What is Circlip? | How to install Circlip? | What is C Clip?

What is a Circlip?

A circlip (a combination of “circle” and ” clip “) is a circular clip. The circlip is also called a Jesus clip, snap ring, rotor ring, or C-clip. The circlip is a retaining ring or fastener consisting of a semi-flexible metal ring with an open ring that may snap into its location and insert into a machined slot on a dowel or other part to allow rotation but stop lateral motion.


The circlip has two major types:

  1. External clips: These clips are installed over the shaft
  2. Internal clips: These clips are installed inside the bore

Circlips are used to secure solid connections. When you use a snap ring to hold a gudgeon pin or wrist pin, the circlip is referred to as a gudgeon pin clip, wrist pin retainers, or wrist pin clip. The circlips are most commonly used in turbines, compressors, pumps, and engines.

Types of Circlips

The circlip has the following major types:

  1. External circlip
  2. Internal circlip

The external circlip uses for the shaft, while the internal circlip uses for the bore. The internal and external circlips are further divided into the following major types:

1) Constant Section Retaining Ring

This circlip has a constant cross-sectional thickness from the center to the edge. Circlip pliers are used for the installation of these circlips.  

2) Spiral Circlips

The spiral retaining ring is a constant section snap ring with 360-degree contact. You can easily install it by hand.

3) Tapered Section Retaining Ring

With this retaining ring, the cross-sectional thickness tapers towards the ends. This ring is thicker in the middle and thinner on the edges. You may need pliers for the installation of this type of circlip.

4) Inverted circlip

This retaining ring also has a tapered section. It has inverted lugs. You can’t install these circlips with pliers.

5) Star or K – Circlip

It has a tapered section with additional lugs. Circlip pliers are used for the assembly and disassembly of the star circlips.

6) E – Clips

These retaining rings can fit only in the radial direction onto the shaft. They don’t have lugs. Therefore, you don’t need pliers for the assembly and disassembly of these clips.  

e clip, e ring

Read Also: Working and types of E-clips

7) Grip ring

This is a type of external circlip. It doesn’t require grooves for installation. They are assembled and disassembled using circlip pliers.

How to Install External Circlip

The installation of an external c-clip is not too complex. Follow the below-given steps to install the external circlip:

  1. First, choose a pair of external circlip pliers that fit into the end holes of the retaining ring.
  2. Now insert the plier tip. Attach the tips of the pliers to the grip installed at the retaining ring end.
  3. Grab the handle; this will open the plier tip and enlarge the snap ring.
  4. Place the ring into the ring groove to finish the installation process.

You must remember that the retaining ring is perforated with sheet metal, so it has both rough and smooth sides. To avoid damage, you must install the clip with the smooth side partway and the rough side outward.

How to Install Internal Circlips

The installation of the internal circlip is very similar as external circlip just little bit different:

  1. First, select the internal snap ring pliers that fit the end holes of the snap ring.
  2. Next, you need to insert the pliers into the end holes of the snap ring which you want to install.
  3. Grab the handle to close the handle of the pliers and to reduce the circlip up to the required size
  4. Insert the ring into the clip groove and remove the pliers.

Again, you must keep in mind the rough and smooth surfaces of the clip when performing the installation. When installing the internal snap ring, always show the smooth side part way and the rough side out to avoid possible damage.

How to Remove Circlips

How to Remove External Circlip

  1. Choose external retaining ring pliers that are suitable for the end holes of the clip.
  2. Now insert the plier tip. Attach the tips of the pliers to the grip installed at the retaining ring end.
  3. Carefully eliminate the circlip from the groove with pliers.

How to Remove Internal Circlip

  1. First of all, choose the internal clip pliers and insert them into the end of the circlip that you wish to remove.
  2. Holding the handle of the pliers, carefully loosen the clip from the groove and eradicate it from the shaft.

Construction Material of C-Clip

The circlips are made of steel metal sheets. These metal sheets provide them two surfaces, one with a rough surface and the other with a smooth surface. C-clips design in such a way that they use specially designed pilers called circlip pliers.

Applications of Circlip

Seager rings, Jesus clamps, C-clips, or circlips are the most common fasteners used to hold dowel pins in place in machined slots. These clips permit rotation but limit lateral motion of the dowel pin and shaft.

FAQ Section

How To Remove Circlips Without Holes?

You must use a pair of narrow tip pliers to eliminate circlips that don’t have holes along the ends. The snap ring must be held in place by the thin tip of the pliers and must be carefully removed.

How To Remove Circlips Without Pliers?

The removal of a snap ring or c-clip is very complicated without tools. Therefore, you must use suitable, appropriate pliers for the removal of clips. You must have a pair of pliers because careless disassembly or the use of inappropriate tools may damage the clip or the device. If you can’t use pliers, the second-best method to safely remove the retaining ring is needle nose or narrow tip pliers.

What is internal circlip size?

The size of the internal circlip depends on the size of the bore in which you want to fit it. For example, if the hole size of your bore is 30mm, then you will need a 30mm internal clip.

What is the size of Circlip?

The circlips are most commonly used for different engines, pumps, and HVAC systems. The size of the circlips varies according to the applications. The most commonly used circlips have a diameter less than 2 inches (or 50mm). The large circlips have a diameter of up to 400mm or 500mm.

What is a snap ring used for?

The snap ring is also known as circlip or c-clip. The snap rings are most commonly used in external applications to fit different components on studs, pins, or grooved shafts.

Read Also
  1. Different types of Engines
  2. Different types of Pumps
  3. Parts and working of HVAC System
  4. Working and types of Heat Pumps

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