57

Senior Member
I didn't read it all - but hey 132 posts.... :roll: So I'm not sure if anyone else mentioned it? Dulling the end of whatever you do use is not a bad idea... Often if the original screws are lost I'll dull the end of a #10~12 sheet metal screw. Unless they are lost or non-functioning cam locks - at which point I'll drill new holes - and do the exact same. A moment or two with a grinder IMO is less dangerous than leaving the screw with some bite to find its way into some wire - NOT THAT THERE SHOULD BE ANY WIRE THERE NEAR THE SCREW IN THE FIRST PLACE - but I don't wire everything... And I'm not there to correct everyone else's work to suit myself... But IMO there are some who are careless about this, and it is a design flaw common to many panels - too litle space... And screws penetrating the wiring area in every panel... Why can the flange be on the outside so screws don't become a hazard?

Contray to Bob's take on this - I guess? Someone gave him grief about self-tappers for the fear of a hot drill bit going in to find some wire to melt into, or drill into? For those reasons I too would stay away from Tek screws - but nothing in the code about it either....
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
Contray to Bob's take on this - I guess? Someone gave him grief about self-tappers for the fear of a hot drill bit going in to find some wire to melt into, or drill into? For those reasons I too would stay away from Tek screws - but nothing in the code about it either....

No and I guess you did not notice the tek screws where the factory screws.:)
 

e57

Senior Member
As mentioned - I did not read the entire thread.... Tek's factory supplied seems a little odd... Did they not supply holes for the screws either? Self-tapping is one thing - self-drilling is another... Drilling a hole with a Tek in 16g+ is like sticking a soldering iron in the panel as a screw - sure it will cool - but if you catch a wire it will not push it to the side...
 

220/221

Senior Member
Location
AZ
INSTALLING THE COVER
1. Remove the cover twistouts.
a. Remove only enough twistouts to match the number of circuit
breakers being installed.
b.Twist out with pliers at the center of the twistout. See Figure 8.
c.Close all unused open spaces in the cover using filler plates
as listed on the cover directory label.
2. Attach the Spanish translation label, if supplied with the load
center, to the rear of the cover. See Figure 9.
3. Identify the branch circuits on the directory label.
4. If the load center is used as service equipment, apply the
?Service Disconnect? label to the part of the cover nearest the
main circuit breaker handle. If the load center is not used as
service equipment, apply the ?Main? label to the part of the cover
nearest the main circuit breaker handle.
5. Install the cover using the screws provided.

VIOLATION! I used my fingers to remove the twistout.


INSTALLING THE COVER
1. Remove the cover twistouts.
a. Remove only enough twistouts to match the number of circuit
breakers being installed.

b.Twist out with pliers at the center of the twistout. See Figure 8.
c.Close all unused open spaces in the cover using filler plates
as listed on the cover directory label.
2. Attach the Spanish translation label, if supplied with the load
center, to the rear of the cover. See Figure 9.
3. Identify the branch circuits on the directory label.
4. If the load center is used as service equipment, apply the
?Service Disconnect? label to the part of the cover nearest the
main circuit breaker handle. If the load center is not used as
service equipment, apply the ?Main? label to the part of the cover
nearest the main circuit breaker handle.
5. Install the cover using the screws provided.

Conflicting instructions^

When the time comes when I am not allowed to make a simple decision like "what kind of screw can I use to secure a panel cover", is the day I hang up my tools. Freakin stupid.
 
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