Can you even imagine a world in which the worst-case scenario is resolved in a minute or two with a tool costing little more than pocket change? Welcome to the wonderful world of the screw extractor.
We all know the feeling: all we want is to get the simplest job done – like removing a screw or fastener – and yet fate just won’t let it happen. Screws, bolts, screwdrivers and drills make light work of very handy tasks, but Sod’s Law dictates that a rounded-out or warped screwhead, a broken fastener, stripped threads, or a rusted or weathered-in-place bolt are simply realities of life in the modern workshop or workplace. All it can take is a slip of the drill or wrench and your productivity drops to zero as you realise there’s no way to get that screw out with a regular driver or blade. Worse still, the more you try to chip away at that stubborn fastener, the less likely it can be to ever be budged.
But with a screw extractor, which as it happens is one of the simplest tools in its category, you can be back to productive work in 60 seconds or less.
In its most basic form, a screw extractor is essentially just a tapered drill bit featured reversed threading. It works by being drilled into the top of the stubborn, damaged, broken or stripped screwhead, with the reverse thread biting in and taking a firm hold of the fastener so it can be easily drilled out.
Precision Instruments are tools or devices used for directly measuring physical quantities, or obtaining measurements indirectly by making calculations on real-world objects in such a manner that one can get precise values.
Sound easy? That’s because it is. In fact, the only difficult bit can be choosing the product your industry, workplace or task calls for, because the market range is particularly impressive and diverse:
This extractor is for removing standard screws, bolts, studs and similar fasteners, and can be used without a drill so long as the hand tool has a hexagonal drive.
The spiral fluted screw extractor, meanwhile, requires a hole to be pre-drilled into the top of the stuck fastener, and is preferred by those who typically remove mainly screws. Mini versions of both straight-fluted and spiral fluted extractors are also available and popular for precision jobs like electronics and in the medical industry.
In a single tool, removing damaged bolts is easy as the tool combines both an extractor and a burnishing end. The burnishing end is to drill into the fastener head with a standard drill, and can also be used for other types of fasteners. It follows the same principle of re-shaping the damaged head so it can be removed with a pull of the drill trigger.
Got the tool you need? The process for using it is fairly universal:
Insert the extractor into the screw head until it ‘bites’. It may not be necessary to insert it very far.
Use a drill, spanner or other tool to remove the fastener with a counter-clockwise turn – for instance by using the drill in the reverse setting with downward force.
If you’ve bought a screw extractor kit, it may have come with a device to add leverage for manual fastener removal.
Unfortunately, it’s quite common that the fastener head may be sheared off completely during the extraction attempt. If that happens, simply use a drill bit to increase the diameter of the pilot hole and try again.
Another common problem is that a rusted or weathered-in fastener can be so stubborn that a first attempt with an extractor doesn’t do the trick. Try some special lubricating oil, such as thread cutting oil, to loosen things up a bit – and simply revert to standard motor oil or WD-40 if that’s all you have on hand.
If your workplace works with screws or other standard fasteners, it always pays to have an eminently affordable screw extractor handy for when things don’t go to plan with that usual twist of a screwdriver or ‘zap’ of a drill. Having trouble finding your way around the diverse product range? Get in touch to drill into the wisdom of a true industry expert today!