Carriage bolts holes in steel

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Carriage bolts holes in steel

Postby QueticoBill » Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:53 am

Besides drill and tapered square file, anyone found a better way to make square holes in steel? Moving axle on an NT and would like to replicate the detail. Have not found a punch of right size on line but keep looking.

I suppose a good file and a sunny day on the patio is the pragmatic solution.
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Re: Carriage bolts holes in steel

Postby fotooutdoors » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:36 am

If you have a bench grinder, you can whip up a broach of the correct size with a bit of the same size steel stock. I personally don't have experience, but YouTube does! https://youtu.be/7n1r5XfVkyk

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Re: Carriage bolts holes in steel

Postby Dale M. » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:23 am

Replace carriage bolts with standard bolts and washers... Not really big deal... As long as bolt are properly tightened there should be no issues...

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Re: Carriage bolts holes in steel

Postby Aguyfromohio » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:56 am

I agree with Dale M, don't bother with carriage bolts.
There is nothing special about a carriage bolt, except the head shape.
It has a smooth shallow round head with a square shoulder.

The reason they make them is for situations where one end of the fastener is on a finished surface we touch, so it must be snag-free, smooth to the touch, low profile, and not too ugly. In the old days that situation was on the inside of a horse-drawn carriage. You didn't want the wife snagging her hoop skirt inside the carriage on nuts and bolts.
Today we use them on wooden swing sets and wheel barrow handles.
Carriage bolts are also intended to be used in wood.
Since the smooth low profile bolt head is useless for grabbing with a tool, that square shoulder does the trick.
It pushes into the soft wood and resists turning, so we can tighten the nut on the other end.
Sure, you can use them on metal parts. Many little items like gate hinges and lawn furniture have square holes punched into them to take a carriage bolt and give a finished surface.

Unless you need to often touch one end of the fastener, don't bother with a carriage bolt.
Use the same size regular bolt and a washer.
A good compromise is a screw with a round head and an allen wrench hex socket in the head.
Ask for a "round head socket cap screw" of your favorite size.

Fun Fact. What's the difference between a screw and a bolt?
How you use it. Technically, if you turn the whole shaft of the fastener to tighten it, it's a screw
If you hold still the fastener head and shaft, and turn the nut to tighten it, it's a bolt.
That's how you use a carriage bolt, so that's why you never hear someone say "carriage screw".
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Re: Carriage bolts holes in steel

Postby QueticoBill » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:12 am

Its for the HT trailer spring hangers and it appears - at least for the rear spring hanger - that its needed because its a slipper spring. Out of about 70 bolts, these 8 (2 - M10X25 - each front and rear spring hangers) are the only carriage head and not yet ready to assume there is no good reason. Both the hangers and frame are punched square. I just have to re-drill frame.

So file or cold chisel seem to be likely answers. I thought I could find a greenlee punch but so far, no luck. I can consider the broach but making and using it seems like more work and expense than a file for 6 -8 holes. Welding/plug welding might work too - but I prefer the idea that if I wanted to change axles, it would be easy to completely remove the leaf springs and not leave gack or have to grind, prime, and paint.

Thanks to all that have offered assistance. Terrific place.
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Re: Carriage bolts holes in steel

Postby Aguyfromohio » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:44 am

QueticoBill wrote:Its for the HT trailer spring hangers and it appears - at least for the rear spring hanger - that its needed because its a slipper spring. Out of about 70 bolts, these 8 (2 - M10X25 - each front and rear spring hangers) are the only carriage head and not yet ready to assume there is no good reason. Both the hangers and frame are punched square...


That's good thinking. It cost the manufacturer a dollar extra for each square hole, he did that for some good reason.
McMaster Carr has little square hole punch sets for under fifty bucks here:
https://www.mcmaster.com/#hole-forming-punches/=16r300c
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Re: Carriage bolts holes in steel

Postby QueticoBill » Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:31 am

Aguyfromohio wrote:
QueticoBill wrote:Its for the HT trailer spring hangers and it appears - at least for the rear spring hanger - that its needed because its a slipper spring. Out of about 70 bolts, these 8 (2 - M10X25 - each front and rear spring hangers) are the only carriage head and not yet ready to assume there is no good reason. Both the hangers and frame are punched square...


That's good thinking. It cost the manufacturer a dollar extra for each square hole, he did that for some good reason.
McMaster Carr has little square hole punch sets for under fifty bucks here:
https://www.mcmaster.com/#hole-forming-punches/=16r300c


At over $250, I think I'll use a file. Not to mention the smallest is to large at a 1/2". (Seems to be a 13/32" square hole and the square neck on teh carriage bolt seems less than 3/8" - maybe 11/32" or 21/64".)

But thank you. If nothing else, while filing away I'll know I didn't overlook an easier answer.
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Re: Carriage bolts holes in steel

Postby Aguyfromohio » Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:09 pm

QueticoBill wrote:
Aguyfromohio wrote:
QueticoBill wrote:Its for the HT trailer spring hangers and it appears - at least for the rear spring hanger - that its needed because its a slipper spring. Out of about 70 bolts, these 8 (2 - M10X25 - each front and rear spring hangers) are the only carriage head and not yet ready to assume there is no good reason. Both the hangers and frame are punched square...


That's good thinking. It cost the manufacturer a dollar extra for each square hole, he did that for some good reason.
McMaster Carr has little square hole punch sets for under fifty bucks here:
https://www.mcmaster.com/#hole-forming-punches/=16r300c


At over $250, I think I'll use a file. Not to mention the smallest is to large at a 1/2". (Seems to be a 13/32" square hole and the square neck on teh carriage bolt seems less than 3/8" - maybe 11/32" or 21/64".)

But thank you. If nothing else, while filing away I'll know I didn't overlook an easier answer.



Oops, my bad.
I just looked over at last column and saw prices for the stud adapters, skipped right over the $250 bucks for the punch itself. :shock:
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Re: Carriage bolts holes in steel

Postby JaggedEdges » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:55 pm

Rotozip bits in whatever you want to beat on, your dremel or router or other turny fasty thing.
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Re: Carriage bolts holes in steel

Postby swoody126 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:06 pm

why knot just replace the carriage bolts w/ round head bolts that have allen head sockets?

i use them frequently and get them from the local bolt n screw store

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Re: Carriage bolts holes in steel

Postby QueticoBill » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:19 am

I thought about that but remember the hangers have the square holes already, so substituting bolts leave a round peg in a square hole. I guess I could over drill but that's now big holes in the bottom flange of the frame channel. And the round head is a little more proud of the piece than carriage bolts head - especially at near double the diameter.

The file with maybe some help from a rotozip - thanks for that reminder Jagged - or a sabre saw seems simple and inexpensive. Obviously the $25 square punch does not exist.
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Re: Carriage bolts holes in steel

Postby KCStudly » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:43 am

Are we talking about bracket fasteners or actual suspension hanger hardware?

If these holes are for the bolts that the spring eye or shackle pivot bolts attach to you want to keep the anti-rotation feature of the square shoulder intact. You want the suspension to pivot on the shaft of the bolt, not have the bolt pivot and wear on the edge of the hole.

Most std trailer hardware for spring pivots and shackles have splines under the heads and are driven into a close tolerance hole; some, like dual axle load leveler pivot bolts, have large square shanks under their heads.
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Re: Carriage bolts holes in steel

Postby QueticoBill » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:19 am

The bent metal hangers - parts 7 & 8 - to the frame (bent steel) channels - 1L and 1R - with the carriage head bolts - FCB. I'm moving the hangers rearward some 9-15" - not sure exactly - and need to drill new holes in the frame channels. Both the frame and the hangers now have the square punched hole for the neck of the carriage bolt. The neck seems just enough longer than the hanger is thick to warrant it. I did consider drilling close to bolt size holes in frame and just the thinnest of steel shims so the square neck was below the frame.

In the end I'm beginning to think that just researching, thinking, and posting about this detail may take longer than drilling a hole and having at with a file. :?

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Re: Carriage bolts holes in steel

Postby KCStudly » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:22 am

QueticoBill wrote:In the end I'm beginning to think that just researching, thinking, and posting about this detail may take longer than drilling a hole and having at with a file.

So often true, but sometimes it is better to think about a thing long enough to be sure that it isn't a mistake, rather than charging ahead and making a mistake. Filing the holes square would not be a mistake.
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Re: Carriage bolts holes in steel

Postby H.A. » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:17 pm

I mi.
Last edited by H.A. on Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
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