(Topic ID: 196762)

How do I remove a broken screw from playfield?

By enkiktd

2 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 24 posts
  • 16 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 months ago by Coindork
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders


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#1 2 years ago

I have a playfield that has broken screws where lane guide posts should be. These are sunken into the field and have no heads anymore. Is there any good way to remove these without severely damaging the playfield? I know there are screw extractors for wood but those cut giant holes around the screw to get them out.

#2 2 years ago

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#3 2 years ago

They actually make a bit that is for metal and will screw into it and then you can back it out. You can get a small punch and hit from the top pushing the screw through and fill with toothpicks and wood glue. If there is any screw sticking through the bottom take some vise grips and clamp on and screw it out. I hope one of these helps. Remember be patient and breath

#4 2 years ago

Screw extractors do not create a bigger hole. They drill into the existing screw and then back it out.

Ask someone at your local ace or true value

#5 2 years ago

You could try a set of left handed drills. They have worked for me many times on situations like that with cars. If the new posts will cover some repair work you could cut out some wood next to the screw to give yourself room to get vampliers on it. Then you can use wood filler to repair it.

amazon.com link »

#6 2 years ago

Have you looked at it from the underside side of the playfield? I would guess it's a fully threaded post that goes thru a T-nut and held underneath with a nut. Many people don't realize there's a nut underneath and wrench off the post. If so, remove nut, punch screw thru playfield and replace T-nut and post.

#7 2 years ago

Thanks for all the comments! It actually doesn't go all the way through to the underside so we are stuck pulling it up through the top. It's a smallish screw so I'll do some research into the extractors.

#8 2 years ago

Ace, true value, hwi or any good hardware store will have the extraction bit.

#9 2 years ago

There are two types of screw extractors.

There are these where you hope you can get a bite of the broken screw and back it out.


And there are the barrel type that leave that hole you talked about.


Personally, I would use the barrel type and fill the hole with a piece of dowel rod and touch up the paint.

#10 2 years ago

Is there a T-nut underneath or are you dealing with a threaded wood screw? With a small diameter screw the issue using a screw extractor is getting the left handed drill bit to bite in the center of the broken screw. Center punching a broken screw is difficult without grinding flat. If just threaded, you can punch out and depending on damage either then t-nut it or drill and install a wooden dowel.

#11 2 years ago

i had the exact same problem w the exact same post on getaway. i used a diamond-tipped drill bit to drill through it. nice and slow, letting it cool down every few seconds. once i got through the bottom of the playfield, i replaced it w a machine screw of the same diameter. screw a nut on the bottom. use a washer on the top side if you have to cover any minor damage you may cause in drilling, and to stabilize the post. better than new


#12 2 years ago

Could you possibly punch it all the way down and out the underside of the playfield?

#13 2 years ago
Quoted from KornFreak28:

Could you possibly punch it all the way down and out the underside of the playfield?

that would more than likely splinter the layers of plywood beneath it. It would only work if you could somehow locate it's exact position from the underside and drill an "escape" hole to pound it through.

#15 2 years ago

The cutter that guy used, looks like a Rotabroach that has had it's pilot take out of it.


I guess if you could find the right size that matched the screw size it could work.

#16 2 years ago

I had a small screw on a STTNG lane guide break off flush (or a bit below) the playfield surface. I was able to take a similar size screw, cut off the point from that screw, and then JB Weld that screw to the broken one. Then was able to gently but firmly apply consistent torque to back out the entire piece from the top of the playfield. If this doesn't work for you then you really are no worse off than where you started.

#17 2 years ago

This is the set I use for extracting broken screws from a playfield.
I sent a link to a job I just did for a client on my FB page but I don't think it worked. If you want to see the repair/restoration work I do in progress just look for my FB page (Pintech). The last post was the extraction of a screw from A BSD.


#18 2 years ago

My best strategy for removing broken off screws has been to drill them out. A new titanium pilot point bit the same diameter as the screw shaft should let you get a good initial bite on the metal without it dancing around too much. As has been mentioned by others, slow and steady wins the game, let the bit do the work and let it cool between shavings.

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#19 2 years ago

Photos always post here in reverse for some reason?

From bottom to top you can see the area where post had broken off

Next is the extractor I used with a depth collar attached

You can see with the collar how far the extractor will drill into the playfield.

After the extractor did its job you can then unscrew the broken bit out with a counter clockwise turn using needle nose pliers.

The broken off bit from the playfield

Top of playfiled untouched.

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#20 2 years ago

Screw extractors work awesome

1 week later
#21 2 years ago
Quoted from enkiktd:

I have a playfield that has broken screws where lane guide posts should be.

So, did you get the screws out, and what method worked for you?

#22 2 years ago

#23 2 years ago

a reverse drill bit will do the trick! east wood carries them i am sure other places as well.

2 years later
#24 4 months ago

Bumping this thread to see if anybody has any new input or techniques for removing broken off screws and posts.

I just picked up a maverick where two of the posts are snapped off.
This is a really high impact area on this machine as it’s in direct line with the upper flipper and really takes a bashing.

I’m wondering if I’m not better off drilling them completely out and replacing them with threaded mini posts that bolt completely through the playfield for the extra support.

Any thought?

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