taking one frame at a time since 1999

It has been a long time since I have been in here.I was involved with allot of other things that my hobby did not provide room for.I'm not sure if I am posting in the right place?If I am posting in the wrong place please tell me and have my subject moved accordingly,but I think this belongs in "armatures".So,I have to make this short,but I am looking into getting some "specialty screws" made(very small socket head cap screws).Problem is,the minimum run is 25,000 screws.I don't know how much it costs(yet) but I can tell you (personally) I don;t need 25,000 screws.I was wanting to put it out there if others might requite a screw of this size?It will be "very small".If anyone is interested,please respond or PM me.

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This might be blindingly obvious, but when I want to reduce the size of a screw head, I put it in the drill and then turn it while either holding it against a grinder or a hand file held in the vise. You might be able to make a mini cap head from a button head, which has a smaller hex key hole than the standard cap socket.

Minimum run is: 1!

I thought about doing that too.Its one thing if I'm working on my own projects,"its just time",but if I end up doing jobs and either making joints or full assemblies (like hands for instance),that adds to the "time clock" making things more expensive for a prospective job.I thought about fitting a smaller 0-80 socket head cap screw in a lathe and turning the head diameter down,and I still may do that so long as I don't need to make 100 of them. I would also be needing to make "allot" of the screws heads smaller.Not for one,more like 20 screws for a set of hands.Also,for other screw types,most only are made "so small".Some stop at 2-56,some may get as small as 0-80,however the thread size will still be much larger,needing more material(larger drilled&tapped holes) making if much harder to make certain joints or assemblies small enough "to scale".Having the screws "made to a constant  size without needing to modify an existing size would be beneficial.The most time consuming thing(besides assembly) would be cutting off any excess if needed?Specifically...cutting the ends of the threads off reducing the overall length of the screw from .125 to .100 or maybe .090?As I was saying(above) my problem is having 25,000 screws( I don't know the cost yet).If others might be interested in sharing in the cost(if enough are seriously interested) I can live with  splitting up the 25,000 and having 4,000 to 5,000 screws.I think (maybe) others may be interested?It only would depend on overall cost for the 25,000 part run.

I have seen miniature screws online somewhere - not just the heads were small, the threads were tiny as well.  Might have been in connection with a model engineering site. People who make miniature stem engines, that kind of thing. Worth googling.  It was 5 or 6 years ago so I forget, and if i saved a link it was on a computer that has since died.  I had bought the smallest nuts and screws I could find at a fastener supplier, which was better than a general hardware shop, but these were smaller.  Not cheap, but compared to hand turning each screw head, or buying thousands of screws you can never use, it looked worthwhile.

This sort of place -

You have to scroll way way down to get to the nuts and screws - first, imperial in BA sizes (I don't know what that means) and then metric.  I do have an idea what the M sizes would be like. I screen captured these metric sizes:    

There are smaller screws with tiny,tiny hex drives on some of them.They "may have been metric",but not necessarily.These screws (they are set screws) so,"no head" on them. I've never had a use for them and I'm not sure how they would be of any use in stop motion armatures?I have found other 0-90 and even 00-120 screws,but they have either flat,phillips and star drives on them.They don't seem as reliable(to me).Those kind of driving heads (to me) seem like they would strip easily or "snap" the head off while tightening them down to get the right tension on a joint.Then (if it breaks or you strip the head out)you have a fastener that has "no holding/tension" ability. I've not looked on steam engine hobby sites(yet).I actually never thought of them,so that's a good recommendation.I have a feeling that the shop quote I will get will far exceed my spending abilities.I'd need to have like 40 or 50 people to "get in" on sharing the cost and I think that would be extremely hard to do in here.Not everyone has the spending capabilities and even with what I do have,I can't front the cost.I think I might be looking at $25,000.00.So I'm anticipating about that much(or more) for having 25,000 "specialty sized screws" to be made.

Looking further, I found the small metric screws on eBay for very low price.  I automatically get eBay Au and Australian dollar prices when I search, but I'm sure they would be available in the US and UK as well.   Not sure if these have the nuts, might need to get those separately.  Hex heads might not suit, though, you'd need mini socket wrenches to tighten them and so would any customer who bought the armature.   i can't imagine these tiny screws coming with Allen key heads.

The smallest "allen head" drives are .028 and .035.Not sure what that is in mm?Those are readily available even if you have to buy an entire set to get them.The smallest I've seen were .035 on machine head counter sink screws,but the heads are "big" in excess of .090...I suspect closer to .125.

I believe "A" and "B" are the class of threads.

John Polacchi said:

The smallest "allen head" drives are .028 and .035.Not sure what that is in mm?Those are readily available even if you have to buy an entire set to get them.The smallest I've seen were .035 on machine head counter sink screws,but the heads are "big" in excess of .090...I suspect closer to .125.

Actually I take the back.The AB stands for some other designation I'm not familiar with.I saw it briefly in the catalog but not I forget already what it was an abbreviation of.There's not much there on the web site or catalog I could see that would be useful(for me anyway).I'd have to buy all new  tap drill,reamer and tap&die sets.I contacted a different steam model web site,I think the smallest they go is 0-80 sized cap screws.

Micromark is a favorite of model railroaders:

As a long-time specialty fastener buyer I found that the clue to finding tiny screws is the word "miniature" (as Nick mentioned). Even in pre-internet days, if a catalog didn't say "miniature", all you saw were #2 or #4 diameters. You might also try "eyeglass" screws. All are expensive. If you find the right guy, you won't be faced with a manufacturing minimum.

A word about strength - small diameters mean less strength and shorter screw lengths. Cutting down a head reduces strength/torque. In the case of an alloy steel socket screw, you may also lose strength due to the heat generated. Doesn't matter if you reduce height or diameter. Strongest materials (in descending order): alloy steel (socket products), Grade 5 steel (bolts only, too big for your use), stainless, mild steel, brass, and in distant last place - nylon.

what thread size? 
Check McMaster Carr
I see there are many good advice given already
maybe a drawing of the joint you want to make
Sometimes I make things small and in the end I could have gone bigger no problem

00-90 threads cap head screws.The price to have them made is astronomical,mainly its the minimum run Id have to commit to.25,000 screws at...something like $1.70 per screw it will(would) have a smaller head diameter,profile and smaller hex key.I could use screws this sizer for small hinge type joints(for hands) and ,ball&socket and for very small collet joints.There is a trade off being such a small screw.Mainly(from what I can predict) is that the joints would be exceptionally delicate at these sizes and it would be very difficult to really tension the joints really tight.I think they would be sufficient enough to tension and to hold their positions in that joint.Hard to say if the joint would fatigue prematurely,but I should think that it would outlast "wire" and that the joints(or parts) could be reused and rebuilt easier say for a screw that size that snaps.

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