ThinkPad Screws Exposed

Why are there so many differnt kinds of screws?

Screws are one of the most highly used fasteners to assemble products today. There are many different  styles of screws; allen head, torx, phillips head, square drive, slots, tamper proof, etc. etc.  Screws have certainly stood the test of time, and allowed for invention. Personally, I like screws because they allow me to disassemble, and if required, repair things that have gone bad. I've taken apart almost anything you can imagine. Snap fits, spin rivets, and hidden catches foil the "mechanic" in me.   File:M1911 A1 pistol.jpg

 Exposed screws are just part of what makes this design classic say "I mean business"

In general,  manufacturers try to limit the number of fasteners. They cost more money and add complexity to the assembly process. There are exceptions, however, a few product categories showcase fasteners as part of the design. Exposing screws is typically done for those products that are intended to communicate a very utilitarian or rugged design aesthetic.  A pistol without  a few exposed screws just wouldn't look right. Unfortunately, I've seen the exposed screw aesthetic over done more than a few times. I once remember seeing a line of  U.S. made 1980's muscle cars that sported a dozen or more injection molded allen head bolts. Yes, they were all fake. 

Screw cap cover on my T400s

Exposed screws on my 701c "Butterfly"

One of my blog fans recently posed an interesting question to me in a e mail about this topic. Why don't we expose all the screws on a ThinkPad? As you probably know, most of the screws on a ThinkPad are already exposed. Just flip your ThinkPad over and take a look if you don't believe me. The few that we cover are the ones that are near the screen, or in some other visually prominent location. If we did expose them, we would have to study the exact detail we would use. Should we make them recessed or flush? Should we design some beautiful screw head, or just use the ones we have today? Should they all match? What head style? How can we make certain they end up in the exact spot we intended? There are many decisions we would need to make if we stopped using screw cap covers. {democracy:30} Should we expose the screws or not? I think it's a great question for my Design Matters readers. Let the voting begin, and post your comments on this topic here. David Hill