AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B Accredited

Different Types of Industrial Shims

Shims are utilized to fill in excessive tolerances and clearances in assemblies, such as those found in automotive body panels, electric motor mounts, and other related applications. For instance, in machining applications, shims are precision engineered to specific tolerances for use in precise machinery positioning. Due to their versatile nature, they are available in a wide range of materials and styles to suit a myriad of applications.

Generally, most industrial shims are made of metal, with the most commonly used metals being carbon steel, alloy steel, spring steel, stainless steel, and brass. The reason for this preference is that metal offers more durability than its counterparts, and it offers tighter tolerances than other variations. Apart from this distinction, shims are also made in a few different types, all of which provide unique value to specific applications.

Arbor Shims

Arbor shims, or slitter shims, are thin, washer-like discs designed to prevent axial movement in assemblies. Typically, they are machined to specific tolerances for an exact fit, and they are utilized in machinery alignment applications on milling cutters, saws, and grinding tools. Arbor shims are usually measured by their thickness, outer diameter, and inner diameter; thus, you must be familiar with your particular specifications before purchasing them.

Variable Shims

Variable shims are divided into two categories: shortening and lengthening variations. Essentially, variable shims are either used to lengthen or shorten the effective length of shoulder bolts. While shortening shims are positioned over the shaft, under the head of the screw to shorten it, lengthening shims are placed at the base of the shaft over the threads. Keep in mind that these shims are often used in punch and die assemblies. Like arbor shims, variable shims are also measured by their thickness, as well as their inner and outer diameter.

Slotted Shims

Slotted shims are made in numerous shapes to serve a multitude of purposes. Nonetheless, every version features an open U-shaped slot. Moreover, they can be fitted around existing bolts and screws or used as standard spacers. It is worth noting that some slotted shims are equipped with tabs for easier insertion. Additionally, they are measured by their slot depth and width, alongside the previously mentioned measurements. The slot width is measured from the narrowest section of the slot and does not include the tapered opening. Furthermore, shim height is also measured, but you must factor in the length of the tab, if applicable.

Shim Rings

Shim rings, or tolerance rings, are utilized in stamped, molded, or worn housings to secure bearings. They are often used along with retaining rings to take up space between machined components. Similar to the other shim types, shim rings are also measured by their thickness, inner diameter and outer diameter.

Shim Stock

A shim stock is a thin precision stock material from which custom shims can be cut with scissors or metal shears. In most cases, shim stock is used for support, leveling, and fit adjustment. Shim stock is generally measured by its thickness, length, and width. When looking to order shim stock, you must know all three measurements. To do this, measure the clearance required with a feeler gauge. Next, pick the closest size of shim stock to meet your requirements, and cut the shim stock with shears or scissors. Finally, you can insert the cut shim stock into the desired areas.


Stacked Industrials is a leading distributor of shims, all of which have been sourced from top global manufacturers on our Approved Vendor List (AVL). With countless ready-to-purchase options, customers can easily meet rigid time constraints and strict budget parameters. As our network of distribution centers spans across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, we are equipped to provide expedited shipping services to even our most remote customers.

Kickoff the procurement process with a competitive quote on any featured item(s), and we will reach out with a customized solution. To do this, we ask that you fill out and submit a Request for Quote (RFQ) form as provided on any page on this website with as much information as possible. Get started today and see how Stacked Industrials can serve as your strategic sourcing partner. For additional questions, call or email us at any time; we are available around the clock for customer inquiries!


Recent Twitter Posts

Semiconductor's Certifications and Memberships
Thank You for Visiting.

We hope that you will visit us again the next time you need industrial parts and make us your strategic purchasing partner.

Request for Quote

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.