Grommets, or eyelets, are an essential part of many types of sewing machine projects. Grommets are two small circular pieces of metal or hard plastic that rivet to one another, creating a security hole through which rope, shoelaces, or other ties can be placed.
The two pieces of an eyelet are called the grommet and the washer or the front and the back. They are placed around a strategically cut hole in the fabric of an item and fastened using a special grommet tool, which can be done by hand. Grommets are used in numerous items that sewing professionals commonly create, including tarps, flags, banners, upholstery covers, drapes, and more.
When choosing which type of grommet to use for your project, there are two key factors to consider: durability and aesthetics. When creating the best possible finished product, your grommets should be both functional and appealing to the eye. However, at the end of the day, how strong and long-lasting your grommets are will always be the most important detail.
So which type of grommet will most likely last for the long haul? There are a few ways that a grommet’s strength can be measured. Remember that not every project will need the strongest grommets to succeed — especially those that don’t bear heavy loads.
The strongest eyelet should hold up to a test designed to break it, especially one that forces the pieces in opposite directions after the grommet and washer have already been riveted together.
When you apply this test, both metal and hard plastic grommets have the same durability against the forces pulling them apart. No matter what grommet you choose, it’s unlikely to come apart during use as long as the two pieces have been correctly attached through the fabric.
What about when the two eyelet pieces are forced apart through the opening? This type of strength is essential, as the ability of your item’s eyelets to hold the rope, string, or other material being fed through it is crucial to its functionality.
For example, a heavy drapery needs strong grommets to stay fastened to the curtain rod’s rings and not break loose when applying pressure. In this test, stainless steel grommets tend to hold up the best. While plastic grommets can withstand some force, but they break much earlier than stainless steel or even brass grommets.
In addition, toothed washers tend to withstand forces applied from within better than neck washers. The main difference between these two is an additional amount of textured material within the ring of the washer.
How well do different types of grommets hold up when an item is dropped onto them from a great height? As you might expect, any item that receives the weight of a 10kg object and the force of gravity and speed will take some damage. This is true for grommets, though different types have different results.
The dropped object will flatten most metal and plastic grommets alike upon impact. However, some plastic grommets will crack, split into pieces, or completely shatter in the same conditions. This shows that metal grommets are more malleable, while plastic grommets are likelier to break under pressure rather than bend or dent.
Depending on the type of metal used, some metal grommets will be more durable or flexible than others. Stainless steel grommets are some of the most long-lasting types. They can withstand many years of wear and tear, even when used with heavy-duty items or outdoors.
Brass grommets are also durable, but they tend to be more malleable than those made from stainless steel. This can make them easier to apply to fabrics using a handheld grommet tool.
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