Perhaps you’re trying to repair one of your appliances and found a stripped Allen bolt. So you can’t access the device’s interiors without removing that fastener. Now you’re looking for a way to remove the stripped Allen head bolt. We researched possible solutions for you and here’s what we found.
Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Some of the techniques you can try to remove a stripped Allen head bolt are:
- Use a rubber band
- Apply force with channel-lock pliers
- Pour epoxy
- Drill a hole
- Use a chisel and hammer
- Weld a nut
- Slam with hammers
- Create a slot on the Allen head bolt
- Apply heat
- Use a stripped Allen removal set
Keep in mind that some of these techniques require care and precision to prevent harming nearby objects and surfaces. So continue reading as we talk about these methods in greater detail.
How Do You Remove Stripped Allen Bolt?
You can remove a stripped Allen bolt by using different techniques. Take note that some methods may not provide the needed results. However, you can choose to use other means if one technique proves to be ineffective for your circumstance.
Use A Rubber Band
Insert a rubber band between the Allen bolt’s head and the Allen wrench. That way, the extra material will provide extra traction for the Allen wrench to push the stripped bolt. Aside from a rubber band, you may also use other relatively thin rubber objects in your house, such as disposable gloves.
Apply Force With Channel-Lock Pliers
If you’re able to raise the stripped Allen bolt slightly, you can remove it by gripping it with channel-lock pliers. Grip the bolt’s head with the pliers. Then, turn the bolt to loosen and remove it as opposed to using an Allen wrench.
Mix a 2-part epoxy and place a small amount on a spoon. Next, insert the Allen wrench into the bolt's head. Then, pour the epoxy around the insertion point.
Make sure to let the solution dry for about 1 to 2 days for it to harden. You’ll know if you can turn the Allen wrench counter-clockwise if the epoxy doesn’t crack or loosen as you apply force.
Warning: Clean any epoxy that might spill onto the nearby surface. Leaving the product to dry and cure on other objects may cause complications.
Drill A Hole
Be wary as this particular method might ruin the object that the bolt is fastening. If you’re resolute in using this technique, use a hand drill that’s roughly the same diameter as the bolt’s head. Drill through the head bolt to shave its shaft.
If done correctly, you can remove the stripped bolt with your hands. If the bolt’s head is flush against the adjacent surface, you may need to use needlenose pliers for the removal.
Use A Chisel And Hammer
Take note that chips and other particles may become airborne as you use the chisel and hammer. So it’s important to wear safety glasses before attempting this technique.
Begin this method by clamping the object with the stripped bolt. Then, place and hold the chisel at an angle. Ensure that a portion of the chisel’s end is resting in the hole in the bolt’s head.
Next, whack the chisel with the hammer, which should turn the stripped bolt slightly. Continue hitting the chisel to turn the bolt counter-clockwise until you can remove the fastener by hand.
Weld A Nut
Remember, only use a welding machine if you have experience and sufficient expertise in operating it. If not, try to use other methods to remove the stripped Allen head bolt.
But if you have a welding machine in your workshop, and you know how to use it, weld a nut on the stripped bolt. Remove the fastener by using an appropriately sized wrench.
Slam With Hammers
Start by laying the rounded edge of the ball peen hammer on the stripped bolt's head. Then, slam the flat end of the ball peen hammer with a standard hammer. The force may help loosen the bolt from its position for easy removal.
Create A Slot On The Allen Head Bolt
Before proceeding with this technique, it’s important to note that this method can ruin or even destroy the surface underneath the Allen bolt.
After taking note of the risks involved, use an angle grinder to cut a shallow slot on the bolt’s head. Then, use a flathead screwdriver to remove the stripped bolt.
Like other stripped Allen head bolt removal methods, wear safety gloves before proceeding with this technique. Next, hold a torch on top of the bolt’s head.
Turn on the lighter for about 5 to 10 seconds. Remove the torch and insert an appropriate hex screw into the bolt’s head. Turn the tool counter-clockwise to remove the stripped fastener.
However, avoid using a propane or butane lighter if the bolt is near or adjacent to flammable objects.
Use A Stripped Allen Removal Set
Make sure to select the correct stripped Allen bolt removing the tool from the set. Next, place it on the bolt's head. Turn the tool with the help of a socket wrench until the stripped Allen bolt dislodges from its position.
You can also watch these videos to see some of the methods mentioned above in action:
An alternate solution to removing the bolts is to hide them from the public eye. Read our post on how to hide fasteners in walls by painting them for additional information.
Why Do Allen Bolts Keep Stripping?
The general cause of Allen head bolts stripping is mishandling. In particular, these bolts often strip because of reasons like:
- Using poor-quality Allen wrenches
- Using the incorrect Allen wrench
- Using an Allen wrench at an angle
- Proceeding to turn the Allen head bolt after it began stripping
How Do You Keep Allen Bolts From Stripping?
Preventive measures are vital to stop Allen bolts from stripping. Some of these precautionary methods are:
Always Use The Right Allen Wrench
One way to ensure that you’re using a correctly sized Allen wrench is to insert the tool into the bolt's head. Then, use light pressure to turn the bolt counter-clockwise. Although the bolt won't turn, the Allen wrench shouldn't slide off.
The Wrench And The Bolt Should Align
As a general rule of thumb, don’t place the Allen wrench at an angle. It should form a straight line with the bolt. Otherwise, the wrench will spin, increasing the risk of stripping the Allen head bolt.
Only Use Sufficient Force
Frustration can be the enemy in trying to screw in or remove an Allen bolt. Becoming agitated may lead to using more strength than necessary to turn the fastener. If so, the bolt's head will be susceptible to stripping.
Use Liquid Grip
If you’re frequently stripping Allen bolts, you can use liquid grip to help give you the ideal grasp with your Allen wrench to the bolt. You only need to apply a dollop of the product to the bolt's head. Then, use the wrench normally.
Watch the following video to gain additional insight into these preventive measures:
What Is An Allen Head Bolt Used For?
Allen head bolts have different purposes. Although, these fasteners function to hold different machine parts. You may also use Allen bolts for clamping and die stamping.
But take note that different Allen bolts exist. Each variant has unique characteristics, making it ideal for specific purposes. Some of these options are:
- Bolts with nylon pellets: High-strength models with tall heads for extra grip and lock strength.
- Bolts with drilled heads: Generally have holes built into them for wires for easy removal.
- Full-thread bolts: Also called tall-head Allen bolts, these fasteners have internally-driven designs to promote additional strength in locking.
Remember, only use the bolts with the correct sizes based on your installation procedure. For instance, read our post on the right bolts to use for TV wall mounts to gain insight into this matter.
Are Allen Bolts And Hex Bolts The Same?
The terms “Allen bolts” and “hex bolts” are interchangeable. So it also means that you can use hex keys or wrenches on Allen bolts.
Stripped Allen head bolt removal is a relatively DIY-friendly job. You can also take advantage of multiple ways to take out the damaged fastener. But keep in mind that some techniques may or may not work. If it’s the latter, ensure that you move on to the next solution to prevent further issues.