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Old 27-11-2007, 17:58   #1
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Stripped Screws

I've got two projects that are currently "on hold" because of frustration.

Both of these projects use 5mm allen head screws and have stripped the hex on the top of the screw.

On one of them, I drilled the center of the screw and put in my easy out, which then broke off in the screw, ouch, I'll never drill that out!?!

the others are just waiting for my patience to replenish itself.

Any suggestions on removing these screws?

Any suggestions on screw removal strategy in the future?

I need help, I don't want to have to go for the big hammer.
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Old 27-11-2007, 18:56   #2
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Might be massive overkill, but you could weld an appropriate piece of metal to the top of the screw and use that as your lever? You could also drill out the entire thing and put in either a helicoil insert, or a bigger screw, or even a bush, threaded inside and outside.
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Old 27-11-2007, 19:19   #3
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If they are rusted, use some sort lube..WD40. If it is something else like they were potted in epoxy or 5200, heat them up and at around 140 they will loosen up. Also broken screws can be abandoned as long as no moisture will get to them, I used epoxy on my last boat to seal up the holes. Hope this helps!

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Old 27-11-2007, 19:37   #4
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Use a left handed drill bit as you drill in revurse the screw will back out
you can get them at a tool suppler.
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Old 27-11-2007, 19:39   #5
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At this point, drill it out.
Stripping the head of 5mm allen head screw isn't easy. Sounds like maybe either the screw head or the allen key isn't quite 5mm, or the screw is a very soft metal. Depending on the situation when faced with such a situation, the first thing I try is heat. I use a small blow torch I have for soldering, it has a very fine flame and can be directed right where you want it, of course this isn't always possible. You can also use a penetrating oil, I use Liquid Wrench, found in pretty much any automotive store.
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Old 27-11-2007, 20:23   #6
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Third attempt at posting this. For some reason the first two have dissappeared.

If you have good access to the screw head, you might be able to put the chuck of a drill on to it. Tighten up as hard as you can, and then unscrew. Preferably use a key type chuck, they tighten harder. I've done this with broken off screws and got them out.
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Old 27-11-2007, 20:43   #7
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Originally Posted by toewsrus View Post
I've got two projects that are currently "on hold" because of frustration.

Both of these projects use 5mm allen head screws and have stripped the hex on the top of the screw.

On one of them, I drilled the center of the screw and put in my easy out, which then broke off in the screw, ouch, I'll never drill that out!?!

the others are just waiting for my patience to replenish itself.

Any suggestions on removing these screws?

Any suggestions on screw removal strategy in the future?

I need help, I don't want to have to go for the big hammer.
I don't know what kind of screw is screwed into what kind of whatever.
If it is rusty, use the liquid wrench (or whatever) while you have a beer and calm down.

After you have that beer and have calmed down, cut a few small pieces (tiny strips) of the beer can and hold them in the allen opening. It might only take one. Place the allen wrench in and tap the wrench in tight. Essentially just a shim. Back out the screw and send me a beer.

PS if things come apart use just a little bit of the fine tipped torch and try again.

Might be a two beer job!
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Old 27-11-2007, 20:51   #8
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It all depends on the situation the screw is in. Is it rusted, is it in epoxy or 5200? There are good suggestions here, but what is the state of the screw? Wood or composite? Rusted, stripped, or locked? Heat should be the first choice, after you break a few you will know which screws will break and which ones will come out. It's a feel that comes with the game. What are the dynamics here?
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Old 27-11-2007, 20:52   #9
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Long Adjustable Pliers (multigrips)...

If enough is sticking out then I have got my 18" multigrips, gotten a good grip, and then slowly unscrewed the s#&@*r.

If the screw is in wood or something soft it may be possible to chisel enough away to get a grip.

Be careful. Those long multigrips can exert a fearsome force and if they slip with something tender "between" great pain can result.
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Old 27-11-2007, 22:15   #10
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At the first sign of a tough stubburn removal, I use a propane torch on it and then hit it with WD-40. Wait 10 minutes or so, use the heat again and try. If the head strips, I have 2 sizes of Vise-Grips(not the China ones!). If I can get them on it, they will usually do the job. Swearing does help.
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Old 27-11-2007, 23:07   #11
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Once you strip the head of a screw or bolt you are in the machinists world. Many of the tips in this thread work sometimes, especially all the vice grip ideas, but not all the time reliably.

Screw and bolt extraction begins prior to actually stripping the head. If there are signs of corrosion or an unusally strong force is required it is always better to try a lubricant with a combination of heat prior to stripping the screw head.

Heat works well but application of the heat is gradual. It's nice to accentuate the different coefficients of expansion with a rapid temperature change. For this I like to heat up the bolt and the surrounding area with a torch. A pin torch helps in tight areas. Don't be shy - get plenty of heat into the bolt and the surrounding area. A color wax temperature pen can be helpful in determining the temperature if desired. Remember - you want the heat to penetrate down the bolt threaded shaft so you need to apply the heat for a while. You are usually assisted here because hardened bolts gernerally expand slower than any case materials.

Once the area is nice and hot apply ice directly to the head of the bolt and avoid the surrounding metal if possible. Another technique is to deluge the bolt head with ice water applied through surgical tubing. The idea is to let the surrounding area stay hot while cooling the bolt. You will have to keep applying water until the bolt is cool.

After this you can heat a second time. When it is hot apply a pentrating oil and tap the bolt head firmly. Wait 30 minutes or more applying the penetrant and tapping at intervals.

Then try the bolt again. This will almost always get the bolt out.

Part II - If you strip the bolt head.

Drill the appropriate size easy out hole. You should pick a size that leaves a very thin bolt wall thickness without risk of damaging threads. You should drill deeper than you think you need to go. And you must absolutely drill on center.

Then apply the penetrant methods above.

Then insert the easy out. You may need a second pair of hands but one pair puts pressure on the easy out and a second pair taps the head of the easy out with a drift and ball peen. You want to continue to shock the threads while applying torque.

Part III - What to do if you break the easy out

This should never happen but if it does there are easy out extractors (go figure?) Get the right tool for the job and remove the broken easy out.

Go back to part III - You probably didn't drill deep enough or big enough.

Part IV - I can't get the broken easy out out

Now you are in the realm of cutting tools, pin welding attachments and so on.

Probably the last thing that the backyard mechanic can do is to get a dremel tool and cut the head off the bolt using tiny cutting wheels. Once the pump, flange or whatever is separated you can go back to work using easy outs. It is very tempting at this point to put a pair of vice grips on the nub sticking out.

I've done it, many times successfully. Sometimes not.

The very last resort is to drill out the bolt or stud and helicoil in some new threads.
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Old 29-11-2007, 16:44   #12
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I like the beer idea best. I'm always ready for a cold one.

these are some great ideas! I've got several angles of attack now. I'll let you all know how it goes.
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Old 29-11-2007, 20:57   #13
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I like the beer idea best. I'm always ready for a cold one.

these are some great ideas! I've got several angles of attack now. I'll let you all know how it goes.
I just read a good portion of your site.
GOOD ON YOU!!
I think I would have done those seacocks sooner though.

Good luck!
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Old 29-11-2007, 21:13   #14
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What type of material is the screw? Is it stainless or some sort of ferrous metal? What type of material is it screwed into? The solution varies depending on these factors.
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Old 29-11-2007, 21:34   #15
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WD40 is pretty pathetic as a penetrating oil.

Try PB Blaster or Kroil.

Also, an impact driver is worth investing in. Bang on the end and either the screw comes loose or snaps off.

"Allen" brand allen keys are not all that hot, as are the chinese crap. Its also worthwhile to clean out the dirt in the bottom of a suspect allen cap machine screw, with a straight/hook pick so the key doesn't cam out of the hole. If your keys are worn out (I go through a set a year) or you've had to hammer one in... treat them as suspect too.

Lastly if you have a bunch of these to do, get a socket with an allen head for a ratchet. They make life a lot easier!

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