Picture of Screwdriver with triangular head
Arrrgh...those silly little toys you get from McDonalds and such places have screws with triangular heads. It's fun to take them apart, but not when you have to literally saw through the plastic, like I used to. This was time consuming, slightly dangerous, and often ruined the cool bits inside that I was after. I sought a better way.

I looked all over the internet, and you cannot buy a screwdriver with a head like this. (I KNOW everyone and his brother will correct me on this, and post nine links to sites where you can buy a bucket 'o these for two dollars. So, you cannot easily buy a screwdriver with a head like this.)

As our good friends at MAKE say, If you can't open it, you don't own it.

While primarily found on little toys from fast food restauraunts (not just McDonalds), I've found these little screws on other small figures with leds inside them. This should work with those, too.

Step 1: Gather materials

Picture of Gather materials
To make a triangle head screwdriver, you will need:

  • Old screwdriver
  • Bench grinder

That's it!

For mine, I opted to go with regular two-penny nails instead of an old screwdriver. Cheap, plentiful, and no big deal if I mess up. I recommend you make one with a nail before you put the grinder to your screwdriver, to get the hang of using the grinder if you're not used to it, and to make sure you know how to shape it properly.

If you don't have an angle grinder, you could use wet concrete, a la Tim Anderson's hunting knife. It might take a year or three to do it that way though.
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M.A.Emmons7 months ago

It isnt just McD's you can add Funshine Toys, to the list. they are the micensed maker of Tonka toys now. I cant replace the light bulb in my grandson's "flashlight Force" truck without a screwdriver of this kind.

yugmodnar9 months ago

An easier way would be to use a normal Allen wrench that will fit inside the screw so that 3 sides of the wrench would be touching the 3 sides of the screw

They actually sell these on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Silverhill-Tools-ATKTR4-Triangle-Screwdriver/dp/B004IUEHYS

foxinsox1 year ago

this is exactly the cheap, fast, functional answer to changing my awesome McD's happy meal toys' batteries. you are a GENIUS.

ittbmfy3 years ago
Here's a guide (mis)using a BIC pen for this purpose
logicrules4 years ago
How to make a Triangle Head Screwdriver Bit to combat ignorant manufacturers.
For some reason manufacturers seem to think that they have the only means to enter the devices they produce.
If they make it, there will be a way to alter it, and the triangle head screw is among the latest of their efforts. Of course, there are people that are just nosy.
The triangle head screwdriver, which happens to be very expensive, for a screwdriver, is a result of their efforts. Why? To get one to pay more for a very simple device that is unavailable to most people, and to try to protect their warrantees. Warrantee be damned!
So, in order to combat their selfishness I have found a very simple way to create this special screwdriver, and all it takes is an Allen (Hex) wrench just slightly larger than the screw you wish to ‘operate’ on.

An Allen wrench has six sides to it, and it is very easy to remove three of these sides to form a triangle head screwdriver. I managed to accomplish this with the wrench, hand drill and a grindstone.
Of course it can be made easier with a stand to hold these devices, and to easily calculate the angles to be removed with a vise and protractor, and proper grindstone but with some careful applications of the drill, and grindstone, and my hands, I did it in about a half hour, you could even use a file. It will require a sharp eye, and numerous trials for fit. I have no idea what size the bit is.
I now have a device to thwart their efforts! We wait for their next move.

Phil B4 years ago
Our church has a "reader board" sign out front. Each side has three screws requiring one of these screwdrivers. We are fearful of the day someone loses the three-sided screwdriver that came with the sign. I made a spare from a nail similar to the one you used. It is not perfect, but it works. Thanks.
Lithium Rain (author)  Phil B4 years ago
"It is not perfect, but it works."

Yep, that's pretty much the way mine are, too...glad this was helpful to someone! Thanks for taking the time to tell me. :)
Owlbear6 years ago
i also had trouble with these screws, i found that my set of finishing files had the right sized tips though and simply wrapped one in fine rope for grip to get the screws out
Kefo42 Owlbear4 years ago
Genius! You saved me some valuable time with this type, I just happened to have the right sized file from when I made models as a kid. Thanks!
Lithium Rain (author)  Owlbear6 years ago
That's a cool solution if you don't want to/can't do this!
NDS has these things, too. you do know that at sears you can get a whole set of "security" bits for screwdrivers. comes in handy sometimes.
also, they are classified under "tri-wing screws" if I am correct.
Nope, they're different I understand you find tri-wings on Nintendo DS? It's triangles on burger toys ( and strangely on my toaster :-/ ) Anyway here's the pictagrams for each for those that are interseted.... Hooray - it works ( had to click 'add images' again and again first though )
Great Post bosherston! ;-)
http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.19865 ($3.90) they call this "tri-wing" and "try-gram", but it appears to fit the McTrash toys

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.19862 ($4.30) this one is 7mm rather than the above 6 mm. I don't know which was better.

Both of those are pretty pricey though. Here's a multi-bit set:

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.42425 ($9.90) one of them looks like it might fit.

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.42369 ($12.50) has two bits that might be a match

The problem with the bits is that the maker of the toy can create a narrow channel that's too small to admit the bit. The you are forced to braze the tip to something and then grind down the diameter at 3 AM in the morning.

I appear to have been the first to post a link to an actual product. Even so, at four bux a pop, I'd still probably go the grinder route on a nail myself.


free supersaver shipping, but $5
Lithium Rain (author)  mettaurlover6 years ago
Cool, thanks for the info! :)
bosherston4 years ago
Meh, I found another variant. I got a freebie in the post today, a powersaver plug that picks up the IR from TV remote to shut down, Holding the case together are tri-wing with a little raised nipple in the centre, like security torx, sorry for the pic quality.
Nice job on this.  Looks pretty easy, and I like that custom handle for the second one!

I was needing one of these screwdrivers to take apart Nintendo products.  I found a nice auction on Ebay instead of making my own though.

The auction included:
a tri-wing screwdriver
a small security bit
a large security bit

Now I can take apart anything made by Nintendo!
(As a side note, these special screws are normally only on the outside.  There are almost always typical flat head and Phillips head on the inside)
Lithium Rain (author)  skittlespider5 years ago
Thank you!

That sounds like an awesome buy. Thanks for the info on interior screws as well! :)
 im sure you already knew that :P good job on being nice :)
Your welcome.  I have all kinds of screwdrivers at the house, because I have a habit of taking things apart.  Normally to fix or attempt to improve things, but sometimes just out of curiosity.
KnexFreek5 years ago
 I agree with what make says :)
tom2oo95 years ago
I like the instructable but you do realise you can use a small flat head screwdriver... I used to do this alot when i was younger and was bored >.<
Lithium Rain (author)  tom2oo95 years ago
I do realize it. But this is not optimal. It tends to ream out the screw, and is not easy to do for me. Why force a tool to do a job it's suboptimal for when you could easily have a tailor-made one? :)
Dodgy6 years ago
Why not just use a FOUND screwdriver, or an old one, worn out (tip) one, or one from a garage sale, or a new one for $2 at the $2 shop ? That's what I've done, years ago. Dunno where the screwdriver is now. I could convert one into one, in a minute, on the bench grinder. And then 3 minutes with the wet and dry to smooth & polish the edges!
That;s all very well for those who have fancy tools like bench grinders at their disposal! If I had that sort of equipment, I'd probably already have the triangle-head screwdriver!
Lithium Rain (author)  farmbrough5 years ago
Hehehehe :D
Lithium Rain (author)  Dodgy6 years ago
I actually bought some old screwdrivers from a garage sale for this exact purpose. At the time of making this instructable, I wanted the tool immediately and had no spare screwdrivers, and I wasn't very sure of my grinding skills anyway, so I just used a nail. Thanks for the comment! :)
Keith-Kid5 years ago
The...annotations...uh...yellow square on the pics, still say Adrian Monk. BUUUUG!!!!
Lithium Rain (author)  Keith-Kid5 years ago
Yes, I've noticed this for awhile - just figured it's not terribly important.  
Yes it is! You STOLE this from Adrian Monk! I'm reporting you to the authorities, Ner'doweller! ...Ner'do'well.....uh...'er...YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!
bosherston6 years ago
Yesyesyes great that you made one rather than bought one! It's not a tri-wing as mettaurlover suggested. I can feel a wave of pedantry coming on :-0
Lithium Rain (author)  bosherston6 years ago
Thanks! Hahahaha.
marselsipod6 years ago
OH.MY.GOD. YOU'RE A GENIUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lithium Rain (author)  marselsipod6 years ago
Hahahaha, thanks. :D
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
Why not use a tiny flathead screwdriver and wedge that into the screw? That what I do
Well, in a pinch that will do, but this is better! It works better than that. Plus, I'm geared towards making tools rather than using ones ill-suited for the task at hand. :)
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