Over the years there have been surprisingly few changes in basic fastener head design. In fact, the last widely accepted design change was pretty much the Phillips-head design — in 1936!
In 2001, LOX decided to try and take on the industry standard, offering a new design of “fastener recess” — the part of the fastener’s head that your driver’s bit grabs to drive it. Their “offset-square” design offers 12 points of contact. which they say lessens your need to “bear down” on the driver to keep the fastener engaged — and reduces stripping.
Of course, never being one to believe what we hear, we put some LOX screws to the test.
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Anyone who’s picked up a screwdriver can tell you that Phillips-head screws are a vast improvement over standard slotted-head screws; they’re easier to turn and require less manual force and alignment. However, it’s pretty rare to see a worker drive a screw with a screwdriver anymore. With all the great cordless drivers on the market, why spread the elbow grease?
But with powered drivers came the need for fasterners that can accept more torque. (If you’ve ever tried to drive a slotted-head screw with your cordless drill, you know what we mean.) Square-head screws have helped, but LOX has taken fasteners one step further.
Brad Wagner founded LOX after seeing first-hand that workers were burning through bits too quickly when building metal-frame houses in Hawaii. During his research he discovered that the unevenly-distributed force of workers pushing on the tool to force the bit into the fastener was causing excessive bit wear and stripping out fasteners. His answer: a uniquely-shaped head that provides twelve contact points instead of the four or five you get with Phillips or square fasteners.
By eliminating the Phillips’ sloped sides in favor of vertial sidewalls, LOX transfers forces radially, keeping the bit seated and eliminating the need to “bear down” on the driver to keep the fastener engaged. And, the offset-square design provides four projections to minimize stripping. LOX’s 4-degree drive angle helps to eliminate radial stress, which improves bit life.
LOX claims that their fasteners can take up to 88.3 Nm of torque, as opposed to Phillps’ 11 Nm and square fastener’s 15 Nm.
Since starting with steel-to-steel fasteners, LOX has expanded into steel-to-wood and other markets, and currently sells their fasteners in bulk to contractors (complete with the required driver bit) via a system of distributors and to the public via Grabber (see link below). However, they expect to sell in small-box quantities soon.