Dowel Pin Buyer’s Guide

dowel pin

 8 Things to Know When Buying Dowel Pins

If you are a manufacturer working with complex assemblies or fixtures, then you’re likely very familiar with precision dowel pins. Commonly used as a hinge, shaft or pivot to locate or hold assembled parts together, dowel pins can withstand frequent insertion and removal without distortion. They are broadly used across various applications in many industries, including: aerospace, electrical motors, hydraulic equipment, instrumentation, tooling and fixtures, machinery, military and many more.

Our goal is to help simplify the buying process for this sometimes complex and confusing category of fasteners.

1. What is a precision dowel pin? 

Dowel pins are solid, headless cylindrical shaped straight metal pins with a centerless ground finish. Manufactured to precise fractional diameters and lengths, dowel pins come in a variety of sizes, styles, designs and materials. This variability can cause confusion among buyers, engineers and end-users alike.

2. What materials and platings are available?

Precision dowel pins are available off the shelf in alloy steel (typically hardened) and stainless steel grades 18-8/303, 316 and 416 (typically hardened). Other exotic materials or special finishes are available for special order with a lead time.

3. What sizes are available?

Standard sizes include inch from 1/16″ to 1″ diameter, and metric from M1 to M20 diameter. Length options vary by diameter. Other diameters and special lengths are available for special order and usually involve a lead time.

4. When ordering, do I need to specify the dowel pin tolerance or call out attributes such as standard, undersized or oversized fit? 

Precision dowel pins often show up under their MIL-SPEC numbers, MS16555, MS16556 and Mil-P-21143. Metric dowel pins might show up under the following DINs and ISO numbers: DIN 7, DIN 6325, and ISO 2338 and 8734. Dowel pins might also show up under a manufacturer part number such as Pic, WM Berg, Unbrako or Holo-Krome. If you are ordering by MIL-SPEC, manufacturer’s part number or DIN, then the general attributes including tolerance and style are known. Here are a few of the other options that will help you order the correct pin:

The most common standard inch or imperial sized precision dowel pin is made to the ASME ANSI B18.8.2 spec and has a diameter tolerance of -0.00 / +0.0002 and length tolerance of +/-0.010. For example, a ¼” (0.25) diameter standard dowel pin will have a diameter between 0.2500–0.2502″.

The standard metric tolerance is related to the DIN. Both DIN 7 and DIN 6325 have a standard m6 diameter tolerance of +0.012mm / +0.004mm and a length tolerance related to the specific pin length.

Undersized series dowel pins are used for inconsistent holes. They have a basic diameter 0.0002″ under the nominal diameter. For example, a ¼” (0.25) diameter undersized dowel pin will have a diameter between 0.2500–0.2498″. The Mil-P-21143/2- falls into the undersized category.

Important note:  All pin options may not be available in all sizes and materials.

Finally, the Oversized series of dowel pins are usually used to fit into worn holes and are generally used in the aftermarket for repairs. These pins are only available off the shelf in steel in a small range of sizes.

5. Can I specify if I need radius or chamfer on the pin ends?

The pin style will depend upon the spec and the material. Precision dowel pins may come with either a double chamfer or a radius on one end and a chamfer on the other end. Specific style requirements are available for special order and usually involve a lead time.

6. What information do I need for ordering?

The easiest way to order is by either the manufacturer or MIL-SPEC part number. To order by description, you need the diameter, length and material and if applicable, and any special tolerance, plating or style requirements.

7. Do I need to buy special installation tools?

Just remember, no hammers! When installing dowel pins, never drive the pin into the hole with force. Always press it in for best results. And production favors pins since they require no extra fastening hardware for insertion, no secondary operations, and no mating parts. This ease-of-use adds up to speedier production, which makes everyone in the food chain happy!

8. What level of certification is required?

Generally, a Certificate of Conformance or a COC is sufficient for your customer. Full certification with material certs and test reports are often available for USA made and MIL-SPEC parts for a fee.

Dowel Pins at MF Supply

We offer:

  • The full range of commercial and MIL-SPEC parts, including parts that are USA made, DFARS and ROHS compliant.
  • Brand names and generic equivalents.
  • Custom-made parts per print in non-standard sizes and exotic materials and finishes.
  • Inch and metric sizes including ASME ANSI B18.8.2, DIN 7, DIN 6325, and ISO 2338 and 8734
  • Metric Precision Dowel pins including Press-Fit A, B and Slip-Fit C series and all MD series pins in 416 and 303 Stainless Steel.

For more than 40 years, MF Supply has helped American manufacturers streamline operations, saving them time and money with our sourcing expertise and unique supply chain strategies. We are a WBE/WOSB certified stocking distributor of fasteners and electronic components.

We work with the best-established factories in the United States and DFARS-certified countries, and stock a huge inventory including all major brands and equivalents. MF Supply provides solutions including: same-day drop ship direct from the factory; custom sizes, materials and plating options; and DFARS parts with full paperwork and Certificates of Conformance.

We creatively solve common problems including hard-to-find parts and long lead times. Our sourcing and reworking expertise includes fast turnaround for modification of existing parts, hard to find standards and specials, special threads, non-standard diameters and lengths, exotic materials, special platings and short runs. We provide functional equivalents to expensive brand name fasteners and help our customers save money while reducing lead times.

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Case Study: Smart Manufacturers use Brand Equivalents to Save Time and Money

Volume 20
March 7, 2017

In our January blog we discussed how Keylocking Inserts are often referred to by their trademarked brand name Keensert®.  The Keensert® is not alone! Did you know that many brand name OEM fastening products and components can be crossed to a generic alternative equivalent product?

Before you shop, check to see if the bill of materials specifically calls out a particular brand name. If no specific manufacturer’s name is listed, then you can typically use a functional alternative or equivalent.   Using equivalents and alternatives to OEM brand names can be a smart way to reduce long lead times and/or cut expenses.

Check out this Case Study where an OEM brand was substituted with a functional equivalent, reducing costs by 37% and shaving lead time.  This time and money savings gave the manufacturer an advantage over their competition, which helped them win the job.

Little Known Ways to Save 37% and Shorten Delivery Times
Display Manufacturer is bidding on a job where the bill of materials calls for 15,000 pieces of an 8-32 x .312 brass insert by SPIROL®. SPIROL® has 265 local stock, 5000 due in 10 days, balance in 4-5 weeks. Based on this delivery schedule, the Display Manufacturer cannot meet their prospective client’s two week delivery requirement.

MF Supply gets a print of the part from SPIROL® and is able to cross it to an exact functional equivalent for an alternative brand we distribute and our factory has in stock. Samples of the alternative fasteners are delivered directly to the customer within 24 hours for inspection and testing.

The alternative sample fasteners are approved for production by the Display Manufacturer within 2 days. The prospective client approves the substitution and awards the manufacturer the business.  A Purchase Order for the inserts is issued to MF Supply. Within 48 hours, the complete 15,000 inserts are available from the factory and delivered to the Display Manufacturer.

-MF Supply functional equivalent fasteners shorten delivery time from 4-5 weeks to 2-3 days.

-SPIROL® Price = .11938 each. Total cost $1790.
-MF equivalent price = .075 each. Total cost $1125.

-Cost savings of $665 or 37%.
-Display Manufacturer wins bid and is awarded job.
-Work is completed on time.
-Job is more profitable due to cost savings realized on fasteners.
-Job has been a repeater and a money maker for Display manufacturer.

In summary, if your bill of materials calls for an OEM brand fastener or component, find out if you must have the brand name product.  In cases where a generic or equivalent alternative part will work, there might be an opportunity to save money and shorten delivery time.

For more information about MF Supply contact:

Robin Lieberman, President

Keensert® Buyer’s Guide

Keensert® Buyer’s Guide

5 Things You Need to Know

If you are a precision manufacturer working in high-torque and high-temperature situations, you might already be familiar with Keensert® key-locking inserts.  Common uses include thread repair applications or to provide thread durability in situations such as aerospace assemblies, electronic equipment and suspension units.

But, what exactly are they and what should you know before buying them? We’d like to help you out with this quick buyer’s guide.

  1. What is a Keensert®?

A Keensert® is a solid bushing style insert that is threaded on both the inside and the outside, and has wedges or “keys” attached at the top. They are generically called key-locking inserts, and are used to distribute loads and repair or strengthen threads against failures due to stripping, seizing or corrosion.

Although the name Keensert® is often used generically (like Band-Aid® or Kleenex®), Keensert®  is the registered trademark of Huck Patents (its close cousin, the Keysert® is a registered trademark of Alcoa Fastening Systems.).

Before you shop, check to see if the bill of materials specifically calls out Huck or Alcoa brand as the Keensert®  manufacturer. If no specific manufacturer’s name is listed, then you can typically use an alternative like Rock Solid brand, a generic equivalent or cross to a MIL-SPEC part.  This becomes important due to price and availability of the brand name parts.

  1. What materials and sizes are available?

Keenserts are available off the shelf in 303 stainless steel or carbon steel. Standard diameters are: American #6-32 to 1 ½” and Metric  M4 to M24. Other diameters (starting at 2-56 and M2) and materials (including 316 stainless steel, and alloys 4140 and A286) are available for special order and usually involve a lead time.

  1. What information do I need for ordering?

To order, you’ll need the manufacturer’s part number or the internal and external thread and material. Alternatively, key-locking inserts often show up under their MIL-SPEC numbers, which can often be crossed to commercial equivalents. Common MIL-SPEC numbers include: MS51830, MS51831, MS51832, NAS1394, NAS1395, NA0146, NA0147, NA0148, NA0149, NA150, and NA0151.

  1. Do I need to buy special installation tools?

When purchasing key-locking inserts, check with your production department to make sure you have the tools you need to properly install inserts. You can buy kits that include a tap, drill, and installation tool.

  1. What level of certification is required?

Generally, a Certificate of Conformance or a COC is sufficient. Full certification with material certs and test reports are often available for a fee.

In summary, in order to have the most efficient Keensert shopping/buying experience, be prepared with the following information before you shop:  Do you need the Alcoa or Huck brand product or can you use a generic or MIL-SPEC alternative?  Make sure to have the manufacturer’s part number, MIL-SPEC part number or the internal/external thread and material.  Do you need an installation tool? Finally, check to see if you require a standard COC or full certs.

For more information about MF Supply contact:

Robin Lieberman, President


March, April, May Newsletter 2016


Volume 18

May 18, 2016

March, April, May News

Greetings and Happy Spring!  Can you believe we are almost one third into 2016!  On the business front, although the March PMI® index rose to 51.8% up from 48.2% in January, the April PMI®  fell to 50.8%, and the outlook in manufacturing remains mixed.

April’s PMI®  highlights are that new orders and production is growing, employment and inventories are contracting, and supplier deliveries are faster.

In this issue, we will cover some of the amazing resources available to the manufacturing and supply chain community.








April 27 was my final presentation from The RCG (Rutgers Business School Consulting Group).  I received a 30 page report with a few strong recommendations for growth. The RCG recommends that MF Supply expands our web site and offers ecommerce for our top products, starting yesterday.  They also projected that we will have the best ROI with email marketing rather than Social Media programs like Facebook and Twitter.

So we have begun reworking our website and you will start seeing more emails from us.  Please let us know what topics turn you on vs. what tunes you out.  Check out our newly edited  About Us section and let us know what you think.

How important is e-commerce for you and your company as a buyer and as a seller? Do you prefer to shop online or by emailing in your Purchase Orders?  And how about on the sales side?  Do your customers want to buy your products on-line?  Are your main competitors online?  All the industry experts say that industrial buyers are starting to expect their work buying experience to resemble their personal buying experience.  I am curious to know your thoughts.

Interesting note for anyone working with buyers with “Set Aside” or “Diverse” buying requirements (hint: think the government)  – the RCG hit a dead end while exploring leveraging MF Supply’s WOSB and WBE Certification as a differentiator.  Too bad – the certification process was a ton of paperwork!  If anyone out there is finding success differentiating yourself as a Small, Women, Minority, Veteran or other Disadvantaged business, I’d love to know how!

And, a big thank you to the SBA for connecting me to Rutgers and many other resources.



NJMEP Programs – Since I last wrote, I’ve attended 2 NJMEP workshops on Lean and Six Sigma.  I highly recommend connecting with your state MEP.  We also hired experts from the NJMEP to lead the MF team through their Destination Innovation program.  Funded in part by the DOD, this program is intended to help companies in the Defense Department Supply chain grow in commercial sectors as DOD spending has decreased. They gave us tools to help define our unique value proposition and spur product innovation. One idea that came up was the concept of inventory planning for our customers.  I will be reaching out to you to gauge your interest in having MF Supply help you do inventory forecasting as a value added service.

Free Employee Training – Did you know there is free training available to your employees through state funded Workforce Development programs?  During the first 2 weeks in May, we sent Dave & Andy to Excel training at Bergen Community College in Paramus, compliments of the NJ taxpayers! Thanks everyone for helping us learn and grow! Email us to create a pivot table for you (just kidding!).  For more info about available programs in NJ, email Louisa Emirzian at

Commerce and Industry Manufacturing Roundtable – On March 14, I participated in the CIANJ sponsored Manufacturing Roundtable at Triangle Manufacturing in Saddle River.  It’s a super cool facility that makes custom prosthetics and many other precision parts.  We learned that the State of NJ is developing workforce programs and making investments in the following industries: Advanced manufacturing, Logistics and Supply Chain.  Check out their Manufacturing Resource book for some great info.

Women in Manufacturing – A new chapter of WIM is being launched right here in New Jersey!  The first meeting was held at Sandvik Coromant on April 27th. If you know any women in manufacturing, please send them my way, I’d love to recruit them to join me and the growing NJ chapter.

Amazon in NJ – Amazon is opening 2 distribution centers right here in NJ and is planning to hire over 2000 people.  It’s not manufacturing, but it is logistics, which is a growth industry in NJ.  Very exciting!

What is Aerogistics? – Did you know that aerospace is growing and so are their logistic needs and supply chains? Hence, a new term: “Aerogistics” is coined.  Check out the amazing resources available through UPS that help inform on market trends and solutions in the aerospace logistics world.


Do you or your customers require a COC for your products?  Do you know if they are asking for a Certificate of Compliance or a Certificate of Conformance?  In April we attended Webinar training from the Fastener Training Institute which clarified some of the most common concepts when it comes to Certifications, Test Reports and Lot Traceability. Here are a few definitions for your enjoyment:

Certificate of Conformance – a record affirming a fastener has met the requirements of the relevant specification, contract or regulation.

Certificate of Compliance – a Certification of Conformance signed by an authorized party.

Material Test Report – a record signed by an authorized party, attesting the raw material is in accordance with specified requirements, including the actual results of required chemical analysis tests and examinations.

Lot – a batch of one part number, submitted for inspection at one time. The “lot” has been made from the same batch of raw material and parts have been produced together under the same conditions and heat treatment process.


As a member of the DPA Industrial family, MF Supply can now help you with more product categories and pass along fabulous savings on many more items including:

  • Industrial
  • Tools
  • Safety Equipment & Clothing
  • Packaging
  • Janitorial/Sanitorial

Please email me at to request a full catalog. We’re eager to see if we can help save you time and money by becoming a single source for more of your industrial needs.


So far this year I have attended informational training in the disciplines of Six Sigma, Lean Operations and Production and Inventory Management planning.  We are determining which area has the best ROI – for ourselves and our customers and are interested in your feedback.

Are the members of your team certified in any of these areas?  Have you gotten value from your continuing education and are you using it to make improvements in your company? I’d love to hear from you regarding this topic.


Robin Lieberman




Newsletter – January / February 2016


Volume 18
February 12, 2016
January / February News
Greetings and Happy February!  We started 2016 fast out of the gate and are ramping up for a strong Q1, despite a PMI index of 48.2%, reports of contraction in the manufacturing sector and the volatility that sometimes occurs during election years.  I hope you are experiencing growth!
Today, I am continuing our discussion on thought leadership within the American Manufacturing community. Additionally, I am glad to get back to our “What the Heck Is that” roots and put the spotlight on one of our best-selling products, the Socket Head Cap Screw.
Since graduating on October 27, I have been introduced to many amazing resources.  One exciting development I wanted to share with you is that MF Supply was selected as a case study class for Rutgers Business School. What does that mean, you ask?  Well, between now and April 20th, a group of smart and creative Rutgers MBA candidates are analyzing MF Supply and our marketplace. They will use BIG DATA and other tools, and present recommendations including an ROI on where we should focus our energies to grow. One of their initial thoughts was that MF Supply should be targeting companies with Set-Aside needs or Diverse buying initiatives.  If you hadn’t heard, MF Supply is a WBE and WOSB certified business, which means if your customer has Set Aside needs, we should be talking!  I am so excited for this project and am thankful to the SBA for connecting me to Rutgers and other resources.
If you are curious to know more about the SBA-EL program (in NJ or your state), or think you or someone you know might benefit from participating, please check out these two articles about the program inNJBIZ and American Entrepreneurship Today to find out more. To apply, please email and tell him I sent you!

Socket Head Cap Screws or socket caps, which are sometimes referred to by their trademarked name “Allen” screws, have become the standard among high strength fasteners needed to withstand the faster speeds and higher pressure of today’s machines, instruments and assemblies.  They are externally threaded, with a cylindrical head with a flat chamfered top, and a hexagonal recess for internal wrenching.
Who uses Socket Head Cap Screws?
Because of their cylindrical shaped heads and internal wrenching installation method, socket cap screws need less space than alternative fasteners.  This makes socket caps ideal for precision assembly work with close tolerances and applications that need a well tooled appearance.
Common uses include machine parts, die fixtures and assemblies.
Why use a Socket Cap vs a Hex Head Cap Screw?  
We don’t want to play favorites, but here are a few advantages of using socket caps:
Size matters– The smaller socket head enables driving where there is not sufficient space for wrenches or sockets. In addition, Socket caps are available off the shelf starting as small as 0-80 diameter and are commonly available to diameter 1-1/2-6.  Hex Head Cap screws start at 1/4-20 diameter.
Strength – Alloy Steel Socket Caps, though not measured in grades, provide greater tensile strength than equivalent size Grade 5 or Grade 8 steel Hex Head Cap screws.  i.e. 1/4-20 Socket cap=180k psi min, 1/4-20 Hex Head Grade 5 =120k psi min,  1/4-20 Hex Head Grade 8 =150k psi min.
Torque  – The 6 flat surfaces within the recess allow for high torquing without damaging the head,  and with no side clearance restrictions or additional wrench space.
Thread fit- Socket products generally have a 3A thread fit.  3A threads have restrictive tolerances often used where safety is a critical design consideration. Hex Head Cap Screws are generally class 2A.  2A threads offer a combination of performance, economy, and convenience. Nearly 90% of all commercial and industrial fasteners have a 2A fit.
Economy –  Socket Cap heads are smaller, hence, the size of the component parts can be reduced, reducing material costs.  Smaller parts cost less to drill and tap, take less energy to drive, and weigh less than alternatives.
What options are available?
The most common variables are the head style, diameter and thread, length, material and plating or finish.  Socket caps can also be captivated, vented, patched or pelleted.  Below are some of the most common options:
There are 4 main available head styles, and each serves a slightly different purpose. All commercial Socket Caps conform to ASME B18.3.
Standard Head  – the standard in Socket Head Cap Screws (ASTM A574, F835, DIN912)
Low Head – Use in parts too thin for standard height heads and where clearance is limited (DIN7984)
Flat Head  – Countersunk heads at 82 degrees provide maximum flushness and side wall contact  (ASTM F835, F879, DIN7991)
Button Head – For use in materials too thin to countersink (ASTM F835, F879, DIN7380)
The most common and readily available drive style is a hexagonal socket drive, however, Socket Caps may also be available in security pin-in-hex, pin-in-torx, or six-lobe torx versions in certain sizes and materials.
Are there other factors to consider?
Of course!  “Steel” Socket Caps off the shelf are alloy steel black oxide through heat treatment and come oiled. If you need greater corrosion resistance or a different look than black, consider stainless steel or zinc plating.
If you are considering zinc plated Socket Caps, proceed with caution! Because of their tight tolerances and 3A fit, zinc plating a Socket Cap will often change the thread fit to a commercial nut fit.  If you need a 3A fit, you must specify that on your purchase order so the factory can meet your thread fit needs when creating and plating your screws.
Beyond color and plating, there are always other factors to consider, such as: domestic or import, commercial or mil-spec, with or without sprinkles :). And remember, Socket Head Cap Screws can also show up under their most popular domestic brand names (Holo-krome) and mil-spec number (MS16995, MS16996, NAS1351 and NAS1352).    If you have any questions, please reach out and ask!
Socket Head Cap Screws available at MF Supply
Here at MF Supply, we offer:
  • The full range of commercial and mil-spec parts, including parts that are DFARS and ROHS compliant.
  • Brand names (Holo-krome), generic equivalents, domestic and import.
  • Custom made parts per print in non-standard and exotic materials and finishes.
  • Inch and Metric sizes.
  • Stainless steel in 18-8, 316, A286, A2 and A4 (ASTM F837, F879).
For more detailed information on Socket Head Cap Screws, visit us at
Did you ever get an invitation that piqued your interest, and show up at an event wondering if it would be worth your time?  On January 27, I said yes to an NJMEP invitation to a Manufacturers Roundtable, hosted by Bergen Community College. I am so glad I went!
Assemblyman Gary Schaer, along with 30 manufacturers, educators and other advocates discussed ways we can support manufacturing in NJ.  Many connections were made, and last week, a group of 10 of the students from Bergen’s current CNC training class visited MF Supply to learn more about the Supply chain. They were a bright, motivated and very impressive group of students.  If you are hiring, great!  I’d love to connect you to the team at Bergen Community College.
And get yourself on the NJMEP (or if you are outside of NJ, contact your state’s MEP) email list to find out about relevant events and programs that just might be a difference maker for your business.
On November 1, 2015  we were officially welcomed into the DPA Industrial family.  What does this mean for our customers?  We can now help you with more product categories and pass along fabulous savings on many more items including:
  • Industrial
  • Safety Equipment & Clothing
  • Packaging
  • Janitorial/Sanitorial
Please contact me to set up a meeting to see if we can help save you time and money by becoming a single source for more of your industrial needs.
Since our core values include striving for achievement, self improvement and growth, we are exploring Lean certification. Is being Lean one of your initiatives? Check out this inspirational video about how Lean processes lead to immediate improvements in a NYC foodbank.   Enjoy the video by clicking here!
Robin Lieberman
P.S. We are closed on February 15 in observance of President’s Day. Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy long weekend and Valentine’s Day from the entire team here at MF Supply.

November 2015 Newsletter


Volume 17

November 17, 2015


It’s been a few months since our last update, but I am back and ready to finish the year strong!  With less than 45 days left before we welcome in 2016, we have a lot to do and many exciting updates to share.



In our last issue, I discussed some of MF Supply’s current initiatives, including 1) Building upon our business relationships;  2) Growing our business through referrals & alliance partners and 3) Thought leadership and helping the American manufacturing community grow.

Today, I am reaching out regarding initiative #3.


On October 27, along with 17 other NJ business leaders, I graduated from the NJ SBA Emerging Leaders class of 2015.  Woo hoo!  What a great accomplishment.  I learned so much, including how to read and use financial statements and ratios, the difference between a prime and a subcontractor, ways to market to each and much much more!  If you are interested, I am happy to share my 3 year growth plan and program highlights with you.

If you are curious to know more about the program or think you or someone you know might benefit from participating, please check out these two articles about the program in NJBIZ and  American Entrepreneurship Today to find out more.


Are you part of the Aerospace & Defense Industry supply chain?  If so, I recommend you get to know the NJMarketShift program.  If you haven’t heard, NJIT was awarded a $5.67M (not a typo!!) grant to create MarketShift. Under the leadership of the New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), they will use the money to change the face of the New Jersey Aerospace & Defense (A&D) industry.  How, you ask?  By helping members to:

  1. Build new alliances
  2. Find new customers
  3. Create new products
  4. Explore new markets

Since I was curious to see the program in action, on September 17, I attended the MarketShift NE NJ Design Forum at Sandvik Coromant in Fairlawn.  Along with a group of about 50 attendees, I was introduced to MarketShift Intelligence, a database being developed to help fulfill NJ MarketShift’s mission.  The application mines the New Jersey A&D supplier network for intelligence tailored to answer specific questions and drive action regarding potential alternative customers, partners, suppliers, markets, and technologies.

My key take away from this event was that the team at MarketShift is creatively looking to help the A&D Supply chain grow and there are many ways they can help. The Sandvik event  was just one of the ways MarketShift delivers on its goal to increase the strength of NJ’s A&D economy in the global marketplace.  So exciting!

If I’ve piqued your interest, let me know.  I can hook you up with the right people to talk to.  And by the way, Sandvik Coromant is an amazing company with extensive training and knowledge resources for manufacturers. Check out the training offered at their Fairlawn location.

I’d also love to hear from you if you have attended any of the Sandvik trainings.


Have you ever thought about how steel bar is made?  On September 10, I visited my first steel mill (Nucor), along with 22 associates from the AWMI (The Association of Women in Metal – yes, it’s a real group).  What an eye-opening experience!  Nucor, a family of 200 facilities, is the largest manufacturer of steel products in North America. So awesome! GM Doyle Hopper talked with us about Nucor way (safety first!) and Nucor’s position in the global steel market.

The highlight for me was the tour of Nucor’s Wallingford, CT plant where they manufacture up to 300,000 tons of wire rod and rebar and 85,000 tons of wire and structural mesh a year. Wowser!  I watched in fascination as superhot glowing metal traveled along a conveyor system beneath and then next to us, changing its size and shape as it went.

If you would like to find out more about AWMI (which is 40% men by the way!), please contact Marianne Steiner @


Did you participate in National Manufacturing Day on October 2nd?  Here in New Jersey, 400+ attendees gathered at The Palace in Somerset, NJ for the annual Made in New Jersey event.

The celebration is designed to expand knowledge about and improve the general public’s perception of manufacturing careers and the industry’s value to the economy.  Get the full recap and meet the winners, presented on the NJMEP website.  Manufacturing is 8% of NJs GDP after all!


On November 1, 2015 we were officially welcomed into the DPA Industrial family.  What does this mean for our customers?  We can now help you with more product categories and pass along fabulous savings on many more items including:

  • Industrial
  • Safety Equipment & Clothing
  • Packaging
  • Janitorial

Please contact me to set up a meeting to see if we can help save you time and money by becoming a single source for more of your industrial needs.


I’d like to close this Newsletter with some comic relief.  Enjoy the video by clicking here!



Robin Lieberman


P.S.  We are closed on November 26-27 in observance of Thanksgiving.  Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy holiday from the entire team here at MF Supply.


August 2015 Newsletter


Volume 15

August 25, 2015


August News


We hope this email finds you well and business is booming!  I’m writing to thank you for your business, update you on what’s happening here at MF Supply and ask for your feedback.

We’ve been busy!  Recently, MF Supply renewed both our Woman Owned Business Certification [WBE] and our status as federal supplier [Cage Code 58QG4].  So exciting!  In April, I was selected to the SBA Emerging Leaders class of 2015.  In June, I spoke about Pay per Click advertising at the NJTMA conference, and in September, I am scheduled to speak at training at Festo Didactic in Eatontown, NJ.


As part of our growth plan, I am currently working on three initiatives: 1) Building upon our business relationships with existing loyal clients like you; 2) Growing our business through referrals from clients and referral partners; and 3) Thought leadership and helping the American manufacturing community grow.  Today, I am reaching out regarding initiative #1.

Recently, I was interviewing a great client for one of my SBA-EL projects.  After over 20 years of business together, he was not 100% familiar with the full scope of MF Supply’s capabilities.  One of the questions I asked him was, “Does our marketing material encourage you to make a purchase?” His response was, “I don’t think I am familiar with your marketing material.”  SHAME ON US!  That is the lead in to the next section of this newsletter.


Take a moment and think about two questions:

1) Are you familiar with all the products we can help you with and all the problems we can solve for you?

2) Do you have a wish list or feedback regarding other products or services where we might add value?


We continually expand our product line, and have recently added Spring Plungers, EZ-Lok inserts, Keenserts, Military and Domestic Dowel Pins, a full line of Mil-spec DFAR products with full certifications, Retaining and much more!    As a reminder, below is a list of some of the things we do to save you time and money, and to make the buying process easier:

  • McMaster-Carr, Grainger, MSC, Newark Electronics, Fastenal – We can help you save on stainless steel, metric, inserts, dowel pins, retaining rings, loctite alternatives and more!
  • Alternatives to expensive brand name fasteners – we can help you save thousands of dollars on alternatives to Concord, RAF, Southco, PEM, Heli-coil, Loctite and many others!
  • Sourcing hard to find parts quickly – Let us do the hard work for you and save you precious time.
  • Custom manufacturing/Short lead times needed – Send us your prints and let us show you what we can do, fast, right here in the USA.
  • Domestic and Mil-spec – Try us for your domestic, DFARS and military needs. We are tremendously excellent at Stainless Steel, Keenserts, Helical Inserts and Dowel Pins!
  • Industrial Rubber products- Including hoses, hose clamps, gaskets, o-rings and more.
  • Our Brands-  Amatom/Carey, Captive (Pem), Chrislynn Inserts,Concord, EZ-Lok, Lyn-tron, Microplastics, Shear-loc, S&M Retaining Rings, Unicorp and we are a supply chain partner to many others!


Please send us samples, prints and competitor’s or manufacturer’s part numbers to quote. We look forward to the opportunity to knock your socks off by helping you with both existing and new products and services.


MF Supply is a distributor of Vibra-Tite  threadlocking products, one of the world’s market leaders in anaerobics, cyanoacrylates, epoxies and ultra-violet technologies.Vibra-Tite materials can be compared to other name brand products like Loctite, but at a COST SAVING OF UP TO 40%.  Send us your Loctite RFQs so you can do a comparison.


I’d like to close this Newsletter with some comic relief.  Enjoy the video by clicking here!



Robin Lieberman


P.S.  If you would like to chat about the SBA-Emerging Leaders class and learn more about some of the amazing books  (Duct Tape Marketing) and resources (the UCEDC) I’ve accessed through the class – shoot me an email.  I love to share! –

5 Things You Should Know About Conflict Mineral Legislation


Volume 14

April 6, 2015

5 Things You Should Know  About Conflict Mineral Legislation per  Dodd-Frank Act Section 1502

Have you gotten the survey yet? The one asking you to report on your usage of Conflict Minerals from the Republic of Congo and the surrounding areas?   Welcome to the club!

It seems that I receive Conflict Mineral surveys from both public and private companies every week (you know who you are!).  It got me thinking about how cool it is that the products we supply to manufacturers are subject to SEC regulations! All kidding aside, this regulation is all about transparency in the supply chain in order to restrain trade practices that finance inhumane behaviors in areas of conflict in Africa.  Since this hot topic is top of mind, we decided to spend this issue discussing our Top 5 things You Need to Know about Conflict Mineral Legislation and how this regulation impacts manufacturers and the supply chain community.

  1. What are Conflict Minerals?

“Conflict Minerals” is the term used to describe the minerals tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold that are sourced from mines under the control of violent forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the surrounding countries.  Commonly referred to by the acronym 3TG, these minerals are commonly used in aerospace, electronics, wiring and many other products.

  1. What is the Conflict Mineral Act and where did it originate?

In 2010, Congress enacted Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act amending the SEC Act of 1934.  Referred to as “Conflict Mineral Legislation”, the Act requires “Reporting Companies” to disclose their use of certain minerals needed to manufacture their products, and to conduct a reasonable country of origin inquiry (RCOI) into the source of those minerals. The Reporting Companies must use a new form (Form SD), where they are required to record if the minerals they use and source are DRC Conflict Free, Not DRC Conflict Free or DRC Conflict undeterminable.  These findings must be filed with the SEC annually by May 31 for the prior year, and must be made publically available.

The final rules were enacted in 2012 and took effect in 2013, with the first reporting deadline of May 31, 2014.  You can visit the following link to the SEC facts page for a concise(ish) summary of the legislation.

  1. Does my company need to comply?

Great Question!  Section 1502 covers what the SEC refers to as Reporting Companies who use certain minerals in their products.  Reporting Companies are defined as all public companies and other private companies that file periodic SEC reports pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Since the legislators didn’t want anyone to feel excluded, and in an effort to make the entire supply chain for Conflict Minerals transparent, they drafted the rules to include anyone in the supply chain of Reporting Companies. The supply chain includes companies supplying or manufacturing raw materials, components or finished products (including fasteners!).

  1. What is the OECDs role in Conflict Minerals?

Due diligence is an important part of Section 1502.  The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an international organization endorsed by the US State Department and the United Nations, has programs to help companies’ source minerals responsibly throughout the entire supply chain.   The OECD’s “Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas” is currently the only recognized due diligence framework available compliant with Section 1502.

You can visit the OECD’s website and download the report here:

  1. What can my company do to create conflict-free supply chains?

I recommend you visit the website  Make sure to download the free reporting template:   I have filled out this template multiple times already and plan to have my downstream suppliers complete the form by 2016.

Another great source of information is the Big 4 accounting consultancies: Deloitte, PWC, EY and KPMG.  I really like PWCs website.  They have a very informative section with benchmarks based on industry. Here is the aerospace benchmark.  Interestingly 2 of the 10 reporting companies reported the Conflict Minerals status was undeterminable. I’m curious to see what the benchmarking data shows in future years.

Finally, I recommend working with your trade group and legal counsel.  I recently attended a trade group seminar where our speaker suggested we develop a compliance report for use with our downstream suppliers and vendors that mirrors what we are required to report upstream.  This strategy makes a lot of sense to me, and will be part of my operations plans for 2016.

Please email me at with any questions, comments or feedback.  Thanks!

The Screw Lady

What the heck are Blind “POP”® Rivets?


Volume 13

January 28, 2015

What the heck are Blind “POP” Rivets?


Blind Rivet 

Here we are, at the end of January 2015 already!  Time to get back on track with our monthly “What the Heck is that” series, where we discuss some of the unique fasteners and electronic hardware that manufacturers use in the design and assembly of their products. Today, our topic is Blind or “POP”® rivets.

What is a Blind Rivet? 

A Blind rivet is a 2 part preassembled fastener that consists of a hollow tubular body with a head called the rivet, and a nail-like mandrel set inside the rivet that breaks off during installation.  Blind rivets are often referred to as “Pop” rivets, because “POP”® is the brand name of the original blind rivet manufacturer. A cute fact is that “Pop” is the sound these rivets make during the assembly process.

Who uses Blind Rivets?

Blind rivets are all around us!  They are typically used to assemble thin sheet metal (usually under 1″ thick) and are abundant in aircrafts. Unlike screws and nuts, which require access from both sides to join material, Blind rivets can be installed when you only have access to one side of the material being fastened.  So you can see where the name “blind comes from!

What styles of Blind rivets are available?

The 4 most common rivets styles are:

1) Open End – the most widely used style, often referred to as break-stem.

2) Closed End – are used when water and vapor resistance are required.

3) Multigrip – can be used in varying material thickness, to deal with oversized holes, and to reduce inventory and replace unnecessary sizes.

4) Bulbex – commonly used in soft materials and fiberglass, this rivet distributes loads evenly and protects fragile materials.


Some other Blind rivet styles include Orlock, Peel and Structural.


What else do I need to consider when it comes to Blind Rivets?

Although all rivet styles don’t come in all sizes, materials and head styles, when selecting the proper rivet for your application, here are the main choices you will have to consider:

Hole size or diameter of the rivet body.

Grip range – the minimum and maximum thickness or “grip” of the material being fastened by the rivet.  The grip range is NOT the length of the rivet body.

Strength – The tensile strength (pull force before breaking) and shear strength (force to break a rivet from the side) required for an application must be determined to select the proper rivet.

Material – Choose a rivet made of a metal with similar mechanical and physical properties as the materials being joined to reduce the risk of galvanic corrosion and material fatigue. The most common options are all aluminum, all steel, all stainless, aluminum rivet/steel mandrel and stainless steel rivet/steel mandrel.

Head Style – Common styles are domed, large flange and flat head/countersunk.


“POP”®  has a cool Blind rivet configurator (yes, they call it a configurator!)  Check it out by clicking here:


Lesson Learned when it comes to Blind rivets:

  • The 2 most popular brand name rivets offered are Pop/Avdel, owned by Stanley Black and Decker, and Marson, owned by Alcoa Fastening systems. Other common brands include Huck, Cherry and Gesipa. You can order by brand name or ask for generic alternatives.
  • Rivet sizing can seem confusing but when you break it down it is quite simple. Rivets are generally referred to by their diameter and maximum grip range (i.e. 1/8 x 5/16 is a 1/8 hole diameter x 5/16 maximum grip or material thickness) with a call out for the material and the head style. Note: The rivet body length is not measured for sizing.
  • You might also see rivets by the trade or brand part number, i.e. AD45ABS, AB4-5A. The first number (4) refers to the diameter of the rivet in 32nds of an inch (4/32=1/8).  The second number (5) refers to the max grip size in 16th of inch (5/16=5/16).
  • Rivets require an installation tool and cannot be installed manually.
  • Check out this nifty video for more info:
  • Blind rivets adhere to IFI standard 114 Break mandrel rivets.
  • Sizes available vary based on the style. The general diameter range is from 3/32 x 1/4 with grip ranges from .062-1-3/8.
  • Blind Rivets at MF Supply

 Here at MF Supply, we offer:

The full range of Blind rivet Brand names and generic equivalents.

  • Custom made parts per print.
  • For more detailed information on Blind rivets, visit us at

And if you don’t see it listed, as always, ask us. Finding the right screw for you is our tag line after all!

What the heck is that fastener? The year in review – 2014.


Volume 12  

December 17, 2014

What the heck is that fastener?

Welcome to 2014’s final edition of our “What the heck is that” newsletter and blog where we discuss some of the unique fasteners and electronic hardware that manufacturers use in the design and assembly of their products.

December is a great time to reflect on all we have learned so far this year and get educated on topics that impact manufacturers. So keep reading for a chock-full of fastening info!

Take a read down memory lane as we review our previous blogs and reacquaint you with some of our most popular topics.  Visit our blog directly at  for full articles and information.

Cage Nut

A Cage Nut contains a free floating threaded square nut retained within a spring steel cage. The spring steel cage has two Mounting legs or wings that, when pressed together, lock the fastener in place within a rack hole.

Cage Nuts are commonly used to mount lighting systems, electrical equipment or instruments onto rail racks.

Mil-spec DFARS

Mil-spec is the informal name for the military standard the U.S. Department of Defense uses in the production of military equipment and supplies.   The government maintains a list of qualified factories [QSLM] and suppliers [QSLD] that pass the highest quality control standards for screw attributes, including: dimensions, tensile strength, hardness, threads and drive type, just to name a few.

DFARS pertains to fasteners made from “specialty metals” including: stainless steel, high alloy steel like Grade-BD, or Grade 5 Chromium steel . For a fastener to be DFAR Compliant, the metal used to make the fastener must be melted and manufactured in the United States or a qualifying country. To keep up to date with DFARs requirements, visit section 252.225.

Wire Insert

Wire inserts are precision-formed continuous helical wire coils that provide permanent, wear-resistant threads which exceed the strength of the parent material.

Wire inserts are used for 3 main reasons: 1) to repair damaged threads in parts that would otherwise have to be scrapped; 2) to strengthen threads against failures due to stripping, seizing or corrosion; 3) to convert threads between inch and metric sizes.

Sometimes referred to by the brand name “Heli-coil”, wire inserts can be locking or nonlocking, tanged or tangless.

Standoffs and Spacers

Often classified as Electronic Hardware, or Panel Hardware, Standoffs are hex or round shaped fasteners which have a body and two threaded ends. Spacers are similar to Standoffs, however, Spacers are unthreaded with an inside clearance hole.

Both are commonly used to mechanically support, connect and position components within assemblies.

Standoffs and spacers are often ordered by their brand name, including: RAF, Amatom, Concord. Globe, HH Smith and Keystone.

Precision Shoulder Screws

Precision Shoulder Screws are tight tolerance screws which are comprised of 3 main parts: the head, the shoulder and the thread.

Used to locate or hold parts together within a precision assembly or a fixture, when installed, the unthreaded shoulder acts as a shaft for rotating items such as bearings and bushings, precision spacing, machinery support, and motion guiding.

Common brands are PIC and WM Berg, RAF, Mcmaster-Carr and MSC.\

Dowel Pins

Dowel Pins are solid, headless cylindrical shaped straight metal pins with a centerless ground finish.

Often used as a hinge, shaft or pivot to locate or hold parts together within a precision assembly or a fixture, Dowel pins can be Standard, Oversized or Undersized.

Common brands are Holo-krome and PIC and WM Berg.

Retaining Rings

Shaped like an open ring and made of metal, Retaining Rings can be coiled from wire, stamped or laser cut.

Retaining Rings work together with a bore or a shaft by snapping into a groove or being pushed into place to create a high strength shoulder to retain parts.

Common brands are Rotor-Clip and Waldes,Truarc.

Keensert® Key-locking insert

The Key-locking threaded insert is a solid bushing style insert that is threaded on both the inside and the outside, and has wedges or “keys” attached to the top of the insert.

Generally, Key-locking inserts are used to distribute loads and strengthen or repair threads against failures due to stripping, seizing or corrosion.  Key-locking inserts are commonly used in high torque and high temperature situations, and in applications where fasteners may be repeatedly removed and reassembled.

 Set screws

Set screws are externally threaded fasteners with a drive (commonly hex socket) on one end and one of 7 (yes 7!) point styles on the other.

Designed to fasten one object inside another, set screws are commonly used within assemblies with rotating items such as pulleys or wheels where a component is locked onto a shaft.

And that’s all she wrote……

You might have noticed an important theme here.  Many fasteners are used as part of an assembly that involves a shaft with moving parts.  And in the fastener world, we’ve got options.  Lots and lots of options.

If there are fasteners that you would like us to profile, please be in touch.  And if you need help finding the right screw for you and your application, you know where to find us.  See you in 2015!

Warm Regards,


The Screw Lady