How To Unscrew Three-Pronged Screws Without a Three-Pronged Screwdriver?

I have a Gamecube controller I want to take apart, but it has triangle screws. They're like Phillips (four-pronged) but only have 3 prongs instead. I don't have a screwdriver for this, so I need a way to unscrew them.


UPDATE: Not trying to be impolite, but I am NOT looking for a place to buy this kind of screwdriver. I am looking for a way to unscrew them WITHOUT the specific screw driver.

dashdamiano3 months ago

Old thread but I'll answer anyway. Easy substitute for a triangle or 3 pronged screwdriver- I used a pair of tweezers. One prong inserted into the middle of the screw and the other on the outside of the screw head. I was able to grab and unscrew within seconds.


How to use screwdriver open Mc donalds toy?

Use 2.3*50 screwdriver.

可使用三角形2.3 * 50螺絲起子打開.
(至 高雄市 中將 175元 或 和樺 購買 或網站
購買 Pro’sKit 寶工 SD-081F 3PCS三角型精密起子組)
已有成功打開經驗, 但即使已順利拿出三角形螺絲, 有些玩具接合處仍緊緊黏著, 須再強力撬開(例如: 史瑞克系列)

Downunder35m7 months ago

I had troubles with secure srews many times but always found the right tool or a way to remove the damn things.

When it comes to these thre pronged screws it helps to know what tool you actually need.

The smaller variants have been introduced by Nintendo in their consoles, I think the original Gameboy was the first device that made a lot of use of these special srews.

To get the right tool search for a "Tri wing screwdriver" - this is the correct term for them.

Quite easy to find in different sizes and qualities on Ebay and basically all good electronics stores (mostly in sets with other security bits).

Without the right tool it is often impossible to remove them - that's why they are designed with three wings.

In most cases they have not been tightend up hard but instead some thread locking glue was put on, if you encounter one of those with the wrong tool it usually end in drilling out the screw.

I do recommend getting a tri-wing screwdriver set for the job but if it is a one off there is another way that can help:

It requires to be able to remove at least one of the screws, if they are reachable it is possible to undo them with pliers.

Drill a hole into a piece of steel that fits the screw (drop in).

Now use a copper nail or thick piece of copper wire and heat it up to glowing temp.

Let it cool down - this softens the metal.

Using a little hammer or similar "press" the copper into the screw head.

It won't make a perfect fit, especially on tiny screws, but if you get a half-decent shape it should do the trick.

Heat the copper again till glowing but now drop it into cold water - the copper will be hard again and should allow you to remove the other screws if not too tight.

Toga_Dan7 months ago

I've done this with a nail of the right size. Just file or grind it to a triangular cross section.

my need to open a blower for an inlatable slide, to troubleshoot why it does not work, is fastened together with many security screws that require a security bit that has the shape of a triangle, to insert or extract the screws. I have a couple of sets of security bits, and one of them is a set anyone can buy at Harbor Freight., not one bit in the set has a three prong or triangle shaped bit whatsoever. Just the normal sizes of torx bits, spanner bits, square bits, flat head bits, philips bits and believe it or not round bits. Not one trianglular bit. My othe bit set, same story. So, my need for a triangle bit to extract many triangular bit scews, prompted me to search online for such a bit, and this long and apparently old thread popped up as the first hit. Not one conversation in this lengthy thread involves the triangle shaped head of a security bit such as what I need was described. Of course, I did resort to using the smallest flat head that would fit one side of the triangle recessed in the screw head, and carefully extracted two of them. What a pain in the ***! I've got many more that that, to get to the actual motor, to see with my meter if there is a short somewhere. I think I've narrowed the fault to the circuit board insde the electric plug that has a reset button on it similar to a GFI outlet. I've ohmed out the connections from the electric cord to the toggle switch, and to the FET, or huge capacitor,. Connections are good, no break that I can find. But to be absolutely certain the faults rests somewhere in the circuit board inside the plug that connects to an electrical outlet, I need to get to the motor that blows air to inflate a huge inlatable water slide that takes up the entire length of our side yard, and meter out all the connections at the motor, requiring such a security bit. It's just easier to work with the proper tools, when doing any kind of job. Now, being that my situation is slightly different than a Nintendo mod, or a fast food kid meal prize piece that have similar security screws, I believe my need for such a security bit is very different. The bits are manufactured somewhere in order to make use of such screws in the manufacturing of products that are intended to protect the average person who took a stupid pill, from being stupid and hurting themselves, or to protect the manufacturer from future or probable law suits because of stupid people taking stupid pills and being stupid! I just want to see where the fault is, in my equipment and see if I can avoid seeking out the repacement blower for the inlatable slide. I've never seen such a plug that has a built-in GFI circuit board inside the 3 prong plug for a 3 prong electrical outket before. It was quite I interesting to see the inside of that plug as well. And like many circuit boards, they are proprietary, and not easily obtained to be able to replace; which means resorting to ohming out the entire circuit board's individual resistors, capacitors, traces, and thyristors. What a pain in the ***!

jdoe99 months ago

Sweet! the 2mm screwdriver worked, good thinking! Dunno why people love to not answer a question when it is asked, they like to give 100 other reasons why you shouldnt do what your asking. Just stfu and answer or dont! ..I..

123 mr lee10 months ago

Does anyone know where to buy a HOLT 3 prong security bit?

Aeshir (author)  123 mr lee10 months ago

no. why are you in here. this thread is seven years old. i was 15 when i made it.

123 mr lee10 months ago

I need a number 6 Holt 3 prong security bit

trialex7 years ago
Not trying to be impolite, but you can't do a proper job without the right tools. A small monetary investment would give you an infinitely better result.
I want to do this job today, not tomorrow, and not drive 45 minutes to a hardware store. Is it so much to ask to find an alternative method laying around the house? I don't think it's any of your business why a person wants to find an alternative. I also know for a fact that using a slightly different screwdriver than the real security bit isn't going to give 'an infinitely better result'. It's not a cake. It's a screw. It goes in and it comes out.
"I want"? So you created a new account, replacing the "Aeshir" account which actually posted this question? Interesting. Otherwise, I presume you've responded to this six year old comment (to which the actual, real original author already replied) just to be a troll. You've certainly waited long enough.
Aeshir (author)  kelseymh1 year ago
yo i'm just poppin in to say i have no idea who that guy is
Aeshir (author)  trialex7 years ago
I've unscrewed stuff without the right screwdriver before, and I'm not willing to spend money on a set of screwdrivers i'll only use once. I'm just fooling around anyways.
Drophau52 years ago
I find it easiest to just take a Dremel, put on medium-high speed and jam it right into the screw.
The screw will be driven in, yes, but once the toy/gamecube/etc comes apart the screw can be removed and replaced with a normal one.

Caution: This can f**k up the outside, so if it's for a delicate project or you want said (thing that you're opening) to be clean and fine to look at, it's not a good idea.
Nice information!
Win Guy3 years ago
Man, this helped me out heaps! I wish I'd found this before I special-ordered a tri-wing on eBay... Thanks a million!

I <3 Instructables!

Win Guy
hgreen13 years ago
Torx screwdrivers work.
sladdon3 years ago
amazon has it all!
msmith273 years ago
A small enough hex bit might do the trick.
you can use a 2mm flathead screwdriver
see here
spranger7 years ago

Hey all, I myself am in need of some security bits.
And I knew they would have it: Harbor Freight
They're a GREAT hardware store, online and location. Check out their 100 pc Security Bit Set for $6.00 Sooooo Buying one right now!
100pc security bit set.gif
LinuxH4x0r7 years ago
Dremel or angle grinder + stipper screwdriver = new screwdriver
I have made my own before to open a transformer
good luck
Get a plastic rod, melt the end and push it into the screws head, that works for me.
BadBobbo7 years ago
It would be best to just purchase the particular bit that you will need... The construction of the screw is strong, and if it is built like I immagine, the screw is below the surface of the plastic... You can't get to it with dikes, vice grips, or any type of plier... You probably can't get to it with anything to cut a slot to use a regular screwdriver... Anyway you look at it you will strugle without the bit... The plastic that the screw is screwed into is cheap and if you are struggling with it will damage the plastic thread... Then you are going to have big trouble keeping the controller back together after you are finished...
Kiteman7 years ago
You can buy sets of security bits, designed to open almost every supposedly-unopenable screw fitting. However, there is only one security screw I would like to be able to open, and I cannot find a driver to fit it - the triangular-holed screws used to hold McDonalds and Burger King toys together. I tried contacting both companies, both in the UK and US, and neither company would help.
Could you not just dremel/sand/file down the sides of an allen key? Or use one on it's own with no modification?
Kiteman, do you mean something like in the following pic ?

if so, then the bit looks like this: Security Bit
That seems to be the very thing!
zieak Kiteman7 years ago
I have read that some people have had luck heating plastic up to where it just starts to melt and then pressing the plastic onto the screw head so that it forms to the irregular shape. Let cool and then you have a custom screwdriver. I doubt this would work on all but might be worth a try if you're in a hurry.
Aeshir (author)  Kiteman7 years ago
A flathead works for that.
Goodhart7 years ago
Is this security screw the one you are speaking of? If so, they are constructed in such a way as to not be able to be removed in the normal way.

The bit for this screw may be able to remove it, but it looks like it may also only work to tighten the screw.

If you are not out to destroy the fastener, it may be difficult at best.

I have had to remove my share of Phillips head screws that were rounded out, with a hacksaw (to make a slot) and a regular screw driver.
Aeshir (author)  Goodhart7 years ago
Yeah, I think it's that one.
Goodhart Aeshir7 years ago
Well, the one linked to is, as has been mentioned, not able to be removed without either the special bit (also linked to) or, if it is a domed head as in the picture, a slot can be hacksawed into it for a screwdriver's use. If it is flush to the box.....well.
If it's flush to the box, use a screw extractor! If you can't get the extractor started, drill a small pilot hole in the screw head so the extractor has something to bite into. I think the hacksaw method as identified by Goodhart is the fastest and most positive method. It also would not ruin the fastener unless you were a bit messy with the hacksaw! :) Happy tampering!!
Yep, sorry I was being eclectic.
jtobako Aeshir7 years ago
Two options: One, use a small strait screwdriver that fits some of the hole or two, grind/file a nail to make your own bit. If you use the screwdriver, it tends to round out the screws and it's difficult to use because it doesn't center itself on the screw. If you make one out of a nail, bend the nail to make it easier to grip. I've used both on Gamecube and McDonald's toys. They both work, the screwdriver is faster if you only have to deal with one or three screws, but for more than that, it's worth the time to make a bit.
Aeshir (author)  Goodhart7 years ago
Well, it's not quite like that. It looks like a Phillips, but it only has three prongs. It's not twisted like that.
Not quite -- that is constructed to be impossible (ha!) to remove. This is just designed to not be opened by the average joe.
sugg227 years ago
using the file or sharpen attachment on a dremel, or a sander, you might be able to sand off one of the prongs of a Phillips head, and then try to jam it in the hole.
trebuchet037 years ago
Vice Grips
zachninme7 years ago
Use a smaller flathead. It sort of works... but its not great.
trialex7 years ago
Or buy yourself the proper screw driver. The type of screw is known as "tri-wing" or "trigram"

A quick ebay search for "nintendo screw" gives heaps of results

Anways here is a cheap example

Ebay auction
Yeah, thats what I did.
Brennn107 years ago
I had the same problem with the GameBoy Color. Nintendo modded the screws to make it harder for modders to take them off. I have a small screwdriver set (those in the yellow case), and it works fine.
CameronSS7 years ago
We have this set of security bits, and the one they call the "tri-wing bits" open those screws. They really do, I did it last weekend.
LasVegas7 years ago
If you can reach the screw with a small pair of Dikes (Diagonal Cutters), you can bite into the outside of the screw and remove it.
I'm partial to spiral flute screw extractor, just cram the best fitting one into the head and spin, replace with a "real" screw.
BoomGuy7 years ago
Do you need to preserve the screw? If not then use a Dremel to cut a slot along the diameter of the screw. Then use a screw driver.
jtobako BoomGuy7 years ago
Which Dremel accessory can cut a slot in a screw at the bottom of a hole (as most screws seem to be)?