How to Remove Torx Screws Without a Screwdriver: Looking Into the Mechanics

How to Remove Torx Screws Without a Screwdriver: Looking Into the Mechanics
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If you are a handyman or maybe someone who happens to have a ton of things that need fixing, then you probably would benefit from knowing how to remove Torx screws without a screwdriver.

A screwdriver itself is a valuable and indispensable tool, but working on something with screws that even normal screwdrivers would have a problem can be a challenge. This is normally what happens when handling an unusual task like fixing up a bicycle, motorcycle or anything that comes with a tamper-proof construction or mechanism. When such a requirement comes up, expect to find Torx screws as the main method of sealing and attaching important parts or gears into the main body.

What Is a Torx Screw?

A Torx screw is also known as a star screw. This weird and unique screw head is characterized by the six-pointed star pattern that the driver slots form atop the screw head. This screw is commonly found in areas where tamper resistance is necessary such as vehicles, disk drives and consumer electronics like tablets and mobile phones.

Having a unique screw head means that the Torx screw comes with a specialized screwdriver that fits right into the slats of the screw head which makes it easier to turn the screw in and out. This screw head type is becoming popular in several industries, especially with its different uses, and the benefits that it can present to a business.

Principle Behind the Torx

The main reason why the Torx screw head was designed differently is that it aimed to resist episodes of cam-out better than either cross or slot headed screws. Cam-out is what you call the event wherein the screwdriver slips out of the screw head because of excessive force coming from the driver. This eventually leads to permanent damage to the screw, making it harder to extract as the damage piles on.

The overall design of the Torx screw allows you, the user, to exert as much force as you need on the driver to make the screw turn without causing any damage. In principle, Torq screw heads don’t need to rely on the driver to be forcibly pulled out once the right depth has been reached.

The design of the heads allows each spine of the screwdriver to fit snugly into each of the six points and, with the right angle, a gentle rotation can easily drive the screw in. This design is especially beneficial to automated systems where drivers are connected to machines and have no means of stopping until the driver tip slips out of the head.

Variations of the Torx Screw

The Torx screw comes in a variety of sizes that comes with its maximum torque range, each varying widely from the last depending on the amount of force needed to screw it in. The screw sizes range from T1-T100 or about .81mm until 22.13mm, which is about three-quarters of an inch, give or take.

When it comes to design variations, however, there are three main kinds, the regular Torx screw, the Tamper-Resistant Torx and the External Torx.

Torx Screw

This is your regular, yet weird, Torx screw head with the internal six-pointed star socket which should fit right in with any Torx Screwdriver.

Tamper-Resistant Torx

The TR, as it is more known, features small hump in the middle of the six-pointed star which acts as a deterrent against tampering, especially since a regular Torx screwdriver would not be able to go into the slots fully.

External Torx

This is the regular Torx screw that has been reimagined and produced inside out. Take your Torx screwdriver and place its tip at the head of the screw and, in lieu of the six-spiked head, attached the recessed six-pointed star on the screwdriver. This makes it adaptable to socket wrenches and the like.

How to Remove Torx Screws Without a Screwdriver?

And now it’s back to the first question, how to remove Torx screws without a screwdriver? Normally, Torx screws come with a specialized screwdriver that helps in installing whatever it is that will use the Torx screw and remove it when needed.

However, as what mostly happens inside a handyman’s shed, things get lost or misplaced–maybe borrowed and never returned which is what really happens, don’t you think so too? Removing Torx screws can be a little bit more complicated than regular screw heads where you can fit in a flat head driver for a Phillips screw head or maybe a butterknife if push comes to shove.

When improvising a way to remove a Torx screw, you would need to consider the size of the screw head. For all intents and purposes, the steps that are in this list involve the larger-sized Torx screws as the tiny ones require that you get at least a Phillips or Flathead screwdriver.

Prepping the Screwhead

Before you do anything, it is always a good practice to spray some oil around the head and wait for it to seep through and lubricate the threads of the screw for easier extraction.

Here are some of the ways you can extract or remove a Torx screw without needing a screwdriver:

Sculpt It Out

This works for bigger screw heads where a small chisel or a nail head can fit into the grooves where you can slowly hit the other end with a padded mallet. Make sure to do this in a counterclockwise direction so that it will turn the way it should to be extracted. Hit the nail or chisel as softly as possible, and do this slowly until you get traction enough to pull the screw halfway up. Switch to a pair of needle nose pliers after this to make things a bit easier on you to get the screw and the equipment that you were not just hitting with a hammer and a nail.

Drill It Out

This is probably the last thing that you would want to do when trying to remove a Torx screw without its screwdriver as drilling through the screw is destroying the screw. Get the smallest drill bit that you have, or at least the size should be just right for the screw head that you are working on and attach it to the drill driver. Center the bit at the center of the six-pointed star, ensure that the driver is set to go counterclockwise and slowly press the trigger. Take note that you cannot do this continually as the screw will heat up, and it can damage the equipment that you are working on.

Plastic Toothbrush

This is a more innovative way of going about it, and you can use any piece of hard plastic in lieu of the toothbrush. Melt the handle of the toothbrush so that it becomes more pliable and then jam it inside the six-pointed star. Let it cool before twisting the screw to loosen it. This may take a few tries especially if the toothbrush becomes too soft or if it loses the star shape.

Pry It Out

If you have a needlenose plier that is small enough or if the Torx screw head is big enough, then you insert the nose of the plier into the hole and then pry it open so that both lips would be lodged into one of the six points of the star. While holding it open, try to rotate the pliers counterclockwise with force being exerted on where the pliers touch the Torx. Another way of using pliers to remove Torx screws is described in a previous entry.

Try Allen

Most Allen wrenches have six sides; therefore, if sized just right, then they can work with regular Torx screws. The Allen wrench should be small enough to fit on the slats and snug enough to grab onto one of the points of the star. Not all Allen wrenches would work the way we would want it to when working with Torx screws, but be patient, and you should see the results.

Stick ’em Up

Another iffy condition. If the Torx screwhead is big enough, then you can insert the tip of a knife and align its blade into one of the six points and the point opposite that. This will take time as there is a chance that you will be working with the knife at an awkward angle.

Final Thoughts

Torx screw heads are a great option for tamperproof construction, and more and more businesses are seeing the benefits of what using such materials can bring into the business. While a Torx screwdriver is always at hand and should always be at hand when working with Torx, be consoled to know that there are ways to go about removing a Torx screw without a proper screwdriver.

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