Two small tips I discovered for mounting panels with the snap stud system.
Photo # 1 - Because I will have to start each screw â€œblindâ€ whenever I mount a panel, I decided to counter sink each screw hole in the body. The tip of the screw is pointed, which helps, but by counter sinking the hole you increase your â€œtargetâ€ size for the blind search for the hole. If the screw tip hits anywhere within the countersunk area, the screw is guided home to the center hole. I used a 5/8" bit to make my countersinks. Obviously you donâ€™t want to go too deep or you will greatly reduce or eliminate the bite area for the screw threads.
Photo # 2 - The second hint is to tap threads in each hole before actually installing the screw stud. Since I donâ€™t have a tap for this size thread (I couldnâ€™t even find one at my hardware store), I used a self tapping #10 sheet metal screw, like this one, to thread each hole. One must be very careful using screws for this purpose. They are fine for tapping sheet metal or thin stock, but they are not meant for tapping thick metal. So go very slowly, back the screw out often to remove the burr, and change screws every hole or two...they do stretch and weaken very quickly with this sort of use.
Photo # 3 - See, hereâ€™s some idiot who cranked too hard on a self tapping screw and broke it right off. Amazing that his car looks incredibly similar to mine. Who would have anticipated such a coincidence.