Cheap set of jeweler's precision screwdrivers

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At that cost and the rate at which I lose them, I may need to just get five…


It is silly, isn’t it? On the order of unmatched socks.


Somewhere in the house is a massive supply of #1 Philips head screwdrivers…


When looking for #1 phillips I invariably find a T6 torx.


And just shove it in, hoping it’ll work…

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One thing I hate about those precision screwdriver sets, and it seems to be a universal:

The damn plastic cases. Easy to break, don’t lock securely. Often the hinges break first. I end up keeping them shut with rubber bands.

There’s another plastic I’ve seen cases made of. Slightly translucent, a little flexible. Much sturdier, so you can drop a case made of it without it shattering. The closures on boxes that use the stuff have a sort of flexible clasp.


I generally break the boxes on Harbor Freight tools sets, like this, on the first try. I can never figure out what needs to be flipped, snapped or popped and end up shattering the hinges.



Get a roll of colorful duck tape.

Cut into narrow (perhaps 1 cm) strips and fashion into replacement hinges, and a hasp with bit of velcro.

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It always baffles me, trying to figure out’s algorithm as to what they will, and will not ship to Canada. Yes, there’s, but the exact same set costs $6.78 Canadian, from a marketplace seller, so who knows where it’s shipping from… Or $4.63 from Amazon directly, but only as an add-on item so you have to buy something else with it. And then you still have to meet the $25 minimum amount if you don’t want to pay for shipping (as Amazon prime is not even REMOTELY worth it up here, with no Amazon video included in the $80/year price).

But yes, I too have purchased 6 or 7 of these sets due to breaking the cases and losing them. Occasionally I’ll be digging through a drawer or tidying some stuff in the basement and run across one, I’ll set it aside for better storage later and end up losing it again.

I collected a bunch of these over the years, and like everyone else the case is the first thing to go.

Now I just keep them in an old snap closed glasses case. I got a few from my library, they collect glasses for donation, but their charity just throws away the cases.


I used to carry one of these babies around with my pencils and was very happy with it – except the caps were made of cheap plastic that eventually cracked to the point where they refused to stay on anymore. You just can’t win.

I’m a fan of Huskys like this one. Bit more of a handle provides more torque. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve stripped screws using the narrow metal handle types.

UGH! Harbor Freight! Why you no ship to Canada! BAH!!!

Last thing I need is another set of cheap philips heads. Where can I get some that won’t round over after a few years? Maybe Snap On?

Get something from as good steel as you can. The problem is that usually you get a tradeoff between tendency to round the edges and tendency to break off parts. The old choice between hardness and toughness.

A possibility is having a Dremel with a cutting wheel nearby, and when the tip gets too round, recut it. The resulting shape won’t be as good as new but will likely be better than the rounded one. (This is difficult with Philips ones. Much easier with the flat ones. They chew too.)

That’s a pretty good idea!

Most likely a polyolefin (polyethylene, polypropylene…), These are cheap and tough and somewhat elastic. The usual alternative for boxes is polystyrene, which is transparent but brittle and tends to show those telltale patterns of internal cracks when loaded enough to get damaged but not enough to break. The recycling symbols are useful for identifying the material in case of doubt; one of the relatively rare cases where a govt mandate is actually useful.

…to add insult to injury, the brittle transparent boxes usually aren’t made of acrylic. The material from the broken ones laser-cuts poorly and usually melts or chars instead of cleanly burning off. So cannot even be salvaged and turned into tchotchkes.
(Edit: with a laser, not with a CNC mill. Even the laser-lousy materials should work with that one.)

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If you use mini drivers often and have never owned a professional set of jeweler’s precision screwdrivers, you owe it to yourself to at least once splurge on the name brand tools.


Wiha makes some nice ones (usually come in a nice canvas roll-up), but they certainly are not inexpensive. Wiha: Industrial & Scientific

Random thought. If you’d have a fairly high precision CNC mill, could you take a regular screwdriver, weld a blob of stellite or other wear-resistant alloy at the end, then machine it to shape? And remachine once it gets worn?

Probably more practical to buy a better screwdriver, but let’s assume a remote site with lousy logistics but decent equipment, or a zombie apocalypse…

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Daiso is a Japanese 100-yen store chain; in the US it’s $1.50 for almost everything (a few items are more, but they’re marked.) Most of it’s ceramic dishes, tea cups, things with Hello Kitty or its competitors on them, kitchen and cleaning stuff, some clothing like socks and gloves, etc. There’s a fair amount of low-end electronics (cables, etc.), and also a moderate collection of tools.

They’ve probably got little screwdrivers like these, but what I’ve really found them useful for is metric-size bike tools, things like skinny wrenches and Allen wrenches and stuff that’s very light-weight and cheap enough that if it disappears from your bike or breaks after a few uses, that’s ok, it got your bike running when you needed it. A lot of the small screwdriver sets have the sizes I need for working on ukuleles (the peg-tuner type need tightening a lot, and the gear-tuner ones use smaller screws to hold the mechanisms to the body.)

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