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How to drill out a stripped screw/bolt

Drive enough screws, and, eventually, one will break. Luckily, there’s more than one way to get a damaged screw out of your way and your project back on track. I am going to tell you one of these ways and that is how to drill out a stripped screw or bolt. But please, if your stripped screw is on you iPhone, move to a different way of extraction.

Drilling out stripped bolts/screws

You can use any kind of drill for this process and find a drill bit that has just enough diameter to drill out the center of the screw head.

If you are drilling a hole in the bolt or screw you can use a drill bit slightly smaller than the screw head and drill a small hole into the center of the screw head. This technique works by opening up the hole to allow you to get deeper into the screw to unscrew it. Gradually begin drilling the center out of the screw head. It should go pretty fast. If the screw was soft enough to strip it should be nothing for a steel drill bit. You don’t need to drill too deep, just far enough to separate the screw head from the rest of it. If you drill too deep the screw head could pop off. And you do want that to happen!

Usually it will start to spin as it separates. Occasionally drilling a small hole into a stripped screw can allow your screwdriver to reach deeper into and achieve a better grip on the stuck fastener. If you’re going to try this method, make sure to use a drill bit intended for use on metal, not wood.

If you are drilling the head of the screw off, use a drill and as a last resort and drill the head of the screw totally off. You have to use a smaller drill bit than the width of the screw so you do not drill the threads out on the device the screw is in. Do not drill very deep because you only want to remove the screw head. When the screw head is detached, the shaft of the screw should be sticking out. You now have the ability to grip it with a pair of pliers and unscrew it out.

How to prevent stripped screws and bolts

Well always take your time in selecting the right screw or bolt for the job. Also you might invest in a drill bit set that allows you to drill holes in the proper sizes for yours screws. Pilot holes for hardwoods are slightly larger to avoid splitting the wood.


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