Advice on removing bolts with stripped heads

Discussion in 'Motion System' started by W1EBR.Gene, Jan 30, 2021.

  1. W1EBR.Gene

    W1EBR.Gene Well-Known Member

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    I am trying to replace my electronics panel. As part of that process, I need to remove the Z-axis extrusion plus stepper, linear rail and print bed. The four screws that hold the bed frame to the aluminum milled part directly attached to the linear rail block are giving me problems. The upper two came loose without much effort (they had ground leads attached). The lower two cap head screws/bolts now have stripped heads and they still won't budge. Does anyone have experience successfully removing these M4 cap head screws from aluminum? I know this can go downhill fast if the wrong approach is used.
     
  2. Marcus Mendenhall

    Marcus Mendenhall Active Member

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    can you get to the head with a vise grip, and grab it? If it is countersunk, of course, this is not possible. Otherwise, it often works, unless the screw is so stuck that the whole head twists off. An EZ-out screw extractor works, but they are fairly expensive, and do take some practice.
     
  3. W1EBR.Gene

    W1EBR.Gene Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Marcus! I am replacing the cap head bolts that hold the bed in place with socket head bolts... it's really hard to get a grip on a cap head bolt
     
  4. Marcus Mendenhall

    Marcus Mendenhall Active Member

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    Are these the completely curved caps, or do they have a small, vertical edge before the curve? Sometimes a very small (5 inch) toothed vise grip can get hold of a surprisingly small edge. You could also use a dremel too am grid a tiny flat on them to get a grip on. How tightly stuck do you think they are? Could you take a small piece of lead solder, and put it in the socket, and then drive a hex wrench into the lead, allowing it to get just a little more grip to get the bolt out?

    Just thoughts, none of which may turn out useful.
     
  5. W1EBR.Gene

    W1EBR.Gene Well-Known Member

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    Hi Marcus, a new vice grip long-nose pliers and using a Dremel tool to cut flat edges into the cap head worked. I made the mistake of using superglue on those 2 screws (I think); I won't do that again!

    I have the easy off screw removers but they require a relatively deep hole and I hate drilling a hole into a small stainless steel bolt surrounded by aluminum.

    Since these bolts are used to adjust the bed for being level, I am replacing them with socket head screws that can be gripped by a tool even if the hex recess strips out.

    I think it is time for these bolts to go the way of Philips head and be replaced by Torx head, which works very well on a wide range of bolt sizes.

    Thank you for your suggestions!
     

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