How to Open Security Screws




Introduction: How to Open Security Screws

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This instructable shows you how to open security screws.  Security screws are those stupid screws you see on products that the manufacture does not intend for you to open.  Ive seen these on hard drives and on a microwave.
There are two ways to open these without the special screwdriver, you can use a hammer and just bust the thing open (using brute force) or take a dremel and cut a slot or Phillips head into the screw.
Since we have evolved from the cavemen i will show you how a gentleman opens these.

You will need a dremel rotary tool and fiberglass reenforced cut off wheel.
appropriate PPE (glasses, ear protection, reflective belt)

Here is some cool information for screws

Step 1: Add a Slot Into the Top

This is too easy,
Take your dremel tool and carefully cut a slot in to the top of the screw.  You want to modify the screw head to accept the new tool as perfect as possible.  If you make the slot too wide then you risk shearing off the head and ruining the screw. If you make it too narrow then you risk injuring yourself when the tool slips.
With practice its possible to cut a Phillips head into the head of the screw.

Step 2: Remove Screw

Now you can remove the screw with ease.
If your doing a simple repair, such as replacing a fuse then just go to the hardware store and get some regular screws that match the thread and size.  If your busting into something then just toss the screws.

Hopefully this saves you a trip to the hardware store or having to special ordering security bits to open broken products.



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134 Discussions

I never thought of doing it this way . The way i did got around this was i used a dremel with a small grinding stone bit and just ground the little nipple in the center flush to the bottom and then i could use a regular bit ..

At first I didn't see much merit in this because it makes the task much harder than it needs to be and requires a dremel tool. But after seeing all the lame "just go buy some bits" posts I think there are quite a few readers here who don't understand what this site is about. THEY are the ones who need articles like this one to get them thinking outside the box a little more. I for one see little value in a comment recommending the obvious alternative to go buy a tool.
I work on electronic equipment for a living and often come across these #$@% fasteners out in the field when I don't have any of those cute little special bits with me. For years I have just knocked the center post off with a small screwdriver and then used a standard torx bit to take the screw out. But using a dremel to cut a slot in the head is still a valid alternative and it's much more inventive than "go buy some bits". So I still give this one a thumbs up!

12 replies

Since you are 'in the business', if you aren't a 'Hack', why don't you have the proper tools for the jobs that you are going to run into. On my own personal items, I will 'bastardize' or replace fasteners that I don't 'like', however, when you are dealing with customer's goods, that is not a 'proper' option. I have cut slots across many oddball fasteners in my years in the business, but if it is on a customer product, I get the proper tool & do it 'right'. The suggestions to get the proper tool are far from ''Lame'', it is the reasonable suggestion. The object of this is to suggest a way to get out of an emergency situation or to deal with something of your own. Not for professionals to use & leave that way..

wow, 'you' really 'like' improperly 'using' quotation marks, dont you

Go back to your grammar book, Isaac. Find out what quotation marks are before you comment.

Well, actually you assume way too much. I did not promote NOT using the right tool for the job. My point is that this guy is posting a way to remove a security Torx screw if you don't have the right tool and obtaining one for the task at hand is neither critical nor necessary. You yourself pointed that out. (correct us if we are wrong thematthatter). He got bombarded with "go buy some bits" comments. Maybe I assumed too much by thinking that most people already know that such tools exist. That doesn't make me a "Hack". And I don't consider it a hack to break the post on a Torx security screw at the owners request when the tools are not with me. Maybe you do, I don't know. I won't publicly question your professional ethics over MY own assumptions though. I do wish you had been nice enough to get some facts first though.
If you have a response that is relevant to this instructable then please post it. If you really want to know what tools I have, ask me offline, not here. If you just want to throw personal jabs then I will simply ignore you.

A professional or technician who is qualified should have the right bits to open the products they intend to fix. Like an Apple repair man should'nt use a butter knife to open an Ipod.
But sometimes your in the field and forget a driver, if you got the correct fastener to fix it and explain to the customer, most people are just as happy because you got their emergency fixed.
This was intended for everyone else, the tinkers, or the people who may know a little about appliances to open products at home with out going to the hardware store or going online to buy bits. Maybe they don't have the space/money or real need to buy a tool just for one or two uses when modifying the screw can work in a pinch and is really quick.

I'm not a repairman, but I work on salary, but per hr of actual work is about $10 an hr, I would have to struggle opening this for an hr to justify spending 6-10 for something i would only use once. Including taking pictures, i had this microwave cabinet open in about 10 minutes.
Mentioning sticks and stones, the first time i opened a computer hard drive i used a 22 LR and shot the thing open. I just did it to see whats inside not realizing the cool magnets in it. But pretty much everything was ruined. if i really wanted to bust into this i would have stuck a bottle of beer in it and turned it on, in 30 secs it would blow apart. if the magnetron wasn't powerful then throwing it off my roof would have opened it too.
This method was a more civilized way of opening something without the correct driver.

If you do throw one off your roof - please record it and post the video. Thank you for the wonderful instructable.

Well, Mike, I see that it is fine for you to make 'Jabs', but you get prickly real quick when a jab comes back atcha. LOL That's OK. Lots of guys like you around. I understood what the reason for this ible was, but didn't feel a need to call all the ones who suggested getting a cheap tool set 'Lame'. I wouldn't have even commented on this ible except that I felt someone should answer your rude post.

Well said. Keyboard trolls ruin creativity and out of box thought. This is a fine contribution to instructables.

It's called intelligence, to use the right tool for the job instead of continually fiddling around risking damage and wasting time trying alternate methods.

We understand what the site is about but understand this: Just because you can do something a different way, doesn't necessarily make it sane to do it another way when there are easily obtainable, inexpensive solutions that last a lifetime. Will we all just divert to using sticks and rocks for everything because we want to shy away from tools in general? Doesn't make any sense at all does it, by taking your argument we don't get to have a dremel tool or screwdrivers or anything else, we have to hack some cruder way to do those jobs too.

No, just as you can have a standard torx bit, there is no justification to own standard torx bits if the security bits will do both secure and standard torx.

Last time I opened a defective hard drive (which I had no intention of repairing), I screwed it down to the metal bandsaw and walked away for 20 mins.

A cross-section combined with other drives conventionally disassembled worked as a wonderful educational tool.

Wow, that's quite a rant. Sticks and rocks? And that remark "we don't get to have a dremel tool or screwdrivers"... I don't know where you pulled that out of. I never said anything like that. For the record, I am all FOR using the right tool when you have it or getting the right tool when you can. I did not say "don't buy a tool". My post was about comments like:
"It's more simple to buy screwdriver/bit for these screws, than use a dremel." or "Just go buy the tool." They are not really very constructive when the author is merely trying to show a way to remove such a screw when the tool (for whatever reason) is not available. If you have the tool then use it. If you need the tool, then go get it. If this is the only security Torx screw you will ever remove, then it should be OK to use a dremel, or to knock the post out of the screw, or whatever other way you can think of to get it out. Maybe you should read my post again.

I think the easiest way to do this would be to get some oven bake clay, such as sculpy, push it into the safety screw keyhole and then bake it, giving you a perfect match for the screw. No power tools necessary!

5 replies

A prison gaurd I know told me the inmates heat the end of their toothbrushes and push it in. Where there's a will there's a way.
I've tried it. It won't take much torque without shearing or torqueing out, but a new tool is right there handy.
A glass of Ice water (or cold beverage of choice) is useful to speed tool hardening.

am i the only one noticing the tremendous amount of prison-related interest in this ible??

how would that work? seems that sculpy would just crumble if you applied torque to back the screw out. Security screws are set tight.