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Torq-Set Bits

If you ever picked up one of those 100-piece-or-more security bit sets, you’ve probably run across this bit pattern and wondered, What type of screw does this fit? Browsing the Irwin site, I found the answer: Torq-Set — also know as Tee+Cross and offset cruciform. Apparently our friends in the aviation business see these all the time.

Torq-Set screws are supposedly tamper-proof, but not if you have the right driver bit. The offset cruciform design fits precisely in screw heads with less cam-out, and it can handle higher torque than the similar looking Phillips design. The ISO standard 7994:1985 specifies the parameters of the metric series.

Irwin makes Torq-Set bits in sizes #0 through #10. Their bits run a few bucks each, but many tool manufacturers make these bits, so you can find cheaper sets if you dig.

Torq-Set Bits [Irwin]
Street Pricing [Google Products]


16 Responses to If You Know Its True Name, You Can Google It

  1. Fred says:

    Years ago clutch-head bits were all the rage on appliances like washers and dryers – presumably to cut down on tampering.

    The torq-set bit looks more like something that may aid in manufacturing – maybe allowing easier assembly, less cam-out etc.

    Back when my children were growing up – and video games were new – I recall game boxes having line-head screws (both internal and external)

    There also variants of torx (and torx align) fasteners that have a center pin to make them tamper resistant. The same goes for hex (we used to call these Allen socket heads) and Phillips bits that have center holes to accomodate fasteners with so called anti-tamper pins

  2. PutnamEco says:

    Wiha makes an excellent bit/driver set of just about all common security bits.


  3. mike says:

    these bits are absolutely horrible! well maybe not this particular brand, but a few others are terrible! the edges are constantly rounding off, giving little to no grip. i come into contact with these on a daily basis (avionics technician) and every day there i am putting as much a$$ behind a speed handle as i can because the damn things wont catch the screw, cursing all the while.

  4. Mr P says:

    if you want security bit and screws than http://www.brycefastener.com they have the most outrageous shapes you have ever seen

  5. Brian says:

    Does anyone know of an online comprehensive reference to all of these security/tamper-proof fasteners?

    In the examples provided in this article and the comments, there are many that I’ve never seen before (esp. Bryce) and as the article title implies, if you don’t even know what some of these are called, how do you find the bits you would need?

  6. Brian, you’re right, there really should be, for no other reason other than to prove a point. All these security screws really do are stop people from casually taking things apart. A determined Toolmonger is going to either find the right bit or go spend 15 minutes in his shop making something that’ll fit.

    I do understand that for many applications you don’t want people taking the covers off public or private property and such, or that some applications need a type of bit that can handle a higher torque. But there is no reason to use a security screw just so I can’t take apart my handheld video game or kid’s toy. I subscribe to the school of thought that if I can’t take it apart I don’t really own it. I think the Maker’s Bill Of Rights says it best.

    MAKE: Blog: Owner’s Manifesto

  7. MR P says:

    RE Brian

    I did once see a reference guide to allot of the bits but of course there is an endless amount of variation people can come up with and the list will forever grow.

    I have got a nice collection of bits that I needed and got over the past few years, costing over $1,000 collectively! The rarer they are the more they seem to cost.

    So how do you find it when you need it? Allot of goggling. Never found a screw they I could not find the bit to yet.

    If you only need it for a few screws, most of the time you can grip it with a vise grip and turn it. Or cut a slot in it with a dremmel and remove it with a flat head screw driver

    The more reference of names, types and charts that are made to security bits the less security they offer. One day you might be the one trying to make something tamper proof and you don’t one everyone to mess with it.

  8. Clinton says:

    Cordless dremel and a flat driver gets them almost every time if the screwhead is exposed. Having a large selection of flat driver bits will get many tamper-resistant bits so long as they weren’t torqued down hard. Left hand drill bits will also back out most tamper-resistant screws if you press down hard to get to break them loose and then run the drill really slow. Sometimes it’s necessary to break the center pin off though which is usually pretty easy with a small chisel.

  9. PutnamEco says:

    MR P Says:
    I did once see a reference guide to allot of the bits but of course there is an endless amount of variation people can come up with and the list will forever grow.
    Would be nice to have something like that on Wikipedia.


  10. Teacher says:

    That set of security bits on the brycefsatener website can be had at harbor freight for just a few bucks.

  11. Zathrus says:

    The more reference of names, types and charts that are made to security bits the less security they offer.

    Security through obscurity is false security — many “tamper resistent” screws can be defeated with lock pliers; virtually all others with a dremel and flat-head screwdriver as already noted. Or just drill them out. If you don’t want to damage them, then it’s tricker, but wax molds and access to the right tools will defeat any security screw, even the custom ones (as referenced previously).

    Ultimately, the idea is to keep casual attempts away; and obscurity doesn’t really help there.

  12. Chris says:

    @PutnamEco: I respect Wiha’s quality, but I bought a set that’s even more comprehensive and works just fine for 99% of what people need these for at the whopping cost of $5 Australian at Dick Smith’s when I was there back in 2000. No way am I going to be using any of those enough to justify spending $70 on a set of them.

    I’m pretty sure Harbor Freight has a similar set, as Teacher pointed out.


  13. Fred says:

    Like locks or security bits and one-way bits are meant to thwart casual thieves or poor mechanics. Regarding cheap bits, however, I’ve seen some that are made of brittle material or were not properly heat treated – with a tendency to shatter when toque is applied. This is particularly true for twin-point (also called spanner bits) that we work with a lot on commercial lavatory stalls. I lile the Eazypower (ISOMAX) brand and the Wiha brand – as mentionned by others.
    Eazypower also makes some one-way screw removers that work OK without destroyng the screw head.
    One of the big nuisance fasteners has a frangible drive top that breaks off when the hardenned flush head is seated. Drilling them out is much like drilling out spot welds with a rotobroach.

  14. Zathrus says:

    That set of security bits on the brycefsatener website can be had at harbor freight for just a few bucks.

    That is the HF security bit set. The entire point is that you can get most of the common “security” bits for next to nothing nowadays, so you should buy our new stuff instead.

    Some of them look effective, but the pentagonal bolt heads would easily be defeated by, oh say, a gator-grip or similar (if it actually took enough torque for once).

  15. MR P says:

    RE Zathrus
    The whole point in any security messier taken is a time delay so if you have a $10,000 projector on a mount you have it secured with high security screw.

    This is a time delay tactic for a thieve who come with his tamper prove set to steal that flat screen or projector only to get his plan foiled by a penta pin security screw. Witch at first glance looks like your standard hex or six point screw.

    With the cops on there way or get carried away with there effort to steal they leave prints. Get caught on camera.

    Another application are million dollar CAT scans that have warrantees and service contracts and they don’t want the average DIY or superintendent of the hospital to try and change setting or replace a part.

    I have seen them in places were tampering was accruing with standard security screws but once they where traded up to high security screws and some Lock Tite the game was over.

    Delay tactic is number one.

    The other is that most people will just give up.

  16. Gary says:

    I alwasy use the APEX online catalog to figure out what fastners use what bits.


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