I'm looking for a compact and inexpensive way to attach a threaded part parallel to the surface of a sheet metal part.

One "easy" way to do this, in my mind, is to use a threaded block similar to an alternator spacer block, seen below, but I can't find this kind of part on McMaster.com. I'm not sure if that's because this is an obscure part or if I'm not calling it by its proper name.

Alternator spacer block 1

Alternator spacer block 2

When I searched "Alternator adjustment block" on Google images the pictures above showed up, and both of those images are called, "alternator adjustment spacer block," but searching that term doesn't seem to pull up too many more results.

Ideally the block I'm looking for would have three holes, as in my drawing below. See also the drawing of the desired setup.

Desired block

Threaded block with rod end

Again, to be clear, I'm looking for the name of this part as I'm not sure what the specific name of it is, if it has one. With the name I can then find parts sources myself (not a shopping request).

  • Why don't you take your exact requirements to a machine shop and have it made for you? The cost wouldn't be too great, especially if it's cut from existing stock (no milling involved). You could also possibly do the work yourself with a drill press if you could find the right metal stock for your creation. Not very difficult ... just takes some patience. Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 16:17
  • I could do that; the rest of the parts are custom made, but this is for a small production run (20-60 parts) and I'd like to keep costs down. If there is an off-the-shelf part that's available for a reasonable cost I'd prefer to use that. Ballpark quote is that it's probably going to be about 7-10 dollars for each of these if I get the machine shop to make them where I would expect to pay maybe a buck or two if they were a stock item somewhere.
    – Chuck
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 18:34
  • While that's great in theory, the practicality of it is even if you do find something, it's not going to be exactly what you need, so you'll spend a bit of time getting it into the shape you need it to be in. Just decide what your time is worth prior to putting a lot of time into finding something which doesn't exist. Multiply the amount of time to "fix" one of the off the shelf items and multiply it by the 20-60 you are looking to get ... could be well worth your time to just have the parts made. I'm sorry I don't have a real answer for you. I hope your project goes well! Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 1:07
  • I don't know if something like this would work for your project, but there is something called a 1-2-3 block. It has known distances between the holes. The cool thing is, it has holes in all different sides for you. The cheapest I've found them is on eBay at about $8 a piece ... not much better than going to the machine shop, so back to square one. Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 1:31
  • It is generally called an adjustment block but each automaker has its own term for it. For example, here is one for Toyota: villagetoyotaparts.com/products/TOYOTA/1997/… allfourx4.com.au/… They are both the same thing but with different names. @Paulster2 mentions 1-2-3 blocks. They are a good alternative. Although they don't really fall in the price range you mention.
    – race fever
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 3:25

2 Answers 2


I was thinking on this and what could be done. I don't know exactly what the space is called, but I have another idea for you.

Take some larger (whatever size you need for the main hole) nuts, align them, then weld them together. You can put how many ever you need together to make them the right width. You can also grind the ends down to make them exactly the right width. Then once all is together, drill the holes on the flat sides to create the secondary holes you need.

If you take a smaller diameter bolt which will go all the way through without interfering with the threads, you can basically bolt the nuts together using flat washers on the ends. This would allow you to align everything and weld it up without too much hassle. Either run a bead down the flats on three sides of your spacer, or you could run beads around 5/6ths of the nuts, creating a firm weld while leaving one of the flat sides clean for drilling.


The same parts often have vendor-specific names.

I can't help but thinking that internal threading is optional, if you have room for a nut and lock washer on the far side. If this is the case, a trip to the plumbing store and a hacksaw will complete your needs.

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