How to deal with a tiny stripped screw on a gadget


#21

I haven’t worked much with these kind of things, but have noticed steel filings from abrasive grinding or cutting can become magnetized. Is that a potential problem here?


#22

That might actually be a good thing. The things in electronics that carry current tend not to be ferrous. Ferrous things tend to be mechanical/structural.


#23

My bet is the screw was a wee bit hotter than @beschizza expected.


#24

Another puzzle: how do you replace a tiny screw on a gadget?

Sometimes you can get lucky and Google for “replacement screws for [gadget]”, but otherwise obtaining something with the requisite head, length, and pitch seems utterly hopeless, especially since it’s hard enough to tell what you need even when you have the original screw handy.


#25

Search “tiny screws” at aliexpress. For a few dollars you can get a pretty good variety of repair screws just in case.


#26

From now going forward, when it’s ruined you salvage the good parts and put them in bins.

Don’t blame me when they call you a packrat.


#27

You delve in your big box of old, broken crap and assorted wires till you find an object with a similar screw (some disassembly may be required, but who doesn’t enjoy that?).


#28

I am a technician, and here’s another hint that I am constantly reminding other techs about: When you encounter a screw that is difficult/impossible to remove, the moment you begin to realize that your efforts appear to be doing little more than stripping said screw, STOP.
…then instead try to tighten it a little more. Repeated attempts to unscrew it may have started to ruin the anticlockwise surfaces, but the clockwise surfaces may still be solid. Tightening the screw even a few minutes of arc (especially since the downward pressure you are applying will actually assist you in this) may be enough to break it loose enough to reenable unscrewing it.

–Patrick


#29

That’s the stuff. My SOP if something really wouldn’t budge was to slip it a drop of penetrating oil (and sometimes hit it gently with the nearest suitable hitting tool), go and have a coffee/cigarette or otherwise relax for five minutes, come back and gently try to tighten it.

That reminds me ever so faintly of Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, not to mention the bicycle thread.


#30

I always found a better way was to find the tiniest allen wrench you can that will partially fit into the stripped out screw hole, preferably one that is disposable, and then use the tiniest bit of superglue you can to glue it into the hole. Let it dry for as long as possible, then twist and remove.

This won’t work in larger, high-torque situations, like if you shear a head bolt in a car engine, but it works perfectly for laptops and phones and such.


#31

I replaced a faucet instead of repairing it a few weeks ago because its 7/32 allen screw, deeply recessed in a hole in the faucet handle so there was no space to grab it with pliers or Dremel it, was stripped.

On the bright side, the new faucet has more sink clearance, looks nicer, has a better side sprayer and overall just doesn’t suck. So maybe a blessing in disguise.


#32

Oh, totally! upgrading my kitchen faucet was life-changing, particularly since I hand-wash; my apt has no dishwasher. at work, dishwashing was easy(er); the valves had lever-y handles you could “tap” or “punch” to quickly modulate, the deep sink allowed lots of clearance under the faucet head, and there was a sprayer to blast off gunk. At home, my valves had knobs you have to grasp and torque your wrist to twist, the head was straight over my shallow sink, and no sprayer.

I got the cheapest model with a tall “gooseneck” head, levers, and a sprayer from Lowes for between $60-70 and some putty. Installation is really easy. It made a huge difference. Dishwashing is still a chore, but the work flows much easier. no more struggling to get large items under the faucet, especially with other dishes in the sink.

without the work sink to compare it to, I might never have noticed, though. So glad I invested a little for the right tool.


#33

Alright, then. I’ll do more like this!


#34

I have a really similar problem in our kitchen right now. Tiny allen wrench just not working any more and it’s at a bad angle anyway.

Hmmm…


#35

If the screw head is stripped out, an ‘easy out’ is your pal. Drill out the now-stripped center hole in the screw, put the easy out into the hole and tap slightly with a small hammer (or the end of a screwdriver) to seat it. Then turn the easy out counter clockwise to remove the screw. Sometimes the screw will have to be re-drilled if it’s really stuck and the easy out spins in the hole, but they generally get the job done.


#36

Surprised to see these actually worked for someone. Is there a special kind you use? My experience with them has been:

  • try screw extractor size X: doesn’t work, but further strips out the head
  • drill slightly wider to use extractor size X+1
  • repeat until head is gone
  • use pliers

#37

That’s happened to me, but that’s one reason why I mentioned tapping the end of the Easy Out to seat it into the now-drilled screw head. And be sure to drill the screw head deep enough that the Easy Out can get a good purchase on the scew–if the tool bottoms out in the hole, it’s not likely to work very well, if at all.


#38

I keep reading tap it as if you mean tapping a thread.


#39

Yeah, poor word choice given the material. Maybe, “lightly strike the Easy Out to fully seat it into the hole drilled in the screwhead” would’ve been better.


#40

Maybe.