#6 screw broke at the switch box

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  #1  
Old 04-10-20, 08:10 AM
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#6 screw broke at the switch box

As I was unscrewing a receptacle from a metal switch box, the bottom #6 screw wouldn't come out easy and when I gave it a bit of torque it broke off right at the "ear" of the switch box, flushed with it with no chance of using a plier to get any grip on any part of it.

Is there any quick remedy? Drill it out totally and use a #8 screw? Replacing the box will be very difficult involving busting out plaster and undoing a bunch of wires.
 
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Old 04-10-20, 10:50 AM
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Hi, I would say use your imagination, there is no easy way , and drilling it out maybe the only option.
Geo
 
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Old 04-10-20, 11:01 AM
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I was sometimes able to use a right angle needle nose pliers to unscrew the screw from the back.
 
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Old 04-10-20, 03:18 PM
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With metal box, you can try drilling it out. You will have to cut the bolt flush using grinder or dremel before you can drill.

You could use G clips for plastic boxes, but might work for some metal boxes as well.

G-Clip - Quick and easy repair of stripped and broken plastic electrical boxes
https://www.amazon.com/G-Clip-10-Pac.../dp/B00XF2LQD0


 
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Old 04-11-20, 10:56 AM
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I have had this happen in the past too. Not a huge deal, drilling it out and tapping the fresh hole isn't as bad as you may be thinking. I always keep a Klein tapping tool handy. The tapping tool is also helpful when just chasing threads in extremely old metal boxes and when I say old I mean like 90 to 95 years old.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Klein-To...E&gclsrc=aw.ds
 
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Old 04-17-20, 09:30 AM
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I have had this happen in the past too. Not a huge deal, drilling it out and tapping the fresh hole isn't as bad as you may be thinking. I always keep a Klein tapping tool handy. The tapping tool is also helpful when just chasing threads in extremely old metal boxes and when I say old I mean like 90 to 95 years old.
I have tapping tools, but after you drill it out the existing hole will be messed up if you re-tap it would have to be at least one size up? The standard is 6-32 so I will go with something like a 8-32? Unless you mean tapping a new hole somewhere else - where? There is no material around that ear.

I actually found two metal boxes like this with broken screws and no grip. I was tempted to just remove the box but not sure I want to disturb the old clothed wiring, and I also found out to remove the box I have to break more of the plaster because the box had a steel mounting plate that was face nailed to the front of the studs.

I tried drilling the broken end, but the bit just danced around even though it was broken flush with the ear.
 
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Old 04-17-20, 04:55 PM
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I tried drilling the broken end, but the bit just danced around even though it was broken flush with the ear.
It takes a little practice, but I never had a problem using a bit smaller than the #6 screw. I also have found the tapping tool handy to chase the threads in an older box before installing a new device with new screw.
 
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Old 04-17-20, 05:49 PM
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I tried drilling the broken end, but the bit just danced around even though it was broken flush with the ear.
Cut or grind it flat. Then using a center punch punch center of the broken screw. That will keep the bit in the center.
Start with a bit smaller than #6. If you mess up, you can always increase to #8.
 
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Old 04-18-20, 06:10 AM
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I find these to be very handy to drill and tap a new hole: https://www.harborfreight.com/sae-dr...set-95528.html

Often the screw is harder than the box and you may have to drill and tap next to the stuck screw. Of course, great care is required to not break off the little 6-32 tap.
 
 

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