Removing broken bolts and studs is never a fun job and can take more time then you think. Here are some ideas that might make the job easier.
It never fails! Just when you think you have got the whole job taken apart and everything is under control.
You either twist off a nut, break or round off a screw, or strip out the threads entirely.
Broken-This can often be a frustrating time-waster with no quick fix available.
More often than not, removing the broken piece and/or repairing the broken threads can take longer than all the whole job itself.
There are however, a few tips, tricks and tools that might make the job easier.
The job can’t proceed until the fastener is removed and, of course, you didn’t allow for all that extra time, did you?
What to do now? What alternatives are there to get the bolt out? Probably the best piece of advice is not to panic.
There are, in fact, many different ways to get broken bolts and screws out. Which method you use will depend upon the circumstances and also your available tools.
At a minimum, I recommend every hobbyist own:
- A small Easy-Out kit
- Set of left-hand drill bits
- Propane torch
- Electric drill (3/8 chuck, variable speed
- Vise-Grip pliers
Broken or rusted stud
So, If there is a stub sticking out, an effort must be made to grab it with Vise-Grip locking pliers.
Broken off flush
If it can’t be gripped, try to carefully turn it out of the hole with a hammer and chisel.
A bolt remnant that has broken off flush or below the surface of the workpiece will usually be loose in the threads.
In such a case, it often works to carefully use a punch or chisel and drive on the outer perimeter of the bolt to turn it counterclockwise.
Weld on washer or nut
If the above efforts fail then you will need to weld a washer onto the stub, and then weld a nut to the washer. Next, attempt to turn the stub out by the nut that was just welded to it. Many people ask me what’s TIG welding? If you’re welding this, you won’t need to use it, it’s for complex projects.
Left Hand Drill Bits
One often overlooked method of removing broken screws and bolts, and perhaps the best first choice, is the left hand twist drill bit. These are the same as regular high speed drill bits except the cutting action is in a counter-clockwise direction —the same way fasteners are removed.
Since you will likely have to drill a pilot hole at this point anyway, if you use a left hand drill bit, in many cases the drilling process results in removal because you are turning and biting into the stuck fastener in the same direction as removal, while applying downward pressure. If you are in need of a great cordless drill, then check out this guide from Coolest Gadgets.
The Use Of Heat
Often a last resort, the application of heat to a stubborn, immovable fastener can be the catalyst for success. As heat is rapidly applied, it excites the molecules in the metals causing expansion. This expansion can take place at different temperatures and rates for different metals,
One of the most common examples is the heating of cast iron manifolds to remove stubborn steel studs. Being dissimilar in structure, the cast iron heats and expands at a rate greater than the steel fastener, which allows a space to form between the two and facilitates easier removal. The added use of penetrating fluids that can withstand high temperatures enhances the chances for success.
If all these methods fail to remove the broken bolt (yes, I had this happen plenty of times over the years!) then the only choice is to drill it out completely. This means drilling away the mating threads where the bolt was fastened.
In this case you will have to tap new, larger threads into the hole and find a larger bolt to use in that location.
If you can not use a larger bolt because of specific fit or appearance reasons? Well, in such cases you can obtain a Helicoil kit or use the TimeSert Method.
Now you can save time with Broken bolt and stud removing tips.
Good Luck Patience is everything !!