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# Broken Bolt Extraction

Start by drilling a square hole...
 (+7, -1) [vote for, against]

Your typical screw-extractor system involves drilling an ordinary hole into the end of the broken bolt, and then jamming a special tapered tool into the hole. The tool grips the bolt and lets you turn it, to remove it.

It is not always effective, though. Some bolts are made of tougher stuff than others, and the special tool fails to grip properly, so it turns, while the bolt doesn't.

So, here is a better way (see link).

It is possible to drill a hole that is mostly square, instead of round (the corners will be rounded slightly, instead of being perfectly angled). The trick has two parts, of which one is a somewhat special drill bit.

The most important part of the trick, though, is the chuck that holds the bit. This chuck not only rotates, it also revolves (the way the Earth both rotates while revolving around the Sun). That motion, coupled with the shape of the drill bit, causes a mostly square hole to be drilled.

After you have a mostly square hole, all you do is insert a matching mostly square tool that resembles an "Allen wrench" (which has a hexagonal instead of a square cross-section). Now you can easily turn the broken bolt until it comes out.

 — Vernon, Aug 18 2012

Drilling a square hole http://www.neatoram...ling-a-square-hole/
As mentioned in the main text. [Vernon, Aug 18 2012]

Nice idea. Question, though - it's not clear to me how the square-hole-drilling arrangement is braced. I get the impression that you can't just apply the square-hole-driller to a bolt in the same way that you can apply a round bit to a bolt.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 18 2012

I thought this was going to be a method of getting Usain Bolt off the track after some disastrous injury.
 — xenzag, Aug 18 2012

 It should be possible to drill a narrow pilot hole, then use that as a guide for the metaeccentric follower drill.

It might be better to drill a regular polygon rather than a" square" hole.
 — 8th of 7, Aug 18 2012

I have a sneaking suspicion that any bolt hard enough to give a traditional extractor problems is also going to give this style of square bit problems. You're looking at a lot of side load on a (relative to hole size) very narrow bit.
 — MechE, Aug 18 2012

 True. However …

 The object is to remove the damaged bolt. One way of assisting in that process would be to have a left-hand twist on the polygon bit, run at low or moderate speeds, and provide a cutting lubricant.

 The work would be deeply heated by the action of the drill, and the applied torque would tend to loosen or indeed unscrew the stub.

Best case, you might not actually need a polygonal wrench at all.
 — 8th of 7, Aug 18 2012

Use a very narrow end mill to cut X pattern slots in the bolt and and use a Phillips screw driver?
 — sqeaketh the wheel, Aug 18 2012

Great of you've got the part on the bench. Maybe not quite so great if you're lying on the tarmac reaching up into a confined space to try and extract a sheared manifold stud without having to pull the entire powerplant out of the vehicle.
 — 8th of 7, Aug 18 2012

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