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Don’t Find Yourself Screwed by a Broken Screw! How to Remove those Pesky Broken Screws

Screwed /skrood/
(informal) Beset with unfortunate circumstances that seem difficult or impossible to overcome; in a hopeless situation, ruined or broken.


Don’t be afraid! The image above may seem like a screenshot out of Silent Hill; but they are just severely rusted screws. A broken screw is one of the many irritations in life that can send you into a manic blood-rage of frustration and possibly force your friends to commit you to Brookhaven View Hospital. It is possible that the top groove or indentation became stripped, or maybe it became sheared completely.

All you know for sure is that the screw won’t turn. Is your screwdriver useless?!
Get a hold of yourself! There is a handy device that can help you overcome this stubborn obstacle and save you from facing those horrifying bobble head nurses. What you need, is a screw extractor.
Damaged screws are not only found in creepy, dilapidated houses that make you question your sanity. Repairing old objects and doing renovations on an old home can frequently yield damaged or rusted screw heads. While a cool sounding name like “Screw Extractor” seems like it would be really expensive, they are actually quite affordable.
You can find a good screw extractor set between $15 for basics, up to $100 for pro sets (or if you’re lucky it will be conveniently laying in a drawer because you need to use it to solve some puzzle).
Now, to save you some time and possible fits of frustration; we have provided some step-by-step instructions to help you with overcoming your broken screws.

Step 1: Drill a Guide Hole
Your surroundings are abhorrent; but you must be brave. Your first task is to drill a guide hole. The guide hole allows for you to easily place the screw extractor into the screw. Simply attach a size 1/16 drill bit to your power drill, and align it with the center of the screw you want to remove. Now that you have the start of a guide hole, you can change your drill bit to the size of the embedded screw. Afterwards, enlarge the hole to the size that you need. The packaging of the extractor usually has information for you to confirm which size of guide hole you need to make.


Step 2: Put Together the Screw Extractor
We know, there’s no time to put this tool together (the monsters are coming!). It’s ok, this is really easy. First, you need to hold the screw extractor upright with the square attachment end at the top. Then you fasten the T-handle to it by pushing the threaded joint down over the square end. Make sure to turn the square end until it is snug. This method lets you turn the extractor and apply pressure to it at the same time.

Step 3: Place the Screw Extractor into the Guide Hole
Carefully place the threaded tip of the screw extractor into the drilled guide hole and continue to ignore the shrill garble of static on your radio. Strike the T-handle directly above the extractor tip with a hammer to force it into the guide hole.

Step 4: Twist the T-handle Counterclockwise and Press Down
Turn the T-handle to the left from its starting point (ignoring the wailing siren) while you are pressing down on the extractor handle in a counterclockwise rotation. Keep the extractor as vertical as possible so it does not slip out of the guide-hole; and possibly stab you.


Step 5: Adjust Your Guide Hole Size, Place the Extractor Again
If you can’t get the screw extractor to grip the embedded screw (and you’re starting to hear metal scraping against metal off in the distance); quickly pick a larger drill bit, such as a 5/32 and make the guide hole larger. Make sure to give the T-handle a solid tap to get the best connection for the screw extractor. While the terrifying sounds move ever closer, turn the T-handle more rapidly as you feel the screw loosening. Keep turning the extractor until you have detached the screw completely from the material it was holding together before you quickly duck to avoid the swing of Pyramid Head’s giant knife.

You have mastered the art of screw extraction and avoided your entire project being “screwed”! If you do not already own one, it may be time to purchase that screw extractor set. Once you are the proud owner of a screw extractor set; you will be fully prepared to remove broken screws from the most frightening of dilapidated environments, and fast enough to avoid the terrors of the darkness and/or zombie on foggy streets.

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