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gear head screw

a screw head that engages with the screwdriver even when driven at an angle
  [vote for,

Screw heads are generally designed for when the screw is being driven along the screw axis. However, screws are often needed in cramped locations which makes it difficult to position the screwdriver axially. I think it would be handy to have a screw that could be driven when the screwdriver was at an angle to the screw.

My idea is a screw with gear teeth on the head. I have two variations on this idea.

First idea is using bevel gears, which would allow the screw to be driven from one angle. The screw head would be designed with a lip beyond the gears to prevent the screwdriver slipping in the direction it is being pushed.

Second (preferred) idea is using spherical gears, which would allow the screw to be driven from a range of angles (see illustration).

I realize multi-axis screw electric screwdrivers have already solved this problem in a different way. However, my idea would appeal to consumers because the screwdriver bit would only cost a few dollars and fit onto existing screwdrivers.

xaviergisz, Oct 10 2010

illustration http://imgur.com/a/LZhIM
[xaviergisz, Oct 10 2010, last modified Dec 11 2011]

Ball End Allen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hex_key
See subsection titled "Variants" [mouseposture, Oct 10 2010]

Right Angle Drill Attachment http://www.toolspot...le-drill-attachment
Right angles only, but cheap. [Boomershine, Oct 10 2010]

Screwfix: Angled screwdriver, only £10.34 http://www.screwfix...rewdriver-Set-12Pcs
[hippo, Oct 11 2010]


       I have an equipment rack that's assembled with screws that can be driven when the screwdriver is at an angle to the screw. The head of the screw has a hexagonal depression, as if it were meant to be driven with an allen wrench, and the tip of the screwdriver (supplied with the rack) is a sort of faceted ball shape. A little quick Googling suggests that this is called a "ball end allen" screw, but I could be wrong about that.
mouseposture, Oct 10 2010

       I think a simple universal joint swivel in the screwdriver itself is all you need.
RayfordSteele, Oct 10 2010

       I like the illustration, but I don't think this would work if any significant force were required - too many angles. The ball- end Allen key is probably the closest effective way of doing this, short of a jointed anglish screwdriver.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 10 2010

       Fine illustration, but I must agree with [Max]; too many angles. The rotational forces are accounted for, but the axial pressure on the screw itself is not shown. Your system might work fine on a machine screw which is to be driven into a threaded hole, but I'm not even sure about that. Forget wood or sheet metal screws.   

       This [link] would work better, I think. And, it apparently works on any kind of screw, not just allen heads.
Boomershine, Oct 10 2010

       All of the force you put into turning the screw would also be trying to knock these gears out of alignment with each other. You'd need something to keep them lined up and meshed together while you translate that torque through the angle via the gears and the human hand isn't precise or strong enough.   

       Not sure if it's kosher to do so but I'm bunning it anyway for the great illustration.
doctorremulac3, Oct 10 2010

       //Not sure if it's kosher to do so but I'm bunning it anyway for the great illustration.//   

       Hey [doc], it's your bun, waste it anyway you choose. It's the annos that really count, anyway, isn't it? ISN'T IT?!?
Boomershine, Oct 10 2010

       heh ~~~#   

I like the illustration but when I picture trying to use it the screwdriver just travels around the screw head. If you were to invert the screw head so that it is concave to the drivers convex it would work. (+)

       To get around the problem of slippage, my idea could be used in conjunction with a ball end allen driver.   

       The screw driver shown in the illustration would have a hexagonal hole down its axis so it would fit on an allen key. The screw driver would also have a spring to push it downwards.   

       With this hybrid ball end and gear head, there would be more grip on the screw head and thus allow more torque to be applied. This overcomes the limited torque and grip which a ball allen suffers.
xaviergisz, Oct 10 2010

       This stuff is a little hard to see from the illustration you posted.
Boomershine, Oct 10 2010

       I'll post another illustration later today (in about 6 hours).
xaviergisz, Oct 10 2010

       [mouse] is right. Ball-end Allen keys are a good solution for driving an "InHex" head screw from perpendicular to about 40deg.   

       The cost slightly more than standard hex Allen keys. I don't think I've ever seen one as a drill bit, for use with a battery drill but that's simple to fix with a hacksaw. Cut one off a ball-end Allen key.   

       You have to pre-drill with them though, as they tend to go "round" if you apply too much torque.
infidel, Oct 11 2010

       I have a screwdriver (see link) which has a small geared joint at the end and can drive screws at 90° to the axis of rotation of the screwdriver. The great thing about this is that it works with existing screwhead designs, whereas this idea calls for widespread adoption of a new screwhead design.
hippo, Oct 11 2010

       Ok, I've linked to an illustration of my hybrid ball end/gear head screw driver idea.
xaviergisz, Oct 11 2010

       The new one is better, but I still think it's not going to give a huge advantage over the simple ball-end alone. Maybe if you made the teeth angled, so that tightening the screw tended to pull the teeth of the screw and bit together, that would help.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 11 2010

       //this idea calls for widespread adoption of a new screwhead design//   

       My idea is 'backwards compatible' (to borrow computing terminology) with hex and ball end hex screw drivers, so its widespread adoption is not really necessary. Also, according to wikipedia there are already 18 screw head designs, each with their own benefits; this is just one more design that might find a niche market.
xaviergisz, Oct 11 2010

       This idea is starting to seem pretty well baked to me; so many devices that do essentially this very thing.
Boomershine, Oct 11 2010

       In the US auto and motorcyle enthusiasts are often referred to as Gearheads, so some of us expected something a little more racy than this when we saw the title of this invention.
cudgel, Oct 11 2010

       "gear head screw."   

       I could see where one might get such an expectation, [cudgel].
Boomershine, Oct 11 2010

       Obligatory "Injection is nice but I'd rather be blown" Tshirt slogan.
infidel, Oct 11 2010

       //Obligatory "Injection is nice but I'd rather be blown" Tshirt slogan.//   

       Man, [cudgel], no wonder you were disappointed!
Boomershine, Oct 11 2010


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