Tool for Loosening/tightening Screws in Confined Spaces

About: A technology tinkerer based in a green and usually rather damp part of the Cheshire countryside.

I recently had to remove a couple of screws from a tape transport mechanism but had no space to fit either a conventional or ratchet screwdriver. I hit on the idea of using a 1/4" screwdriver bit from a ratchet set, a custom-drilled clothes peg and a small open-ended spanner.

The method worked a treat, so I thought I'd share it!

Incidentally, the tape transport is part of an Aiwa AD-F770 and I needed the tool to be able replace the drive belts. I aim to write this up as a separate Instructable in the near future.

Step 1: Step 1 - Parts

You'll need:

  • A 1/4" screwdriver bit to fit the screw(s) in question - in my case I used a 0pt Phillips.
  • One half of a wooden clothes peg/clothespin.
  • An open-ended spanner to fit the screwdriver bit - either 1/4" or 4BA.
  • A drill
  • A 2mm pilot drill bit and 7mm drill bit.

I used a wooden clothes peg/clothespin as (a) I have plenty, (b) it's narrow and (c) most importantly, the wood is quite hard and strong, so is ideally suitable for applying leverage onto the screwdriver bit.

The 7mm hole allows the screwdriver bit to fit snugly, so you can offer it up to the screw single-handedly (a great boon in confined spaces).

Step 2: Method

This is very easy!

Disassemble the clothes peg/clothespin.

Drill a small pilot hole in the end of the inside face - to about half the depth of the wood.

Expand the hole with the 7mm drill bit.

Fit the screwdriver bit.

Use the spanner as shown.

Have fun!

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    2 Discussions

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    Alex in NZ

    8 months ago

    Neat! And the wood means you don't have to worry so much about scratching stuff nearby. Thank you for the idea :-)

    1 reply
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    nightcustardAlex in NZ

    Reply 8 months ago

    You're welcome and thanks for the feedback. I hadn't considered the non-scratch 'feature' but I can see its merits!

    I guess if you were keen, you could make one with a small magnet in the base to keep the bit more securely in place but in this particular application of mine magnets are not a good thing...

    Cheers, Mike