Introduction: Remove a Stripped Screw or Bolt.

Picture of Remove a Stripped Screw or Bolt.

Need to remove a stripped screw or bolt? This is one of the many ways to do it, only requires a dremel.

Step 1: Tools

Picture of Tools

Flat blad screwdriver
Dremel cut off wheel.

Step 2: Problem

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As you can see this screw is stripped. (well not so bad..)

Step 3: Cut a Notch...

Picture of Cut a Notch...

So I am not your mom, but put on some safety glasses...

Then cut a smooth straight notch across the screw with your dremel. Don't make this too wide or your screwdriver will have a hard time catching.

Step 4: Remove It...

Picture of Remove It...

Now that your notch is cut, you use a large flat blade screwdriver to remove it.

Step 5: Still Stuck?

Picture of Still Stuck?

If it is really stuck in there, like on some crazy metal on metal action, grab the handle with some pliers and turnwhile pushing down on the handle with your hand.


russ_hensel (author)2016-09-01

Just a note to let you know I have added this to the collection: Difficult Dis-assembly: Taking Things Apart for Repair


There are a lot of things that are hard to take apart and lot of methods.

Everything impossible (author)2015-07-10

And it's to tight to get vice grips in there and turn them

Everything impossible (author)2015-07-10

I got a 8 mm bolt on my quad, it's really striped out and I CAN NOT he t it out. I tried heating it, hammering a 7mm in it, a 12 point 8mm and heating a 8 mm to make it bigger. Idk what to do. It's to small to fit a Dremel in there. Please help.

zigzagchris (author)2011-06-27

Iv been pondering how to remove a screw I striped on my laptop for a while. Any ideas? its about an inch into the base...

MrOddjob (author)zigzagchris2013-03-08

It's probably a phllips or posidrive screw or even a torx (Star) screw. Maybe even has a post in the centre of a Posi' screw.
Anyway, whatever it is, try a small flat driver, as in 'Watchmaker S'Driver' set, and select the largest one that will fit inside of, or around the driver slot.
It may not fit centrally, but it may give enough purchase to free the screw. Sometimes I may file a notch into the Driver blade to overcome the 'Post in the middle' problem.

swingbug62 (author)zigzagchris2011-08-14

try a left hand drill bit..very slowly and with firm pressure.basically you want it to bite but not necessarily cut.

cousin steve (author)zigzagchris2011-08-14

Ive heard putting a wide rubber band between the stripped screw head and screwdriver works great.

WheneverI strip screws on my technical equipment, I take a small pen torch (Or soldering iron) and heat up the head of the screw (Don't melt the plastic around it). Once the head is reasonably hot, try jamming a junk screwdriver into it (Phillips or Flat, depending on the screw type).
The hot metal is softer, allowing you to simpley drive your screwdriver into it and (hopefullly) create a new screw hole.

Hope this works. If not, let me know, ok?

dombeef (author)videogamemaster2011-06-27

Do the heating it up and use a piece of plastic to make a mold of the screw that you could use to twist it

videogamemaster (author)dombeef2011-06-27

I suppose you could do that, if you have the correct type of plastic. If the screw is small enough, you can take apart a simple, clear plastic pen (Such as a Bic brand pen) and put it ontop of the screw. Heat up the plastic and it should make a form fit around the screw. Try twisting to unscrew it.
But like I've said before, be careful not to melt the plastic on the laptops casing, because that may cause problems in the future with the circuitry inside and the case.

What apart of the pen are you suggesting? the casing is too large for the hole and i tried the caps tip but the bent too much. I thought about the ink cartridge but m not interested in ink in my 600 dollar gaming laptop.
i dont really feel comfortable sticking a hot screwdriver in it at this point. How hot are you recomending?

Lol, sorry about my other comment. I accidentally put "how how" I meant "how hot". Heh, I got distracted.

Yeah, I meant the casing of the pen. But yes, I can see why you wouldn't feel comfortable jamming pieces of pens into your expensive laptop.
How how? Well, the metal of the screwdriver would need to be red-hot. I'm guessing you don't want to do that, either.
I was thinking you could go to a craft or hard ware store, and look for a knife with a long handle. You can stick it into the hole and chip away at the metal on the screw. I suggest you wear protective gloves so you don't chip away at your hands, instead.

If that doesn't work, again, let me know. I have a few more things up my sleeve.

eyesee (author)2012-11-22


E_MAN (author)2011-08-25

thanks man!

nalk55 (author)2011-08-15

My oil drain bolt snapped off on my dirt and I was able to get it out far enough to do this.

lukeD (author)2011-08-15

who... Never knew it was so simple!

sunshiine (author)2011-06-27

Nice! I will try this for one I have stuck in the wood.

ikssk (author)2011-06-27

Try this: if the screw is sticking out of the of the wood as pictured, take your drill and tighten the chuck around the screw head, put your drill in reverse, and unscrew the screw. Works on broken screws also.

tfultsucf (author)2011-06-27

I've actually done this before! Except it's a bit scarier on smaller screws in visible locations where the surrounding areas can be nicked. A smaller diameter cutting head on the Dremel might help avoid this but it sure does help when you're in need of a quick fix!

dmrsch (author)2008-04-22

You can also use your drill and tighten the chuck around the screw head

jimmytvf (author)dmrsch2011-06-27

Could slip as well. Thats the best and the fastest way. When I mess up a screw, i grab a bigger screwdriver, and sometimes work and sometimes dont, where you make the head completely round

dog digger (author)dmrsch2011-06-27

But there is still a problem with that:
The Flush mount screw

StillSteveB (author)dmrsch2009-02-22

Not sure why I never thought of this (I'm not belittling your answer; just I'm a complete spastic with this stuff), but this really got me out of a jam. Super!

skaterqwertyuiop (author)2011-06-27

So simple, and so useful... Why didn't I think of this method already?

Jodex (author)2011-06-27

Drilling a hole same size as the screw through the center of the screw will also "remove" it.

tperkins4 (author)2011-06-18

Thanks for this post! You helped me remove my car stereo's stuck/stripped mounting screw!

unaffiliatedperson (author)2010-11-20

ha i did this to my old pocket knife. it was acheapy one and my torx bit stripped the screw holding the blade the the handle. worked great. i used a dime to tighten it from then on.

LeOSSJ2 (author)2010-10-01


Today i used it for removing an engine from an old calculetor, of those whitch had someting that printed in a paper what you've been calculating...

And this method worked exelently...

Thanks a lot!

mlucas719 (author)2010-06-10

if you place a rubber band over the stripped screw head you can just use a screwdriver and un screw it right out. try it, been doing that forever and it's much neater

ahmad2117 (author)2010-05-30

it really made a ''Bolt'' of electricity

get it a bolt of electricity and an actual bolt

Yerboogieman (author)2010-05-29

What if you break a screw or bolt and don't have a reverse thread bit to get it out?

sharlston (author)2009-10-19

hey nice ible 5 stars another name for a cutof wheel is a iber glass cutting disc

rada194 (author)2009-10-16

An easier way is to use vise grips

puddingbeach (author)2009-09-05

to save yourself a lot of heartach, always try going the otherway, sometimes it works...

Tetrafish (author)2009-09-05

Ha :-D, neat. I actually did this a few days ago to some large screws I was trying to drill into some treated wood... They got so tight they wouldn't turn anymore with the drill... That is to say - they got stripped. I then took a flat head screw-driver, but wrapped a rubber dish-washing glove around the handle to get a better grip. I will not use those particular screws again unless I pre-drill a hole into the work. Another time I did something like this was to remove some screws on a micro-wave. They had weird star shaped screws in 'em.

dominic.tarr (author)2008-02-01

damn.. i have some stripped screws holding on the crank case of my motorcycle. i need to get them off so that I can adjust the tappets. I already tried cutting a new slot... and now the new slot is stripped! they are in mighty tight. I need to use an impact driver to remove them normally, I'll try getting some penetrating oil (used wd-40 so far), with a wax/chewing gum cup built up around the screw so it can soak in it. my other idea is to use metal putty to rebuilt the screw. don't know if it will work but any thing will be better than drilling out the whole and cutting a new thread!

nakigara (author)dominic.tarr2009-09-05

I really doubt the metal putty will work. I don't know the forces involved, but I think it's a save bet that they would far exceed the adhesive strength of the putty. I've got a motorcycle myself, and I've stripped more then a couple screws and bolts on it. Impact drivers can work wonders, and are kinda fun to use as well (how often do you get to smack something with a hammer, in a legitimate attempt to fix it?) look into getting a set of screw extractors - Ive managed to use them with success, but I often break one when trying to remove it from the screw (after the screw has been removed) - Most hardware stores should have them, they have a reverse-twist thread on them, and you drill a hole in the stripped/stuck/broken screw/bolt/fastener (supposed to work better if you can use a reverse-twist drill bit, but I haven't seen these anywhere yet). then you tap the extractor in the hole, and use a tap wrench/crescent wrench in a counter-clockwise rotation. The extractor will dig into the screw, and eventually remove it. Also, good to use penetrating oil, or sometimes heat depending on what type of thread locking compound may have been used. good luck

robotguy4 (author)2009-09-04

I may have found another way to remove stripped screws, however, more research is required before posting. By the way, this also works for screws you don't have a screw driver for.

mikedoth (author)2009-04-27

I've been doing this since I got my dremil. Good to see someone make a tutorial for it.

rrReagaN (author)2009-04-15

hey thanks man good idea since easy out won't work in my situation because I don't have a drill strong enough to get my bolt out :D

Jigar (author)2008-04-22

Thanx, luckily i have a dremel. i'll try this

Prometheus (author)2006-05-22

Actually this is an old-school approach to stripped screw heads. There are alternatives when this will not work. If the mounted part is thick enough, simply drill it out and work out the reaining stud with needlenose pliers, depending on screw gauge. The alternate is prevention. Some screws are not Philips but actually "Reed & Prince", which tends to have a grabbier head hold unlenss a standard phillips has been used on it. Philips is recognised by looking at a standard stanley-brand ophilips screwdriver. Reed & Prince has a more pointy head. The alternate for such screws in metal: Place the proper-size driver in to the head of the screw, preferably one where there is direct mechanical acces to the shank. Tap the shank like you are hammering the screw in, and then try to loosen it. By doing so you introduce a component of drop-forging and thus release some of the tension from the screw, loosening it by stretching the screw. Then you can replace the screw with a new one without damage to the surounding material. If possible, heating the screw while avoiding heat transfer to the surrounding surface can help too...Penetrating lubricant like "BlasterPB" will often work loose a stubborn fastener 20X better than Liquid Wrench (which I never bother to use anymore)...See you local auto parts store for the yellow and black can...

arcticpenguin (author)Prometheus2008-02-26

Can you explain more about the Reed & Prince screwdriver? Just googled them and their site doesn't go into drivers or anything much actually. Now I'm used to JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) screws and drivers. Phillips look-alikes at first glance. Hard as heck to find the drivers but some Radio Controlled stores have them because often the Asian built RC helicopter blades are attached with JIS. While the screwhead looks the same, the JIS has a raised dot identifier. There is ever so slight a difference when looking at the tip between JIS and the Phillips. But I do know from experience that the Phillips driver will bugger up a JIS head so bad you'd think game is over. Then just using a JIS on that buggered head out comes the screw. Any idea where a Reed & Prince driver is sold? Are there any identifier featured on the screwhead? Are they larger screws or smaller or all kinds of heads. Now I'd really like to know if there are other Phillip-ish drivers out there. You other tips are duly noted. I've put my "secret black book of tool tips" in a dang secret place, now I can't find it. Thanks.

Prometheus (author)arcticpenguin2008-02-29

Look at your standard Stanley philips screwdriver. Note the crude excecution of the design for a philips head drive, showing typical american engineering. A Reed & Prince screwdriver is actually precision-cut so that each of the four blades actually digs into the metal instead of trying to slide out of it. You could say that the equivalent is the JIS (metric). I have no idea where to get them anymore, just use the japanese drivers as they are actually well-made on purpose, just make sure you use a proper size. Reed & Prince drivers were american-sized to metric standards, so essentially you have the same. They should come in all typical sizes. Best use for a stanley screwdriver is to cut the handle off and use it as an impacter for stubborn machine screws. Even the $2.99 racheting screwdriver sets have better heads than the drop-forged Stanley screwdrivers. You'll know a Reed & Prince if spinning the blade itself while pinching it actually takes skin off with ease, and that is why the shank breaks before they strip the screw, because they only bite harder. I might add that there is a new device on infomercials that actually works to get them free, when slotting the end of the stud is not possible, although it seems it requires a minimum of a 3mm bolt gauge, or a #4 bolt (or so, I forgot my bolt gauges a long time ago).....

arcticpenguin (author)Prometheus2008-02-29

So to get this straight, it's not that there is Reed and Prince screwhead, but rather a superior screwdriver. I'm sure I can find the driver on the web somewhere. Thanks

pfred1 (author)Prometheus2006-10-13

I wish I could buy PB Blaster by the 55 gallon drum! Liquid Stench and WD-00 are worthless. Both those products are like aerosol kerosene or something, they don't even make decent lubricants.

Neodudeman (author)2006-08-23

wow. that's awesome.

_soapy_ (author)2006-06-23

I second the penetrating oil point. It does a lot more than anything else. Cutting a slot in the head will often work, but for the really tough nuts, you might want to try the following:

Get a 1.5mm drill bit (for a 5mm bolt - go bigger if you can), and drill through the side of the bolt, all the way through. Now get a bit of piano wire that is also 1.5mm thick, and carefully hammer it into the hole. *Don't* try to turn it with the wire, it will just bend!

Now, get a punch and hammer, and put the point of the punch at the intersection of the wire and the bolt. Tap it hard, and the screw will start to move. If it doesn't, then something is seriously wrong - try driving it the other way!

dll932 (author)2006-05-18

Valve-grinding compound (abrasive in oil) on the tip of the screwdriver will help to keep a driver tip from skidding on a worn screw.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to tinker with just about anything, sometimes it works out in the end. Have fun looking at the projects, try tearing something open ... More »
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