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Remove a Stripped Screw: Extractor Bits for Damaged Fasteners

A set of extractor bits can remove a wide range of damaged screw sizes.

If you use cheap screws, improperly sized driver bits, or too much torque when fastening, you can easily strip out the head of screw. We’ve all been there. Once the screw head is damaged, a screwdriver can’t turn it, so the screw gets stuck in place. What to do now?!

When faced with these type of aggravations, I turn to a set of Extractor bits, which are specially designed to turn damaged screws for removal. You’ll find these specialty bits under the names Alden Grabit bits or Ontel SpeedOut Bits.

How it works: Extractor bits remove most damaged screws such as Hex, Phillips, Torx, Square Drive; sizes No.4 – 24 from wood, plastic or metal up to 3 inches in length. These two-step drill bits each feature a Burnishing Tip and a Removal Tip. To prepare a damaged screw for extraction, first chuck the bit into a drill with the Burnishing Tip showing. Set drill for reverse (counterclockwise). Place burnishing end of tool into damaged screw, slowly clean inside screw head until smooth (forming a cone). Next, remove the bit and flip it around, replacing it into the drill chuck. While maintaining the reverse setting, place the threaded Remover Tip of tool into the now-smooth screw head. Apply firm downward pressure and drill at slow speed. Apply the lowest level of power to the hand drill. The Remover Tip will thread into screw head and remove.

The Burnishing Tip will dig out a cone shape in the head of the stripped screw.

The reverse threads of the Removal Tip will bite into the inner walls of the cone and turn the screw for removal.

Extractor bits can also remove threaded inserts (with no need to burnish the hole first).

Removing threaded insert with SpeedOut Bit.

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