What are the 4 Types of Set Screws?

Set screws are specialized types of fasteners that are predominantly used to secure an object inside or against another object, such as holding a gear or pulley onto a shaft. Unlike regular screws, set screws are typically headless, meaning they do not have a protruding head. The whole body is threaded, and the end that makes contact with the mating part can have different shapes. The other end usually contains a socket or slot that allows for tightening or loosening with an appropriate tool. In this article, we will focus on four common types of set screws: cup point, cone point, flat point, and dog point set screws.

  1. Cup Point Set Screws
    Cup point set screws are the most commonly used type of set screw. They are characterized by a cup-shaped indentation at the end. This design offers a high level of holding power.

Cup point set screws are ideal for applications where the set screw will be frequently re-adjusted or replaced. They are often used in securing gears, pulleys, and other machine parts to shafts. The cup-shaped end digs into the shaft for a secure hold.


High holding power.
Reduces damage to the shaft by spreading contact over a larger area.
Quick and easy to install and remove.

  1. Cone Point Set Screws
    Cone point set screws have a sharp, conical point at the end. This point is designed to penetrate the surface of the mating part for permanent and semi-permanent installations.

They are used where precision is necessary, such as aligning machine components during assembly. They’re also used in applications where movement is not desired, as the sharp point can effectively lock components in place.


Precise alignment.
Effective for permanent installations.
High resistance to loosening.

  1. Flat Point Set Screws
    Flat point set screws, as the name implies, have a flat surface at the point. The flat point allows for better surface contact and is less likely to cause deformation of the mating component compared to other types.

These are often used in situations where you need to lock a component in place without damaging it. They’re common in woodworking, metalworking, and in securing knobs or levers.


Does not mar the surface of the component.
Suitable for applications where the set screw is subject to frequent adjustments.
Distributes pressure evenly.

  1. Dog Point Set Screws
    Dog point set screws have an extended flat tip, which is often cylindrical. This is used instead of a traditional point and is designed to fit into a mating part securely.

They are used for permanent or semi-permanent installations and are ideal for applications where minimal damage to the mating surface is required. Typical applications include securing gears to shafts without using splines and in situations where frequent adjustments are needed.


Provides more contact with the shaft than a cup or cone point.
Can be used in applications where the set screw must be fully threaded.
In summary, set screws are a crucial component in many assemblies. Understanding the differences between the four common types – cup point, cone point, flat point, and dog point – helps in selecting the proper set screw for your specific application. Each type offers unique advantages depending on the requirements regarding holding power, precision, and potential damage to the mating material. Making the right choice in set screws can significantly affect the performance and lifespan of your assembly.

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