Hex Drive precision screwdriver bits

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Gdrumm, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. Gdrumm

    Thread Starter Distinguished Member

    Aug 29, 2008
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    I have a set of 3 Phillips and 1 flat blade 6" hex drive (quick change) screwdrivers, and I've stripped out all of my Phillips bits.

    Ebay doesn't have any, except Torx, and I don't need Torx.

    Where is the best place to buy? Magnetic tips would be nice too.
    I would like to buy in the US if possible.

    Slender Shank..............

    Thanks,
    Gary
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
  2. Papabravo

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    Loews, Home Depot, Ace Hardware to name three possibilities.
     
  3. nsaspook

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  4. mcgyvr

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    +1 those bits are just fine..
    Just don't cheap out..
    And typically the "bits" themselves are not magnetic but they are out there.. Most times the magnet is in the screwdriver or your get a magnetic extension or you buy a cheap magnetizer and can magnetize your own bits because the bits will require a magnetic "recharge" after time..
     
  5. Gdrumm

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    Aug 29, 2008
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    I think that's why the last set stripped out, and now that I think about it, I think I bought them at Lowes.

    I checked MCM Electronics, and found a 4" length variety.
    I really want 6" Magnetic, but maybe I will have to magnetize them myself (I've done that before).

    Thanks for the input.
    Gary
     
  6. MaxHeadRoom

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    I don't imagine anyone uses flat blade screwdrivers anymore? not by choice anyway, I always wondered why Robertson did not catch on in the US, probably because they are Canadian invention!:p
    Max.
     
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  7. atferrari

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    Just checked Wikipedia to see how it looked; cannot believe the variety there is out there!
     
  8. MaxHeadRoom

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    Found this interesting.

    Once Robertson had conceived the notion of a square-headed screwdriver, he toyed with various manufacturing methods until he was able to produce screws with a square-shaped imprint on their heads. When the correctly-sized driver is inserted into a corresponding screw, the user can rotate the driver horizontally without fear of the driver slipping. Because the driver is self-centering, only one hand is needed for rotation.

    Robertson patented his invention of both the square-headed screw and driver in 1909, but The Steel Company of Canada did not take kindly to his invention. Some went as far as to try to undermine his patents, but the attempts were unsuccessful. Manufacturers took to the new designs right away, and companies, such as Ford, came to depend on the screws and driver as key components in automobile production. As a result, Robertson soon produced special metal screws for Fords’ use in Model A manufacturing. Henry Ford sought a licensing arrangement with Roberston, but Robertson turned him down.

    By the end of the late 1940s, Robertson’s company had grown to employ 500 people and the screws were available in three different sizes with corresponding drivers, each distinguished by one of three colors: small drivers were green, medium drivers were red, and large drivers were black. Although the design was rapidly integrated into the Canadian market and still continues to thrive today.
    Robertson screws and screwdrivers were much less successful in the US and are not commonly used.
    ***
    One has been added now, the smallest, Yellow.
    IMO much superior to Philips.
    Max.
     
  9. GopherT

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    Nov 23, 2012
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    @Gdrumm
    The Phillips head screwdriver was initially an anti-tamper screw head. Then, over the years it became a standard - a Phillips head screw could hold into automatic installation equipment better than a flathead. Unfortunately, nobody made a design change to the driver - the driver has a star-shaped cut, that is, greater than 90-degrees at the notches and the sides of each flute are NOT parallel.

    Then came Japan. In Japan, they realized the benefits of a cross-head screw and the problems with the Phillips standard design. So they changed it and they codified it as the Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS). Their cross-head screw driver does have parallel sides on each flute and 90-degree notches.

    Search JIS screwdriver on amazon. You can get mid-grade drivers with JIS design for about $30 per set. I highly recommend them.

    Note, you can use JIS cross-head drivers on Phillips screws with big improvement and you MUST use JIS on a JIS cross head screw or it will be ruined the first time you try to remove it. Note that any motorcycle that has carburetors where a backyard mechanic had done some work, you will usually see some or a lot of damage to the screw heads.
     
  10. shortbus

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    Sep 30, 2009
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    One place I worked at years ago had a very large assembly dept. used a ton of air powered phillips screw drivers. One of my jobs was replacing the bits. They never lasted more than a single shift and often less than a shift. They finally called in a rep from the manufacturer. If you grind a small (1/64" -1/32") off of the very point of a phillips driver, they will-
    1. last two or thee times longer, 2. not 'cam' out of the screw head as easy.

    Asked the rep why they didn't do that when making them, he said, "we're in the business of selling bits" and smiled at me.

    Look closely at a screw head and a new bit. The bit comes close to a sharp point and the socket in the screw is flat at the bottom. They physically don't match. Since that time at work the first thing I do is grind the point of a new phillips driver, and one lasts way longer and don't hardly ever strip a screw head any more.
     
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  11. Nykolas

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    Aug 27, 2013
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    The reason (in my experience) for stripped Phillips drivers is that imperial drivers (available in North America) are used on metric screws. The specs are quite different for the 2 designs. E
     
  12. mcgyvr

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    Bits strip because you are either using the wrong size/type for the job or aren't pressing hard enough so it keeps spinning out or keeping it spinning (power tools) after it cams out or its just cheap/soft junk.

    At work I buy nice ones from Apex (Cooper) tools and the #2's last years, #1 maybe 6 months used all day long in the assembly department.. Torques up to 16 in-lbs..
    All the #2's we use are ground on the tip as shortbus was explaining.
    All heat treated..
    The ACR type is great too..
    http://www.apexpowertools.com/catalog/pdffiles/TC-100_EN.pdf

    We buy from HF Wilson
     
  13. paulktreg

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    Jun 2, 2008
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    Phillips or Pozidriv? I'm sure this is part of the problem in that they are different and damage can occur when using the wrong driver.
     
  14. Gdrumm

    Thread Starter Distinguished Member

    Aug 29, 2008
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    Awesome feedback guys.
    I will check out the Apex site.

    I do tend to be rough on these small screwdrivers, and they are mounted in a battery operated screwdriver.
    But still, they have lasted for 2-3 years (doing hobbiest work).

    I've learned a lot from this thread.

    Why Flatblade?
    Well, it's less ingenious to be sure, but I can relate that many times I've had to make a head when what was left was stripped out, and I grabbed my handy dandy hacksaw, and created a slot that worked.

    I've also used the slim shank flatblade bit to go down in a hole and loosen a triangle head (security screw), when a Phillips just wouldn't do.

    Donyboy 73 on Youtube had a pair of Pliers, with a perpendicular slot in the face, and that is a nice tool for removing bolts with stripped out heads also.

    Great read guys, thanks
     
  15. gerty

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  16. MaxHeadRoom

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  17. gerty

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  18. MrAl

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    Jun 17, 2014
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    Hi,

    One thing about phillips screw heads is it is harder to break the head of the screw off by using too much torque. The square head types are susceptible to head twist off, but i still like them because i know not to put too much torque on the screw, except in carpentry.
    Here in the USA the square heads are VERY common for use in outside decks and stuff like that where you need a long screw and it takes a lot of torque to get it in right.

    I have also found that a slight modification to the phillips head driver helps improve the screw head grab and reduces the tendency for the driver to push itself out of the screw head pattern hole. As someone else mentioned, the first thing is to make sure the DEPTH of the driver tip ls LESS than the head pattern depth or else the driver bottoms out and so the four 'teeth' dont grab right they just wedge themselves out of the hole and that leads to wear problems.
    The second thing is that the 'teeth' themselves need to be ground such that they are flat when viewed from the side rather than with a slight bevel. The bevel will cause the driver tip to ride up in the four grooves of the head and that means a lot of downward force is necessary just to keep the dang tip in the screw head recess. If the 'teeth' are ground flat with sharp edges, the bit actually bites into the walls of the recess slots and that means it no longer has a tendency to wedge itself out. That means very little downward pressure is needed to keep the tip in the head recess.

    I ran across this problem a long time ago too because the bits seemed to wear out so fast. After carefully grinding one with the Dremel even an old worn out bit worked again, and worked like no other had worked before that. I highly recommend trying this.
    Also, when this is done even if just two of the four 'teeth' of the phillips head driver contact the screw head, it still turns nicely. That's because if even just two make contact the torque is like that of a slotted screw, which of course works pretty well with a bit more bother.

    Before i tried the square heads i used almost all phillips. Now i prefer the square heads whenever i can use them. They even make stainless steel 3 inch long ones for outside patio decks and the like.

    I also like hex heads, but they seem harder to find locally. Even HomeDepot stocks several sizes of the square head screws (although no bolts i dont think, just the wood screws).
     
  19. shortbus

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    Sep 30, 2009
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    This is why I also have metric crescent wrenches and left handed monkey wrenches in my tool box.
     
  20. Gdrumm

    Thread Starter Distinguished Member

    Aug 29, 2008
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    I've seen some decking screws recently with a Torx head, and Square Head also.
    I suppose the strength is needed to torque the bolts all the way down, without slipping (which a Phillips does...slip)

    I think I will go back to Lowes and buy a new set, and just make sure the point isn't too long (as mentioned here......Thanks for the excellent tip.

    Gary
     
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