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Motorsport Fabrication Fundamentals: Nut Plates and Dzus Clips

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Nut Plates and Dzus Clips


00:00 - One of the common tasks we'll be completing as motorsport fabricators is mounting components onto cars.
00:06 This might involve adding a mounting bracket for a catch can or mounting removable panels to the chassis to allow access to a gearbox for example.
00:14 Regardless of the specifics of the task, we're going to need a way of securing these components using a threaded fastener.
00:21 In an OE application, we'll see examples of this where the bare chassis will have threaded holes incorporated into hundreds of locations to accept headlights, body panels, interior components and everything else that gets bolted into place.
00:35 Replicating this OE technique in the home workshop however, adds a little complexity.
00:40 While it's possible of course to simply add a nut to the back of a panel and hold it in place while the fastener is installed and tightened, this makes installation and removal a two handed job and may even require a helper in locations where you can't reach both sides of the component at the same time.
00:57 The more important issue here is that you're bound to end up losing the nut when the part is removed.
01:03 The preferrable option is to incorporate a product called a nut plate to these removable parts.
01:09 Nut plates come in a variety of shapes, sizes and configurations, including in lined, angled, fixed and floating.
01:16 They're also available in various thread sizes and pitches.
01:20 In essence, they're a small steel threaded boss supported by a plate that can then be attached to our panel or chassis with a rivet.
01:28 This provides a reliable method of fastening which is quick and easy to use and easy to replace in the event that the thread becomes damaged.
01:35 It's worth mentioning that a commonly used alternative to the nut plate is the riv nut which is essentially a hollow rivet with an internal thread.
01:44 These are installed through a drilled hole in the panel then clamped in place using a special riv nut tool.
01:50 Riv nuts have their place and they are useful to a point, however a common downfall is that they can loosen their grip on the panel over time and they'll spin when you're trying to tighten or remove the fastener in them.
02:03 They also tend to be larger in profile compared to a nut plate, meaning that they take up more room and the normal flange style riv nut results in a flange on the top of the panel which means whatever is being attached to it will also end up standing off the panel, rather than ending up being bolted to it flush.
02:21 For our demonstration here, we're going to install a nut plate into the corner of an alloy panel.
02:26 The nut plate we're using has an M6 metric thread and the first taste is to locate and drill the hole for our fastener.
02:33 Generally we'd recommend drilling the hole for the fastener between 0.5 mm and 1 mm larger than the diameter of the fastener which in this case is 6.5 to 7 mm.
02:44 We'll do this in two stages though, starting with a 3 mm pilot hole.
02:48 First we're going to use an adjustable square to scribe a line 6 mm from the edge of our alloy panel on both sides.
02:55 We'll drill the fastener hole where these two lines intersect which will mean that our fastener will be located an equal distance from both edges of the panel.
03:03 Before we drill our pilot hole, we'll use a centre punch to mark the hole location.
03:08 With the plate secured in our vice, we can now use our hand drill to drill our pilot hole before swapping to a 6.5 mm drill bit and drilling the final hole.
03:17 We want to concentrate on ensuring the drill is perpendicular to the work piece during the drilling operation.
03:24 With the hole complete, we'll inevitably end up with a burr on the edge of the hole so we can use a counter sink drill bit to gently deburr each side of the hole to ensure the nut plate will fit flush to the alloy panel when installed.
03:36 We can now temporarily attach the nut plate to our alloy panel using the fastener, ensuring the alignment is correct where the nut plate needs to be riveted.
03:45 To prevent any chance of movement while we're drilling the rivet holes, we're going to also clamp the nut plate to our panel.
03:53 We're going to be using 3.2 mm counter sunk rivets to secure the nut plate which is going to result in a flush finish with no protrusions on the face of our panel once it's complete.
04:04 This of course requires a 3.2 mm drill bit to drill the holes for the rivets.
04:09 We can use the nut plate as a guide to drill our first hole, again taking care to ensure that the hole is drilled perpendicular to the surface.
04:17 Once we have the first hole complete, we can temporarily add a cleco to secure the nut plate and prevent movement while we drill our second hole.
04:26 If you don't thave clecos, that's fine, a clamp will also suffice.
04:30 It's now simply a case of drilling the second rivet hole before removing the cleco or clamp and the fastener so that the nut plate can be removed from our panel.
04:39 We can now deburr the rivet holes on the side of the panel that the nut plate will be secured to.
04:44 On the other side of the panel, we need to counter sink the rivet hole sufficiently so that the head of the rivet will be flush with the surface of the panel and this may require a couple of test fits of the rivet as you progress.
04:56 We can now reinstall the nut plate with the fastener and a cleco or clamp.
05:00 This will ensure alignment of all the holes before riveting.
05:04 We can now complete our first rivet before removing the cleco or clamp and completing the second rivet.
05:10 Lastly we can remove the fastener and we now have a completed nut plate ready for installation into our project.
05:16 Nut plates are a simple and cost effective way of securing components in your project and they add a professional touch without a lot of complexity or expense.

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