A hex bolt is a thick metal bolt typically used to bond joints that undergo a lot of stress and can be damaged easily. Often times, due to stresses faced by the bolt after installation, hex bolts can be extremely difficult to remove. In some cases, the removal process can damage the hex bolt and make it even harder to remove them. This article will guide you through the process of removing a hex bolt that has been damaged.
Step 1 – Take Appropriate Precautions
Removing damaged hex bolts involves the use of power tools and cutting tools like a chisel etc. Since these tools can cause injuries, it is recommended that you wear gloves and study the instructions manual that came with the power tools. The use of safety glasses should also be practiced to offer protection against flying pieces of metal during drilling. Once these precautions have been duly noted, move on to removing a damaged hex bolt.
Step 2 – Lubricating the Bolt
Use a few drops of penetrating oil for this step. Add a few drops around the face of the bolt and tap gently with a hammer to ensure proper penetration down to the stem. Give the oil a couple of minutes to work before performing any other action on the bolt.
Step 3 – Making a Slit in the Nut
You will require a hammer and a chisel for this step. Hold the chisel roughly at the equator of the bolt head and strike with a hammer. A strong single blow works best. The chisel will wedge a slit in the head of the bolt. This slit will provide the necessary grip that will help in the removal process. Use a flat face screwdriver to turn the bolt out of its socket. In case the bolt is stuck in its socket, use a torque wrench to provide the necessary force needed for removal. Make sure that you turn the bolt in the proper direction (usually a counter clockwise direction) to avoid undue tightening.
Step 4 – If All Else Fails
This step explains details of an alternate method that can be used for the removal of a resistant bolt if the above method is ineffective. Use a chisel to chop off the top of the hex bolt. Once this is done, use an electric drill installed with a bit of the same size as the stem of the bolt to drill a hole in the step. Take caution while doing this to ensure that the object to which the bolt is attached to is not damaged. Also make sure that you drill lightly to avoid expansion of the hole.
Step 5 – Using a Bolt Extractor Kit
Bolt extractors are metal bits with special thread running down their lengths that help in gripping the bolt. Find an extractor that matches the size of the hole that was drilled in the previous step. Tap this extractor lightly into the hole and use a torque wrench to rotate the extractor and the bolt in a counter clockwise direction to remove the bolt stem.