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Removing stuck set screw (no head, drill it out?)

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Forum topic by Stewbot posted 06-11-2015 04:44 PM 2839 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Stewbot

195 posts in 547 days


06-11-2015 04:44 PM

I’m not sure if this is the correct section to post this question in, but here it is.

Does anybody have any advice as to how to remove a set screw which no longer has a head?

I was removing a set screw from my machine and the damn head of the screw popped off, it was a hex/Philips head set screw. It was torqued way too hard (not by me) and in hindsight, I should have eased up on it, sprayed it etc etc. BUT I didn’t, and here I am. The set screw is still deep in the cavity and there is very little exposed thread to bite onto with a vice grip. I’m assuming all I can do is drill it out. Any recommendation as to how to do this the best way? Should I use a diameter bit just smaller than the screw diameter, or much smaller? Also, is it just as simple as drilling it until very little is left and then just remove the small pieces?

Any help would be appreciated.

-- Hoopty scoop?


25 replies so far

View SirIrb's profile

SirIrb

1239 posts in 693 days


#1 posted 06-11-2015 04:47 PM

easyout
http://www.amazon.com/pcs-Easy-Out-Set-TAIE0739/dp/B0027B5GT0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434041198&sr=8-1&keywords=easy+out+tool

hope they make one small enough for you.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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TheFridge

5765 posts in 949 days


#2 posted 06-11-2015 04:52 PM

What he said. If not, might have to drill and tap the hole a thread size up.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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SirIrb

1239 posts in 693 days


#3 posted 06-11-2015 04:54 PM

how big of a set screw? If you are less than a #4 I think this will get dangerous. Heck, even a #4 or #6 is tough. I see you having to drill up one tap drill size and placing a bigger set screw as Fridge mentioned. Hope the place has the meat for this.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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fuji1

1 post in 561 days


#4 posted 06-11-2015 05:03 PM

Easy outs can work but go slow because the easy out is usually hardened steel. If you break the tip inside the stuck screw it will be harder to drill out. I’ve recently had success with a left handed drill bit. if you can heat the area safely even with a heat gun that can do wonders.

Good luck,

Joe

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MrUnix

4222 posts in 1662 days


#5 posted 06-11-2015 05:18 PM

Depending on application, some loctite may have been used on it.. and if it was the red variety, you will need to heat it up pretty good (500F) before it will come loose. Even if the red stuff wasn’t used, heat will almost always get a stuck fastener to break free in combination with an easyout or left handed drill bit. For the future, you might also want to invest in a handheld impact driver which can work wonders on stubborn screws. Also, I’m confused about a set screw having a ‘head’ (set screws don’t have heads), and one that is ‘hex/phillips’? How can it be both? Pictures?

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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Stewbot

195 posts in 547 days


#6 posted 06-11-2015 05:25 PM

Got an impact driver, in hindsight I could have reached for that and some wd-40 or something, but I wasn’t expecting said screw to be so tight. I don’t remember wrenching on it that hard but must have been enough to rip the head off. It was the set screw to a centrifugal switch. I drilled it out, and am just gonna replace the centrifugal switch. Quick surgery, but I figured I’d inquire with this group just in case any tricks of the trade were in order.

-- Hoopty scoop?

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Stewbot

195 posts in 547 days


#7 posted 06-11-2015 05:26 PM

Thanks for the input everyone. Much appreciated.

-- Hoopty scoop?

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dawsonbob

1914 posts in 1218 days


#8 posted 06-11-2015 05:30 PM

Good advise has already been given, so I’ll leave that alone.

Brad, here’s an example of hex/phillips head screws

I use these fairly often when I need to torque them down more than I trust a phillips head.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

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MrUnix

4222 posts in 1662 days


#9 posted 06-11-2015 05:41 PM


Brad, here s an example of hex/phillips head screws
[...]
I use these fairly often when I need to torque them down more than I trust a phillips head.

- dawsonbob

Ok, I know what a hex/phillips screw is, but the OP was about a set screw, which is a different kind of animal :) Those hex/phillips things are typically considered sheet metal screws and usually have a courser thread, while set screws have a finer machine thread, no head and typically use a hex wrench (not a hex driver) or flat head screwdriver to remove. Guess it was the terminology that was confusing (or not enough coffee).

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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Stewbot

195 posts in 547 days


#10 posted 06-11-2015 05:50 PM

The screw I was talking about looked more like (looked, things toast now) one Dawson bob posted. It was referred to as a set screw to me by the manufacturers technician. But yeah, doesn’t really look like a traditional set screw. But served the same purpose as a set screw. So, is it a set screw, for future reference?

-- Hoopty scoop?

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dawsonbob

1914 posts in 1218 days


#11 posted 06-11-2015 05:59 PM

Okay, I’ll admit that 90 percent of the set screws I’ve seen look like the one Brad posted, but I have also seen headed ones, especially on larger parts like hand wheels, etc.

You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop, the Twilight Zone!

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

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waho6o9

7172 posts in 2040 days


#12 posted 06-12-2015 12:22 AM

Impact drivers come to mind as well

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RPhillips

1110 posts in 1299 days


#13 posted 06-12-2015 12:34 AM

In my past years racing RC cars, I’ve had many screws that I have had to remove after having the head pop off or a stuck set screw… I have always found heat and Kroil oil (best stuff on earth for removing “locked” nuts and bolts) to be the best solution. A left handed drill bit or an easy out will work much better if you apply a penetrating oil (like Kroil) and then heat the body that is holding the screw before trying to torque out the screw.

I’ve found set screws can include headed screws, but are most commonly are the headless type, typically referred to as “grub” screws.

Best of luck.

-- Rob - Indianapolis IN - Learning... one mistake at a time...

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Stewbot

195 posts in 547 days


#14 posted 06-12-2015 12:40 AM

Thats great advice, thank you. Im gonna throw that into the bag of tricks. Im now beginning to wonder why the set screw was so tight in the first place. I assume it was torqued too much in the first place…but wondering if other factors were involved. The set screw was holding the centrifugal switch in place on the (shaft) inside the motor compartment. Could it be that the heat from the motor, could have had any effect on this scenario?

-- Hoopty scoop?

View distrbd's profile

distrbd

2227 posts in 1909 days


#15 posted 06-12-2015 01:10 AM

You can cut a slot on the head of the set screw with a dremel/cutting wheel, then use a slot screwdriver to loosen it and take it out.
Another method is to drill a small hole in a small piece of mild steel(1” wide x 5” long 11 gauge), put the hole right above the set screw, mig weld the set screw to the mild steel where the hole is, once cooled use the welded piece as a handle and unscrew(ccw) .
Other way mentioned like drill and tap a size bigger will always work, never tried easy out so I have no experience there.
Good luck.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

showing 1 through 15 of 25 replies

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