How Cleco Fasteners Ensure a Quality Custom Sheet Metal Assembly (Updated for 2024)

Last updated on February 23rd, 2024 at 09:01 am

Does your sheet metal fabrication shop use cleco fasteners when assembling parts?

Originally designed for aerospace applications, these handy fasteners come in an assortment of shapes and sizes. They hold together sheet metal parts to ensure alignment during welding and other assembly services.

No other hardware option ensures such tight tolerances and ease of assembly. That’s why Approved Sheet Metal uses clecos to guarantee the quality of our sheet metal fabrications.

Benefits of Cleco Fasteners in Sheet Metal Fabrication 

There are many reasons to love cleco fasteners, but here are our top three:

1. Unmatched precision

By drilling holes at strategic locations on the parts in your assembly, we can insert cleco fasteners to hold the parts together in perfect alignment until they are permanently joined.

Other solutions, such as having employees hold the parts during assembly or stabilizing parts with a vise grip, are not conducive to achieving tight tolerances. Clecos, however, provide the ultimate peace of mind that none of your parts will move during welding and that even the tightest tolerances can be maintained.

2. Efficiency and elegance

When we use cleco fasteners, we don’t have to waste time building jigs to help us achieve tight tolerances or ask multiple team members to hold cumbersome parts perfectly still.

We simply drill the holes, insert the fasteners, complete the joining, and remove the fasteners to reveal a high-quality assembly. Like tiny, cylindrical ninjas, the cleco fasteners do their job and are seen no more!

Our expert team laser cuts cleco holes in your parts in an asymmetrical pattern, so it’s easy to see at a glance where to insert the fasteners. This process ensures high precision due to the accuracy of the laser, preventing costly assembly errors. After assembly, we fill the holes with weld for an elegant finish. It’s like the clecos were never there.

3. Cost savings

When you choose cleco fasteners, you’ll never have to get parts remade because the assembly wasn’t right the first time.

This solution will give you the tight, well-aligned fit you need, saving you valuable time and money. For even more cost savings, consider using a welding alternative like rivets to assemble your parts.

How Approved Sheet Metal Completes Assemblies Using Cleco Fasteners

Our efficient and foolproof temporary fastening method yields exceptional results every time. Here’s how we use clecos to build the most precise assemblies:

  • Our engineering team laser cuts the holes in an asymmetrical pattern that prevents parts in the assembly from being inserted backward.
  • Once all the parts are fabricated, a team member aligns them based on the cleco holes. Using a cleco tool, they insert the fasteners to hold the assembly in place.

For this customer, we drilled 0.130” holes through two pieces of sheet metal in preparation for TIG welding.

  • Our quality team reviews the parts in the assembly to ensure that they match the drawing and makes adjustments if needed.
  • We complete the weld—or use another joining method—and remove the cleco fasteners.
  • We fill the holes with weld for a smooth finish.

To find out how our innovative manufacturing solutions can bring your design to life, request a quote today!

Sheet Metal Part Design for Manufacturing Tip


One of the processes of sheet metal fabrication that is the most misunderstood is forming. While we do not expect our customers to be expert sheet metal mechanics, it is important to understand that just because a part unfolds it doesn't mean it can be fabricated as designed.

Sheet Metal Cleco Fastening FAQ

Cleco fasteners are specialized temporary fasteners originally designed for aerospace applications. They come in various shapes and sizes and are used in sheet metal fabrication to hold together sheet metal parts during assembly and welding. They ensure precise alignment and tight tolerances during the fabrication process.

There are several benefits to using cleco fasteners in sheet metal fabrication:

  • Unmatched precision: Cleco fasteners hold parts in perfect alignment until they are permanently joined, ensuring tight tolerances and preventing any movement during welding.

  • Efficiency and elegance: Cleco fasteners eliminate the need for complex jigs or multiple team members to hold parts in place, streamlining the assembly process. Laser-cut cleco holes ensure accuracy, and after assembly, the holes are filled with weld for a seamless finish.

  • Cost savings: Cleco fasteners help avoid costly assembly errors, reducing the need for parts to be remade. This results in significant time and cost savings, making them a cost-effective choice.

In sheet metal fabrication, cleco fasteners work by being inserted into strategically drilled holes in sheet metal parts. These fasteners hold the parts together in perfect alignment during assembly and welding. Once the assembly is complete, the cleco fasteners are removed, and any holes are filled with weld for a clean finish.

Laser-cut cleco holes are advantageous because they provide high precision due to the accuracy of the laser cutting process. These holes are strategically placed in an asymmetrical pattern, making it easy to align parts correctly during assembly. This prevents costly assembly errors and ensures a tight, well-aligned fit.

Approved Sheet Metal employs cleco fasteners in their assembly process to achieve precise and efficient results. Here's a summary of their process:

  • The engineering team laser cuts cleco holes in sheet metal parts in an asymmetrical pattern to prevent backward insertion.
  • Parts are aligned based on the cleco holes, and cleco fasteners are inserted to hold the assembly in place.
  • After fabrication, the quality team reviews the parts to ensure they match the drawing and makes adjustments if necessary.
  • Welding or another joining method is completed, and cleco fasteners are removed.
  • Holes are filled with weld for a smooth finish.

This process ensures the highest quality and accuracy in sheet metal assembly.

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