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What Are Star Knobs? What Are They Used For?

As industries rely more on automated systems to increase production and efficiency, it's crucial for companies to use innovative components for their equipment. These components will always include star knobs.

Also known as lobed knobs or clamping knobs, star knobs are found on fixtures and machines that require frequent adjustments. Considering there are a variety of styles and materials to choose from, picking an appropriate star knob design is critical to your line of business. 

From medical manufacturing factories to machining and woodworking plants, star knobs have an important role to play in any industry. Our aim for this guide is to inform you about star knobs and what makes them so special.

In this article we will take a closer look at:

1. What are Star Knobs?
2. Star Knob Applications and Features
3. When should I use a Star Knob?
4. Summary

What are Star Knobs?

Star knobs are types of hand knobs that have a distinct star-shaped handle with five lobes. They have rounded edges that allow for a firm grip when twisting or turning.

Used mostly as replacements for nuts or screws, star knobs are attached to either a threaded stud or tapped hole. They are used to remove, tighten, or adjust components without the need for screwdrivers, wrenches, power tools, and other equipment.

Star knobs are ideal for adjusting robotic components in automated systems. They are used to install control panels, processors, motors, and other machine parts. In addition, you can also find them on cabinetry, appliances, doors, and other household items.

These components come in an array of materials. Depending on the applications you are using them for, you will need to choose star knobs that are made to last.

For heavy to medium clamping and adjusting applications, star knobs made from cast iron, aluminum, or stainless steel are ideal. As a matter of fact, all of these materials are highly durable and resistant to corrosion.

For lighter applications, look towards plastic knobs made from technopolymer or thermoplastic material. These types of materials are lightweight and resistant to grease and oils.

Star knobs are also available across a wide variety of thread designs. Apart from picking the right thread size, you will also need to decide between getting a male thread or a female thread. There are also options for threaded inserts and metric star knobs.

No matter the case, choosing the right knob can definitely add value to your production line.

Star Knob Applications and Features

For this section, we are giving you a more detailed look at how star knobs are used across industries. We will also look into the different features provided by certain star knob designs.

Frequent adjusting, positioning, and clamping

Like handwheels and t-knobs, star knobs are mostly used for making quick and frequent adjustments to machines such as a jig or drill press. Due to their ergonomic shape, star knobs make it easier for operators to loosen or tighten machine components by hand. This eliminates the need for power tools and hex keys which are often used for high-torque.

Star knobs also work well with stud knobs, thumb screws, toggle clamps, pneumatic clamps, and fasteners. You can also mount a star knob on a clamping screw or on spring plungers for easier fixing and positioning.

For light-duty clamping applications, fluted knobs and knurled knobs can add comfort to your grip. These knobs are also great as control knobs on operating panels. Star knobs are versatile products that can take the place of standard hardware in certain situations.

Installation and removal 

Apart from adjusting machine parts, star knobs are also ideal for installing or removing components. If you are designing fixtures and machines, you will need a tool for fastening different parts. At the same time, the tool should allow for rigid mounting and easier removal.
Star knobs provide these benefits due to its ergonomic and lightweight construction. When used with washers, t-nuts, bushing, and wing nuts, these components can help optimize product and machine designs for faster installations and modifications.

When Should I use a Star Knob?

There is always a perfect time or situation for using star knobs in your production facility. We can easily think of numerous ways to use these components, but it will always boil down to these common scenarios: 

When you need a firm and secure grip

Star knobs contribute to better safety and efficiency. The star-shaped design allows for a comfortable grip when you are operating industrial machines.

Unlike ball knobs that have a smooth construction, the five-lobed handle of star knobs provides a comfortable surface that engages the fingers. This design helps relieve pressure from the wrist. As a result, the risk of injury decreases, especially during adjustments. 

When you need to make adjustments without using power tools

Power tools have made it easier to modify, tighten, and loosen machine components. However, there are limitations to using them. They can break down during a task and they also require regular maintenance in order to perform well.

In that case, you may want to use star knobs as a replacement for standard components. You can lock a screw in place just as securely by hand. This helps reduce wear and tear on your power tools since you won’t be needing them for simple adjustments and installations.

When you need a comfortable handle for fixtures

Aside from machines, star knobs are also great as handles for cabinets, doors, drawers, and panels. Plastic knobs are ideal for these applications as they are resistant to corrosion caused by sweat, grease, and oils. They also come in a variety of styles and provide a modern look to any piece of furniture. For that, look towards thermoplastic handles with a matte black finish.


Star knobs have an important place in industrial and commercial settings. From robotic assembly lines to woodworking equipment, you will need the perfect star knob to use on the production floor.

If you are out looking for star knobs, look for a supplier that has a wide array of handles to choose from. It’s also important to find a supplier that updates its catalog with new products. These should also include accessories such as adapters and connectors.

At Reid Supply, we provide lobed knobs and a wide range of adjusting, clamping, and fixing solutions. If you are looking for other types of knobs, check out our catalog of industrial knobs and accessories.