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Old Oct 8, 2009, 04:38 AM   #1
KettyKrueger
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Hard drive screws stripped. 'Screw Extractors' any good?

Hey all,

Well, I tried changing the hard drive on my MBP, only to totally strip the screws on the hard drive bar. Took it to Apple, they are happy to repair it, they said they may have to break the hard drive bar in order to get it out, but no problem. However, my local Apple Store is closed for a refitting until 30/10/09 and they want 48 in order to do the repair.

That leaves a slightly bitter taste in my mouth considering it's such a small job. I'm wondering if anyone has had any experience with 'screw extractors'? They are little screw bits that bite into the screw in order to turn it. They are about 9 for a set so could save me a bit of cash. To be honest, it's not the money that's the problem, I don't want to wait another 3 weeks.

I'm not really wanting to drill into the screw or glue a hex key, so the 'screw extractor' is the only option really. Just wondered if anyone can vouch for these little extractors. If not, then I'll suck it up and Apple loose on my machine.

Cheers for any input.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 04:43 AM   #2
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I think it will be kind of hard to find the right size of a screw extractor. You're best bet is to just drill out the head of the screw. Just take your time and cover up.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 04:48 AM   #3
KettyKrueger
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Originally Posted by rgarjr View Post
I think it will be kind of hard to find the right size of a screw extractor. You're best bet is to just drill out the head of the screw. Just take your time and cover up.
Well, the screw size is Philips #0, the extractor kit I've seen includes a bit for that very screw. So I don't think that would be an issue.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 04:49 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by KettyKrueger View Post
Well, the screw size is Philips #0, the extractor kit I've seen includes a bit for that very screw. So I don't think that would be an issue.
Well then at 9 what have you got to lose?
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 05:03 AM   #5
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Well then at 9 what have you got to lose?
Making it worse!!!

9 is a bit much for something that'll use once, but obviously if it actually works then it will be money well spent.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 05:14 AM   #6
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Drilling is a bad idea, unless you can properly control the filings. Murphy's law will guarantee a filing will end up in the worst possible place. edit: this falls under the "making it worse" category.

If there's any semblance of a slot remaining, a proper size, quality hardened bit and slow, steady pressure might do the job. But, I'm going to guess it's a good imitation of a cone. An extractor might work, but there's no guarantee, especially if you're not experienced at using them.

I would guess Apple has already considered an extractor and/or a proper bit, though sometimes the slower methods have to give way to more expedient ways in a repair facility.

If you can post a picture of the screw(s), I might have some ideas. I've had to rescue a few over the years.
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Last edited by gr8tfly; Oct 8, 2009 at 05:17 AM. Reason: it's worse
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 05:44 AM   #7
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get a file - file down two sides of the screw (make sure flat sides are parallel) until you can get a plier with enough grip to turn it. then loosen the screw...

or file a center line in the screw and use a flathead screwdriver to loosen it.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 05:47 AM   #8
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Once you've extracted the screws using an extractor, would you be able to reinstall them with the new drive? Could you find replacement screws that fit?
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 05:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by acurafan View Post
get a file - file down two sides of the screw (make sure flat sides are parallel) until you can get a plier with enough grip to turn it. then loosen the screw...
file = filings

Again, if they can be managed, it could work. The OP needs to cover everything but the work area, then put masking tape over the screw area. It will help trap the filings (in the adhesive and paper fibers).

Stray metal pieces, especially very small ones, inside any open electronics gives me the willies.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 05:52 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by clyde2801 View Post
Once you've extracted the screws using an extractor, would you be able to reinstall them with the new drive? Could you find replacement screws that fit?
No, they need to be replaced. The extractor doesn't create a "new slot". It's just a special "reverse" coarse spiral bit (like a drill, though it's manually turned just enough to bite into the hole left by the head slots).

The op might be able to talk the Apple shop into selling him a couple, but most likely the source would be eBay or iFixIt.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 06:07 AM   #11
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I'm really not adventerous enough to try drilling or filing the screws, I'm clumsy and it's guaranteed that the metal shavings would get into the logic board! That's I opted for the screw extractor approach.

Clyde - haven't thought that far ahead! I was just going to use a make-shift screw until I sourced a better one/original.

I think I may just Apple sort this out. Finding replacement screws could be a pain, I couldn't find any on iFixit.com and replacing the screws seems like a long way away, considering the cone-shaped screws I've got to get out first!!

Cheers guys, but I think I'll let the pros handle this!
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 06:09 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by KettyKrueger View Post
I'm really not adventerous enough to try drilling or filing the screws, I'm clumsy and it's guaranteed that the metal shavings would get into the logic board! That's I opted for the screw extractor approach.

Clyde - haven't thought that far ahead! I was just going to use a make-shift screw until I sourced a better one/original.

I think I may just Apple sort this out. Finding replacement screws could be a pain, I couldn't find any on iFixit.com and replacing the screws seems like a long way away, considering the cone-shaped screws I've got to get out first!!

Cheers guys, but I think I'll let the pros handle this!
There's always the "if they break it, they fixit" angle...
Good luck!
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 06:24 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by gr8tfly View Post
There's always the "if they break it, they fixit" angle...
Good luck!
Exactly!
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 07:34 AM   #14
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I once had to drill a hole in my old PC laptop to get the screw out.. but if you are not sure I would recommend taking it to apple.
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 09:26 PM   #15
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The same thing just happened to me as well. What did you end up doing? The guys at the apple store said I'd have to pay for a replacement bracket ($8). They didn't tell me how they would go about fixing it though.
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 09:47 PM   #16
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good bye apple care
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 10:31 PM   #17
duffyanneal
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You know I have found that when a phillips head screw is stripped out one can use a slotted screw driver to extract the screw. Experiment with different sized slotted bits until you get one that locks into the stripped out head.
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