Re: Removing stripped screws

Geoff Eden <geden1@...>

Good afternoon, do you mean that the threads are stripped or that the heads are mangled?

When working on tiny screws in computer cases, I always make sure that the head of my screwdriver is in perfect shape. This is especially important if it is one of those godforsaken Phillips screws.

I have always taken to using a small hammer and tapping the screw litely a dozen or more times as this tends to release the threads and to properly seat your screwdriver into the head of the screw. Speaking of which, take a sharp instrument and pick any glue or other debris out of the head of the screw before starting. Having a near perfect fit of the screwdriver to the screw head has everything to do with success.

Don't give up on the light tapping, I have done it for 20 or 30 minutes at a go in the past. Be patient, it works.

If the screw has a totally camed out head, drilling with a 1/16 or 3/32 size drill bit might be necessary.

Establishing 90° is the difficult part. If you own a drill press, prepare a small block of hardwood with a 90° hole the size of your drillbit. You could then run your drill through that block can be as close to 90° as possible. Drilling out the side of the screw can be fatal. Take your time. Let me say it again, take your time.

There are specialty drill bits that work backwards. I have seen them on the Internet at fancy hardware providers such as Lee Valley.
I have heard of people who put a drop of epoxy on the screw head and were able to get a bite on it with a screwdriver.

Once upon a time in my deep dark past, I sharpened the blade of an old screwdriver in the profile of a bayonet so I could rocket in the head of the damage screw to work opposite facing grooves. I was able then to get enough purchase on that screw, after tapping for a while, to get it out.

Generally speaking, you can find slightly larger screws to replace the ones that you've had to pull out. Not pretty, but practical.

You can, of course, fill a stripped screw hole with epoxy, drill a tiny pilot hole, and drive in a fresh screw.

In any event, best of luck to you. I feel your pain.


From: Steven Johnson
Sent: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 12:39 AM
Subject: [TechTalk] Removing stripped screws

I have been cursed by stripped screws on 3 projects in the past 2 weeks, so I am seeking advice.  How do you folks approach stripped screws in things like laptop backs, old radios and other fragile electronics that wouldn’t take kindly to drilling?  Thanks for your thoughts.

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