Removing a broken bolt from aluminum can be a tricky task, but it isn’t impossible. Depending on the situation, there are several ways to go about it, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we’ll explore all of these methods in detail so you can determine which one is best suited to your needs.
Use a Screw Extractor
A screw extractor is a tool designed specifically for removing broken bolts. It works by gripping the broken bolt and then turning it out of the hole. To use a screw extractor, you’ll need to select the right one for the job. There are two main types of extractors: spiral flute and reverse spiral flute. The former is better suited for soft metals such as aluminum, while the latter is better for harder metals like steel. Once you’ve selected the appropriate extractor, you’ll need to properly position it in the broken bolt and then turn it counterclockwise until the bolt is removed.
Heat the Bolt with a Torch
Another method for removing a broken bolt from aluminum is to heat it with a torch. This method works by heating up the bolt until it expands, which makes it easier to remove. However, it is important to exercise caution when using this method, as excessive heat can damage the aluminum. When using a torch, it is best to start with a low flame and gradually increase the heat until the bolt is loose enough to remove.
Use an Impact Driver
An impact driver is another tool that can be used to remove broken bolts from aluminum. It works by using a combination of torque and force to loosen the bolt. To use an impact driver, you’ll need to select the right size and type for the job. Then, you’ll need to properly position the tool in the broken bolt and then hit it with a hammer or mallet until the bolt is loose enough to remove.
Use Chemical Thread-Loosening Compounds
Chemical thread-loosening compounds are also an option for removing broken bolts from aluminum. These compounds work by lubricating and loosening the threads of the bolt, making it easier to remove. When using this method, it is important to choose the right compound for the job. For aluminum, a light oil such as WD-40 is usually best. You’ll then need to apply the compound to the bolt and wait for it to take effect before attempting to remove the bolt.
Use an Easy-Out Tool
An easy-out tool is a specialized tool designed for removing broken bolts. It works by gripping the broken bolt and then turning it out of the hole. While this method is generally effective, it does have some drawbacks. First, it can be difficult to get the tool into the broken bolt without damaging the surrounding material. Second, if the bolt is particularly stubborn, the tool may not be able to grip it adequately. Finally, it is possible for the tool to break off in the bolt, leaving it even more difficult to remove.
Drill Through the Broken Bolt
If all other methods fail, drilling through the broken bolt may be the only option. This method works by drilling a hole through the center of the broken bolt, allowing it to be removed. However, it is important to exercise caution when using this method, as it can damage the surrounding material. When drilling, it is important to use the correct size and type of drill bit, as well as a slow speed setting.
Removing a broken bolt from aluminum can be a challenging task, but it isn’t impossible. With the right tools and techniques, it can be done relatively easily. In this article, we explored several methods for removing a broken bolt from aluminum, including using a screw extractor, heating the bolt with a torch, using an impact driver, using chemical thread-loosening compounds, using an easy-out tool, and drilling through the broken bolt. By understanding the different methods available, you can determine which one is best suited to your needs.