I have a regular round 1 1/4" steel tube, and I want to put a screw in it. The tube only has one hole (where the screw goes) so I can't use a nut.

What options do I have and can I find it at Home Depot?


  • 2
    Quite a surprise that The Home Depot ™ was unable to assist. You might have been unlucky enough to get someone from the gardening department in the fasteners area. Self-tapping sheet metal screws as noted in the answer are rather common. It's important to note that if you are using thin wall tubing, you won't be able to remove and insert the screw repeatedly without weakening the connection.
    – fred_dot_u
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 19:46
  • Do you expect to have to remove it later? Is there some reason you can't use a pop-rivet? Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 19:55
  • @JimmyFix-it, what's a pop-rivet? I will not be removing it.
    – rbhat
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 20:34
  • @JimmyFix-it If you look at the questions rbhat has been asking, the problem is, as far as I can tell so far, how to make a rope cordon attached to some steel posts which are installed in concrete. Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 21:41
  • 1
    Every fastener question should begin with the matter of what load it needs to support.
    – J...
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 12:19

4 Answers 4


Your best bet would be the correctly sized metal screw. Not a bolt, but a screw. Some of them are self drilling/tapping (these are commonly referred to as simply "self-tapping" in the US). They will drill their own hole and tap their own threads all in one step. If you can't find the right sized metal screw, you can get a self-tapper a little bigger than the hole and it will tap itself a larger hole and hold tight. These are available at Home Depot (or any hardware store, really) in the little plastic baggies if you need a few, or in small boxes if you need a lot.

enter image description here

Self drilling and tapping metal screw

  • Don't over torque it or the head will snap right off.
    – Mazura
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 0:56
  • 1
    "drill its own hole" is a weird way of putting it. It won't make a hole if there is none. It will "tap its own hole" or "cut its own thread." Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 2:15
  • 2
    @LevelRiverSt Maybe it’s just a difference in calling it self tapping or self drilling, but the screw in the picture will certainly drill its own hole in a fresh piece of sheet steel and cut its own threads.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 2:22
  • @JPhi1618 in wood, plastic (and maybe thin aluminium sheet) it could drill its own hole, but I would still prefer to use a drill bit because it will be more stable and easier. It's essential that the screw is harder than the material. For anything more than the thinnest aluminium sheet, trying to drill a hole with a screw instead of a drill bit is pure masochism. Have you drilled any steel recently? Drilling steel with a hand held drill requires a hard drill bit, lots of pressure, moderate speed and lots of patience. With a drill press it's easy as it provides the pressure and stability needed Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 2:40
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    @chrish wickes and screwfix do them. I would normally use a drill too but I see the advantage for roofing where the sheet might slip when changing from drill bit to screw and be difficult to line up again. I won't be convinced till I've tried them though. Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 12:19

Look for rivnuts, or nutserts. Both are brand names for the same type of fastener. rivnut

These fasteners are pulled up like a rivet, expanding and squishing the fluted section of the sides into the hole in your pipe.

Although it might be overkill for a one off, you should look up flowdrills. Flowdrill these are a solid metal cone which heats up the pipe by friction until it is hot enough to flow into a thick boss, which can then be threaded with a conventional tap set. flowdrill process

  • Tapping a thread is worth mentioning, even without the flowdrill. Of course how useful it is in this case depends on the thickness of the wall of the tube.
    – stib
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 6:29
  • I'd love to play with those flowdrill bits, but they do require something like a milling machine or heavy drill press to use. Not really a DIY item.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 15:05

A "pop rivet" (sometimes called a "blind rivet") may work for you, depending upon the application. It is a fastener designed to work in a "blind" hole, i.e. a hole with no access to the back side. A special tool is needed to attach them but the tool and rivets are relatively inexpensive.

They are available in many different lengths and diameters, to accommodate different material thickness and strength needs. Rivets are made of steel, aluminum, and perhaps other materials. They can be used to attach materials directly to the base material, or they also have "rivet nuts" that are internally threaded, allowing you to fasten with a machine screw or bolt (see lower picture).

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • While it makes perfect sense, I've never seen a "rivet nut" before. I'll have to find some and add them to my arsenal! "Why?", you ask. Because they exist! (and quick, before my FIL finds out about 'em!!) The riveter pictured, BTW, looks exactly like the one currently sitting in my drawer at home.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 12:14
  • Rivnuts would require a special different setting tool. Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 18:05
  • Excellent, @jimmyfix-it ! An excuse to buy another tool, too! :)
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 18:09

For a quick and possibly dirty fix, I'd look for some type of expanding dowel or plug - preferably one with a large expansion area. It won't be very neat or very sturdy, but you can get in any DIY outlet. Plus, they are cheap and you don't need any special tools to work with them.

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