Introduction: Remove a Stripped Screw

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We've all done it. You've tightened up a screw, straightened up your back, and bam - the head of your screw is stripped. If the joint is meant to be permanent, who cares? But if you want to retract it later on, you're going to have a pretty darn hard time getting that out - unless you happen to see this Instructable! In this Instructable, I'll show you how to extract a stripped screw

Step 1: Rubber Band

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In this approach, grab a thick rubber band and, using a screwdriver a size bigger than the screw, push the screwdriver on top of the rubber band, on top of the screw. Apply firm pressure and turn gently. Remember, righty-tighty, lefty-loosey!

Step 2: Nosing Around

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One of the simplest methods is to grasp the head of the screw with needle-nose pliers. This only works if there is a fair amount of the screw sticking out. Once you've grabbed the screw's head, forcefully twist it around.

Step 3: Gluing

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This is pretty much a universal way to remove a pesky little screw. Fill the stripped head of the screw with a glue (such as epoxy, but hot-melt glue is quick and works very well) and stick the screwdriver in. Wait for the glue to dry or cool, and then apply even pressure as you rotate the screw.

Step 4: Special Screws

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The last way is for flat-blade screws only. Using a Dremel with an abrasive cutting blade (or a hacksaw, for that matter), carefully cut a groove perpendicular to the stripped part. Then, you can unscrew your screw perfectly!

Step 5: Win at Life

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Haha! Now you can beat those pesky little screws. If you enjoyed this Instructable, check out some of my others! Thanks for your time.

Comments

PowellMade (author)2015-01-18

Good hack!! I love the rubber band one. Keep it up!!!!

Involved Observer (author)2015-01-16

Handy tips - thanks!

ringai (author)2015-01-16

There are also a number of extractors sold in kits. They usually are double ended, with one end being used to reduce the remaining slots into a depression just a about the size of the other end of the bit, which has gripping cutters. After grinding out the head a bit, flip the bit in your drill and use the grippers to slowly back out the screw out. This sort goes by brand name. Ryobi and Irwin both sell them, and the "As Seen On TV" also sells some.

The generic names I've always heard for the single-ended variety are "Easy-Out" and "Fluted Screw Extractor." With those, you drill the head using a drill (or a brace and bit if you're really old) and then use the easy-out to (held in a brace or in vice grips) slowly twist out the screw. You can buy entire kits of these, with a drill bit for every size extractor, paired with a drill bit, or bare.

When using either of these bits, it's important to use a very slow speed when turning the screws back out. Otherwise you'll end up grinding out the hole with the cutter.

Another method that is handy (provided the workpiece is sturdy enough) is to place the driver into the hole, hold the handle and bear down really hard, then tap the end of the handle with a hammer as you try to turn the screw a little. You'll have to get the timing down so that your actions mimic that of an impact driver in reverse. It sounds funny, but it works like a champ. It just takes a little practice to master the hammer/turn action.

Fission Chips (author)ringai2015-01-16

ringai said:

"Another method that is handy (provided the workpiece is sturdy enough) is to place the driver into the hole, hold the handle and bear down really hard, then tap the end of the handle with a hammer as you try to turn the screw a little. You'll have to get the timing down so that your actions mimic that of an impact driver in reverse. It sounds funny, but it works like a champ. It just takes a little practice to master the hammer/turn action."

Yeah! I was considering putting that in this, but the point of this Instructable is to provide an easy and cheap* way to extract stripped screws.

*There are extractors sold in kits, but this is supposed to be cheap - that's why It's in the On a Budget contest.

ringai (author)Fission Chips2015-01-20

Well, you certainly did a great job at that!

kode1303 (author)2015-01-16

Use torx screws!

Fission Chips (author)kode13032015-01-16

Hahaha! Most people use normal philips-head and flat-blade screws, though.

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