A typical aircraft will contain a plethora of fasteners, each specifically employed for varying means such as securing components, installing assemblies, and much more. Dzus fasteners in particular are common to aircraft construction, and they are regularly implemented for the means of attaching removable skin panels onto aircraft and other high-performance vehicles. As Dzus fasteners present an ease of installation for aircraft fixtures, understanding their use and common types can be helpful when searching for the right fit for a particular application.
Dzus fasteners are named after their inventor, William Dzus, and they are proprietary fastener types that utilize a quarter-turn lock design for their functionality. Generally, such fasteners are regularly used for the means of installing doors, plates, and various panels that may require regular removal for the means of conducting inspections and maintenance. There are multiple variations of the Dzus fastener, and all are notable for their “over-centre” design that ensures vibration forces are corrected rather than causing the fastener to loosen.
The oval head Dzus fastener is considered the most widely used type, containing a straight slot on their head that permits installation with the use of a screwdriver. Oval head dzus fasteners typically feature a head diameter of 17.2mm, though big head fasteners are an option that feature 25.4mm heads. Big head fasteners are most beneficial for applications that utilize panels constructed from fiberglass as such materials are often prone to wear.
The undercut Dzus fastener is a type that is capable of remaining within the panel after installation, and this is done with the use of a slot that is created under the fastener’s head. When the component is installed in a panel, a nylon washer is fitted alongside it to complete the assembly. Generally, such fastener types are constructed from steel or aluminum.
Allen head Dzus fasteners are most recognizable by their head slot, that of which relies on a 3/16” Allen Key for installation. As compared to standard straight slot fasteners, Allen head Dzus fasteners feature less risk for their head slot becoming worn. Allen Keys are also more preferable over screwdrivers for tightening such fasteners as they tend to pose less of a chance of damaging the paint of surrounding assemblies during the installation process.
Beyond the aforementioned variations, other common Dzus fasteners include the flush head, winged, and self-ejecting type. Flush heads are most beneficial for aluminum or steel panels, and they can provide higher aerodynamic properties. Winged Dzus fasteners do not require any tool for installation, and their provided handle allows for tightening the component onto an assembly. Lastly, the self-ejecting Dzus fastener is one that may be riveted to a panel and often is beneficial for fiberglass materials.
For a standard Dzus fastener, such components consist of a spring-loaded stud and a plate which may be riveted onto the surface of a panel. By compressing the stud, the spring can reach into the inner panel of the assembly. By rotating the head of the Dzus fastener with a quarter-turn, the stud is locked to the spring and is well capable of resisting vibration forces or accidental release. Despite this, they can easily be removed as needed with the use of a matching tool.
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