How to fix a burred laptop screw
June 15, 2007 7:51 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to replace a laptop keyboard but the final screw has burred and neither the regular or precision screwdriver works. If someone suggests that I go to repairman and 50 bucks to fix this, I am likely to do serious damage to this laptop (namely by throwing it against a wall). Any ideas?

The screw is a tiny, flat-headed, star-head screw. I don't care about doing damage to the outside of the case as long as I dont damage the internals. I just want this sucker out. This laptop doesn't deserve to live, let alone look pretty. (Thinkpad T42)
posted by zaebiz to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Try a pair of needlenose pliers - you should be able to grip the edges of the screw enough to twist it, unless it's countersunk. Another option is a tiny drill bit, and just cut it out.
posted by pupdog at 7:55 PM on June 15, 2007

Best answer: Buy a screw extractor here, here or possibly at Sears. The screw itself will be ruined in the process.

If you can't wait that long, perhaps you could bond the screw to the tool with a bit of epoxy?
posted by kc8nod at 8:25 PM on June 15, 2007

Try a slightly larger screwdriver (star headed or "phillips" as they're known) and push very hard while turning. I've found that you can often get enough grip to get the screw started and out.
posted by davey_darling at 8:26 PM on June 15, 2007

You need to go to home depot and get a screw extractor. It is a reverse thread screw. You drill a little pilot hole into the stuck screw and then screw the extractor in counter clockwise. It will grip the screw and dislodge it. The only trick will be finding one small enough for a laptop case screw.
posted by caddis at 8:27 PM on June 15, 2007

If you have a Dremel tool with a thin cut-off wheel, you cut a thin slot in the head of the screw, and use a flat-bladed driver on that one.
posted by jet_silver at 8:36 PM on June 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

I wanted to open a star-screwed hard drive once, but didnt have a small enough star driver.

Get a very small slotted screwdriver and see if you can get it to catch in the star.
If it does, use one hand to push down very firmly on the base of the screwdriver, and use the outer to turn the driver until the screw breaks loose.

Pushing down hard and not letting the driver get loose and strip out the screw is key. You might be able to get it out with your star driver even if it is stripped just by holding it at an angle so that it grips while you push hard on the base of it with one hand and turn it with the other.
posted by itheearl at 8:57 PM on June 15, 2007

Best answer: I stripped some screws a few years ago trying to get a failed hard drive out of my laptop. I brought it to the hardware store down the block and asked them what tool I'd need to get it out. They brought the tools out and did it for me -- no charge.
posted by one_bean at 9:05 PM on June 15, 2007

The suggestions of either epoxy-ing the tool to the screw, or using a dremel to cut a notch in it for easier removal, would be my two preferred solutions.
posted by autojack at 11:23 PM on June 15, 2007

Response by poster: Going to try the hardware store charity approach first, and then the epoxy approach. I don't have many tools available and the screw is really wedged right in there and very burred.

If all else fails Im going to punch holes in the sucker with precision screwdriver and just yank the little $%head out of its casing.

Thanks for the ideas.
posted by zaebiz at 11:46 PM on June 15, 2007

Best answer: If you are going to go that far, better to drill out the screw head. The screw location will be unusable, because the old screw shaft will still be in the whole, but it won't look too bad.
posted by Chuckles at 3:04 PM on June 16, 2007

Response by poster: Update : the hardware guy fixed it for free.
posted by zaebiz at 8:33 PM on June 23, 2007

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