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I’ve had two occasions recently to use my set of Alden proGrabit® broken screw extractors, and both times it worked like a champ. The first time was on some — apparently cheap — 6-32 Phillips screws in an outdoor electrical box where the heads were quite dinged up (probably during installation). A quick touch with the drill bit side while reversing the drill created a cavity in the top of the screw. Then, with the bit flipped around to the extractor side and continuing to run the drill in reverse, I easily removed the screws. The second time was on a broken 5/16″-18 brass air-release screw in a pneumatic telescoping mast, and the process went just as smoothly.

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The 8430P three-piece set pictured above can be found for a bit more than $14. Two-piece and four-piece sets are also available along with single units.

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Was I just lucky, or are these bits as good as advertised? What have other Toolmongers experienced?

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proGrabit® Pro-Grade Extractors [Manufacturer's Site]
Alden 8430P Via Amazon [What’s This?]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

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15 Responses to Alden ProGrabit Screw Extractors

  1. lkjsdf says:

    I couldn’t get the drill bit side to do a damn thing. Maybe the screws I was removing were very hard. I ended up drilling the screws out with a normal drill bit, then used the extractor end in a right-angled driver. That got the screws out OK, though due to the long, tapered “drill bit” doohickey on the other end, you need a pretty deep socket on your driver or it’ll wiggle around a bit. Mine wiggled annoyingly, but it was still usable. You could chuck it directly in a drill/driver just fine, if it came to that.

    The nice thing is, you don’t need to buy a tap wrench to put it in. So yeah, it’s OK.

  2. Remarksman says:

    It worked for me on one screw that was pretty easy to get out.
    Next time I tried, the drill bit side didn’t seem to do much of anything, so I used a real drill bit. Then when I tried the extractor side, it broke the bit with not much force. Into the trash with the “ProGrabit.”

  3. DDT says:

    A good friend of mine who’s a mechanic told me that no matter who makes them, these screw extractors do not work well. Which is why they use heat guns and hammer the snot out of things.

    Whenever I can’t get screws out, most of the time I can get away with using a hacksaw and cutting a slot and using a flat head to get it out. Never use a drill. Drills can’t grab as well as using your hand. Spray WD into the screws as well, as it can sometimes help. And if you can, be a part of the solution and never use philips or slot screws outdoors. Sorry but the good ol’ canadian robertsons never fail.

  4. dreamcatcher says:

    Anyone know what a “pneumatic telescoping mast” is?

    Is that like a boat mast or something?

  5. jeff says:

    I used to break screws somewhat often and then I bought a set of extractors. I haven’t broke one since. I think I scared the fasteners into submission.

    I’m a big fan of carving a slot (like DDT mentioned) with the dremel and then turning out by hand or one of those impact drivers you hit with a hammer. Like I said though, I haven’t had to use that method in awhile.

    A pneumatic telescoping mast is on news trucks to raise the little uplink broadcast dish.

  6. Toolhearty says:

    jeff Says:
    I’m a big fan of carving a slot (like DDT mentioned) with the dremel and then turning out by hand or one of those impact drivers you hit with a hammer…

    +1 on the manual impact driver. Discovered the joys of using this tool when I started working on motorcycles. If you’ve never tried one, you should.

    Here’s a link to a kinda’ pricey one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Lisle-29200-Hand-Impact-Tool/dp/B0002NYDRG

  7. tbiggs says:

    Break off a bolt? Problem.

    Use the extractor tool… break it too… now you’ve got a Huge Problem.

    You might have been able to drill the bolt out, but now you’ve got a lump of hardened steel in the way – at least as hard as your drill bit, plus it’ll push the drill off-center and ruin the work.

  8. fred says:

    One thing to try is a left hand cobalt drill bit.
    The hard cobalt alloy lets the point of the drill bit grab – and the left hand spiral drill bit flutes just start cutting – then stark backing the screw out.
    Over the years we’ve found that nothing work universally on every stuck fastener. If the item is irreplaceable – then drastic and costly measures (like ellectric discharge machining) may even be warranted

  9. JW says:

    @DDT Thank You!! Slot head screws and phillips head should be sent out to pastor and shot. Even outlawed and burned at the steak. Sorry those fastener designs are so outdated. I’ve tried screw extractors, not these but of a similar concept and have good luck. I use penetrating oil (kroil <– works AWESOME) and press as hard as I can down using a strong Bosch impact driver. Gets the job done, never had a problem. But I say that now! lol

  10. Eric says:

    I cannot count the number of times one of these extractors has saved my ass on a job site, especially for retrofit. I’ve also found them useful for bypassing tamper-proof screws that I didn’t have the correct bit for :)

  11. Abe says:

    I’ve used these with mixed success. The drill bit side of them is utterly useless so bring a drill index with you if you try to use them. I have not had one of these snap off but have had them strip to the point they were no longer of use. The hex on the shaft does not work well in a drill and if you apply very much orque the shaft rounds off. All that being said I have managed to get out a couple of apxroximately 10/32 to 1/4″ sized screws with them. Quick and painless when they work, a small waste of time when they don’t.

  12. Mac says:

    LOVE my Snap On Impact Driver!

    But I usually start with the dremel… Have too many differents sets of extraction bits. I use whatever seems like it will work best.

    Broke off an extraction bit on a distributor cap mounting bolt helping a friend with a POS restoration. Ugh. Spent too much time/money on tiny drill bits drilling out the bolt, and the broke extraction bit. Had to re-tap the hole too. Got it done though, and he bought the beer. :)

    PB Blaster is my penetrant of choice for rusted/stuck stuff. But all oils need too much time to really work.

  13. Shopmonger says:

    I love these, i use them very often to get out broken fasteners, however it it only one part of an arsenal to remove stuck bolts, besides these some standard easy outs, some tapered extractors, a stud remover (flush kind), PB blaster, heat Wrench, dremel, impact hammer, breaker bar, and some good old fashion muscle………

    Shopmonger

  14. pete says:

    these were junk, 2 broke first try on screws that were not very big. drill bit end also dulled extremely quick. threw them in the trash

  15. Jeff says:

    Screw(haha) these things. My coworker bought these and couldn’t even get a moderately stripped screw out of a backset. They just didn’t work.

    Go to Harbor Freight and get their twelve piece spiral screw extractor set: http://www.harborfreight.com/12-piece-screw-extractor-set-40349.html nine bucks online right now. Comes in a nice orange case, too.

    Now, once you have those, throw the drill bits away. They’re total crap, don’t even try to use them. Keep the extractors in the nice case,and get some decent drill bits to pair with them. Doesn’t even have to be expensive, Home Depot has the DeWalt 14pc titanium drill bit index for twenty bucks. Not top of the line, but it’s what I’m using, and they’ve handled everything I’ve thrown at them.

    When you come across a stripped screw, grab an extractor of a suitable size and a drill bit similar in diameter. Drill a hole down into the head, grab the extractor and pound it into the hole. Now, grab a wrench and turn the extractor counter-clockwise. The fluting will dig into the screw and back it out. Boom, you’re done.

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