What Kinds of Metals Are Screwdrivers Made Of?

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In the third century B.C., the screwdriver was a way to transfer motion. Today it is used as an easy way to fasten things together. Woodworkers began using hand screwdrivers in the early 1800s; by 1850 their use increased to match the increase in the production of machine-made screws. There are more than 20 different types of screwdrivers, each with its own purpose and design.

Type of Materials Used

  • The raw materials steel wire, plastic, nickel, and chromium are used to produce screwdrivers. The steel wire is used to make the screwdriver bar, plastic is used to make the handle, and either nickel or chromium is used to plate the steel tips of the screwdriver.

Steel Wire

  • To make the steel bar the factory takes steel wire that has been delivered in large coils that are about .375 inches in diameter and has them machine drawn. The machine is able to draw the steel wire to the diameter necessary for the production run. This is done until the steel wire becomes the correct size for the steel bar of the screwdriver being made.

Nickel

  • Screwdrivers destined for consumer use are nickel-plated; this means the screwdriver is covered with a protective coating of nickel. Screwdrivers that are manufactured for professional use are not nickel-plated, but instead go a nickel flash bath and then are electrically chrome-plated.

Chromium

  • Chromium is used in professional screwdrivers as well as high-grade consumer screw drivers. It is used on the tip of the screwdrivers and/or over the bar. Chromium is preferred because of its high resistance to corrosion and discoloration.

Fun Fact

  • When chromium is added to nickel it makes stainless steel.

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