Written by Jody Muelaner
A ring clip is another name for an E-Type External Circlip, which is often referred to as an E-ring or an E-clip.
Circlips are fasteners that fit into radial grooves in shafts and holes — and are sprung so they remain securely in place. All circlips are close to C-shaped, allowing them to expand around a shaft or compress to fit into a hole.
Once assembled, circlips function as a shoulder to retain components on a shaft or in a hole. They provide secure, vibration-resistant, and compact methods of fastening for these applications. They are widely used in machinery, including for simple hand tools and complex aircraft.
Standard circlips, also known as snap rings, come in internal and external versions. Internal circlips fit into a groove within a hole and external ones fit into a grove around the outside of a shaft. Standard circlips have a small hole at each end. This allows the tips of a special a circlip tool, or needle-nose pliers, to be inserted to either open or close the clip for assembly and disassembly.
A ring clip, more commonly referred to as an E-Type circlip, is an external circlip that does not require any special tools. It’s designed to be pushed onto or off of a shaft using common tools, such as pliers or a screwdriver.
The typical size of an E clip is the maximum diameter of the groove for which the clip is designed. Other important dimensions are the throat width and the free diameter, these are both taken with the ring clip in its relaxed state. The throat width is the size of the opening and the free diameter is the outermost diameter.