The screws that came with my 3U rackmount box (not Eurorack M3 screws, but the 10/32 or M6 ones that come with 19" studio/server rack) were apparently cheap and awful, and some of them have stripped and I’m having trouble getting them out. Most of the advice I see online about it involves screws in wood, not in rack ears right next to pricey electronic gear
So my two questions are:
does anyone have advice for neatly extracting stripped screws without damaging panels?
does anyone have some favorite rack screws, maybe some kind of thumbscrew type or hex socket head or something that won’t be prone to stripping?
Short of other ideas I’m going to check the hardware store tomorrow for screw extractor bits for my drill. The two that I need to remove right now are just in a ventilation plate that I’m going to replace. In the future though, I fear the screws in my actual gear are also in a bad state and might give me problems.
Screw extractor bits are a thing. But if you need a quick hack, sometimes laying a thick rubber band across the head of the screw is enough to create engagement with your driver. Or in a pinch you could literally drill or dremel the heads off, but that risks damaging the panel.
If you have a Dremel, you might try (very carefully!) using the cutoff wheel to cut a slot across the screw head. It will probably make sparks fly, so beware. Once you have the slot cut, you should be able to get a flathead screwdriver in there.
I haven’t tried the Vampliers but I do have a couple sizes of the Engineer screw removing pliers (PZ-58 & PZ-57) and they are fantastic. Hopefully you can extract the screws with a good set of screw extraction pliers. If not, get a set of left handed drill bits (CCW). There is a good chance that the screw will back itself out while drilling and if it doesn’t you are no worse off than drilling it out with a standard bit.
Vampliers did the job. One of the screws took a little struggling and the teeth of the pliers weren’t particularly gentle to the panel finish, but it’s just some scratches on the vent panel that I’m replacing anyway, not my audio interface so that’s fine. Whew!
I also got some Monoprice rack screws that have a straight slot all the way across in addition to the Phillips head, and I’m not tightening them nearly as tightly as I did the previous screws.