Last Updated on June 29, 2023 by William
The Best Screw Extractor Guide (and reviews)
When it comes to the best screw extractors, the old adage that good things come in very small packages is especially true.
These are handy little tools that come quite in handy any time you have a screw head that has become stripped or that has broken off, or if you have a bolt that has a head that has become stripped or broken off.
Without such a tool, these things can be absolutely impossible to remove.
[toc]The screw extractor, capable of working on both screws and bolts, comes in a wide range of different sizes for bolts and screws in diameters that range from as small as 3/32″ to more than 1/2″.
For around $5 dollars or less, you can pick up a screw extractor that will serve as a truly indispensable tool. You will be totally glad to have this tool handy whenever you need it. Let us take a look at what the screw extractor is really all about and how you can use it.
The design behind this screw extractor is actually really simple and elegant, almost like an awl but with threads. There are three different elements included in the screw extractor. The screw extractor features a square head, followed by a shaft, and then it has cutting screw threads that are reverse tapered. This is true for any brand you buy.
The Square Head – The purpose of the square head on the screw extractor is primarily for being fastened into a T-shaped handle that is capable of being used with this tool in order to make turning it significantly easier.
The square head is also capable of being used to turn the screw extractor with the help of an adjustable wrench or a pair of vice grip pliers.
The Shaft – The shaft of the screw extractor is made out of a high strength variety of steel, and the shaft is responsible for tying everything together. A vice grip type of pliers can be used to grip and to turn the rounded shaft if you want.
The Tapered Threads – The tapered threads are actually the business end for the screw extractor. The threads are specifically designed to be screwed in backward or in a counter clockwise manner so that they can be screw into the bolt or the screw after you drill a pilot hole.
They are tapered in such a way that they allow for the screw extractor to dig down into the damaged screw tighter and deeper with every turn of the screw extractor.
So while you are turning your screw extractor in a counter clockwise manner, what it is doing is screwing deeper into the damaged screw, and this is turning the damaged bolt or screw in a clockwise manner which is allowing it to be loosened and then removed.
It’s a pretty simple process, and makes this tool a true lifesaver.
These are handy little tools that come quite in handy any time you have a screw head that has become stripped out or that has broken off, or if you have a bolt that has a head that has become stripped or broken off. Without such a tool, these things can be absolutely impossible to remove.
The T Handle –
The T handle is designed to fasten into the top square end of a screw extractor. If you do not want to use a screw extractor’s t-handle, you can use vice grip pliers or an adjustable wrench instead.
It should be fairly obvious how the T-handle got its name, since it is shaped similarly to a T. This particular type of handle has been designed to screw down over the top of the screw extractor bit’s square end.
Once it has been tightened down, you can easily turn the screw extractor, creating more pressure than if you were holding the screw extractor with pliers or a wrench.
Drilling a Pilot Hole in a Damaged Screw
If you have a damaged screw or a damaged bolt, then the first step in removing it is going to be to prepare it for the insertion of your screw extractor bit.
Your screw extractor bit has been designed in order to screw directly into the damaged screw or stripped bolt, but it cannot be inserted until a pilot hole has been drilled.
- You are going to want to begin with a power drill, drilling a hole directly into the center of the screw that has been damaged.
- Oftentimes, the surface of the screw that has been damaged is not even, and so the best way for you to begin the pilot hole is going to be to use a very small bit, such as 1/16″ diameter. You should try to begin at least a starter hole before you can use a larger drill that is sized adequately for whatever screw extractor you are going to be using.
- You should make sure to drill carefully and slowly into your damaged screw with the right sized drill bit for the screw extractor based on what the package tells you. If you have a small drill press, then use that as they are more accurate. The package that comes with your screw extractor will tell you which drill bit is ideal. The pilot hole diameter is likely going to vary based on whichever screw extractor you are using.
- Take care to make sure that you do not break the drill bit off in the hole that you are drilling.
Once you’ve drilled the appropriate pilot hole, you can insert the screw extractor according to the manufacturer’s direction and can apply the right screwing and pressure to remove the broken screw or stripped bolt.
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