Types of Pins: A Detailed Guide to Know its Uses

types of pins

Many industries use pins and fasteners for their daily operations, which are of great importance in these activities. Pins come in different shapes and forms for various purposes. One may use them wrongly if they don’t understand much about their nature, make, and purpose.

This guide will give you valuable insights about pins. It’ll detail what pins are, the types, where, and how to use them effectively while highlighting some factors to consider when choosing pins.

What are Pins?

For a better understanding, pins are universal fasteners used mostly to hold things in place. Hence, several industries make use of pins for their daily operations. Pins come in different sizes, shapes, forms, and materials, each representing a unique purpose and feature.

machine pins

Pins can come in either the semi-permanent or quick-release category. The semi-permanent pins need a tool or pressure applied when installing or removing them. But the quick-release ones lock into place using spring-loaded means.

In the manufacturing industry, manufacturers can use pins to hold down the various parts of a product during its assembly. Likewise, in the construction space, pins can secure material or wood together when they are not in use. Most products rely on the efficiency of pins to run effectively, and the various pin types help in serving either a universal or unique purpose.

Different Types of Pins

There are different types of pin fasteners. You can choose any form of pin, metal, or plastic, as long as it serves your needs. But first, here are the types of pin fasteners you can select.

Cotter Pins

cotter pins

These are simple wire pins with two prongs. They are used to hold parts together in a machine part, ensuring they don’t come loose in the long run.

Dowel Pins

dowel pins

Dowel pins are made to keep machine parts properly lined up. They are the simplest types of fasteners commonly used in automotive parts and furniture manufacturing. Besides, these fasteners are strong and precisely shaped.

Lynch Pins

lynch pin

Lynch pins help you adjust components of equipment easily and hold them fast from falling or scattering by inserting the clip through an axle. They come in handy mostly when holding an assembly together using the self-locking ring snaps.

Spring Pins

spring pins

Spring pins are cylindrical and can be used inward and outward to align and secure different components. These spring types are made from rolled metal strips and used in various parts assemblies.

Wire Lock Pins

wire lock pins

Wire lock pins are universally essential in many industries and are a suitable means of adjusting or removing accessories on a piece of equipment. These pin fasteners are the perfect combination of cotter pins and clevis pins. Wire lock pins come with a steel material design and are available in common retainer measurements and standard lengths.

Taper Pins

taper pins

Taper pins are used to align parts in machines that are assembled and disassembled frequently. These pins are narrowly shaped down at one end. Besides, they cause less wear and tear compared to other types of pins.

L-Handle Pin

L-handle ball pin

L-handle pins are locking pin types designed for securing components or accessories on a piece of equipment easily. They are easy to install and remove with the ball-locking mechanism enabling safety, better retention, and reliability. In addition, this pin comes with an easy operation where you slide the pin into place and twist the handle to lock it securely.

Clevis Pins

clevis pins

Clevis pins consist of a pin and a head and are commonly used in machines and parts in the marine, automotive, construction, and agriculture industries. These clevis pins come in various styles and are designed for connecting or detaching equipment in either a temporary or permanent application. Therefore, they are suitable for applications that do not require precise alignment and require easy detachment after use.

Spring Plungers

spring plungers

Spring plungers are pulled and hand-retractable and are best for securing things in a small space. You can use them as alignment pins, indexing devices, and positioning pins. Spring plungers come in steel material with clear zinc plating while sporting an anti-vibration lock patch most times. They can be added to threads.

Detent Pins

detent pins

Detent pins are used to separate or adjust accessories joined together. They come with standard industry measurements and are available threaded. This pin features a pull-ring for easy use. They are made of low-carbon steel or stainless steel for strength, corrosion resistance, and durability.

Retractable Spring Latch Pins

retractable spring latch pin

The retractable spring latch pin is ideal for high-stress conditions thanks to the secure latch that holds the pin in place. Used mostly where you need to hold components secure for a long time while adjusting, this pin is easy to remove or install. It comes with a steel case with zinc plating while the knob is made from propylene.

How Pin Fasteners Are Made?

There are various methods involved in manufacturing pins including forging, machining, and stamping. The method used mostly depends on the pin type and application. However, no matter the means, the maker must ensure quality and finish. They undergo rigorous testing and inspection before they hit the market.

machining pins

CNC Machining

The CNC machining process creates the desired shape of the pin by removing material from a block of metal. Machining is best for smaller pins that require details and accuracy. The materials used in machining include steel, aluminum, or brass.

After choosing the material, it is placed on a CNC machine that chops away material from a metal until it achieves the desired pin shape. The cutting process time depends on how complex the design is. After machining, the pin goes through inspection to ensure precision.

stamping pins process


The process of stamping is favorable for larger pins whose production can be faster and en masse. It involves pressing a metal sheet into an already-created die that has the shape of a pin.

In the stamping process, the die, which has the shape of the needed pin, goes on a stamping press, and a metal sheet is placed on it. Pressure comes on the sheet which goes into the die to form the pins. You can repeat the process as many times as needed after which you inspect them for imperfections.


During forging, you heat a metal bar and then shape it into the desired form. Thus, this method is perfect for bigger pins that require durability and strength.

First, choose the material for the pin which may be steel or titanium. Then, heat it to the requisite temperature before placing it on a forging press. Apply pressure to get the desired shape of the pin, then cool to solidify.

Common Materials for Making Pins

Like rivets and other fasteners, Pin fasteners come in various forms and with different materials. The material used in its manufacturing determines its use and specific purpose. Here are common pin materials.

  • Brass: This material helps the pin to be resistant to corrosion while improving its aesthetic properties.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum is perfect for lightweight pins as the material does not have a heavyweight. It also gives the pin the corrosion resistance property.
  • Steel: The steel material signifies strength and durability; thus, steel pins are rugged and very reliable. They are usable across almost all industries.
  • Titanium: This material is perfect for producing machine pins used in heavy-duty or machinery industries requiring high-performance pins. This is a result of its durability, lightweight, and strength

Advantages of Using Pin Fasteners

Pin fasteners are important in the daily operations of many industries. Here are some advantages of using pin fasteners.

stainless steel pins


Depending on the material, pins are reliable for holding two components together securely. Most pins are made from steel, brass, or aluminum which makes them dogged in strength, corrosion resistance, and reliability.


Pins are usable in various industries and their application can differ as the purpose changes. They can be used in the construction, manufacturing, automotive, or aerospace industries. What’s more, pins can combine with other fasteners like washers, bolts, and nuts to give better stability and support.

Easy to Install

It is easy to install and remove a pin fastener as long as you know its working mechanism. They do not need any specific tools or unique mechanisms and are removable by hand. This feature makes the pins ideal for several applications with no power source.


Pin fasteners are cheaper ways of securing components of equipment together. They do not cost much to make and can be easily produced in large quantities. Therefore, pins are the perfect fastener tools for high-volume equipment industries.

Safe and Adjustable

Pins can be used to hold components of equipment that need to be adjusted from time to time. They are also usable equipment and devices that are subject to vibration. Moreover, pins do not need heat or electricity for installation which reduces the risk of hazards like electrocution and injuries.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Pin Types

When selecting pin types, there are several factors that you should consider to ensure that you choose the right type of pin for your application.

metal pins


This should be your first consideration as the material determines the usability of every pin fastener. Materials like steel, aluminum, titanium, and brass can affect the many features of the pin like strength, resistance to corrosion, aesthetics, heat resistance, and weight.

Size and Shape

You should also consider the size of the pins as they come in different sizes to serve diverse purposes. Tiny pins can be used on precision machines while larger ones like the cotter pins are usable in industries.

Moreover, the shape of a pin also affects its use. Some pins are tapered and easy to move while others require insertion.


You should consider the load capacity of any pin before using it to enable appropriate use regarding weight, stress, breaking, or bending and also avoid accidents. Each pin has its own peculiar load capacity; for instance, a Clevis pin can take up to 8000 pounds of load.


Some industries require pins that are resistant to corrosion and high temperatures. Thus, you should consider the materials used in making the pins depending on the industry where they will be used. Steel and aluminum are naturally resistant to corrosion while titanium is both heat and corrosion resistant.

Applications of Pins in Various Industries

Various industries use different pins due to the uniqueness of the purpose of each pin fastener and the need. For instance, metal pins (steel, brass, titanium) are suitable for heavy-duty activities. Stainless steel is the ideal choice for marine operations since it is highly corrosion-resistant.

pin fasteners

Automotive Industry

Cotter pins can hold the wheels and other parts on a shaft or axle. To cater to the vibrations, hold the wheel with a cotter pin and castle nut. Moreover, clevis pins can be used in a car’s shock absorber and brakes. It is also perfect for towing equipment where it secures the movable component between both workpieces.

Medical Industry

In the medical industry, corrosion-resistant pins are the best bet since they may likely come in contact with medical. Dowel pins are good as surgical retractor holders and forceps. These scissor-style forceps have a hinge that joins the two main parts without which they cannot function properly. Cotter pins are also handy in critical conditions like breathing systems.

Machines and Equipment

In the machines and equipment industry, dowel pins are the easiest fastener pins as they can join a machine’s parts before they are fixed with screws. For machines that have gear shafts, like grinding engines, you can use pins to lock the gear shaft in place during maintenance and adjustments.

In addition, clevis pins are handy in textile machinery because of avoiding to vibrate. Other pins that can be used in the machine equipment industry include wire lock pins, spring plungers, weld mounts, and quick-release pins.

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Many industries use pins and fasteners for their daily operations. There are different pin shapes and forms for various purposes. Thus, knowing the different applications, types, and materials for each will help you pick the right pin for every job.


What are the advantages of using pin fasteners over other types of fasteners?

Pin fasteners are safe and reliable to use and have better versatility than other types of fasteners. Also, pin fasteners are easy to install and remove like the L-handle pins and clevis pins which can be used across various industries.

What are the common challenges with using pin fasteners?

Most pin fasteners may be used wrongly. In addition, an unsuitable pin may be used in machinery leading to corrosion or stress-induced bending.

Can pins be customized for specific industrial applications?

Yes, pins can be custom-made to meet various industrial applications depending on the requirements, such as material, shape, size, and features.

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