Locating pins are similar in form to studs except for their absence of threads. Instead, they have a round or sometimes diamond profile length with a tapered tip. Since there are no threads to hold a load and the part is only subject to shear loading, there is no need for anti-rotation features, making round bar stock the main raw material geometry for locating pins. They can sit pressure-fit in to a milled hole, as well as more permanent attachment methods for thin panels.


Locating pins help align components prior to fastening, which is especially useful when dimensional accuracy is a priority. Servers for telecom and datacom applications pack many components into the smallest space possible, requiring tight tolerances that become tedious when multiplied into large systems of servers. When fastening to a vertical surface, hardware can be minimized if two of the four attachment points are locating pins instead of studs. This ensures four stable corners with only two loose nuts. Additionally, diamond locating pins can be useful in tandem with round pins for very small tolerance situations, as they allow for some play between pins and reduce the possibility of binding.

Alternative Solutions

The obvious alternative is to have threaded studs on all four corners, which would ensure restriction of movement in all three axes but require more loose parts and increased install time. A ledge could be designed into the vertical surface to provide the same support with less hardware, but at the expense of flexibility and manufacturing time. However, since locating pins have no axial restriction of movement, they may not be secure enough to replace threads in more mobile applications.

Common Attachment Technologies

In a manufacturing context, locating pins are commonly used for aligning work pieces for some other operation, and may need to be swapped out depending on the work. This favors pressure-fit or screw-clamped fixtures that can be easily mounted and dismounted. For permanent applications, locating pins see more use in metal panels through self-clinching means.

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