King Pin | Bead Electronics Blog

How To Customize a Standard Contact Pin Without Blowing Your Budget

Posted by bead electronics on Aug 31, 2015 3:14:00 PM

 Just like "cozy" can seem like a synonym for "small" (especially when it comes to real estate), the word "custom" can sometimes be synonymous with "expensive". In the electronics manufacturing industry, custom can also require high-volume orders or exorbitant tooling charges. This post will help you customize a standard contact pin without blowing your budget in five steps.


  1. 1. Find the Right Manufacturer and Manufacturing Process
  2. 2. Start with a Standard Pin
  3. 3. Customize/Add Features
  4. 4. Order Samples/Request a Quote
  5. 5. Give Feedback


printed-circuit-boardStep 1: Find the Right Manufacturer and Manufacturing Process


When choosing a manufacturer, it’s important to understand the capabilities of the type of metalworking process used to produce the contact pins. Some contact pins and pin assemblies are best suited for certain processes. For instance, solid metal contact pins are often best suited for swaging or stamping, while most hollow pins are best using a swaging or screw machining method. And that’s just naming a few of the many metalworking methods available.


Step 2: Start with a Standard Pin


Getting a custom contact pin by starting with a standard pin cuts the work in half and is a good way to ensure you are using the most cost-effective metal forming process for your particular application.

Browse a company’s catalog to view standard pins and understand the breadth of their capabilities. Find out if the manufacturer has any limitations in size or finish. For instance, if the length you need is outside the realm of the manufacturers’ capabilities, it’s better to find out now before going any further.


Step 3: Customize/Add Features


Whether you need a flange for stronger surface mount or a star feature for better retention, there are various features with many different. A competitive contact pin manufacturer will offer many features as well as the option for multiple features on a custom pin. Features can include:


  • Stand-offs
  • Stars
  • Serrations
  • Grooves
  • Barbs
  • Ears
  • Flanges
  • Flats
  • Coined sections
  • Right Angles


Step 4: Order Samples/Request a Quote


Some manufacturers may be able to provide custom samples; others can at least provide samples from similar pin families.


If you are requesting a quote, information you will need to determine in advance includes: pin dimensions, the application of the pin, base metal, the type of finish required, whether there is flexibility with the design, tolerances, features, and EAU.


Step 5: Give Feedback

Once you've had a chance to insert the custom pins into a pcb, connector or other application, send the manufacturer a quick email with some feedback.  Positive feedback is always good to hear but any thoughts help the manufacturer improve their process.  If you're happy with your custom contact pins after they've been successfully installed in the application, check to see if you have any other applications that might also require cost-effective custom contact pins. 


Spread the word about your savings and new supplier relationship on Twitter or LinkedIn. This helps ensure quality U.S. manufacturers stay in business and continue to provide jobs to hard working Americans.




If you find custom contact pins are more expensive than off-the-shelf, it could be due to the metal-forming process. With stamping and screw machining, custom contacts may require high-volume orders and tooling, which can increase costs. With swaging, tooling charges are much less and high volumes are not required. Make sure to do your research and use a process that works for your application. 


As experts in swaging, we can help you determine if swaging will work for you, and we’d be thrilled if it did. However, we would also direct to another process if it made more sense for your particular application. If you are interested in finding out if swaging works you, simply request a quote and attach a drawing.



Request a Custom Quote

Topics: electronic pins, custom contact pins, swaging, end to end contact pins