Picture of When a Phillips is not a Phillips Plus So Much More!

When a Phillips is not a Phillips - Plus So Much More!

A Continuation of Screws and Drives

by Egon Pavlis, Biomedtronix Inc.

With overwhelming response to my preceding "ible" titled "When a Phillips is not a Phillips? - Cross-head, Cross-Point, Cruciform, Square Drive Screws and Drivers" and this logical expansion follows. Readers requested information on all - recessed screw drives including security, especially the tougher ones to find. Well, here they are.

This article contains a lot of information presented from company websites, catalogues and brochures and so 'may be biased' to highlight their drive qualities. There are some advantages and disadvantages of some drive types. This "ible" is not intended to present one drive superior over another as each has desirable qualities. Maybe it will be the definitive guide with your help it could get close.

If you disagree with any of the information or if I missed a related drive you know of, please let me know where I can validate the information. Miss-information, incorrect illustrations, screwed up usage of terms on the Internet and elsewhere is rampant and part of the problem created by so many drives.

Should you have relevant information, especially verifiable or with web links, clear pictures etc to add, correct or improve the project please email it to me so I can follow-up on it.

Please refer to the Step # when leaving comments or questions to that specific drive types. 

Use this project, enjoy it, share it, just do not claim it as your own or sell it. Some of the contents have been borrowed, copied, clipped, etc and may still be copyrighted by others.

Should you feel motivated enough to forward cash $$, I'd like to inspire and encourage you to please remember I like and also collect all flavours of world currency!

If you enjoy this work, please remember to Vote accordingly if you see it in an Instructable Contest.

  • Notes about project layout
This "ible" is presented with one screw drive type per step. When possible there is a head icon pattern, a drive bit or tool picture, plus additional pictures and text to help clarify the type. The order of types presented is based somewhat on the shape; number of corners, points or drive surfaces; number of ways to engage the drive; etc and from least to most.

Icon patterns of each screw type are a view of the screw head, straight on. They can best be visualized if you imagine the screw head is used as a rubber stamp with a black inkpad. The screw head fingerprint result transferred onto white paper should resemble the icon. The drive of course is usually, but not always, an inverse of this. Occasionally gray is used in some icons to indicate detail at a different level, one that would also not touch the black in the print, but requires the detail highlighted.

A few types are grouped at the far end of the 'ible', these include Combo Drives, Security Key Drives and Gamer Drives.

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Cryptic5 months ago

I think I've seen these on Ikea furniture. If I'm right about that, use of these screws may be part of the reason folks have a hard time putting their furniture together.

foxconnmold9 months ago

If you're just getting started I would recommend going to your local craft store and talking to an associate about what's best for a beginner. Or, the best price for a started set is going to be on amazon. Best of luck!!!

alex56k11 months ago

Where can I buy the bit for Penta-Plus ?

jackscrap1 year ago

this came with my 100 piece harbor freight security bit set, I've seen it in other sets as well. does anyone know what kind of screw this goes to?

mystery bit cropped.jpg
pwmeek jackscrap12 months ago

These are for driving screw-eyes. They work _fairly_ well. If the eye of the screw eye fits the slot tightly you can start and drive them. If it is loose, you have to get the screw part well-started before finishing the drive with these bits.

bill92bill1 year ago

These are great screws with no drive, they look like a rivet or nail head once they are installed. The slightly out of round screw is a good tamper proof deterrent on its own. The special tool makes it even better.

avsafe tamper proof screws.jpg
bill92bill1 year ago

This looks very similar to AVSAFE screws: www.avsafescrews.com

avsafe tamper proof screws.jpg
Dodgy5 years ago
Something similar to this can be found on old (early 80's) Nintendo Game & Watches.
The long slot sides are parallel, and I guess the hemispherical dip in the middle is to help the screwdriver bit centre in the screw. I presumed they had automated machines installing the screws. I can take macro photos if needed.

Similar to which? This doesn't sound like the Nintendo gamebits I encountered. I would very much like to see those photos.

Would certainly be interesting to see. If you wouldn't mind.
jackscrap1 year ago

I got these at the Home Depot for I think $3 the Milwaukee ECX 1&2 supposedly their only sizes, package says for electrical fasteners, these have their impact driver compatible shank and looks like the "step110: combo slot - square"

milwaukee ecx 1&2 cropped.jpg

photos by me feel free to add them to the list

imboox23 years ago
I have a tool box of many shaped bits I have collected. Some I have modified and hardened. I have various types of screw extractors and pliers. It also contains a cordless Dremmel with the cutting disks as mentioned by some. I also have Super Glue and fast setting JB Weld in it. The latter gets so hard it can be machined. I have mixed some up, filled the offending screw head and stuck a bit in it and let it harden and then backed the screw out or filled the head and then cut a slot in the hardened JB Weld and used a straight blade.

It is not a large tool box. It is an old tackle box actually. All of the bits fit in a roll up canvas Skil bit assortment set I got many years ago...it came with 5 of each of many types of bits and drills in it. About 320 screw bits and drill bits in all. Now it has just the various types of screw bits, some extractors, and the drill bits are just a set of cobalt drill bits for screw drilling, the others are long gone giving their space to more screw bits. When it is rolled up it is about a foot long and about 3" in diameter.

It doesn't take much space to build up a kit. I used to hit specialty tool shops for equipment I worked on and trained techs to repair. I was in electronics, but bought tools to make tool sets for our field techs, if I saw some odd bits while out and about and they were not much in cost I'd pick them up for myself.

please explain this jb weld method better, perhaps in an instructable...I'm very interested

cheesphht1 year ago
anyone ever see one of those rectangular insetted screws found in mobile homes?

They say to use a square # 2 but I always end up cutting them or chiseling them out.

Anyone know what they're called and what, if any, insert is made for them?
Take a closer look at a "fresh" (undamaged) screw head, preferably under some magnification. All the factory-original screws in our "prefab" house (basically, a late-50s or early-60s "double-wide mobile home", but with a full foundation-and-basement under it, rather than a crawlspace) look rectangular at first glance, but are actually more "butterfly" shaped, and, I believe, are known as "clutch head" screws, available in at least two sizes. Sounds like that might be what you're looking at....
My favorite screwdrivers are some quality JIS screwdrivers. I work on vintage audio equipment a lot and they work great, also on motorcycles. Using regular Phillips drivers frequently mangles the screw heads as well as the screwdrivers and bits. You only get to 'cam out' a couple times before a screw is trashed, especially with cordless drill drivers. The JIS screwdrivers and bits work so much better and as a bonus they work better on regular Phillips screws too. I use Vessel brand JIS screwdrivers and bits, I bought quite a few just in case they stop making them.
I realize the 'camming out' part was designed into Phillips on purpose but in my opinion it was a mistake and the JIS design with its parallel faces is much superior.
Avsafe screws available at Loss Prevention Hardware
Ian011 year ago
This is on Kickstarter right now. They have a drive system called UniGrip, which appears to be very similar or identical to the Uni-Screw you've listed.
wjcarpenter5 years ago
If you ever need one of those triangle Happy Meal screwdrivers in a big hurry, you're not going to find one at your local hardware store.  Not to worry.  Just use a 6-side Torx of a nice size that fits snugly.  Two of the six points of the Torx driver will touch each side of the triangular screw cutout.  (Yeah, yeah, experience....)
arcticpenguin (author)  wjcarpenter5 years ago
Using that theory so would an allen key.  Possibly handier.
I thought that as well, but it turns out that an allen key, no matter how snug a fit, simply cams out. Using a torx, you have to bear down to prevent it from doing so as well, but it *is* possible. Just be careful not to munge up the screw.

I wouldn't want to make a habit of taking out the same screw repeatedly using this method, but it worked for me in a pinch. Thanks for the tip wjcarpenter!
jarfil2 years ago
It seems somewhat dodgy, given that:

- The japanese web it was on seems to be down ( http://www.seihin-world.com/s/2005/07/03_1551.php references news at NTT and asahi which seem to have been retired).
- The photo seems to be photoshopped from one available at http://nejikouba.com/titan2.htm

As a comparison:
engineeron5 years ago
I have used a brand called "Screw Doctor".  It has gritty particles in a green liquid carrier.  Comes in a plastic tube, 99 cents at local True Value hardware.  I've had some success when screw heads were damaged.  It isn't a miracle material, but it CAN make the difference in marginal conditions.  Used a similar one some years ago that felt like slightly thinned Clover valve-grinding compound - was carbide grit in oily-feeling carrier - but don't know brand.  Useful, IMHO.
You see all them flatheads in there? lol
aqua-regia3 years ago
Thank you for your time, patience and perseverance .... this was a " Highly Educative Article " ..... we think we know it all ; but what else exist out there ?
Chicagogoat3 years ago
This is the only place on the web I could find this screw head. I'm an HVAC/Boiler guy and I make regular trips to the junk yard to turn in copper and bronze valves, fittings, pump housings, etc.

Anyway, I keep all the leaky relief valves that I replace and strip them for thier brass housing. Some of them use tamper proof Torx or even Clutch G screws to secure the valve/spring assembly to the brass housing. But alot of them have these Torx 3-lobe screws that I've used larger Tri-wing bits to remove them but eventually the bit gets ruined and those aren't the easiest to come by either. Torx 3-lobe are impossible to come by and now I'm forced to just sawzall 'em off. Here's a couple pics.
Came across one of these guys a little while ago, frustration led me to 'trimming' an olive fork to fit the screw head :)

Excellent 'ible by the way!
does anyone know where i could buy a good tri-wing screwdriver for a fair price in the U.S?
It depends on the size of driver that you need, McMaster-Carr has bits and drivers of most sizes available. In fact they have more tools than you'll ever see in one place.
You could go to autozone and get a security bit set for less than $20USD. It has most of the bits discussed in this 'ible.
DealExtreme sells one for a dollar with free shipping: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.1887
darksidez44 years ago
Problem with any of these security screws.... take a cutting disk and make a groove for a flat head screw driver.
arcticpenguin (author)  darksidez44 years ago
I do understand your point. Simple at first look, but not always so simple.
A slot would most often work, although this would depend on how deeply countersunk the head is, and if the head is large enough to cut or cutting disc is thin enough. I do have some very small ones with very little 'lip' left after a slot was cut to easily remove. Security screws are intended to deter removal by unauthorised persons while retaining full functionality to authorized persons. If the screw was never intended to remove then there are some very permanent adhesives.
As well security screws are often used to indicate attempts to remove. One example of this would be when screw removal voids warranty.
Deathsaurer4 years ago
Wally_Z4 years ago
For almost any security bit, you can use the right size flathead screwdriver to open it.
drawkcab5 years ago
Problem with these like others is you can jam a flathead between the square part and the center pin!
Not with many of these designs, trust me, they test them very thoroughly for that. You just can't get the torque behind it that is needed.
All being said though, they are by no means as secure as an actual lock and key, but even those can be bypassed with picks ... and axes.
lazlot4 years ago
Cutting a straight slot isn't always possible...eg. recessed screws. Here's a few tricks i've used in the past- 1/ Centre drill into head and use an 'ezy-out' (avail from most tool or bolt shops. This is a reverse tapered helical designed to 'bite' the hole and unscrew). 2/ Modify an old screwdriver, i.e. on a straight blade, cut a groove in the middle with a Dremel (also good for truing spoked wheels with the tyre off). I've also ground the point off a phillips bit, then cross-cut a recess in-between the outside edges to form 4 points. And ground 3 of the edges off an allen-key to form a rounded triangular drive. 3/ When all else fails, buy 'security pack 1 &2 driver bit sets from jaycar.com.au and use a Kinchrome 1/4 inch screwdriver handle. P.s. I always try to replace the screw (if-nec.) with a standard head type.
NRGXTC5 years ago

great lexicon of screws :)
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