Homemade Screwdrivers?

I've been needing some good electrical terminal block screwdrivers and was
wondering if I could make some better than the ones you buy. I've had some
that are hardened and break easy and others that are too soft. If I made
screwdrivers by machining drill rod and hardened and tempered, would they be
as good as or better than the top name brand commercial drivers? Or would
they need to be forged, cold worked, or something to achieve higher than
store-bought quality?
Hey, I need to justify my CNC lathe and mill somehow!!! :-)
RogerN
Reply to
Roger_N
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I buy Klein screw drivers, good stuff! I find the cabinet screw driver works great for electrical work #605-4. They hold up for everyday, job sight use quite well.
Greg
Reply to
Greg O
Biggest issue is getting the heat treating exactly right. You want to be able to get the rockwell within 1 or 2 points, you may want to vary the temper from tip to shank.
I was reading an article on wood chisels a while back. The Buck tools product manager was quoted as saying that the consumer grade chisels were hardened a couple of points softer than the super premium line. They figure the cheap units would get used as pry bars more often than the premium ones.
I run Klien screwdrivers with the rubber grips. I have broken the tip off of a phillps, chewed up a straight blade and reground it but many years of service on the rest.
Roger_N wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
My opinion is that the best screwdrivers are casehardened. They resist deformation of the tip because of their hardness but resist breakage because of their less brittle interior. The only downside to this, I have found is that they deteriorate fast once they have been touched up on a grinder.
Engineman
Reply to
engineman1
RogerN Sez: "Hey, I need to justify my CNC lathe and mill somehow!!! :-)"
If you have to inquire about such a fundamental premise as the metallurgy of screwdrivers, I'm not sure you are ready for CNC yet.
Bob (still learning manual) Swinney
I've been needing some good electrical terminal block screwdrivers and was wondering if I could make some better than the ones you buy. I've had some that are hardened and break easy and others that are too soft. If I made screwdrivers by machining drill rod and hardened and tempered, would they be as good as or better than the top name brand commercial drivers? Or would they need to be forged, cold worked, or something to achieve higher than store-bought quality?
RogerN
Reply to
Robert Swinney
Screwdrivers for electrical terminal strips? Brass binding-head screws? You don't need anything special for that. Use whatever is in your tool box.
Reply to
Leo Lichtman
Wiha, or Klein -no need to reinvent the wheel. Otherwise the Ace Hardware brand is pretty good, might be Enders tool.
Reply to
beecrofter
I started gunsmithing a few years back when I was involved in competitive pistol shooting. I often made my own screwdrivers and other specialty tools from drill rod (cheaper than buying from Brownells... and fun too!)
You'll have to anneal the drill rod to work it if it isn't in that state already (mine always came annealed). You can find color charts on the web that'll guide you when you're ready to heat treat the rod to hardness. A bit of experimenting and you should have good results.
Reply to
toolman946 via CraftKB.com
These are exellent tools -- but you can't beat a screwdriver that fits the slot very closely in both slot width and head diameter. That's why the expensive "gunsmith" screwdriver sets have so many bits. One can be made for a particular screw in just a few minutes including some semblance of heattreat. It won't be as good as the same bit would be if made by Enders or Wiha from carefully heat-treated high-alloy steel -- but it'll very likely work better than a "better" one that doesn't fit as well, and it can be made in a few minutes.
Reply to
Don Foreman
I'd like to find a decent screwdriver designed to fit these idiotic half phillips half straight screws on many IEC contactors.
Wes
Reply to
Wes
On Sun, 16 Mar 2008 09:57:09 -0400, with neither quill nor qualm, Wes quickly quoth:
I always try a #2 phillips first, then a #1 if that doesn't fit perfectly, and I don't recall ever having a problem. I also get a good, heavy contact with it at a perfect 90 degrees before I attempt to remove a terminal screw. They're usually -very- tight.
With blade screw heads, I've never found a perfect fitting screwdriver tip. All my blade headed screws are replaced by phillips, square, or Torx heads wherever possible.
Q: Does anyone here NOT have a scar to show from an old blade screwdriver wound? (I didn't think so.)
-- Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives. -- A. Sachs
Reply to
Larry Jaques
I do, but not as impressive as one guy...I was first EMT on scene years ago for a "screwdriver injury". You know those little green electronics technician style screwdrivers? He'd been working on something cupped in his left palm, pushing hard and the screw slipped out. Right through his palm & out the back.
Wasn't a lot for me to do, it was self-stabilizing, no bleeding, just checked his vitals and waited for the ambulance to show up.
Reply to
Dave Hinz
Found out once that many Japanese cross-point screwheads are NOT Phillips, or Pozidrive but something different. I bought a Japanese screwdriver for PLC screw heads and never looked back! Re flat blade drivers, lookout for the WERA range which are serrated on the tip. Excellent bite to the screw. They do not work as well after being touched up on the grinder though
Working on a boat the other day and was annoyed to hear the continual ratcheting of an electric driver bit in a screw head. In the end I got so peed off I took a look at what the customer was using. Well worn #1 Phillips bit driving a #2 Pozidrive screw. Explained the difference over a coffee and suggested that they buy the correct bits. He and his wife are now screwing with cries of delight not frustration!
Reply to
Richard Edwards
Since I don't know the fundamentals, would I be better off using W1, O1, A2, D2, S7, or other steel? What difference in strenght would be obtained by forging vs machining? What Rockwell hardness is borderline between bending vs breaking?
I never had any formal education in metal working, I woked at a shop for a couple of years using manual machines in the 1980's. Other than that it's just been hobby type stuff with a few paying home machining jobs here and there.
My home machine shop consists of a manual South Bend 13 X 54 lathe, an Anilam Yam 14 X 22 CNC lathe (converted to EMC control), an Enco manual knee mill, a Anilam Bridgeport CNC mill, and a KempSmith horizontal mill with a Bridgeport head on the overarm, plus saws, press, welders, drill press, & grinders...
RogerN
Reply to
Roger_N
I can't remember the manufacturer but Wera might be it. Guy at work has screw drivers that fit the cross point screws on Japanese so well that you can put a driver in a horizonal screw and it will levitate.
Wes
Reply to
Wes
Don't do this outdoors!
Reply to
Michael A. Terrell
Sorry Roger, if I seemed to haul you up short. You would do well with W -1 & O-1 tool steel and or / drill rod. Some of it comes with heat treat information. Try to find a copy of "Tool Steel Simplified" for heat treat procedure suitable forl the home shop. Don't try to heat treat High Speed Steel without expensive equipment. Stick with ordinary drill rod, which is not HSS unless so labeled. I heat treated a gear cutter last week made from W-1 and followed the instructions that came with it, from J&L as I remember. I think it was Starret tool steel. After quenching in oil it required a 1 hour tempering in a 350 degree kitchen oven. Supposedly, this drew it down to around Rockwell 62, although I have no way of testing for hardness.
Bob Swinney
Since I don't know the fundamentals, would I be better off using W1, O1, A2, D2, S7, or other steel? What difference in strenght would be obtained by forging vs machining? What Rockwell hardness is borderline between bending vs breaking?
I never had any formal education in metal working, I woked at a shop for a couple of years using manual machines in the 1980's. Other than that it's just been hobby type stuff with a few paying home machining jobs here and there.
My home machine shop consists of a manual South Bend 13 X 54 lathe, an Anilam Yam 14 X 22 CNC lathe (converted to EMC control), an Enco manual knee mill, a Anilam Bridgeport CNC mill, and a KempSmith horizontal mill with a Bridgeport head on the overarm, plus saws, press, welders, drill press, & grinders...
RogerN
Reply to
Robert Swinney
Among those choices, and for the hardest practical screwdriver blade, I'd use S-7. O-1 would be OK, but I think you'll get a better balance between hardness and toughness with S-7. For a tougher tool at the expense of a few points of hardness, use one of the chrome-moly alloy steels; 4140, 4340. etc.
Reply to
Ned Simmons

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