All Replies on Removing a set screw with Damaged hex center

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View Edward E Nock II's profile

Removing a set screw with Damaged hex center

by Edward E Nock II
posted 01-13-2018 03:47 PM

13 replies so far

View gwilki's profile


359 posts in 2355 days

#1 posted 01-13-2018 04:10 PM

If there is still some part of the “hole” in the head of the screw left, you may have luck with an easy out. Spray lots of penetrating oil first and let it set overnight. If there is no room for the easy out to drab onto, drilling is likely the only solution. Even hardened bolts can be drilled with a good bit and slow going.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View yvrdennis's profile


50 posts in 1959 days

#2 posted 01-13-2018 04:22 PM

If the set screw is proud of the hole you might be able to cut a slot in it with a dremel tool, and then use a slot screwdriver. Otherwise I think Grant’s suggestion is the way to go.

View lew's profile


13195 posts in 4637 days

#3 posted 01-13-2018 04:41 PM

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7917 posts in 1594 days

#4 posted 01-13-2018 04:48 PM

as lew said easyout :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View Walt's profile


263 posts in 3720 days

#5 posted 01-14-2018 08:22 PM

Check Woodsmith magazine vol 40 / No.235 page 58 for full description of damaged screw removal

-- Walt Wilmington Delaware, http://[email protected]

View MrUnix's profile


8239 posts in 3081 days

#6 posted 01-14-2018 10:58 PM

Sometimes a slightly oversized hex key can be used… If it’s SAE, look for a slightly larger metric one… if it’s metric, look for a slightly larger SAE one. You want one that will fit, but needs a bit of persuasion (like from a small hammer) to fit snug. If you can get a hex key socket on it, it will give you a lot more torque, and heat will help a bit as well. But sometimes, you just gotta drill… get a good bit and go slow – PITA, but it can be done:


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View mtnwalton's profile


82 posts in 1908 days

#7 posted 01-15-2018 09:41 PM

you will have much better luck drilling a hole in a setscrew with a solid carbide bit, then trying the ez out. A left hand drill may also help if you can drill slowly enough.

View Andybb's profile


2884 posts in 1485 days

#8 posted 01-15-2018 09:46 PM

I’ve used a properly sized snuggly fit torx bit tapped into the hole. You may need to drill out the hole to get a good match with the existing hole and the bit.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Edward E Nock II's profile

Edward E Nock II

110 posts in 5026 days

#9 posted 01-16-2018 02:26 PM

I want to thank all who have answered my Blog. I tried some of them, with out any luck. What I finally did was to drill through the area around the set screw, which was White Metal, and then split it with a Cold Chisel. I have parts from an old Belt sander left over. The motor burnt out & there were no replacements. the exg. sander is all apart awaiting delivery of a new belt.

Thanks all,



View Robert's profile


4048 posts in 2362 days

#10 posted 01-16-2018 02:46 PM

Sometimes a left hand drill bit will work better than an easy out if you can get it to engage the inside of the hex.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3718 posts in 2376 days

#11 posted 01-18-2018 12:36 AM

FWIW – Here are my “backyard mechanic” solution used in past:

#1 – Carefully apply heat with propane torch around the screw (important If tool is cold (<75F) ]. #2 – Apply liquid wrench and let it soak in while you find other tools to remove screw. #3 – Hammer something into stripped opening that is slightly larger, and twist it out.

Tools to use:
- use a grinder to adjust the width of freebie HF screw driver to fit width/depth of points (keep a tapered width), pound into the damaged screw and twist it out. Use vise grip if need more leverage. On larger set screws that are tight, use a dremel tool with small stone wheel to create small notch on opposite sides for screw driver to dig into. Might take couple of tries to get right width/depth of screw driver tip, but this usually works.

- use the lifetime guarantee on torx bit socket set, find one that is too big but starts to engage, hammer into screw and twist out. Even a grade 8 bolt is softer than tool steel in a lifetime guarantee set. Use vise grip to remove from screw remnant from socket bit, and exchange for new one next visit to store if needed.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View msinc's profile


567 posts in 1385 days

#12 posted 01-18-2018 02:49 AM

I have a Delta 4×36 belt sander with a broken belt, to replace it I need to remove the 6” sanding plate. The set screw is damaged. The correct Allen wench will not engage to loosen it. I ve tried different ways to remove it . My next option is to drill it out. I know that the set screw is tempered. So what is the best way?? Thanks, Edward Nock

- Edward E Nock II

No, drilling it out is NOT your next option…try driving a torx bit that is slightly bigger than what’s left of the hole in the set screw and removing it with that. This usually works, but it may not…the set screw spun for a reason. Also, if you can get some heat on it try heating it with a propane torch and applying ordinary parafin candle wax while it is hot. It doesn’t need to be “glowing”, but as hot as you can get it. The wax is better than any other thing you can try because when melted it is thinner than any oil and it runs towards heat, which will carry it down the threads. The trick is to allow it to completely cool BEFORE trying to remove the set screw. When cool it goes back to being like grease and again, it works way better than any other chemical I have tried and I have pretty much tried them all.
If you have to resort to drilling it out just remember that you must drill it dead center and always try it with a reverse twist drill bit because most of the time it will get to a point where it will go ahead and grab what’s left of the set screw and spin it out. As a former automotive machinist that did this half my life there is no “all ya’ gotta do” when it comes to wrung off or frozen threaded things.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16938 posts in 3500 days

#13 posted 01-18-2018 03:16 PM


It’s done. The OP did the deed.

What I finally did was to drill through the area around the set screw, which was White Metal, and then split it with a Cold Chisel. I have parts from an old Belt sander left over. The motor burnt out & there were no replacements. the exg. sander is all apart awaiting delivery of a new belt.

Thanks all,


- Edward E Nock II

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

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