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Universal Screwdriver

Prevent manufacturers from "screwing" you.
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(+5, -1)
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Have you ever encountered "non-standard" screws? They are usually included in products made by firms that seek to prevent independent repair at all costs... a certain manufacturer loves to use TORX-1 screws in its laptops... subsequently making a killing through selling $60 screwdrivers. Fight the nonsense with a Universal Screwdriver. Two short steel needles spaced ~0.5mm apart are tipped with industrial diamond (the type found on grinding wheels.) The device (resembling a microscopic fork) is held to the head of the offending screw and hammered, quickly gaining sufficient hold to safely turn the screw (and replace it with a harmless diametric equivalent.) The forks could come in different sizes (for different sizes of screws.)
dsm, Oct 10 2001

Uni-Screw http://www.uni-screw.co.uk/
Universal Screw\Driver concept [marc1919, Oct 10 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       <obligatory cocktail-related post>
pottedstu, Oct 10 2001

       I can dig it.
iuvare, Oct 10 2001

       I think manufacturers should use those explosive bolts NASA loves. That way you could have software control over the screws. One-time only, unfortunately.
egnor, Oct 10 2001

       Tiny wee chisel, *BIG* hammer.
angel, Oct 10 2001

       In the US, there's a tool available that's a universal wrench. It will grip any size or geometry of nut. It consists of spring-loaded pins in a surrounding collar - press it on a nut and the pins that remain around the sides of the nut provide the grip.

If you could do the same, but with smaller diameter pins, it should be able to conform to any geometry of screw head cavity.

On the rant side, yeah, it really pisses me off to find proprietary or non-consumer-standard fastener interfaces. Just goes along with modern manufacturing mentality of throw-away appliances (with lifespans equal to warranty time).

I'll provide a link if I can find one showing a photo of the universal nut-grabber thingy.

oh, "universal nut-grabber" - heh, heh [beavis & butthead moment]

Sure, after I did a google search, come back here and find that waugsqueke already linked it. So, um....yeah...what waug said.
quarterbaker, Oct 10 2001

       Those bastards at Ford (among other car companies) are doing this, too.
AfroAssault, Oct 10 2001

       Sometimes I wonder about whether or not all those different screw-heads out there are in the midst of a kind of evolutionary competition. In the end, the best design will become the only design (and thus a universal design).   

       So we have ordinary straight-slot screws, Philips cross-slot screws, Allen hex-hole screws (one variation has a tiny pin straight up in the middle of that hex hole), bolts and machine screws with heads having hex exterior edges, screws with Torx asterisk-shaped holes, screws with square holes, and I've even seen pictures of screws that had triangular holes. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find other varieties out there, that I haven't encountered yet.   

       If they all were in competition for "best", I think I'd pick the screws with the triangular hole. The driver absolutely cannot slip or "round out" that hole!
Vernon, Oct 10 2001

       Rods Tiger, the ones I saw had true triangular holes.
Vernon, Oct 10 2001

       Ahh, yes. The great screw head debate. There are so many different types because there are so many different requirements. We will never see the day when only one variety is in use.   

       One camp wants to keep the tools as simple and cheap as possible. Performance is not a primary consideration. This camp will always promote the use of straight-slotted screws and hex or square headed bolts.   

       Another camp wants high performance, and is willing to invest in fancier tools to accommodate the more complicated interface. Unfortunately, different applications create different ideas about what constitutes "high performance". In this camp you find the Philips system, where the tool will self-center on the screw, although it may slip and strip if sufficient axial pressure is not applied. This camp also caters to the Robertson, Allen, and Torx systems, which do not require significant axial pressure to prevent slipping and stripping. Note that each of these last three requires the user to properly align the tool before it can be inserted into the screw head. Still other designs are intended to maximize the amount of torque that can be applied without the screw or tool breaking.   

       Then there's a third camp. These are the screws that are deliberately designed to prevent ordinary people from accessing an enclosure or adjusting a set point. Here you will find designs that require very special tools. The screw may sport an 'S' shaped slot, a triangular pit, two tiny holes (to accept a fork-shaped driver), or possibly an Allen or Torx head with a center pin that prevents the usual tools from mating with the pit. These are the nasty lil' boogers (or if you prefer, "buggers") which demand the creation of [dsm]'s Universal Screwdriver.   

       Let me know where can I buy a set of these tools when they hit the market.
BigBrother, Oct 11 2001

       [Vernon] and [Rods Tiger], I have seen both varieties of 3-sided heads. One has a delta-shaped pit with vertical walls. The other has 3 slots which form a wye. The first type is intended for high security, while the seconded is intended for high performance. Both tickle my ire, as I have been unable to locate a driver for either one.
BigBrother, Oct 11 2001

       <slightly off-topic>The electricity outlets on the Scillonian III (the Penzance to Scilly Isles ferry) have a different prong configuration from normal UK outlets.</slightly off-topic>
angel, Oct 11 2001


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