Drilling out stainless steel screws :( - SailNet Community

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Old 04-16-2014
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Drilling out stainless steel screws :(

I had to remove 4 large stainless steel screws (with booggered up phillips heads) that PO fiberglassed to the hull of the dinghy I bought. Bought the best and hardest drill bits, best extractors, best taps. Shortly after setting out to do what I thought was going to be an unpleasant but not an impossible task I started to see how grossly I have underestimated this task.
My emotions raged on, going from wanting to cry like a little girl, to feeling like a Viking beserker after a good dose of Amanita muscaria mushrooms.
The hardest bits were spinning like mad, without making any progress. Now and then a tantalizing flake of ss would fly out of the hole, flirting with my maddened brain and trying to convince me that I'm making progress.
Finally, after a couple of hours and 2 ruined drill bits, I gave up. I dug into the fiberglass around the screws, and twisted of the heads of these little monsters with my best chanelocks. The effin resin held like a rock and the screws did not budge...

Which made me later think that maybe, just maybe, there is a better way...
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Old 04-16-2014
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Re: Drilling out stainless steel screws :(

if you have a soldering iron, you could apply heat to the screws? resin should let go at that point.

Andy
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Old 04-16-2014
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Re: Drilling out stainless steel screws :(

cobalt bits, start small, increase in size, find the right speed, to slow or to fast cause problems.. back it out often to clear the bits.
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Old 04-16-2014
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Re: Drilling out stainless steel screws :(

Just thanks that its only a dinghy and the ss bolts are not into your aluminium engine!

Can't you just leave them there and pretend they don't exist?

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Old 04-16-2014
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Re: Drilling out stainless steel screws :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by aelkin View Post
if you have a soldering iron, you could apply heat to the screws? resin should let go at that point.

Andy
I thought about it but did not actually try it.
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Old 04-16-2014
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Re: Drilling out stainless steel screws :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subaqua View Post
cobalt bits, start small, increase in size, find the right speed, to slow or to fast cause problems.. back it out often to clear the bits.
That was the idea. I talked to guys at the hardware store and got the stuff that 'supposed to work'. When drilling I made sure the bits were not overheating.
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Re: Drilling out stainless steel screws :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
Just thanks that its only a dinghy and the ss bolts are not into your aluminium engine!

Can't you just leave them there and pretend they don't exist?

He he... that is the current plan.
I will mount the rudder gudgeons over the old screws on the transom.
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Old 04-16-2014
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Re: Drilling out stainless steel screws :(

When drilling stainless steel you want to drill real slow.

You could cut a grove in the head and use an inpack driver / hammer to remove bolts.
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Re: Drilling out stainless steel screws :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarioG View Post
When drilling stainless steel you want to drill real slow.

You could cut a grove in the head and use an inpack driver / hammer to remove bolts.
I was pretty sure that cutting a groove in the heads would lead to them twisting off. The heads ended up twisting off anyway. I should have tried heating the screws, like aelkin said. I was thinking of using the torch for that and was worried that the transom will catch fire. did not think about soldering iron.
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Re: Drilling out stainless steel screws :(

I have seen some bits that look almost like a deep mini hole saw. They basically drill around the screw, then it pulls out like a plug. You have a bigger hole to patch but saves a bit of agony. I think I saw them advertised in the back of Good Old Boat. One of the things you should order and have on hand before you need it.
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