[FoRK] Screw You, Carly.

Ken Meltsner < meltsner at alum.mit.edu > on > Mon Sep 11 10:04:46 PDT 2006

There are more screwdriver recess patterns out there than you might
think.  Sometimes, the funny screws are used to make automatic
assembly easier (slotted and Phillips drivers tend to slip; Phillips
are designed to, in fact, so that screws won't break or be driven too
deep (in softer materials) if the driver doesn't have a clutch).

The six-lobed stars are called Torx screws, another trademarked name
that's probably in danger of becoming a generic term, and appropriate
driver bits are available at any decent hardware store.

If they wanted to keep people from opening the box, they could use the
"secure" version of the Torx recess -- a pin in the middle so you
can't use a standard Torx driver -- or one of many other variants (#
of lobes/sides) that are available.  And if they really wanted to be
obnoxious, there are "one-way" variants that have sloped sides to the
recesses such that the bit will "cam out" when driven counterclockwise
-- these were used in the bathroom stalls at my high school, for

If the screw material isn't too hard, you can get a little kit with
two bits: one that cuts a rounded pocket and a matching driver with
reverse, hardened threads.  The driver bites right into the pocket and
will unscrew practically anything.  For seriously munged or broken
screws and bolts, look for "ez-outs" at a local auto supply store --
same idea, somewhat less convenient tooling.  Or you can drill off the
head of the screw (if it didn't break) and use a hollow bit (in wood)
or a carbide bit (in hard materials) to remove the screw and the
surrounding material....

Ken "Way too experienced with fixing stupid mistakes" Meltsner

On 9/11/06, Joseph S. Barrera III <joe at barrera.org> wrote:
> Stephen D. Williams wrote:
> >  If a screw ever really pisses you off, use my fallback: use the
> >  cutoff wheel on your Dremel to cut a slot and just use a flatblade.
> >  Just remember to clean off the metal dust from the motherboard. ;-)
> It's been a long time (thank goodness) since I've had to fiddle
> with the insides of a Compaq, but I do remember my sanity
> being saved by the fact that the flat-headed blade at the end
> of my pocket-knife's can opener fit perfectly into the star-headed
> screws that they used.
> - Joe
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