Introduction: Perfect Screw Alignment for Screw Mounted Equipment

Have you ever tried to mount a router, hub, power strip, or other piece of equipment to the wall or other surface, and found it difficult to align the screws so they fit into the equipment?

It seems like no matter how carefully you measure, the screws are always out of alignment, and the piece of equipment won't fit onto the screws.

Here's a really stupidly-simple technique I use all the time, and we use at TechShop locations to mount all sorts of equipment.

This is one of those tricks that you should really memorize and make as part of your lifelong mental toolkit.

Step 1: What You'll Need

In order to use this technique, you only need a few simple things:

  o  Tape (I prefer to use blue painter's tape because it doesn't stick too tenaciously to the surfaces)
  o  Pencil or pen
  o  Piece of equipment to be mounted
  o  Screws (must me the right size to fit in the slots on the equipment)
  o  Screwdriver to fit the mounting screws
  o  2 minutes of time

Step 2: Put Tape Over the Mounting Holes on the Piece of Equipment

Tear off a piece of tape and place it over the mounting screws on the piece of equipment.

Try to line up the tape so it is straight...you'll need it to be straight so you can use the edges to align the mounting holes to the wall or surface to which the equipment will be mounted.

Step 3: Punch Through the Tape Into the Mounting Holes

Use the pencil to poke a hole through the tape where the screw will end up going.

Usually I poke a hole in the main screw hole where the screw will first go into the equipment, then I move the pencil up into the track where the screw will slide up to achieve the mount.

Peel off the tape after you have poked the holes.  Be careful not to tear the tape around the holes that you poked through the tape.

Step 4: Stick the Tape on the Wall Where the Equipment Will Be Mounted

Now take the tape and stick it on the wall where you want to mount the equipment.

Align the top edge of the tape to make sure it is straight.  You might even want to use a level to make sure it is horizontal or vertical, etc.

Step 5: Screw the Mounting Screws Into the Wall Using the Tape As a Guide

Use the screwdriver to screw the screws into the wall right where the equipment will slide down onto the screws.

Screw them in far enough to grab into the surface, but adjust them out far enough so the equipment can slide over the screw heads.

Step 6: Remove the Tape From the Wall

With the screws still in the wall, peel the tape off the wall and remove all tape fragments.

Step 7: Slide the Piece of Equipment Onto the Screws

Finally, place the equipment screw holes over the heads of the screws, then slide the equipment down onto the screws.

If the equipment doesn't want to slide down onto the screws, unscrew the screws a little bit.  Keep adjusting until you get a perfect fit.

You are done!

Comments

author
JuliaM128 (author)2017-06-17

Painter's tape and gorilla glue are the two best inventions after duct tape. Thanks so much for posting this. It will eliminate so many arguments LOL!

author
VinnyL1 (author)2015-08-19

Nice Write Up! I can't believe I have never thought of using painters tape before. I like to get an outline of the indentation by lightly etching over the area with the side the pencil. Certain equipment's mount holes are really finicky and end up a total pita when a firm mount is needed. Not having the proper screw head can also majorly piss on your day; especially when they're in cheap composite board furniture.

author
Donmarks (author)2014-06-13

I've a new office desk coming in. I will use this to put router, USB hubs and other things on a side board. Many thanks.

author
antioch (author)2013-03-26

Good job making me feel stupid for not thinking of this myself...
<3

author
LoopyMind (author)antioch2013-04-22

hehehe me too!

author
vnh1970 (author)LoopyMind2013-09-06

me three!

author
acuchetto (author)2013-08-01

Smart.

author
bigdaddy702 (author)2013-06-08

Very good idea...Will use this a million times I'm sure...

author
LoopyMind (author)2013-04-22

This is one of those ideas that make you go "Why the hell didn't I think of this myself" ... lol... seriously, I can't be the only one... right? :D

author
kariswg1 (author)2013-04-21

you could always "pencil rub" a piece of paper over the back to get the location of the holes too!

author
wire-nut (author)2013-04-10

I've photocopy the back-side allway work for me. But tape is fast, and cheap.

author
PikesPeakHHO (author)2013-04-09

Nice work. I've used a piece of paper like that for years, but sometimes it slipped. The tape is a MUCH better idea. Thanks!

author
tutdude98 (author)2013-03-31

good idea i was thinking about putting my router to wall and now i have perfect way to put it

author
jarikcbol (author)2013-03-28

Derp. Now why didn't I think of that!?!?! You sir, are smarter than a hat full of periwinkles.

author
mostafakuba (author)2013-03-28

that's a very good idea i used to paint the edges of the holes and stamp them on the wall but this is much better thanks !!

author
Housedog (author)2013-03-26

This is another one of those things that is so simple and obvious, that you don't know why you never thought of it! It's a perfect solution.

author
richms (author)2013-03-26

I have tried this in the past, but found that the masking tape I used had some stretch to it to allow it to go around corners. This lead to errors.

author
morfmir (author)2013-03-26

This is very good, so simple yet it gets the job don't.

author
jeff-o (author)2013-03-25

Great idea, thanks!

author
profpat (author)2013-03-25

well done!

author
Lzingano (author)2013-03-25

Wow, how come I did not think about this yet? Really clever =)

author
SicilianMafia (author)2013-03-24

This reminds me of a "Life Hack" post I've seen in the past: http://americanwoodworker.com/blogs/tips/archive/2010/01/14/photocopy-template.aspx

author
rimar2000 (author)2013-03-24

Wow, you are fully right. Thanks for sharing this simple (so simple!) method.

author
oldmicah (author)2013-03-23

Ha! That is awesome! One of those things that seems obvious on reflection: wish I had thought about. :)

author
srohwer (author)2013-03-23

Brilliant in it's simplicity and usefulness!

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Bio: I'm the Founder and Chairman of TechShop.
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