View Full Version : Easy-Outs...rarely easy, seldom out....

11-04-2002, 06:31 AM
After a frustrating experience this past weekend, I'm wondering:

Have any of you EVER gotten an Easy-Out to work, on ANYTHING?

Ragarsed Raglan
11-04-2002, 06:56 AM
Yes! but only once; bust it the next time!

I think Heli-coil thread inserts were designed as a theropeautic resource for frustrated easy out users.


kap pullen
11-04-2002, 06:58 AM
Those easyouts and tap-removal tools with the little fingers work great (har!har!har!).

11-04-2002, 09:29 AM
Easy-Out, Liquid wrench, and WD40 are used world over by gullible folks thinking that it will somehow magically loosen that rusted bolt.

If the fastener turns then by all means use some lubricant, but if it doesn't then this is what I do in order of failure.

1. apply heat using propane torch
2. use impact wrench
3. drill it out using English drill bit
4. Oversize drill and use Heli-coil
5. scrap the whole thing, have a temporary mental break down and shed few cathartic tears.


11-04-2002, 09:31 AM
Best idea for an easy-out----don't buy it and don't borrow one.
Instead purchase a left hand drill bit just a bit smaller than the "tap drill" and drill out the broken fastener. 90% of the time as you are just getting started drilling it will catch and unscrew itself.
Remember to run the drill in reverse and use quite a bit of pressure. When done I put the drill in a plastic bag with a note that identifies it as left hand.

11-04-2002, 12:47 PM
There's two kinds of easy-out type deal, only one is the brand name.

The ones with a twist shank ALWAYS break, when they don't waller out the hole yo drilled. I think those are the easy-out brand.

I have some others that are square, dunno the brand, maybe Vermont-American. They work about 70% of the time.

11-04-2002, 12:54 PM

Easy outs work all the time every time. I have several set of different designs. I have always been able to drill the required hole and insert the easy out in it. That part has never failed.
I would not be without them. However if you would like to purchase them from me I will sell them at a good price. Note: several are broken in the packages but there is no discount because they can be used now to get more frustration on larger more difficult to remove bolts.


11-04-2002, 01:24 PM
IMHO i follow

1. (sometimes) apply heat using propane torch
2. (sometimes) use impact wrench
3. (90% of bell curve) drill it out using English drill bit
4. (9%) Oversize drill and use Heli-coil or Keensert
5. (do #5 when doing #3 & #4) have a temporary mental break down and shed few cathartic tears.

Thanks for the borrow Al.

WJHartson your quote says it all LOL "However if you would like to purchase them from me I will sell them at a good price" LOL sure LOL.

11-04-2002, 03:30 PM
I did the penetrating oil (overnight), the heat from a torch, the hammering, the torque until I stripped out the socket of the setscrew I was trying to remove. I then drilled the setscrew enough to get things apart, and tried an Easy-Out in the hole to see if I could get out the remains of the setscrew. It didn't work...but I didn't really expect it would. I finally drilled tapping size and happily hit it dead center enough so I took out the setscrew but barely touched the tapped hole.

I think Easy-Outs, et al, exist just to give you something to do while you figure out what you're REALLY going to do to get the d*** thing apart.

11-04-2002, 04:22 PM
my expeirience with "EZ" out of any type parallels you all's. My firsst try is heat, oil, then - credit "precision engine" magazine for this. heat and touch the bolt with some beeswax. It usually lets the bolt back out easily.

And when its important, I use a soft copper tube, some valve grinding compound, drill press with a weight on the handle. Dam the compound with clay and let it spin. Proper size tube will grind a bolt or tap out. you have to check on it maybe every fiteen minutes and it will take an hour or so to remove a tap. Bolts cut slower. Time invested isn't much. Once the tube starts making its center stick up into the tube, it just a matter of letting it spin. BTW there are differences between compound makers. I prefer Clover brand.
PS you Can grind a tap or bolt and leave just the threads and pull thenm out like a spring. Doesnt happen often but it sure feels good when it does happen. usualy I need a small chisel to collapse the shell.

John Stevenson
11-04-2002, 04:30 PM
If it don't fall out when you turn it upside down and shake it then an easy out won't shift it. - Period.
Bin there, dun that, got the T shirt - and been sick all down it.

John S.

11-04-2002, 10:26 PM
I love easyouts! They bring me alot of business! Farmers like to use them after they drill a crooked hole and go through the side of the bolt. Then brake off the easyout and bring to our shop. what would have cost them about $10.00 to have me take it out. Now cost them about $42.00.
What we do is weld a nut on the broken bolt and turn it out. Sometimes you have to use a little heat to get things started. If that don't work drill a hole down into the broken bolt. Being careful not to go through the side! Fill it up with weld and weld a nut on it. and now screw it out. the weld shrinks the bolt.

11-05-2002, 02:30 AM

Other than buying a nice set of 135* split point Norseman lefthanded twist drills - they often will remove a bolt when drilling them for an easyout - might I suggest a better moosetrap?

After breaking a Snap-off not-so-easy-out I purchased some really great little buggers made by Alden (1-800-83-ALDEN) Corp from Wolcott CT.

They are called Drill-out power extractors and they work very well. These go down to a #5 screw, and is used with a portable drill on low speed. They come in a nice blow molded case or you can buy individual units.

I give them an 7 out of 10 - they would score a ten if they were a lot cheaper! ($160 http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif Canadian for the set of 7 extractors - I got mine for $90 because Acklands/Grainger screwed up and I refused to pay more than I was quoted). http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

[This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 11-05-2002).]

11-05-2002, 09:47 AM
"...better moosetrap.." http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif That one tickled my funny bone! Thanx for the laugh Thrud.

11-05-2002, 10:40 AM
Hi all!

I've used the power-out(s) and have had good results using them with a 3/8 electric drill. For a mechanic, they are the way to go even if expensive. I've used Easy outs on small bolts, 1/4 and down with fair results. It is very important to drill the hole for the easy-out in the center of the broken bolt. This is the trick and often is just about impossible to do. With motorcycle parts, I often use a centering microscope, ( a cheap one from MSC) and jig the part on the table of a Bridgeport. I know this doesn't help for most jobs where you're lying on the ground, reaching up into a dark recess in an automobile or truck, but the point is, if you can get the hole in the center, the things work. If you are lucky enough to have a steel bolt or tap broken off in brass or German silver, just use alum and dissolve the stinker out!

11-05-2002, 11:32 AM
I've got a set of "Roddick Extractors," which I think are likely to work better than the Easy-Out (brand) thingies. (They didn't work on the setscrew I was trying to get out, but the design seems pretty good.) They are made by the Roddick Tool Co. of Anaheim, California. The set I have is pretty old -- I inherited them from my uncle -- but I think I've seen similar things in catalogs.

I don't think I've seen the Alden Drill-Out extractors...will have to keep an eye open for them.

11-05-2002, 09:10 PM
I probably missed it somewhere in this thread, but I have a set of extractors sold by MAC TOOLS. I don't know who made them. They work very well and come in a complete set of 20 or 30. This way you probably have thr correct size. They are also very short, so they don't break easy, and they have hex heads to turn them. I used one to remove a broken 1/2 pipe nipple from a rusted hoist ram. I had a socket to turn the extractor on a 3/4 drive ratchet and I really had to work to get it out, but the extractor worked great. These are really good tools. I have never broken one of these type (many of the others.) If you can find them they are worth a try.

11-05-2002, 09:47 PM
I should not admit this, but I actually drooled (good thing they were parkerized) on a set of Snap-on stripped nut sockets! The have 6 1/2 diameter cuts from an endmill up and towards the center. They even remove stripped McGard wheel locks off of a cheesy ford (cuz you know something fell apart and had to have the front wheel removed on that new Police Intercepter) after all else failed. I was impressed by the socket and the performance if not the outragous, absurd price - you know, normal Snap-on prices! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

I theenk they would be easy to make at home with a beefy set of impact sockets, a dividing head, and an TC endmill. (don't tell snap-on you can make better ones yourself)

George Hodge
11-05-2002, 10:05 PM
I've removed quite a few broken taps,bolts and studs from iron castings and steel parts,using an arc welder with a coated rod called 'Extrac-alloy'. The rod is coated with graphite. Used it to build up a slug in the center of the hole.Then added a washer then a hex nut to the slug. As the slug cooled it shrunk the broken part and most of the time saved the day. Worked greater after I bought a electronic helmet. Seems the graphite keeps the slug of built-up metal from sticking to the parent metal and lubricates the threads. Can't remember where you can get the rod,as a salesman gave me some to try out. Then he wanted the extracted taps and bolts as examples.

11-05-2002, 10:55 PM
I found drilling, to use whatever removing tool you use, to be much easier if I grind a dimple in the center of the broken piece with a Dremel and a pointed stone. It removes the work hardened surface of the break, and makes a place to start the drill without wandering.

11-06-2002, 12:00 AM
As I'm a mechanic by trade and by training, I've had extensive experience with the broken bolt situation. I've had good and bad experiences with easy outs. They're great for broken zerks.
I've never gotten the square ones to work at all. Gave them to a friend, and he ground them into lathe bits for aluminum(still kicking myself for not thinking of that).
I have a set made by Ridgid, I believe, and sold by all the traveling tool assholes.
They are straight with 6 splines running the length of the shank. You drill the fastener all the way through, if possible. Then you tap the extractor in. Then you slide the matching nut(provided in the kit) onto the shank and turn it out with a wrench or socket. Works great. Have broken one and twisted one. They were both due to my mistakes but the lifetime warranty will replace them free of charge. They even come with the correct drill bits for the different sizes. centering sleeves are also included to help you drill the hole straight and true. I often use liquid wrench or WD40 because they are thin lubes and wick past the threads easily. They do make the removal easier. I learned this after wasting much elbow grease removing slightly rusty bolts.
Sometimes circumstances don't allow these to be used and the hammer and chisel have often saved the day. Just be careful. Also, if a little stub is left, but not enough to grab with stud extractors or vise grips, You can cut a slot in the stub with a cutoff wheel, and use a slotted screwdriver to turn it out. This one works much better than you would think. Even it very little is protruding, you can cut just enough to back it out a turn or to, and then deepen the slot enough to really torque it. If you're working on something where a shallow groove cut in the part is not a problem, then the bolt doesn't even need a stub. I've had large bolts broken in some parts in non critical areas and had to cut a slot in the bolt and the part. I only do this if the part is not visible under normal use and/or is not subjected to enough stress to make failure a possibility. Never do this on any safety item. Sounds kinda **** rigged but in the field, you have to get the equipment up and running, and customers don't want to fork out the cash for necessary maintenance, much less for replacement of an expensive part due to the carelessness of the trained monkey who operates it.

11-06-2002, 03:54 AM
The Cutting a slot trick works well for me also. My beast (I was trying for "best" but beast fits so well http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif ) luck (andit aint been good ) with ez out is to use a hand held "impact wrench" and hammer to insert and remove the easy outs. Keep the impact tool loaded (torqued)in the direction you want to turn. The easy out may strip, but at least it won't back out.

Those Flea market hand held "impact" wrenches are a bargain. They will remove the item (bolt, nut or screw) or rip the head off. Cost down here is about 5.00 for the 1/2 inch drive size. I paid over 10 dollars for one in 1949/50 and still use it. especially good for screws( slot and PH becasue they will not cam out, they will either make the hole conform to the driver or rip the head off. And its easy to rip theheads off 1/4 and smaller

Rich Carlstedt
11-06-2002, 11:11 PM
Just Four Words:

Left-hand Drills
Left-hand Mills


11-06-2002, 11:54 PM
Thanks for the back up - no one believes me that when you start drilling a broken stud or bolt with a LH drill the usually come out while being drilled.

If all else fails there are always Helicoil kits or steel/SS inserts.

11-07-2002, 12:50 AM
I love left hand drills. They are a lifesaver. I always use them when I drill a hole to use an extractor because they so often will remove the broken SOB as you drill. One of the worst problems with easy outs is that since they taper in size, they often expand the broken bolt or fitting you're trying to remove, thus making removal that much more difficult.
Those left hand drills are magic.

Herb W
11-07-2002, 01:16 AM
I've had some success with the square cross section, tapered easy outs. Jaymo's right though, they will expand the bolt if you aren't careful. The trick is to drill a small enough hole that enough "meat" is left to minimise that...and don't drive them in too tight.
I like to use a tap wrench on them (if there's room).

Okay, you guys have me convinced that I need to get some left hand drill bits!
First time I heard someone mention left hand bits, I thought you'd look for them in the same section as the left hand monkey wrenches http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif

kap pullen
11-07-2002, 07:24 AM
Sometimes you can drill it out from the bottom with a regular bit.
Love to feel the drill bite and the piece screw itself out.
kap pullen

11-07-2002, 11:06 AM
Does anyone else use the term English drill bit to describe left hand drill bit? I was taught this but never read it anywhere. Driving on the left side and all....


11-08-2002, 02:44 AM

I thought that refered to the wood bits that are rounded on the bottom (spoon bits?) and cut in half - producing more of a scraping than drilling action.

11-13-2002, 05:08 PM
Try concrete nails. They're strong, tapered, square, come in various sizes, readily available, and if you break one, who cares? You can buy them by the hundreds for a couple of bucks. Been using them for years and they usually work in all but the most extreme situations. Just drill a slightly undersized hole, hammer the nail in place, and twist out with a crescent wrench.

Weston Bye
11-13-2002, 08:32 PM
Was reefin' on a bolt and broke the head off. Optimistically began drilling for the easy-out, about a quarter inch in, the bolt screwed out on the end of the bit. Was a left-hand thread!

11-14-2002, 05:13 AM
I hate that when that happens (too damn often)... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

11-14-2002, 06:59 PM
Where I work we use several methods. Usually starting with Left Hand bit.
Its good to drill the hole all the way through the stud then if the "easy out" does break it can usually be pounded on through the stud in to the cavity between the end of the stud and the bottom of the hole.
Another trick when using square tapered EO's is to drill first hole all the way through follow with 2nd bit larger 2/3 depth third bit larger still 1/3 depth giving in effect a tapered hole with a similar taper to the EO , this minimizes breakage and EO's striping out in the hole

11-14-2002, 11:32 PM
Wes: Son in Law and I were working on his cheap aircompressor. Screww with allen head was stuck. Allen wrench rounded off. Damn screw would NOT back out. Took die grinder to screw, put Kroil around the stubb. Vice grips on stub and wiggled, Just a smidgion of movement, but the movement was down! says I some where along the line- thats normal cause the corrision is above the bottom of the hole. Son wiggles the vice grips, says it turns easy then hard. says I " then turn it in the easy direction till it binds then go the way- we got this sob licked once it starts moving either way. So he turnd and turned right handed till the screw fell out. Damn left handed screws!!!!

its called "TIPOIO" (The Innate Perversity Of Inaniamte Objects".
Only dogs and kids treat me right.

11-15-2002, 02:56 AM
W.C.Fields often said "Go away, you bother me kid"

Rodney Dangerfieled claimed "I get no respect"

And George Carlin declared "Snot, is the original rubber cement..."

After all that, if you can get a dog to quit licking himself long enough to jump up on you and enthusiasticaly lick your face - what are you complaining about? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

11-16-2002, 09:44 PM

11-17-2002, 06:57 PM
Tell the bolts that, or the last twit that wanted to make sure no one could get it out..

11-17-2002, 07:02 PM
When I had things break off, bolts, taps, etc. I have use a torch to warm them up to break the lock, sometimes I have used that spray cold stuff to cause shrinkage, generally after either of both treatment the EZ Off does do it's job.
But the best method is not to have the problem, use antiseizure paste before putting in bolts and don't over tighten.

11-17-2002, 11:16 PM
The only screw extractors that work really well are the Ridgid brand. They aren't tapered so they don't expand and lock the broken part. Have also done the brick nail
(and flat blade screwdriver and square drive extension trick) when I didn't want to go back to my shop and pick up the correct tool.
One thing I've done that hasn't been mentioned yet is, I heat the part the bolt is in and then spray WD-40 or penetrating oil in the hole. The expansion allows the oil to get down where its needed. (makes alot of smoke though) This has helped me many times. Also cutting a slot for a screwdriver works very well.

On larger bolts I was sometimes able to drill two small holes on the diameter, insert pins, put a bar between them and turn out. This is especially helpfull if the break is way down in the hole. I've had some sucsess with conventional easy outs and have never broken one. The key is that you have to leave a thick wall in the part when drilling so that it won't expand when extracting. Needless to say, its not always possible.

For pipe an easyout is usually the begining of the end http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif I use only internal pipe wrenches for pipe and if that fails then I cut and bend the stub out.

I've also removed a couple of wheel locks by simply welding on a square rod axially. This will work even if the lock is in a deep counterbore without clearance for those Snap On extractor sockets.

If you need to remove a large bolt and the break is at the surface or just below, you can weld a piece of bar on the end at a tangent and then simply turn it out with the bar.

Hope this will help someone.

Saw this on a post at 7x10 lathe group
"Remember, a lone amateur built the Ark, but a large team of trained engineers built the Titanic" http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif