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Chapter 15

Screw threads and conventional representations

Screw threads
The most common application of the helix is in a screw thread which follows the path of the helix. Screw threads may be either left or right hand and these are shown picto rially in Fig. 15.1. Notice the slope of the thread and the position of the index finger on each hand. The left-hand thread is used for special applications and the right-hand thread is the one normally used on nuts and bolts. The thread illustrated has a vee-section. The following terms are associated with screw threads:
Major or outside dia.

Pitch 2


Depth 3 H 8 H 6 H 4 H 4 H H 8

Effective (pitch) dia.

Thread angle

Minor or root dia.

Pitch P


Thread axis

The thread pitch is the distance between corresponding points on adjacent threads. Measurements must be taken parallel to the thread axis. The major diameter or outside diameter is the diameter over the crests of the thread, measured at right angles to the thread axis. The crest is the most prominent part of the thread, internal or external. The root lies at the bottom of the groove between two adjacent threads. The flank of the thread is the straight side of the thread between the crest and root. The minor diameter, root diameter or core diameter is the smallest diameter of the thread measured at right angles to the thread axis. The effective diameter is measured at right angles to the thread axis and is the diameter on which the width of the spaces is equal to the width of the threads. The lead of a thread is the axial movement of the screw in one revolution.

FIGURE 15.2 External form to illustrate thread terms.

The terms are illustrated in Fig. 15.2.

ISO metric threads

Figure 15.3 shows the ISO metric thread form for a nut (internal) and for a bolt (external). In the case of the nut, the root is rounded in practice. For the mating bolt, the crest of the thread may be rounded within the maximum outline, as shown, and the root radiused to the given dimension. Both male and female threads are subject to manufacturing tolerances and for complete information, reference should be made to BS 36431. BS 36432 defines two series of diameters with graded pitches for general use in nuts, bolts and screwed fittings, one series with coarse and the other with fine


P 8 Pitch line

P 2 P 4


0.1433P Pitch P

Manual of Engineering Drawing Copyright 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.

FIGURE 15.3 ISO metric thread H = 0.86603P, H/4 = 0.21651P, (3/8)H = 0.32476P, (5/8)H = 0.54127P, where P is the pitch of the thread.



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Manual of Engineering Drawing

TABLE 15.1
1 2 3 Basic major diameters Choice 1st 2nd 3rd 1.6 2 2.5 3 4 5 6 8 10 12 16 20 24 1.8 2.2 3.5 4.5 14 18 22 5.5 7 9 11 15 17 4 Coarse series with graded pitches 0.35 0.35 0.4 0.45 0.45 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.75 8.8 1 1 1.25 1.25 1.5 1.5 1.75 2 2 2.5 2.5 2.5 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Fine series with constant pitches 6 4 3 2 1.5 2 2 2 2 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5

1.25 1.25 1.25 1.25


1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

0.75 0.75 0.75 0.75 0.75 0.75 0.75

0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5

0.35 0.35 0.35 0.35

0.25 0.25 0.25

0.2 0.2 0.2

Note: For preference, choose the diameters given in Column 1. If these are not suitable, choose from Column 2, or finally from Column 3. * The pitch of 1.25 mm for 14 mm diameter is to be used only for sparking plugs.

pitches. The extract given in Table 15.1 from the standard gives thread sizes from 1.6 to 24 mm diameter. Note that first, second and third choices of basic diameters are quoted, to limit the number of sizes within each range. On a drawing, a thread will be designated by the letter M followed by the size of the nominal diameter and the pitch required, e.g. M10 1.

If a thread is dimensioned without reference to the pitch, e.g. M16, then it is assumed that the coarse series thread is required.

Unified threads
The Unified system of screw threads was introduced by the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States to provide a

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Chapter | 15 Screw threads and conventional representations


Pitch P

Pitch P Rc

H 8

60 P 4

H 5 H 8

Nut Bolt
1 1 27 2 27 2

H 6

H 6

FIGURE 15.4 Unified screw thread H = 0.86603P, Rc = 0.108P and Rr = 0.144P where P is the pitch of the thread.

H 4

FIGURE 15.6 Basic Whitworth form H = 960491P, h = 0.640327P, r = 0.137329P.

common standard thread for use by the three countries. The The British Standard Pipe threads are used internally and International Standards Organisation (ISO) recommends the externally on the walls of pipes and tubes. The thread pitch is system as an international system of screw threads in inch relatively fine, so that the tube thickness is not unduly weakened. units, in parallel with a similar system in metric units. Both Pipe threads are covered by BS 21, which was adopted as of these systems use a similar form of thread profile which is the basis for ISO 7/1 where the metric values were converillustrated basically in Fig. 15.4. sions of the inch values, to obtain interchangeability. Unified threads are covered by BS 1580. Types in comThe basic forms of the British Standard taper and parallel mon use include the following: pipe threads are based on that of the British Standard Whitworth thread. (a) UNC is a Unified coarse pitch thread, with progressive The Whitworth thread form is shown in Fig. 15.6. The pitch sizes (i.e. the pitch varies with the diameter). thread angle of 55 is measured in an axial plane section, also (b) UNF is a Unified fine pitch thread, also with progressive the vee-section is truncated, at top and bottom, by one-sixth, pitch sizes. with crest and root rounded by equal circular arcs. The (c) UN is a Unified thread with a constant pitch (e.g. an 8 theoretical thread depth is shown as h = 0.640327P where UN thread has eight threads to the inch regardless of the P is the thread pitch. In the taper pipe thread (Fig. 15.7), a diameter). taper of 1 in 16 is used, measured on diameter. British Association thread (Fig. 15.8). Generally used in Different classes of fit are obtainable by manufacture within alternative tolerance ranges and these are specified sizes of less than 1/4 in. on small mechanisms. This range of in BS 1580. Normally the same class of internal and external threads extends down to a thread size of 0.25 mm and is covered by BS 93. thread are used together. Sellers or American thread (Fig. 15.5). This type was the American National thread in common use before the introduction of the Unified National thread, as it is described in USA and Canada, or the Unified screw-thread in Great Britain.
P Nut F
1 1 27 27 2 2

17 1 H 18
H 5 H 6

90 F

Thread axis


4 F 3

FIGURE 15.5 Sellers or American thread H = 0.866P, H0 = 0.6495P, F = 0.1083P = H/8 = H/6.

FIGURE 15.7 Basic Whitworth form of taper pipe thread H = 0.960273P, h = 0.640327P, r = 0.137278P.

Whitworth thread (Fig. 15.6). The general shape of the thread shown has been used in a standard BSW (British Standard Whitworth) thread, in fine form as the BSF (British Standard Fine) thread, and as a pipe thread in the BSP (British Standard Pipe) thread. The British Standard Whitworth thread was the first standardized British screw-thread. The British Standard Fine thread is of Whitworth section but of finer pitch. The reduction in pitch increases the core diameter; also, small adjustments of the nut can easily be made.

1 47 2


FIGURE 15.8 British Association (BA) thread H = 1.1363P, H = 0.6P (approx.), R = 0.18P, S = 0.268P.

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