Several types of components may be referred to as spring clips, but typically the term applies to a Terry clip. These enable a cylindrical object to be rapidly attached and removed, by simply pushing it into the clip or pulling it out.
Spring clips, therefore, make ideal tool holders and are often used to hold hammers and screwdrivers on tool boards. They were initially used to hold a pump on the frame of a bicycle.
A Terry clip is made from a strip of sprung sheet metal, most commonly steel, formed into a profile. This has a flat base with a hole, to which the clip is semi-permanently screwed to a surface. From each end of the base curved sides extend upwards so that they can cradle and grip a cylindrical object.
The sides then open out to provide guides, which enable objects to be imprecisely pushed into the clip.
Other types of clips sometimes referred to as ‘spring clips’ include:
- Transistor clips or gull wing clips: Small sheet metal clips which screw down onto a circuit board to clamp a transistor to a heat sink.
- R-clips or R-pins: A sprung pin, which has a straight section, is bent to form a ring at the head and then has a curved section returning offset from the straight pin. The straight pin is designed to be pushed through a hole in a shaft, the curved section then clips around the outside of the shaft, retaining the pin in place. A finger can be inserted through the ring at the head to pull the pin out of the hole.
- Linchpin: A pin with a separate ring attached. Used in similar applications to an R-clip. The pin is inserted through a hole in a shaft and the ring is folded over to prevent the pin from being removed. The ring has each end attached to the pin with an offset, causing it to stay clipped in the open or closed position. Linchpins are only suitable for use at the end of a shaft whereas R-clips may be used anywhere along a shaft.
- Spring hose clamps: A clamp designed to hold a hose onto a spigot, serving a similar purpose to a jubilee clip, but allowing rapid attachment and removal. The resting position of the clamp has a smaller diameter than the pipe being clamped and two handles are squeezed together to increase the diameter to enable fitting and removal.