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Bolt removal tools - resources, tips, how-to videos


Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,321
mattm wrote:

How much torque before it slips?  I may have one or two of these lying around in 120mm length!  Win


A bolt head sticking out of one of the six holes in the ball screw would stop the slipping, but I think it will grip sufficiently. Think of the punishment that a MTB fork and handlebars takes - the ball screw is the same size as the bike fork. Body weight on the handle would translate into enough force to break a new bolt, so this should work well for our purposes.

Rich Farnham · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2002 · Points: 282

Finally got around to putting one of these together!  Still need to add the cable clip-in loop, but the main tool is assembled, and I'm pretty happy with how it came together!


I was a little intimidated by the metal working (I'm more of a wood-worker), but it wasn't that bad.  A few comments:
  • I highly recommend using some sort of metal cut-off tool (angle grinder, dremel, etc).  Greg talks about using a hacksaw in many steps, likely to keep people from thinking they need special tools to do this, but if you don't have a power tool option for cutting metal, you'll be spending a LOT of time with a hacksaw.
  • Having a bench grinder was pretty nice too, but less critical than a cut-off tool.  You could probably do ok with flat and round hand files.
  • Folding the ends back on the spacer tube was pretty tricky, and didn't work very cleanly (end isn't square anymore).  On another thread, I think Greg is reinforcing the end with a section of aluminum channel instead of folding the ends back.  I may try that next time.  I had a hard time getting 1/8" holes in the corners (drill bit wanders on the rounded edge, even after a center punch.  Perhaps better with a drill press - don't have one), which meant that the cuts are all slightly different lengths and the ends didn't fold over square.  I suspect the rock will deform the end a little and make this not matter, but I am concerned it may cause an angled pull on the bolt.  We'll see...
  • Drilling the hole for the angled stopper screw was tricky.  After drilling a hole in the first side, and leaning the drill to gouge out the hole to an angle, I ignored my reservations and tried to start drilling the hole in the second side at an angle.  Immediately broke the drill bit.  If you drill a starter hole in the second side for the angled drill bit to engage, then it works fine.  Tapping this hole was easier than I expected.
  • I couldn't find a 9mm retaining ring at McGuckins!  I don't know where Greg found one, but if McGuckins didn't have one, I imagine an average Ace Hardware won't either.  I ended up just buying a stop collar with a set screw, but the ID was slightly off and didn't want to fit.  Had to grind out the inside, which was a PITA.  I'll be looking for a better long term solution.  
Pretty psyched to finally have this thing together, and can't wait to try it out!  Huge thanks to Greg for all of the work he has done in documenting how to do this, and to the others that helped with the development of these tools!
Rich Farnham · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2002 · Points: 282

A few questions about spinner tools.  I got the threaded inserts from Northwestern Tool.  I assume I want to trim the coupler nut back to the black line I drew (at the combined length of the sds chuck and the thread inserts)?  Is that right?


Also, is that red material that comes on the threads red loctite?  Is that enough, or should I add more?  I've never used red before and don't know how much it takes for a "permanent" bond.
Drew Nevius · · Oklahoma · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 1,884
Rich Farnham wrote: A few questions about spinner tools.  I got the threaded inserts from Northwestern Tool.  I assume I want to trim the coupler nut back to the black line I drew (at the combined length of the sds chuck and the thread inserts)?  Is that right?

Also, is that red material that comes on the threads red loctite?  Is that enough, or should I add more?  I've never used red before and don't know how much it takes for a "permanent" bond.

If the coupler nut you bought is all one diameter/thread that matches the SDS chuck adapter thread, and the silver threads (top right piece) match that but have 3/8-16 on the inside, then I would add red locktite to the outside of he thread insert and screw it into the coupler nut just far enough that it doesn’t stick out. I wouldn’t bother trimming it. I also wouldn’t fix it to the chuck adapter. I’ve found it helpful to have a “strike bolt” that screws into the coupler so I can put it on the wedge bolt, hit the strike bolt with the hammer to unseat the clip, the swap the chuck adapter on and spin. I have better luck with that than using the drill’s hammer mode

Bruce Hildenbrand · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2003 · Points: 1,200

I would add more Loctite to make sure the insert doesn't come loose.  I had one back out on me and it wasn't good(I always carry a spare spinner tool in case this happens).  Also.  there is a bit of a debate on how deep the insert threads should be which screw onto the stud.  Sometimes I just screw the threads all the way down on the bare stud and hope there are enough threads on the stud to bottom it out.  Other times I put a nut on the stud first and use that in opposition with the coupler nut to lock it all up for spinning.

Rich Farnham · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2002 · Points: 282
Drew Nevius wrote:

...I also wouldn’t fix it to the chuck adapter. I’ve found it helpful to have a “strike bolt” that screws into the coupler so I can put it on the wedge bolt, hit the strike bolt with the hammer to unseat the clip, the swap the chuck adapter on and spin. I have better luck with that than using the drill’s hammer mode

Thanks, and good tips!  I wasn't going to fix it to the chuck adapter so that I can use the coupler to connect to the puller, but I like the idea of a "strike bolt"!

Rich Farnham · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2002 · Points: 282
Bruce Hildenbrand wrote: I would add more Loctite to make sure the insert doesn't come loose.  I had one back out on me and it wasn't good(I always carry a spare spinner tool in case this happens).  Also.  there is a bit of a debate on how deep the insert threads should be which screw onto the stud.  Sometimes I just screw the threads all the way down on the bare stud and hope there are enough threads on the stud to bottom it out.  Other times I put a nut on the stud first and use that in opposition with the coupler nut to lock it all up for spinning.
Perfect, thanks - I'll add more.

Is there any reason NOT to shorten the coupler?  Or is it just more work?  I like the idea of adding a nut on the stud to lock it down for spinning.  I'm guessing that shortening the coupler makes it more likely that the stud bottoms out against the chuck, meaning you don't need the lock nut.  Would that be beneficial as one less step?
Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,321
Rich - nice work.
  • Yup - the hacksaw method is slow. A fiber cut-off wheel on a drill can work, but that can be a little dangerous and imprecise.
  • The aluminum end cap idea obviates the diagonal screw and the folded-back ends. Making the end cap still requires a couple of cuts and a 3/4" hole thru aluminum.
  • retaining clip - found at Jax Mercantile. They are kinda' weak in that job, tho. The updated drawing at RDB Bearing in China has M9 x 1.5 threads instead for all future orders.
  • coupling nut - I shorten mine, but it's not necessary. It does remove the need for an internal set screw and it makes the kit a few grams lighter.
Drew Nevius · · Oklahoma · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 1,884
Rich Farnham wrote: Perfect, thanks - I'll add more.

Is there any reason NOT to shorten the coupler?  Or is it just more work?  I like the idea of adding a nut on the stud to lock it down for spinning.  I'm guessing that shortening the coupler makes it more likely that the stud bottoms out against the chuck, meaning you don't need the lock nut.  Would that be beneficial as one less step?

Shortening it could be helpful. More than that, it’s helpful to have a set screw that is essentially a 3/8-16 threaded piece that screws into the spinner so the wedge bolt has something to bottom out against inside the spinner. Otherwise the spinner tool will screw down until it touches the rock, making it difficult or impossible to spin. You only want to tool to be able to thread about 3/8” deep into the stud. Many wegebolts may not be sticking far enough out of the rock to have 3/8” for the spinner, 1/4” for the nut mentioned above, and a 1/4” for tapping the bolt in to disengage the clip

Rich Farnham · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2002 · Points: 282
Gregger Man wrote:Rich - nice work.
  • Yup - the hacksaw method is slow. A fiber cut-off wheel on a drill can work, but that can be a little dangerous and imprecise.
  • The aluminum end cap idea obviates the diagonal screw and the folded-back ends. Making the end cap still requires a couple of cuts and a 3/4" hole thru aluminum.
  • retaining clip - found at Jax Mercantile. They are kinda' weak in that job, tho. The updated drawing at RDB Bearing in China has M9 x 1.5 threads instead for all future orders.
  • coupling nut - I shorten mine, but it's not necessary. It does remove the need for an internal set screw and it makes the kit a few grams lighter.

Thanks!  It was a fun challenge.

Do you think I could cut threads on the end of the ball screw where the retaining clip is?  I'm thinking the shoulder would prevent me from getting the die far enough to cut full threads?  Also don't know anything about that metal - could it be cut with a standard die, or is it too hard?
Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,321

The metal is harder. You can start the die in the normal direction and then flip it over so that the exit threads lead the way once you bottom out- that way you'll get closer to that shoulder. It's 10mm so a 3/8-16 die should work. A 7/16 die might take the edge off and make it easier to start, otherwise you might need to hand-chamfer it to get the die started.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 503
Gregger Man wrote:


  1. ReNu-threaded insert with 3/8-16 internal, 1/2-20 external from Northwestern Tools.  (http://www.northwesterntools.com/product_info.php/model_number/29115). You can buy in bulk from their Ebay store at a great discount if you are making multiples. I always carry two complete spinner tools in my kit.

I'm seeing 29110 as the correct PN for the 1/2-20 to 3/8-16 insert on their site

Also available through their Amazon store
Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,321
Nick Drake wrote:

I'm seeing 29110 as the correct PN for the 1/2-20 to 3/8-16 insert on their site

Also available through their Amazon store

Nice catch. I corrected the link in the first post. 


You can also make a spinner tool using a more common threaded insert from EZ Lok - but to install it you have to use a 9/16-12 tap on the 1/2-20 coupling nut. A little more work, but the parts are available locally.
https://www.ezlok.com/ezlok-insert-329-6IC
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Fixed Hardware: Bolts & Anchors
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