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Where can I find a screwdriver for an Etch-A-Sketch Animator? Answered

I have an old Etch-A-Sketch Animator from 1986. The rubber membrane buttons barely work now. I would love to take this apart and clean out the buttons but the security screws in this are very weird - a funky kind of three bladed thing for which I have never been able to find a bit/driver. It's not Tri-Lobe, Tri-Wing or Tri-Groove. It's a standard pan top screw with three slots, separated in the center by a tiny "triangle". The slots come together much more closely than Tri-Groove. The ends of the slots closest to the center of the screw are more shallow than the edges closest to the diameter of the screw.

A Tri-Groove might work, but I don't think the driver is going to clear the outer plastic housing. If anyone knows where I can find a bit to remove these, I'd appreciate the help!

As far as advice on improvised removal techniques: Dremel techniques or any kind of "use a pair of dikes" technique won't work here because the screw is recessed by about 1.5cm in a channel that is maybe 1mm wider than the screw head. I'd like to avoid "Melt a pen" techniques to avoid damage to the casing and/or getting a pen permanently melted into the shaft. Besides, with the size of these screws (1/4 inch head?) and the age of the device, I doubt a Bic pen will have the torque necessary to pop the screws. (Keeping that under my belt as a last resort, though.)

Links to a recommended Tri-Groove set with plenty of differently sized bits would be awesome as a second to last resort. There's so many and I'm a bit out of my element.

4 Replies

thematthatter (author)2014-04-02

use an "easy out" screw extractor.

drill a hole through the middle of the head of the screw about 1/8 inch, and then insert the screw extractor, it looks like a drill bit but reversed. it will grip the screw head and untwist it.

If you dont have a screw extractor i had luck using a sharp flat head after i drilled a hole, that was slightly bigger than the hole., then i tapped it lightly into the screw and twisted it out.

then use a regular wood/toy screw to put it back together

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mpilchfamily (author)2014-03-30

The tri grove is pretty standard. They don't come in different sizes. This kit will cover just about any odd screws you may come across.


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inanis (author)mpilchfamily2014-04-01

Thanks for the info. I looked at that kit and I may pick it up for future use, although I don't think it has a bit that's going to remove that screw.

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mpilchfamily (author)inanis2014-04-01

The bits in the set that may work out for you are the U bits. They look like a flat head with the center cut out. The should be able to get a grip is 2 of the groves on teh screw head and allow you to remove them.

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