Cutting a screw is not as easy as it sounds. You might think that with such a simple task, you could just grab any old tool and get to work. But there's more to it than meets the eye.
If you don't have the right tools or expertise, cutting screws can lead to an even messier project and wasted time.
Luckily, we're here to help! Read on for tips on how to cut a screw quickly and efficiently.
Table of Contents
Why You Need to Cut a Screw?
There are a variety of reasons why you must cut a screw. It may be the only option in some instances, and often you will find that cutting a screw is an effective way of solving some problems or dealing with particular issues.
Just make sure you have the right tools for the job! For example: if you want to remove a broken bolt, you must use a drill with a fair-sized bit and apply enough pressure so that it can bore into the screw head and breakthrough it - this would be impossible using just pliers.
Here we look at 10 different scenarios where cutting screws might help solve your issue:
- The screw is of an unusual size/shape (i.e., not readily available without special order).
- You need to make the screwdriver last longer. If you need to, replace the wording 'screwdriver' with more specific tools like hammer, chisel, scissors, etc.; this will make your presentation more relevant and personal.
- To get better leverage on the screw (by holding the screw in place while turning it with another tool).
- You need to precisely control how tightly or loosely the screw fits into its surroundings (because if too tight, breaking off is likely; but if too loose, the screw will fall out).
- To avoid stripping/damaging the head of the screw.
- To reduce accidental damage to surrounding surfaces (because you can control how much area is removed with a blade if you start from a larger surface).
- To break off a worn-out screw at its exact center so it properly fits into its surroundings.
- You need a custom fit between two parts that will be assembled together many times and may need occasional disassembly for repairs.
- For purposes of recycling or disposing of hazardous materials safely. Some chemicals may react with metal, producing toxic fumes when burned, but being neutralized by soil when exposed to which makes them safer to handle.
- To show that you are open-minded about possibilities. This will encourage others to share their ideas, making it easier for everyone to contribute even if they have no experience in this area.
What can I Use to Cut a Screw?
- Drill Pliers
- Wire Cutters
- Cable Strippers/Crimpers
- Drill bits
- Small pliers
- Hacksaw file
- Vice Grips
- Adjustable wrench
- Gloves | What can be more important than your hands? Protect them with gloves!
- Wire brush
- Masking tape
- Safety goggles | The uses of safety googles are endless, as they protect your eyes from everything. Make sure you have a pair in case it's windy or if there is any other kind accident!
- Metal file
Can You Cut a Screw?
Yes, but I would advise a manual screwdriver or a drill. If you have a drill, try to secure the power cord in some way so that you don't blast it out of the wall if it touches the screw. It's also advised to use protective gear such as safety goggles and gloves! Of course, there are other ways to get rid of wrong screws too! Keep reading for more on this tricky topic.
Cutting a Screw with 6 Easy Steps
- Firstly, measure the size of your screw or bolt and buy the right sized drill bit. Note: some screws, particularly ones with damaged heads, may be tricky to get into, so you may need to use vice grips or another tool to hold it still while drilling, but this method works if done carefully.
- If your screw is really stubborn, you can always try heating the end of it with a blowtorch before trying again, which will make cutting easier - please note that this should only be used as a last resort because heating metal up too much can cause it to lose its temper (the steel's hardness).
- Apply pressure to the drill at an angle toward the screw head, then drill into the screw core until the base of the screw rests on the work surface.
- Now, slowly increase pressure on your drill to cut through the head of your screw/bolt.
- Once you have completely cut through it, turn your drill around and use a hammer to carefully knock out any remaining pieces left inside, which will prevent them from clogging up a drill bit or causing further damage when using another tool later on.
- Finally, clean away any excess metal shavings from around where you have been working. Note: If there are larger pieces left inside, you can always try drilling them out with a bigger drill bit, but be careful not to make too big a hole because you don't want to have any weak spots in your finished product.
If you have tried everything possible and the screw still won't budge, then you can always buy a new one - just make sure that it is a suitable replacement. Note: If you do resort to drilling out the head of a screw or bolt, but it isn't cutting easily, then chances are there is another screw or bolt either blocking it or behind it, so check for those first before moving onto something else because these could be causing problems with your drill bit.
How to Cut a Screw Shorter?
You might have to shorten a screw because you lost the nut while tightening it, or there isn't enough space for the nut. There are few steps to cutting a screw shorter. I will also provide some tips that can be helpful when working with different types of screws.
Step 1: Decide what type of screw it is
To determine whether your screw can be cut, you must first determine why it cannot be tightened anymore. The only reason the screw cannot be tightened anymore is if there isn't enough room for the nut, but you already know this because that's why you want to cut off part of your screw in the first place! You don't want to start cutting at step four to find out later that the screw was okay; you didn't have enough space for the nut.
Step 2: Determine what kind of cutting wheel to use
The different types of screws require various tools and techniques. For example, a screw with a smooth edge only needs the small-diameter cutting wheels, while Philips head or square drive screws require either an appropriate grinding wheel or a cutting disk explicitly made for those types of screws. The right size wheel can be found at most hardware stores and even some department stores such as Walmart. Check your local phone book under "Tools-Cutting" to find any businesses in your area that may provide this service. If all else fails, there are cutting services online to which you can send items via mail so they can shorten screws for you.
Step 3: Clamp the screw in a vice or clamp
If your screw is too long and will not fit in the vice, cut off part of the screw until it fits inside, leaving some extra room to clamp it securely.
Step 4: Cut off part of the screw with a cutting wheel
Cut about 1/16th" off at a time, so you know when you have reached close enough to your goal length because there isn't any sense in going through all these steps only to find out that your screw isn't quite short enough yet.
Philips head screws are usually harder to cut than standard screws because the screwdriver blade will slip off the head before it cuts all the way through.
How to Cut a Screw in Half?
Screws can become very frustrating when they stop turning after a few rotations, and the only way to solve this problem is to cut it in half. Follow below steps:
Step 1: Acquire a screwdriver and screw (the type of screws doesn't matter).
Step 2: Apply pressure to the top of the screw until you feel it give way slightly, then turn counterclockwise until you feel resistance.
Step 3: With one hand holding the head of the screw firmly, place your other hand on top of the head and apply downward pressure while continuing to rotate counterclockwise until you hear a pop.
Step 4: Continue rotating counterclockwise three or four more times; if necessary, apply downward pressure on the top of the screw for extra torque.
Step 5: If you successfully removed one half of the screw, carefully remove it with your fingers (if you cannot feel the other half after removing it, consult a doctor or someone who knows what they are doing).
Step 6: Clean up any mess and enjoy your newly liberated half-screw.
How to Cut a Screw That's too Long?
If the screw is too long, there are several options you have. The screw may be too long because it wasn't cut down when it was initially used in a previous project, or perhaps it got thrown in with your tools after being removed from something else. There is no reason to worry- any of these problems can easily be fixed by cutting down the overly long screws with a hacksaw or other cutting tool. Follow below steps:
- Decide which screw you want to cut down.
- Once you have decided, use the correct screwdriver head on your power drill at approximately 400 revolutions per minute.
- Use a vice or other object that can provide stability without damage to components to hold the screw in place while cutting it down with your Dremel tool.
- While holding the screw in place with pliers, begin using your Dremel tool to slowly shave off bits of metal where needed to shorten and even out the length if necessary. Be sure not to remove too much material, as this may affect how the screws fit into their corresponding hex holes inside your product case or device.
- Move around and evenly shave down the screw with your Dremel tool until you have achieved a length that is even and with no raised metal in any area.
- Once you have found a satisfactory size, use a wire brush to smooth out rough areas so the screws fit easier without damaging components or yourself.
These are six steps to cutting down an overlong screw to be used in electronics such as cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc. It's usually done with Dremel tools and pliers and other materials needed when cutting down metals for this purpose.
Will a Hacksaw Cut through a Screw?
A hacksaw is a saw that has no power and is typically used when cutting metals or large thick pieces of wood. However, if someone holds the screw in place while you cut it with a hacksaw, it can make your task substantially easier. A power saw might also work (with proper safety measures in place) and this would be faster than using a hacksaw.
Cutting screws is very simple once you are the know-how. You've learned how to cut a screw with a variety of tools, including wire cutters, hand saws, and reciprocating saws, now that you've read our guide. We hope that we have provided you with the best way to cut a screw more efficiently and effectively.
As a result of the various methods we presented to you, we are confident that you can no longer face this problem in any of your projects.