By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Allendale May 23

Fitting nuts in awkward spaces

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Baldric13/06/2018 12:38:49
136 forum posts
10 photos

As part of the model I am building there are some nuts on to studs where I can not get my fingers in, the space means I can get pliers/tweezers in from one side, but not a nut spinner/socket from the end. Has anyone got a suggestion of an easy way to fit nuts in this type of space? Currently I am holding the nut in pliers, trying to put it on the end and turning 1/4 turn before I run out of room and hope it turns enough to engage the thread.


JasonB13/06/2018 13:06:56
15175 forum posts
1548 photos

In tight spots like that I place the nut on the end of the stud with long nose pliers or tweazers, then hold it onto the end of the stud with a small flat bladed screwdriver while using the other hand to rotate it with a scriber or open ended spanner if I can get one in.

Maurice13/06/2018 13:13:08
431 forum posts
50 photos

I have had this problem in the past, and overcame it by soldering short pieces of studding of the relevant size, to the ends of a short length of bar, say 1/4" X !/8", one end at right angles and the other at 45 deg. The nut to be fitted was threaded onto the most appropriate bit of studding, then offered up to its stud and "winkled off" the tool and onto its stud with the tip of a scriber. It sometimes helps if the end of the studding on the tool is hollowed out with the tip of a drill, so that you can get that little bit closer to the tip of the stud. if the nut is not too tight a fit on its stud, the scriber can be used to wind it on to the point where it needs to be tightened.

To get screws into hard to reach holes, I use a doubled over length of thin wire, threaded through a piece of 1/8" brass tube. I lass the screw with the loop and pull it tight which enables me to grip it and insert it into the required hole. The tube can just be pulled off to release it. Hope this helps


pgk pgk13/06/2018 14:04:16
1278 forum posts
278 photos

A pair of rochester pean artery forceps (haemostats) - they have longer jaws than some other patterns of that type of tool - invaluable ofr gripping stuff in awkward places. For a small nut the clamp should lock the tool to make the job easier. the sort of thing below though lost of other sources and sizes



martin ranson 213/06/2018 14:05:47
128 forum posts
2 photos

TO BALDRIC ... why not try placing the loose nut onto a suitable Allen key ... the short end of the key can be placed onto the end of the stud thread ... if it is not too early in the morning it is possible to hold the Allen key with one hand and hold a scriber with the other hand ... the scriber can be used to flick the nut round ( usually ! ) ... it does assume that no-one forced you to consume too much alcohol or hot curry last night !


Ady113/06/2018 15:02:16
3462 forum posts
513 photos

Ed uses a tool called a crows foot spanner for those tight ones

Swarf, Mostly!13/06/2018 15:11:23
476 forum posts
41 photos

I recently had to refit the fixing screws & nuts securing a multi-pole connector into a tightly packed electrical unit (all low voltage).

The heads of the screws were on the exterior of the unit enclosure. I was able to get the externally-serrated spring washers on to the screws using a pair of tweezers. However, the nuts (actually half-nuts) wouldn't stay in the tweezers or in the jaws of my narrow nosed pliers. (If Carlsberg made narrow nosed pliers they'd have a parallel action!) In any case, there wasn't room for the pliers.

My successful method was to cut down the flat wooden stick from an iced lolly to a suitable width and then to attach each nut in turn to the end of the stick with double-sided tape. Once the spring washer was in position I offered the nut to the end of the screw and turned the screw to engage the thread. Having removed the lolly stick, a little finger pressure held the nut while I turned the screw some more. Then the washer held the nut well enough for the final tightening.

This method worked because I was able to turn the screw from outside the enclosure.  However, I'm sure it could be adapted for use where the male part is a fixed stud.

Best regards,

Swarf, Mostly!

Edited By Swarf, Mostly! on 13/06/2018 15:13:50

roy entwistle13/06/2018 15:56:42
947 forum posts

A dab of grease on the flat of a small screwdriver sometimes works as well


Mark Whelan13/06/2018 16:06:02
11 forum posts

Hi Baldric,

If you need to get a reasonable amount of torque in an awkward spot, if the nut is big enough, ive drilled a hole in the flat face and used a dowel to turn it the last 8th of a turn to snug it home. you know yourself, those weird problem days..

For less tight fittings, usually forceps. I use them for fishing, but medical ones either

norman valentine13/06/2018 16:23:35
200 forum posts
31 photos

Have you got any young children? Small fingers might help.

Gordon W13/06/2018 17:15:54
2011 forum posts

Fit nut or screw in the end of soft plastic tube, hot water sometimes helps.

KWIL13/06/2018 17:43:30
3064 forum posts
56 photos

Parallel action snipe nosed pliers?

Jeff Dayman13/06/2018 19:27:32
1470 forum posts
37 photos

If you have a spanner for the nut in question a tiny piece of masking tape across the back face, covering the opening for the nut can help hold the nut in the spanner until it is engaged. It will have just enough stick to hold the nut in the wrench, usually, if wrench and nut are not oily.

If you don't have a proper spanner or need an extra long one for nut starting far into the next county, they can be made up from a scrap of 1.5 to 2 mm flat aluminum bar very quickly. Just drill a hole near the end of the bar, same dia as the a/f distance of the nut, then saw and file out the nut opening down to the hole. The masking tape idea works on these temporary nut holders just as it does on spanners of course.

Baldric13/06/2018 20:27:07
136 forum posts
10 photos

I have no taken a picture of the studs.

2018-06-13 20.14.56.jpg
I can get a spanner on to finish tightening the nuts, it is getting the nuts started on the stud starting that is the issue. I like the idea from Maurice, I think I will see if I can get that to work in this space, I probably won't get a chance to try for a few weeks but will try and remember to let you know how I get on.


Hopper14/06/2018 02:33:32
3527 forum posts
68 photos

It would help too if you loosen off the other nuts and raise the whole flange up to maximise the space above the nut you are trying to put on. Then when all nuts have been put on their studs, drop the flange down and finish tightening all.

not done it yet14/06/2018 06:08:42
2814 forum posts
11 photos

That stud looks suspiciously over-long. If out of sight, one could remove some thread at the end of that stud as a lead-in - and as Hopper states, put that fixing on first and leave the easy ones until later.’ Or even maybe altering the order of fitting the parts together?

Edited By not done it yet on 14/06/2018 06:09:11

Michael Gilligan14/06/2018 06:54:12
12932 forum posts
555 photos
Posted by not done it yet on 14/06/2018 06:08:42:

That stud looks suspiciously over-long. If out of sight, one could remove some thread at the end of that stud as a lead-in ...



In fact, I would say all those studs look too long.


Baldric14/06/2018 08:38:45
136 forum posts
10 photos

Unfortunately I the order of assembly does mean that access is limited, the axle box holds the brakes and both fit in the wheel so the wheel goes on last.

I have left 2-3 threads showing as that is the rule-of-thumb I have been taught, I could remove the top thread for a lead-in which may make it easier to get the nuts started, next time I have the wheels off I will look to get the studs out of the wheels.


Ian S C14/06/2018 09:25:15
7300 forum posts
228 photos

Hi Baldric, One and a half threads out of the nut should be enough. One thing with the studs the way they are at the moment, even if a nut comes loose, it won't fall off, if that was a worry they could be lock wired.

Ian S C

JasonB14/06/2018 09:33:11
15175 forum posts
1548 photos

You could gain a bit more wiggle room by not tightening the other nuts and leaving a gap between the painted part and your flange. Once all the nuts are started on the studs push the parts together and wind the nuts right down. That is what I had to do where the cylinder flange joins the crankcase on this engine plus make thin nuts.

All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Eccentric Engineering
Eccentric July 5 2018
TRANSWAVE Converters
Allendale Electronics
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest