The standard external retaining ring has a tapered section, assembles axially, is made of plain finished alloy 25 copper, and is made in USA. The ring has a standard round shape with a lug hole on each end for installing onto the shaft with a tool. The ends pry apart with the installation tool and snap back towards each other when installed on the shaft for a tight grip. The tapered section style provides the ring with flexibility to facilitate installation and typically withstands higher thrust loads than constant section and spiral rings. The ring installs by sliding onto a shaft from the end, also called axial assembly. Axially installed rings reach further around the outside diameter of the shaft than radially installed rings. Alloy 25 copper is a nonmagnetic, corrosion-resistant metal that is electrically and thermally conductive.
Retaining rings attach to a shaft (external) or install in a bore (internal), creating a shoulder to maintain component positioning within an assembly. While most rings install into a machined groove either on the inside or outside diameter of a shaft, self-locking rings attach to a shaft by using friction from means such as teeth and notches to maintain placement. Retaining rings should fit tightly enough into the groove or onto the shaft so they won't experience any movement.