It is very frustrating sometimes when you run into a broken or stripped screw. It always seems to happen at the worst times. Luckily there are a few relatively inexpensive ways of dealing with this problem. You will need a few items in order to perform this task including a drill motor, different sized drills, (a good set of assorted drill bits is a good investment as they do come in handy for many other projects), a T-handle, a center punch and the screw extractors themselves. Screw extractors are available at most hardware stores. They both come with spiral flutes or straight flutes and are available in many different sizes to accommodate most screws and bolts. You would select the size depending on the size screw you want to remove. You should select the size that is smaller than the thickness of the screw or bolt you wish to remove. The package it comes in will also tell you the size drill you should be using.
- To begin with, you have to use the center punch and tap it with a hammer in the center of the broken screw. This will help guide the drill to the center of the screw when you begin drilling.
- Next you will use the appropriate drill to make a hole down the center of the screw about 1/3 of the length of the screw.
- Next you will insert the screw extractor into a T-handle and proceed to screw the extractor into the hole you just made. The flutes on the extractor are such that as you turn the handle counterclockwise, the extractor will dig itself into the screw and begin to unscrew it as you continue to turn the handle.
If the screw is rusty you might want to try a commercially available spray that dissolves rust such as WD-40 to help you also. If all of this sounds too complicated for you, Craftsman makes a little set of extractors that works in most situations, and you don't even have to drill holes in the screws. Their product is simply called "screw-out", and is available in their stores or on their website. This product simply digs itself right into the screw head and as you turn it counterclockwise it will remove the screw. However, in cases where the screw head has been sheared off, this product is useless and your best bet are the screw extractors mentioned above.