Plastic joinery systems have been all the rage in the last few years, offering a wide variety of options for using simple plastic bits to connect panels and parts. But, let’s face it, plastic does have its limits in some joinery applications, such as high-vibration or fire-rated applications. Responding to that issue, the makers of the Button-fix system have expanded with a new line of all-metal connection hardware.
We previously reviewed the original plastic Button-fix hardware more than a year ago. The straightforward system developed in the United Kingdom uses a simple grooved round button that mates with several receiver plates with a quick and secure snapping connection. Advantages of the Button-fix system included ease of installation (no CNC required, although one can be used), forgiving alignment, and a diversity of potential applications.
But now with an all metal application, the joinery can stand up to more demanding application scenarios. With all-metal construction, including a metal spring that gives a solid “click” when the button slides home in its fitting, the new Type 1 Metal Button-fix offers added security. The manufacturer claims the unit will withstand 15,000 connections without failure.
They’ve even had it tested by an independent lab (Engineering Dynamics) to see how it withstands severe vibration. They subjected a panel mounted on four Type 1 Metal Button-fixes to vibrations ranging in frequency from 5Hz to 400Hz and up to 30 minutes in duration. The Button-fixes remained connected throughout.
They also performed a series of shock load tests, showing the fasteners could hold out against even a 15g shock. That’s five times the shock experienced by Space Shuttle astronauts on lift-off (3g) and nearly twice what a fighter pilot might experience in drastic maneuvers (up to 9g). Ultimately the fasteners decoupled at 20g, but I’d hate to think what that kind of shock would entail. Check out their video and see what you think.