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Make your own philips screwdriver? Answered

If I want a flat screwdriver in an odd size, I can take a piece of metal, heat it, pound it flat on one end and file or grind to shape; something within reach of even the clumsiest blacksmith. Is there some trick I'm missing that allows similarly simple home construction of a philps-style screwdriver? Or are they part of a plot to allow only factories to make screwdrivers :-)



11 years ago

Phillips screwdriver? That's easy... ... ... Vodka + Milk of Magnesia. *ducks and runs*

Drink some of them and you'll "run" all right!

I would buy / find the cheapest screwdriver abailable, as they tend to be fairly soft. Then hacksaw the existing tip off, and cut a new tip with a metal file. I'd then be looking at heat-treatment.
W/ref jtobako - the only McDonalds toy I dismantled had it's screws removed with a soldering-iron. It was then destroyed with match-heads.

any of the mcdonalds toys that make noise are worth taking apart. sometimes with a hammer : ) the trick with the metal file is getting a GOOD file with a sharp, square corner and then keeping it even.

I prefer fire and explosions... But yes, a good file is important. Hardening your tip afterwards I'm not too sure about. I did tour a gear factory that used e.g. tempering, case-harnening & shot-peening, maybe I'll try to build something like that (big project I think...)

casinite (sp?) is a commercial product for case hardening low carbon steel. you heat the metal red hot, dip it in the powder (a cyanide product, but safe if used the right way), re-heat and, if i remember correctly, quench.

I've heard of people just using used motor oil - lots of carbon.

i've heard of using motor oil to quench, but not for case hardening.

You are right. I've read it used to harden the steel throughout and not just the outer layer. It could make it brittle. Supposedly it would add carbon to the outer layer.

oil is a 'soft' quench-it doesn't cool the metal as quickly as something like water ('hard' quench) does, so the metal doesn't harden as much (it has to do with which crystalline structure the steel is 'frozen' into and how much of each form there is). the harder the steel, the more brittle-some fully hardened steels will shatter like glass if dropped on the floor. (not a good thing when you just finished putting several hours into a knife : P) at 0.005-.010 inch per hour over 1750 degrees F, it's a very thin layer of added carbon.

Are you saying I can cut a philips head with a file? The 90o edge of my flat files seems too big an angle, while the 60o on the triangle files is too small, not to mention the difficulties in keeping things lined up and even.

I followed almost exactly the procedure you suggest (including "cheapest available" and "heat treat") to make my own triangle "McDonalds toy" screwdriver, and that worked pretty OK...

What about taking some metal rod and drill in to it to the right shape (?CNC?)?

What size exactly are you trying to make?

"small to very small." Maybe I should just bite the bullet and buy better screwdrivers, but the watchmaker sized philips/etc I use for taking apart random electronic gear tend to end up getting their flutes worn off all too quickly. I'd like to be able to repair them and/or make my own from better steel...

amazingly enough, screwdrivers are made to be softer than the screws. that way, you don't destroy the (presumably) valuable equipment with a stripped screw. many cheep tools just need better hardening. try heating the tip to just past red hot and quench quickly (small items loose heat quickly enough that it may take several trys).


11 years ago

grrrr... I hate the screws on nintendo 64's.. My friend's was broken, and I knew i could probably fix it.. but those stupid screws made it so much more complicated than it had to be!

the 'easy' way would be to make a flat screwdriver that fits half of the cross. the trick with philps-style is that there are several different profiles, some with a very sharp tip and others with a much blunter tip. the plotting part is when you start getting into torx, security torx and the triangular heads on nintendo and mcdonalds toys : )