Countersinks – All About

A countersink is an angled taper applied to a hole that allows a fastener (usually a flat head screw or similar) to sit even with, or below the surface which has been countersunk. Occasionally, a countersink is used simply as a method of chamfering or deburring a hole.

Countersink symbol

Countersink Blueprint GD&T Symbol two lines pointing down

The GD&T callout for a countersink is shown below. Some older blueprints may use the notation CSK to identify a countersink dimension.

If you want to type the ⌵ symbol, hold the ALT key and press 9013. See this list for other common keyboard shortcuts for GD&T and blueprint symbols.

How to dimension a countersink

countersink blueprint example

A countersink is dimensioned by specifying the diameter of the countersink where it meets the surface and the included angle. In the above example, the part has a 0.5 thru hole and a countersink with a diameter of 0.7 and an included angle of 82°.

How to measure a countersink

Countersinks can be measured by many different gauges. The easiest tool to use, assuming the tolerances aren’t too tight, is a pocket comparator with a reticle. Optical comparators and CMMs are regularly used to measure countersinks with very tight tolerances.

What does a countersink look like?

countersink example on part

Countersink vs chamfer

A countersink and a chamfer are very similar. A countersink is basically no different than a chamfer on a hole.

The main difference is that a chamfer is normally thought of as being at 45 degrees (though the angle can vary). A countersink is usually one of many different standard angle sizes.

The most common countersink angles are 82°, 90° or 100°.

Note that in the case of the 90° countersink, this callout is the same as a 45° chamfer because the countersink angle takes both sides into account, so it is twice the chamfer angle.

Countersink vs counterbore

cutaway examples of countersink and counterbore

The difference between a countersink and a counterbore is that a countersink has an angled bottom and a counterbore has a flat bottom. Countersinks are often used to recess a flat head screw. Counterbores are used to recess bolts, washers and other fasteners.

Countersink vs spotface

spotface example on part
Spotface example

A spotface has a flat bottom like a counterbore while a countersink is angled. A spotface is used to create a flat area in a specific location to allow a fastener such as a screw or bolt to sit squarely.

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