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Old 21st July 2010, 22:05   #1
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Question Stripped screws : whats your way of dealing with them?

I'm sure that sometime or the other we all have faced this menacing trouble of stripped screw. I wanted to know whats the different ways of dealing with this trouble.
I'm asking this because I'm stuck with a stripped square head screw for last two days unable to open it and it has become virtually round now. To make matters worse this really a very small screw(1.5mm driver opened a similar one) and its attached to a sensitive pcb (controller for a lcd panel) due to which i have to be extra cautious. After the screw got stripped, I tried opening it with a slightly bigger flat head screw but it didn't work out.

Just wanted to get an idea what each of you do when you face this problem. Couldn't find a thread where this has been discussed.

Here are the pics of the screws (sorry for the image quality):


Stripped screws : whats your way of dealing with them?-img_0141.jpg


Stripped screws : whats your way of dealing with them?-img_0143.jpg
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Old 22nd July 2010, 02:38   #2
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If the yellow circular thing around the screw is some epoxy or strong sealant, you
would need to get rid of it before you would be able to open it.

search for it, google is your best friend,

I think if its araldite like stuff, you'll need to cut it using metal saw-blade(aari).
consult some professionals before trying anything forcefully.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 02:42   #3
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Had a similar problem with my phone...

I used a dremel (small high speed drill) to cut a slight slot in the screw and then used a flathead to open it...

Another option I read somewhere is to superglue a thin rod to the screw, and once the glue dries, rotate the rod to open it...
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Old 22nd July 2010, 08:05   #4
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If you dont have a dremel, use a good hacksaw blade to engrave a groove that can be used with a flat-head screwdriver. Yes, after taking care of any sealants you would have used.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 09:04   #5
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Quote:
If you dont have a dremel, use a good hacksaw blade to engrave a groove that can be used with a flat-head screwdriver.
Parwath, what kind of hacksaw would fit into a recessed screw head?
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Old 22nd July 2010, 11:23   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghpk View Post
If the yellow circular thing around the screw is some epoxy or strong sealant, you
would need to get rid of it before you would be able to open it.

search for it, google is your best friend,

I think if its araldite like stuff, you'll need to cut it using metal saw-blade(aari).
consult some professionals before trying anything forcefully.
The yellow circular thing which you see is the back side of the pcb. The screw is not glued to the pcb as the other two which were not stripped came off easily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbhiJ View Post
Had a similar problem with my phone...

I used a dremel (small high speed drill) to cut a slight slot in the screw and then used a flathead to open it...

Another option I read somewhere is to superglue a thin rod to the screw, and once the glue dries, rotate the rod to open it...
I think dremel is the way to go. I'll have to arrange one and try it out.
The glue idea is safer way out but do you think the glue will be strong enough to be able to hold the rod to the screw. Has anyone tried this out before?
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Old 22nd July 2010, 11:27   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atrisarkar View Post
The glue idea is safer way out but do you think the glue will be strong enough to be able to hold the rod to the screw. Has anyone tried this out before?
You can use araldite to fix the rod, it fixes permanently.
take care while doing it this way, if done wrong it would create other problems.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 14:40   #8
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Though the pics are not clear, but to me it looks like screws that need an allen key to open - not normal Philips head or flat head screwdrivers. Even if the top part is stripped, you will be able to open it with an allen key.
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Old 24th July 2010, 01:49   #9
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Its not looking a Allen Key Type in any view to me.
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Old 24th July 2010, 05:11   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
Though the pics are not clear, but to me it looks like screws that need an allen key to open - not normal Philips head or flat head screwdrivers. Even if the top part is stripped, you will be able to open it with an allen key.
The pic is not focused properly, perhaps if you moved a little away and took the pic, the camera could get a better pic.

Before you do anything to the screw head - please check to see if the head if this is any thing that is similar to the very small screws used in cell phones and other electronic devices. There are a lot of screw heads out there that are optimized for electric or pneumatic assembly tools. And you do get special tools to work with them. In case this one of those type of screws, you could try your local cell phone repair shop - most of them will have the driver bits required to work with these screw heads.

As DerAlte mentions, if this is an Allen screw, you could still extract it using a key of the right size.

If the screw has been jammed or over tightned or stuck - you could try some solvent (nc thinner) - to release thread sealants used in the assembly or WD40 to release rust.

But do be careful however, since solvents could damage plastics or delicate flexible ribbons used to connect LCD panels.

When working with stripped fasteners - patience and the right tools are the key
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Old 24th July 2010, 08:04   #11
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Quote:
Lukeskywalker : Parwath, what kind of hacksaw would fit into a recessed screw head?
You're right. If it is a recessed screw, then drilling may be the only option. I was referring to regular screws.
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Old 24th July 2010, 08:53   #12
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The screws does not look like Philips head, they look like Torx screws, especially in the second pic you posted. Can you post a better focussed photo? Torx is common in electronics. Use a torx driver.

Anyway if the head is gone indeed; Are the screws flush set? If the head sticks out by atleast an mm use a small plier to grip the screw head firmly and unscrew it. Most of the time this works.
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Old 24th July 2010, 11:42   #13
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I too thought it looked like an allen or torx -- which would also be more common for such an application than a square head. But given that you've seen the focussed "picture" i guess its square.

Options :

Dremel
- Need the right size disc to cut a good slot
- Danger of damaging the pcb (if your hand slips / you go too far)


Superglue rod
- Will the glue hold??
- Seems like the easiest and is worth a shot first - since you cant really do too much damage.


Drill through
- Take a drill-bit thats slightly larger than the shank/shaft of the screw
- Slowly drill into the (square) hole
- When you reach a certain point the head will no longer be attached and should just pop off
- You should then be able to lift the PCB off easily, since its probably not threaded.
- Then, if you plan to replace that screw - use pliers to try and unscrew whats remaining of the shaft.
- Use a drill press if possible, to prevent the possible damage if the drill moves around

cya
R
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Old 27th July 2010, 21:38   #14
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I'm sorry for the picture quality which created the confusion. It's indeed a normal philips screw.
The screw is finally out after a hectic weekend. I initially gave the panel to a computer repair guy to take out the screw as I thought they might have a dremel using which they'll be able to take it out.
Result : They took the lcd in the night and promised that it'll be done next morning. They returned me the panel 2 days later with no success and stripping the screw all the more horribly.
Next day I gave the super glue method a try and it didn't reap any results either. As I had expected, the glue isn't string enough to hold the rod in place to sustain the required torque.
Finally I caught hold of a friend who has a workshop in his garage and has at least 3-4 different kind of drills. I took the panel to his place and was finally able to get the screw out by using the dremel with anticlockwise movement. We were trying to drill in the clockwise direction hoping that the head would come off after a while but somehow it didn't work.

Thank you all for the suggestions and help. Finally here is the picture of that cursed screw. As you have seen already I'm a total noob in taking pics, so asked my wife to take this one for me.
Stripped screws : whats your way of dealing with them?-screw.jpg
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Old 27th August 2010, 19:20   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atrisarkar View Post
I'm sorry for the picture quality which created the confusion. It's indeed a normal philips screw.
The screw is finally out after a hectic weekend. I initially gave the panel to a computer repair guy to take out the screw as I thought they might have a dremel using which they'll be able to take it out.
Result : They took the lcd in the night and promised that it'll be done next morning. They returned me the panel 2 days later with no success and stripping the screw all the more horribly.
Next day I gave the super glue method a try and it didn't reap any results either. As I had expected, the glue isn't string enough to hold the rod in place to sustain the required torque.
Finally I caught hold of a friend who has a workshop in his garage and has at least 3-4 different kind of drills. I took the panel to his place and was finally able to get the screw out by using the dremel with anticlockwise movement. We were trying to drill in the clockwise direction hoping that the head would come off after a while but somehow it didn't work.

Thank you all for the suggestions and help. Finally here is the picture of that cursed screw. As you have seen already I'm a total noob in taking pics, so asked my wife to take this one for me.
Attachment 395070
Though it may not be feasible with small screws, I have faced similar problems both with my bike and the Ambassador. The correct approach is to use a special conical screw like bit with anti-clock wise thread. Drill a hole in the bolt, and screw the tool in. As it tightens it would unscrew the stuck bolt. I still have them though it is over twenty years since I used them. If you peruse the net these may be available in the US home improvement shops. Though it may be of no use now you will be prepared in future.

Though not what I have this seems to be better for small screws Item#: 2019 Factory screw removal kit x-out
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