Extracting broken bolt / screw

Discussion in 'Home Repair' started by komobu, Dec 30, 2007.

  1. komobu

    komobu Guest

    Hi;

    Often I need to extract broken bolts / screws and am thinking about
    picking up some left handed drill bits. Usually I have to extract
    broken steel bolts and screws from aluminum heads and manifolds. Most
    often they are broke off clean and need to be drilled. When looking at
    drill bits to purchase, I see they are made of HSS, Cobalt and
    Titanium. What drill bit material is the best for staying sharp and
    long lasting life?

    Also, please comment on grabit and other extracting methods. What do
    you think is the easiest way to remove a broken bolt?

    Thanks for any advice
    Pat
    komobu, Dec 30, 2007
    #1
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  2. komobu

    BillM Guest

    "komobu" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > Also, please comment on grabit and other extracting
    > methods. What do
    > you think is the easiest way to remove a broken bolt?
    >
    > Thanks for any advice
    > Pat


    My favorite method is to center up an oversize hex nut (3/8
    nut on a 1/4 bolt etc.) over
    the broken remains, use a mig welder to weld the nut to the
    broken stud/bolt.
    Give it a shot of Kroil and unscrew. For small stuff drill
    a hole in some sheet metal,
    weld it to the screw, and weld a hex nut to the sheet metal.
    Lots of Kroil, maybe run
    it through a couple of heat/cool cycles, be patient. Works
    90% + of the time.

    Bill
    BillM, Dec 30, 2007
    #2
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  3. komobu

    komobu Guest

    Thanks Bill;

    I had intended to say in the initial post that welding wasnt an option
    for me, but I failed to do so!!! I want to learn how to weld but that
    is another subject. My main question is on the composition of the
    drill bits. What material should I look for in the drill bits?

    Thanks Again
    Pat
    komobu, Dec 30, 2007
    #3
  4. komobu

    Nate Nagel Guest

    komobu wrote:
    > Hi;
    >
    > Often I need to extract broken bolts / screws and am thinking about
    > picking up some left handed drill bits. Usually I have to extract
    > broken steel bolts and screws from aluminum heads and manifolds. Most
    > often they are broke off clean and need to be drilled. When looking at
    > drill bits to purchase, I see they are made of HSS, Cobalt and
    > Titanium. What drill bit material is the best for staying sharp and
    > long lasting life?
    >
    > Also, please comment on grabit and other extracting methods. What do
    > you think is the easiest way to remove a broken bolt?
    >
    > Thanks for any advice
    > Pat


    I use quality HSS bits because a) I don't need to do this very often and
    b) HSS bits can be resharpened.

    I haven't found an ez-out yet that works reliably. I usually end up
    drilling out the bolt almost to the threads and busting the swarf out
    with a bottom tap.

    nate

    --
    replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
    http://members.cox.net/njnagel
    Nate Nagel, Dec 30, 2007
    #4
  5. komobu

    Nate Nagel Guest

    BillM wrote:
    > "komobu" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >
    >>Also, please comment on grabit and other extracting
    >>methods. What do
    >>you think is the easiest way to remove a broken bolt?
    >>
    >>Thanks for any advice
    >>Pat

    >
    >
    > My favorite method is to center up an oversize hex nut (3/8
    > nut on a 1/4 bolt etc.) over
    > the broken remains, use a mig welder to weld the nut to the
    > broken stud/bolt.
    > Give it a shot of Kroil and unscrew. For small stuff drill
    > a hole in some sheet metal,
    > weld it to the screw, and weld a hex nut to the sheet metal.
    > Lots of Kroil, maybe run
    > it through a couple of heat/cool cycles, be patient. Works
    > 90% + of the time.
    >
    > Bill
    >


    Last time I tried that I found that the busted bolts I had to remove
    were unhardened, and of some alloy that my MIG welder wouldn't penetrate
    it worth a damn! let that be a lesson to you, always use Grade 5!

    nate


    --
    replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
    http://members.cox.net/njnagel
    Nate Nagel, Dec 30, 2007
    #5
  6. komobu

    John Martin Guest

    On Dec 30, 2:39 pm, komobu <> wrote:
    > Hi;
    >
    > Often I need to extract broken bolts / screws and am thinking about
    > picking up some left handed drill bits. Usually I have to extract
    > broken steel bolts and screws from aluminum heads and manifolds. Most
    > often they are broke off clean and need to be drilled. When looking at
    > drill bits to purchase,  I see they are made of HSS, Cobalt and
    > Titanium. What drill bit material is the best for staying sharp and
    > long lasting life?
    >
    > Also, please comment on grabit and other extracting methods. What do
    > you think is the easiest way to remove a broken bolt?
    >
    > Thanks for any advice
    > Pat


    Cobalt is a step up from regular HSS. Titanium is actually titanium
    nitride, TiN, which is just a coating. It's the steel underneath that
    is important.

    Lots of ways to remove broken studs and screws without welding.

    You're on the right track with the LH drills.

    I've had fairly good luck with Easy-Outs. The trick is to use the
    right size. Too small and it will snap. Too large and the remaining
    screw will be thin enough that the Easy-Out will expand it.

    Kroil, PB Blaster and the other penetrants are a must.

    A hot alum solution will dissolve a steel screw without hurting the
    aluminum head. Eventually. It works better on taps, because the
    flutes allow it to work on the threads.

    EDM is great if you can get the part to a shop that has the equipment.

    John Martin
    John Martin, Dec 30, 2007
    #6
  7. komobu

    Leo Lichtman Guest

    "Nate Nagel" wrote: (clip) I haven't found an ez-out yet that works
    reliably. I usually end up
    > drilling out the bolt almost to the threads and busting the swarf out with
    > a bottom tap.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    The drill and tap method works for me, too. I HAVE found that Snap-on
    extractors work well. They are not tapered. You drill with a drill that
    they provide, and then drive in a splined shaft. Then slip on a nut with a
    matching internal spline, that they also provide. Tapered easy-outs grip
    only at the top of the drilled hole. Snap-ons grip all the way to the
    bottom.
    Leo Lichtman, Dec 30, 2007
    #7
  8. komobu

    Guest Guest

    I didn't have a lot of faith in the "GRABIT" system till someone gave me
    a set of them .. .. worked great.

    komobu wrote:
    > Hi;
    >
    > Often I need to extract broken bolts / screws and am thinking about
    > picking up some left handed drill bits. Usually I have to extract
    > broken steel bolts and screws from aluminum heads and manifolds. Most
    > often they are broke off clean and need to be drilled. When looking at
    > drill bits to purchase, I see they are made of HSS, Cobalt and
    > Titanium. What drill bit material is the best for staying sharp and
    > long lasting life?
    >
    > Also, please comment on grabit and other extracting methods. What do
    > you think is the easiest way to remove a broken bolt?
    >
    > Thanks for any advice
    > Pat
    >
    Guest, Dec 30, 2007
    #8
  9. komobu

    Oren Guest

    On Sun, 30 Dec 2007 16:18:19 -0500, wrote:

    >Any tool for extraction will work but it's the setup that counts.
    >
    >For the highest success rate it is beset to follow this procedure,
    >especially when removing a hard bolt from a softer surrounding
    >material like aluminum.
    >
    >1. If broken bolt is above surface grab it with vise grips, use a
    > engraving tool to buzz it out, or turn it with a sharp punch.
    >
    >2. If this doesn't work grind the surface perpendicular to the
    > bolt.
    >
    >3. With a magnifying glass if you need one, punch the
    > exact center of the bolt. Re-punch if you are off a bit.
    >
    >4. Take a small drill and carefully without breaking the bit, drill
    > a pilot hole.
    >
    >5. Step up to a larger drill that you feel you will not break
    > and adjust the drill location if necessary to make the
    > hole exactly in the center. Drill all the way through the
    > bolt if possible.
    >
    >6. Now pick the correct size left hand drill, or drill/EZ out
    > combination.
    >
    >If the bolt is bellow surface and uneven use steps three through
    >six. Pay great attention to step three, four and five.


    Good post. I've never heard of the engraving tool trick.

    By "buzz it out", do you mean the vibration helps the bolt to turn
    easier?
    Oren
    --
    Oren, Dec 30, 2007
    #9
  10. komobu

    Oren Guest

    On Sun, 30 Dec 2007 18:15:46 -0500, wrote:

    >
    >>Good post. I've never heard of the engraving tool trick.
    >>
    >>By "buzz it out", do you mean the vibration helps the bolt to turn
    >>easier?
    >>Oren

    >
    >It takes the place of a punch. Orient the engraver so
    >that it pushes the perimeter, or whatever is available in a
    >counterclockwise direction. This will only work if the bolt is
    >not completely seized but just inaccessible.


    Now ya got me thinking to use the engraver for the pilot starter
    ...reduce the wobble/walk of a small bit.. an avoid a punch (if
    possible)

    Then use the drill bits.
    Oren
    --
    Oren, Dec 30, 2007
    #10
  11. komobu

    maxodyne Guest

    BillM wrote:
    > "komobu" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >
    >>Also, please comment on grabit and other extracting
    >>methods. What do
    >>you think is the easiest way to remove a broken bolt?
    >>
    >>Thanks for any advice
    >>Pat

    >
    >
    > My favorite method is to center up an oversize hex nut (3/8
    > nut on a 1/4 bolt etc.) over
    > the broken remains, use a mig welder to weld the nut to the
    > broken stud/bolt.
    > Give it a shot of Kroil and unscrew. For small stuff drill
    > a hole in some sheet metal,
    > weld it to the screw, and weld a hex nut to the sheet metal.
    > Lots of Kroil, maybe run
    > it through a couple of heat/cool cycles, be patient. Works
    > 90% + of the time.
    >
    > Bill
    >
    >

    Komobu said:

    "I had intended to say in the initial post that welding wasnt an option
    for me...I want to learn how to weld..."

    *If* you have access to an oxy-acetylene torch with a cutting head, but
    do not know how to weld, here is another handy-andy "hot wrench" trick.
    It won't work in every situation, it can be quite messy, and gooey gobs
    of red-hot sparks may fly in every direction. But sometimes it really
    works well and may be the only way and/or last resort. In general, the
    larger the diameter of the broken bolt, the better this works -- and not
    just for broken bolts, but for broken or seized fasteners of all kinds.

    Using a cutting torch head, adjust the oxygen and acetylene pressures as
    you would to cut a piece of flat steel of roughly the same thickness, or
    less, as the broken bolt's diameter. Heat the exposed area of the broken
    bolt as rapidly as possible. Speed is of the essence here, or you may
    end up welding the broken bolt to the surrounding material (which I have
    done, thank you). The thing to keep in mind is to prevent the broken
    bolt's surrounding material from approaching welding temperature. Once
    this surrounding material begins to glow, it is time to remove the
    torch, pause, and allow everything to cool down. Then, resume.

    When the broken bolt end is red-hot, blast away with the oxygen. This
    will vaporize the molten metal -- look out for red-hot molten metal
    blowback upon your person. Repeat as needed until all of the broken bolt
    has been vaporized. If the bolt was in a blind hole, you will have some
    slag to clean out. If the bolt hole goes through, you can chase out the
    larger bits of broken bolt by getting them red-hot also, and blasting
    away with the cutting torch head's oxygen. In either case, *remember to
    not allow the surrounding material to attain welding temperature*.
    Finally, run a tap in and out and the bolt hole should be as good as
    new. Well, almost as good as new...
    maxodyne, Dec 31, 2007
    #11
  12. komobu

    SteveB Guest

    Lots of helpful ways here to do many types of bolts and screws. I have
    found that each one is different. And even two of the same types of, say,
    bolts, the experience will be different.

    But I have found a few things that apply straight across the board, and I
    learned this at HKU.

    First: Look at the situation. Don't be in a rush. Sometimes the best way
    is the simplest. I have a lot of tools, and sometimes, I tend to
    overengineer. And sometimes the simplest is the fastest. If it don't work,
    you won't spend a lot of time on it before going to another strategy.

    Second: You will probably get one chance. It will screw up or it will come
    out. You'll fix it or you will ruin it. Make it a good shot.

    Third: LET PENETRANTS WORK. I recently had a turnbuckle that was frozen.
    I twisted the rod off in my hurry to get it off. Then I heated it with a
    MAPP torch, applied some 3 in 1 oil and turned off the light. Next day, I
    bought something like "Blaster" and hit it with some. About five minutes, I
    wiggled the Vise Grips that was clamped to the stump, and it moved freely.
    I don't think it was the Blaster, but letting the oil do its work and get
    sucked in. So, if you use penetrants, let them soak long enough to do their
    work.

    Last: Pay attention to your gut when it says, "It feels like if I twist
    this any farther, it will snap." 99% of the time, my gut was right.

    Steve
    SteveB, Dec 31, 2007
    #12
  13. komobu

    SteveB Guest

    "Oren" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Sun, 30 Dec 2007 18:15:46 -0500, wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>>Good post. I've never heard of the engraving tool trick.
    >>>
    >>>By "buzz it out", do you mean the vibration helps the bolt to turn
    >>>easier?
    >>>Oren

    >>
    >>It takes the place of a punch. Orient the engraver so
    >>that it pushes the perimeter, or whatever is available in a
    >>counterclockwise direction. This will only work if the bolt is
    >>not completely seized but just inaccessible.

    >
    > Now ya got me thinking to use the engraver for the pilot starter
    > ..reduce the wobble/walk of a small bit.. an avoid a punch (if
    > possible)
    >
    > Then use the drill bits.
    > Oren
    > --


    I have used one of those automatic punches chucked up to a drill press that
    is not spinning. Easy down until you get it right and clamped. If I try by
    hand, it seems to run off. If surface is slanted, you can also place shims
    under the clamp to flatten out the angle so the hole happens pretty close to
    center.

    Steve
    SteveB, Dec 31, 2007
    #13
  14. komobu

    Rob Christie Guest

    Gunner Asch wrote:
    > http://www.bubbadeals.com/prograbit.html
    >
    > This is what I saw on TV. That one seemed IRRC to have either 4 or 5
    > extractors in the set.
    >
    > Gunner


    Saw that too! Looked pretty good.
    Rob Christie, Dec 31, 2007
    #14
  15. komobu

    Nate Nagel Guest

    Oren wrote:
    > On Sun, 30 Dec 2007 18:15:46 -0500, wrote:
    >
    >
    >>>Good post. I've never heard of the engraving tool trick.
    >>>
    >>>By "buzz it out", do you mean the vibration helps the bolt to turn
    >>>easier?
    >>>Oren

    >>
    >>It takes the place of a punch. Orient the engraver so
    >>that it pushes the perimeter, or whatever is available in a
    >>counterclockwise direction. This will only work if the bolt is
    >>not completely seized but just inaccessible.

    >
    >
    > Now ya got me thinking to use the engraver for the pilot starter
    > ..reduce the wobble/walk of a small bit.. an avoid a punch (if
    > possible)
    >
    > Then use the drill bits.
    > Oren
    > --


    If you have one, I don't see why it wouldn't work. Or at least make a
    little dimple precisely in the middle so the punch doesn't skate off
    center when you whack it.

    nate

    --
    replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
    http://members.cox.net/njnagel
    Nate Nagel, Dec 31, 2007
    #15
  16. komobu

    Guest Guest

    YUP .. . got a set .. .. works great and comes with a lifetime warranty
    against breakage .. .. ..

    Gunner Asch wrote:
    > http://www.bubbadeals.com/prograbit.html
    >
    > This is what I saw on TV. That one seemed IRRC to have either 4 or 5
    > extractors in the set.
    >
    > Gunner
    >
    Guest, Dec 31, 2007
    #16
  17. komobu

    Nate Nagel Guest

    maxodyne wrote:
    > BillM wrote:
    >
    >> "komobu" <> wrote in message
    >> news:...
    >>
    >>> Also, please comment on grabit and other extracting methods. What do
    >>> you think is the easiest way to remove a broken bolt?
    >>>
    >>> Thanks for any advice
    >>> Pat

    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> My favorite method is to center up an oversize hex nut (3/8 nut on a
    >> 1/4 bolt etc.) over
    >> the broken remains, use a mig welder to weld the nut to the broken
    >> stud/bolt.
    >> Give it a shot of Kroil and unscrew. For small stuff drill a hole in
    >> some sheet metal,
    >> weld it to the screw, and weld a hex nut to the sheet metal. Lots of
    >> Kroil, maybe run
    >> it through a couple of heat/cool cycles, be patient. Works 90% + of
    >> the time.
    >>
    >> Bill
    >>

    > Komobu said:
    >
    > "I had intended to say in the initial post that welding wasnt an option
    > for me...I want to learn how to weld..."
    >
    > *If* you have access to an oxy-acetylene torch with a cutting head, but
    > do not know how to weld, here is another handy-andy "hot wrench" trick.
    > It won't work in every situation, it can be quite messy, and gooey gobs
    > of red-hot sparks may fly in every direction. But sometimes it really
    > works well and may be the only way and/or last resort. In general, the
    > larger the diameter of the broken bolt, the better this works -- and not
    > just for broken bolts, but for broken or seized fasteners of all kinds.
    >
    > Using a cutting torch head, adjust the oxygen and acetylene pressures as
    > you would to cut a piece of flat steel of roughly the same thickness, or
    > less, as the broken bolt's diameter. Heat the exposed area of the broken
    > bolt as rapidly as possible. Speed is of the essence here, or you may
    > end up welding the broken bolt to the surrounding material (which I have
    > done, thank you). The thing to keep in mind is to prevent the broken
    > bolt's surrounding material from approaching welding temperature. Once
    > this surrounding material begins to glow, it is time to remove the
    > torch, pause, and allow everything to cool down. Then, resume.
    >
    > When the broken bolt end is red-hot, blast away with the oxygen. This
    > will vaporize the molten metal -- look out for red-hot molten metal
    > blowback upon your person. Repeat as needed until all of the broken bolt
    > has been vaporized. If the bolt was in a blind hole, you will have some
    > slag to clean out. If the bolt hole goes through, you can chase out the
    > larger bits of broken bolt by getting them red-hot also, and blasting
    > away with the cutting torch head's oxygen. In either case, *remember to
    > not allow the surrounding material to attain welding temperature*.
    > Finally, run a tap in and out and the bolt hole should be as good as
    > new. Well, almost as good as new...


    This method takes "a touch" that I don't have... got a lovely Studebaker
    exhaust manifold with a melted flange to show for trying it :( guess I
    need to find something consumable to practice on, but drilling really
    isn't so bad.

    nate

    --
    replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
    http://members.cox.net/njnagel
    Nate Nagel, Dec 31, 2007
    #17
  18. komobu

    Grant Erwin Guest

    Some bolts ain't gonna come out. Ever. For those, you may need to get
    creative about drilling and tapping another hole nearby.

    When I twist off a fastener head, leaving a small stub sticking out, I
    have learned to NOT instantly grab the Vise-Grips. Because most of the
    time what happens when I do is that I crush the stub and it breaks off
    below the surface. Rather, I start with penetrating oil and I let it
    soak while I get out the MIG welder and cut up a piece of sheet steel
    about the size of a postage stamp as well as the No. 5 hand punch.
    I punch a hole in the sheet steel just large enough so the stub will
    fit through, then I use the MIG welder to weld the piece of sheet
    steel to the sheared-off fastener. Then I weld a nut to the piece
    of sheet steel, and use a wrench to gain a purchase. The combination
    of the penetrating oil, the heating/cooling of the welding, and the
    well-coupled torque via the welded nut will generally get it out
    if it's coming out.

    If I shear off the nut/sheet steel, then I start thinking about
    alternative holes. If it's an aluminum workpiece and steel fastener,
    then I can get out the product called "Tap Out" (which I buy at my
    local machine shop supply and have never been able to find online)
    which is a kit containing material to build a dam and a solution
    which will dissolve the steel fastener.

    If I'm going to try drilling down the axis of the stuck fastener,
    I'll use a left hand drill. I got a set of those in the easyout type
    kit I got from Craftsman. Of course, a left hand drill is rotating
    in the direction where if it binds up in the fastener the drill's
    torque might spin the fastener out.

    But some fasteners ain't coming out. Ever. Get over it.

    Grant

    --
    Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
    Grant Erwin, Dec 31, 2007
    #18
  19. komobu

    woodworker88 Guest

    On Dec 30, 11:39 am, komobu <> wrote:
    > I see they are made of HSS, Cobalt and
    > Titanium. What drill bit material is the best for staying sharp and
    > long lasting life?


    Basically, Cobalt is the best, but you'll pay for it. Titanium is
    actually Titanium Nitride, which is a coating applied to regular HSS
    bits. Your best bet is to buy a complete screw extraction set from a
    quality manufacturer. In my autoshop, we do a lot of drilling out of
    all sorts of bolts, screws, and studs snapped off in engine blocks,
    rear axles, transmissions, and other parts. We have a set from Irwin
    with left hand cobalt drill bits from 1/16-1/2" by 1/64", 5 spiral
    screw extractors (the long ones that you use with a tap handle), and
    about 16 multispline extractors (the ones that are only about 1.5-2
    diameters long, used with a 1/2" socket) New it cost about $250, but
    it has saved us thousands in scrapped parts.

    As an aside, if you don't have a close quarters drill that can be
    reversed, you should buy one. I find that many of the bolts that are
    snapped off are that way specifically because they are in close
    quarters or are awkward to reach, and therefore were pulled from the
    side, bent, etc. I have a 3/8" air drill that's less than 3" wide
    (the chuck is at right angles to the body of the tool), but it can't
    reverse to use the left hand drill bits. I use a close quarters
    electric drill that is reversible for my LH bits.

    Hope that helps
    woodworker88, Dec 31, 2007
    #19
  20. komobu

    Joe Guest

    On Dec 30, 2:03 pm, komobu <> wrote:
    > Thanks Bill;
    >
    > I had intended to say in the initial post that welding wasnt an option
    > for me, but I failed to do so!!! I want to learn how to weld but that
    > is another subject.


    What are you afraid of? It isn't neurosurgery. Harbor Freight has
    entry level MIG's at decent prices, and for the $$ you spend on one
    you'll save hours and hours of time that you would otherwise waste
    screwing around with drills, guide bushings 'easy (not) outs', busted
    taps and all the other hassles.
    Bill M is dead right on the technique. Personally, I have quite a few
    decades of auto repair work involving cylinder heads both high
    performance and stock. The oxyacetylene torch and the MIG rig are your
    friends, and you will find, as I did, that the time saving and quality
    of work is worth more than you realize. HTH

    Joe
    Joe, Jan 1, 2008
    #20
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