Screwdriver With Triangular Head




About: Lithium Rain is absolutely not to be trifled with when it comes to building insane and useless things. She prides herself on being able to eat more churros than your average horse. She is not a toaster. She...

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

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.

Step 2: How to Shape the Head-flatten the End

First, grind off the tip of the nail/screwdriver. It's just as simple as that. Grind the tip flat. WYSIWYG. What you see is what you get.

It's sorta idiot-proof. :-D

A note on working with the grinder: please wear goggles (flying bits of metal aren't fun!) and don't be alarmed at all the sparks this will produce. You can skip the "get startled, think you've caught on fire and jump back from the grinder with an expression of alarm" step. I already did it for you.

Step 3: Shaping the Head - Flatten One Edge

Take the nail and hold it to the grinder. Move it back and forth evenly until you have a flat edge. Remember to stop and check your work often-you can always grind more, but if you grind too much you have to start over.

Step 4: Flatten Two Other Sides

Next, flatten two other sides, to make a triangular shape.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Now just make sure all sides are even, and take care of any lopsided bits.

I made two of these, and did the shape differently the second time. I found that you want a triangle with nice sharp edges and angles-more like the one on the right, less like the one on the left, with the flattened peak and sides that aren't so sharply angled. Both shapes work though.

Step 6: Handle

You need a handle for your screwdriver so you can grip it tightly enough to be able to turn it.

I just wrapped the top in duct tape for my first one. For the second, I went a little fancier, and baked on a sculpey handle.

I bet you can come up with all kinds of cool handles for this-maybe a rope handle, a squishy gel handle, and ergonomic handle, etc. Customize your very own triangle screwdriver!

To use it, just insert it into the triangle screw hole, and twist as you would any screwdriver. Remember, righty tighty, lefty loosy. Revel in the fact that you now possess the ability to open ANY small toy closed with those Chinese triangle screws! Hahaha! Sing and skip about! Laugh manically! Begin diabolical plans to RULE THE WORLD!

Or at least open small toys from McDonalds.



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    82 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    4 years ago on Introduction

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


    7 years ago on Introduction

    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 B

    8 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    1 reply
    Lithium RainPhil B

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    "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. :)


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    6 replies

    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 )


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction ($3.90) they call this "tri-wing" and "try-gram", but it appears to fit the McTrash toys ($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: ($9.90) one of them looks like it might fit. ($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


    8 years ago on Introduction

    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)