Using drill bits to remove stripped screws can be an easy way to remove the screw without it damaging the rest of your project.
Stripped screws can be virtually impossible to remove using the same bit that you drilled the screw in with. Drill bits to remove stripped screws have a unique shape that allows them to grab the stripped head and remove it cleanly. This guide will explain how to remove a stripped screw with drill bits and some other helpful methods, as well as define the types of drill bits you should look for.
Do I Need to Use Special Drill Bits to Remove Stripped Screws?
No, you don’t always need drill bits to remove stripped screws. The truth is that there are several tips and tricks that handypersons use to remove stripped screws, but sometimes, using a drill bit made for the job is the most straightforward route to go.
The term “stripped” refers to damage in the screw’s head that won’t allow a screwdriver or drill to grasp it like it once could. The tool needs to grasp within the head to turn the screw either in or out.
Using the wrong size screwdriver or bit or putting too much pressure on your tool when you drive in the screw can cause the head to strip, making it challenging to remove. You can also strip the screw’s head when you try to remove a screw using the wrong size bit or screwdriver.
Other Methods for Removing Stripped Screws
Using a special drill bit isn’t the only option for removal. Here are a few other methods if you don’t have drill bits available:
- Drill the stripped screw head. Sometimes, drilling into the screw head until it removes itself from the rest of the screw can help you remove the screw. Use a drill bit that is large enough to drill out the full center of the screw head until it detaches and then you can use pliers or grips to remove the rest.
- Rubberband method. Rubber bands are gripping, so placing one taut over the screw’s head can sometimes give your screwdriver or regular drill bit enough grip to remove the stripped screw.
- Super glue method. Filling the stripped screw head with super glue may also give you some extra grip to use a regular screwdriver or drill bit. Once the glue dries, use your screwdriver by exerting some pressure into the glued area.
- Use other tools. There are screw extraction pliers on the market made specifically for this task that grasp the head to loosen the screw for easier removal. You can sometimes use a flathead screwdriver on a stripped Phillips screw head too.
Why Using Drill Bits is a Good Idea
Having a set of drill bits on hand to remove stripped screws is a virtually foolproof way to ensure that you can always remove stripped screws quickly and easily. Although the above methods do work in some cases, they aren’t quite as reliable as a set of stripped screw drill bits.
Drill bits for stripped screws serve no other purpose than removing screws with stripped heads. They’re meant for the job, which means their manufacturers designed them to perform efficiently and do precisely what you need.
What Drill Bits Can Remove Stripped Screws?
If you want drill bits explicitly made for removing stripped screws, then you’ll need to look for something called a screw extraction kit. This is a set of drill bits that offers a few different types of tools to help you remove a screw that your regular bits or screwdriver can’t remove.
As a bonus, the screw extraction kit usually can handle screws with entirely broken heads or bodies too.
Screw extraction drill bits are usually made with durable, carbon high-speed steel to give the strength and power necessary to remove the screw without breaking it further.
The common types of tools you’ll find in your kit are:
Some kits come with a center punch, but you may need to purchase this tool separately. The center punch has a pointed end that, when hit with a hammer, creates a small hole that guides your drill bits into the right spot.
You’ll likely find a few drill bits in your kit that look like regular screw-driving drill bits. These bits allow you to create a hole in the center of the screw head for your extraction bits to slide in and extract the screw.
Straight Fluted Extractor
Straight fluted extractors have a flat body that some people consider makes them superior to a spiral fluted extractor because of their gripping power. The flat shape helps them grip the sides of the inner part of the screw head, allowing it to turn without as much risk of slipping.
These extractors can come in a wide range of sizes, and most kits that include them will have three or four sizes.
Spiral Fluted Extractor
A spiral fluted extractor has a tapered spiral head that looks much different than the straight fluted extracting bit. These are the most common types to find in extraction kits and can usually get the job done.
A spiral fluted extractor goes into the hole you made with a hole-cutting drill bit to grip the screw head and remove it from its spot. You’ll also typically find various sizes of these bits in your kit.
How Can I Remove a Stripped Screw with a Drill Bit?
Now that you know what each piece in your kit is for, we’re going to talk about how to remove a stripped screw with an extraction set.
- Use safety goggles before handling anything. As you drill, metal shards may spring from the screw, so you’ll want to keep your eyes safe.
- Use the center punch to create a small hole. Align it with the center of the screw head and then use a hammer on its end to help it puncture the head.
- Choose one of the regular drill bits that can cover the whole inner, stripped portion of the screw head. Drill that into the head to create a hole.
- Choose an extraction bit that fits tightly in that hole, using the hammer to nudge it in securely.
- Make sure your drill is in reverse to turn the extraction bit and screw counter-clockwise.
- If some of the screw won’t budge or breaks in the process, you can usually remove the rest with pliers.
Conclusion: How to Remove a Stripped Screw with a Drill Bit
We hope this guide helped you understand what types of drill bits you need to remove stripped screws and how the process works. Screw extraction kits are made specially to help you remove screws that won’t budge otherwise, so you can count on them to be reliable when you need them most.
Using drill bits to remove stripped screws can be one of the easiest, safest, and reliable methods for removal. Although there are some other tricks that can work in a pinch, you’ll find that having a screw extraction kit handy can save you time and headaches in the future.