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How to remove a stripped head phillips servo style screw or larger...

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How to remove a stripped head phillips servo style screw or larger...

Old 08-08-2016, 11:38 AM
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Default How to remove a stripped head phillips servo style screw or larger...

There have been times when I have been tempted to use a little CA glue on those little servo screws that come with the ARF's these days. You know, those nasty little Phillips head screws that no screw driver in the world seems to fit just right, and the second you get some torque on it, it just skips and goes "clunk clunk".

Well here's a tip that will save your butt if you can't get one of these little buggers out.

First, go to store and get some valve grinding paste or lapping compound. Good ol' automotive water based will do, available at any auto parts store.Toothpaste may be an option, although I have never tried this.
Find the best fitting screw driver you can for your particular application.
Dip the tip or your screwdriver in the lapping compound.
Press firmly until you feel it crunch and then rotate...


I just got myself into trouble with this when I screwed a bellcrank system on my new Sbach 342 and used a little CA glue to make sure they never come out...never say never.

This works on screws as small as those small wood screws for servos and many other applications for balsa projects, all the way up to no. 3 Phillips head screws on old motorcycle engine covers etc...
Old 08-08-2016, 03:13 PM
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I have been putting a small dab of E6000 on servo screws and the arm.. It holds good, and if you need it off it takes some doing but a fine tipped needle nose pliers will eventually stretch and pull it off in 1 piece.

If I had a screw that wouldn't come out due to stripping I might just cut and break away the servo arm until I can either grab it with a small set of vice grips.. or cut a slot across the top with a thin dremel wheel and turn it out with a standard screw driver...
Old 08-08-2016, 03:13 PM
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Yeah, it's mesmerizing sometimes. I keep an assortment of "Philips" screwdrivers just so that I can match to whatever type I have. I'm a sucker for those hardware stores that display at the register a screwdriver. You can't really have enough.
Old 08-09-2016, 04:36 AM
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Phillips screws are a curse!!! They should be forever be replaced with allen or torq heads, IMHO.

I will try to remember the lapping compound idea for next time. Thanks for the tip.
Old 08-09-2016, 04:55 AM
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Many of these small screws in RC equipment use Japanese Industrial type screws. They look a lot like Phillips head but are not. Get yourself a set of the JPI screw drivers, you will thank yourself many times over when you next tackle those servo screws. You will be amazed at how well they work.
Old 08-09-2016, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Rodney
Many of these small screws in RC equipment use Japanese Industrial type screws. They look a lot like Phillips head but are not. Get yourself a set of the JPI screw drivers, you will thank yourself many times over when you next tackle those servo screws. You will be amazed at how well they work.
DING, DING, DING!!! Give this man a ceegar for the correct solution
Old 08-09-2016, 05:54 AM
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Yes, here's a set on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Hozan-JIS-4-J.../dp/B00A7WAHTU Not too bad, worth having. Oh great, another tool assessment.
Old 08-09-2016, 12:20 PM
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I got a set of the JIS screwdrivers a couple years ago just to use on Futaba servos and mounting hardware. These screwdrivers never slip on these small phillips head screws. They're also great on most other brands of servo/mounting screws also. I had never heard of Japanese Industrial Standard before then.
Old 08-09-2016, 12:53 PM
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lol no one ever notices those jis screws until its too late. We had a huge discussion on this in another thread a couple months ago. I change all phillips and jis over to hex automatically when i get a model that uses them.
Old 08-10-2016, 07:25 AM
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Well, this worked so well for me, I felt compelled to share.

I have a few old generation JIS screw drivers in my tool box, as I was a mechanic/machinist most of my life. I have actually ground the tip on my ISO screw driver to fit JIS on occasion (using a valve refacer), on larger applications...in an emergency. I think I read a tip somewhere about grinding to around 56 degrees (from plane).
I guess it's time to break down and buy a new set.

Meanwhile I needed to get the screw out.

Of course, not everyone keeps lapping compound in the toolbox, but it is readily available at the corner auto parts store, and it's cheap.









"I'm not an expert, but I play one on the Internet!"
Old 08-13-2016, 01:34 PM
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Left hand drill bits will back a damaged screw out.
Old 08-18-2016, 06:33 AM
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Finally got my JIS drivers...thanks for getting my mind right Rodney...

I think I will still keep the lapping compound handy though
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Old 08-18-2016, 06:57 AM
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The other solution, and the one I use most (and yes I have a JIS set from my helicopter days) is to junk the servo screws and use socket head servo screws from RTL Fasteners.

Thankfully I'm finding many newer servos shipping with those screws or the black ones like them. Extreme Flight sells the black ones btw.
Old 08-22-2016, 10:18 AM
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Just received my set. Big difference compared to the screwdriver I normally use on servo screws.
Old 08-23-2016, 03:34 AM
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My tip is throw those screws out that come with the servos and go order some of these in bulk from either Micro Fasteners.com or RTL Fasteners.com and start using them. They make life a lot easier on you.

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Old 08-23-2016, 05:17 AM
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Oh, I've used those, they work great. I've also found that screws that come with the servos work just fine also.
Old 08-25-2016, 05:29 AM
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I shot a video of this technique yesterday. Using two different screw drivers, neither of which would hold...I have an old dried out tube of lapping compound I use for this. I add a little spit to create a paste. Sorry for the video quality as I am in a wheelchair trying to do this with one hand. And it was hard to get close without losing focus.

For what it is worth...my point was not, "how to avoid stripped screws by buying better screws to begin with"....I know that I can spend my way out of any problem. What I was trying to do is give people a quick and effective way to get one of these ugly, cheap screws out when it is stuck and the head is stripped. I have encountered this problem because I have a thousand of these screws lying around, in all sizes and lengths. Some are a little better than others. I want to build it and hopefully go to the field and fly it...not wait around for another shipment. I am giving people an alternative to grabbing pliers or, heaven forbid, try to drill the head off of one of these! This works. It works really well. There is no such thing as a "strip proof" screw head, especially when I'm in the shop!!!

I don't mean to sound ungrateful for all the input, and everyone is right...better tools, better hardware, better training, better lighting, better attitude...all these things will help you avoid stripped screws...but just in case you find yourself here....

https://youtu.be/wELMcptUR_E
Old 08-25-2016, 06:05 AM
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Wow. I don't have an old dried out tube of lapping compound. I'm screwed.
Old 08-25-2016, 11:00 AM
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I used to have a "double" can of lapping compound. There were two "lids' on it, one on the top, and one on the bottom. Half the can had coarse compound, and the other half had fine compound. Unfortunately that was 60 years ago! About 30 years ago I got 4 left hand drill bits: 1/8" through 5/16", and they have been used many times. The procedure does not involve drilling the head off, but rather the drill is allowed to "grab", and back the screw out. Twenty years ago I restored my '57 Chevy which had a lot of rusty, or damaged screws. One way or another I got all but 3 loose. Those 3 involved welding nuts to them, which is way off topic for this thread. I like the suggestion of using lapping compound, and it is an idea I had never heard of before. Given the opportunity, I'm sure I'll give it a try, especially for the little screws, such as are found in servos. Thanks for the suggestion. The same is true for left hand drill bits. They can be a real life saver on some jobs. As that old saying goes": sometimes there is more then one way to skin a cat".
Old 08-25-2016, 06:20 PM
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Motorcycle carbs are notorious for having stripped phillips head screws. My solution and has yet to fail me is to take an appropriate size punch. Smack the head of the screw with the punch and hammer enough to mush the head enough to close up the screw slot. Now take any correct size phillips screwdriver and drive that into the smushed head. The screw should back right out.

The driving, no pun intended, force here is hitting the screw head, it drives the head of the screw into the base metal just enough to loosen the grip on the threads and head of the screw. I have never had this method fail me yet. Sometimes the screw is so loose you can turn it out with your fingers and other times it took a couple of tries for success.

All phillips head screws get replaced with allen head screws!!

Ken
Old 08-26-2016, 08:58 AM
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Ken, Sounds like a "home brew" impact driver?
Old 08-27-2016, 06:01 AM
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Yes Ken,

I once had an RD350 Yamaha with an ignition cover with #3 Phillips that were terribly galled. I put a little lapping compound on my snap-on 3/8ths in. drive Phillips bit, put it on the end of my impact driver, smacked it with a hammer, and shattered the bit into 20 pieces. But the screw came loose. Of course snap-on replaced it for free, so no worries there. Carburetor float bowls are always a problem, and I found a pair of tiny pliers that Snap-on sells, with very very sharp teeth. They are my "go-to" tool for removing old Phillips on floatbowls.
Here is a picture of me in the shop...

Thanks to all for the input.

_MPH
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Old 08-27-2016, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Greg Wright
My tip is throw those screws out that come with the servos and go order some of these in bulk from either Micro Fasteners.com or RTL Fasteners.com and start using them. They make life a lot easier on you.

Darn...I just spent all my extra cash on a set of JIS screw drivers!!!

Old 08-27-2016, 06:59 AM
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I find the plating on those screws make it hard to start with an allen wrench, although the built in washers are great. I prefer the Phillips, JIS or Robertson heads. (Robertson are the best IMHO)
Old 08-27-2016, 03:19 PM
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I'd tell you that we used tooth paste in the Navy if there was no lapping compound handy but most people would be astonished that multi million dollar aircraft were maintained in such a manner

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