Note To Self: How to Fix a Tiny Stripped Screw

Alright, Verastiqui. This is your reminder about the time your sister-in-law gave you a Hue motion sensor and said if you can fix it, you can have it. Since your entire house is rigged with Hue smart lights, you jumped at the opportunity, only to find the sensor needed batteries and the small screw that lets you access the batteries was incredibly stripped. You tried your special tiny screwdriver and even the rubber band trick to no avail. Then you brought out the big guns, the only guns, the power of the gods in the palm of your hand: the Dremel.

Here’s the back of the Hue motion sensor. Notice the almost perfectly round screw head hole–hole head–whatever. On the left is the rubber band you attempted to use to get some grip until it snapped.

At the time of this writing, you did not own a table vise, which is very strange considering how much you want / could use one. Instead, you used what your dad would call Mexican Ingenuity and used blocks of wood and clamps to secure the motion sensor.

Archeologists and historians are still unsure how old your Dremel is. You purchased it perhaps 20 years ago so you could cut through the sides of computer cases. Even after two decades, it still performs like a champ. And because you know the Dremel discs can accidentally shatter and go flying, you grabbed your safety glasses too.

The goal was to make a new screw head hole / hole head that would fit a flathead screwdriver. The screw was flush against the plastic casing, so you had to cut into that a little. At medium speed, it only took a few strokes to cut a deep enough channel.



Easy does it. Each turn of the screw whispers you’re saving 50 bucks.

And done. After replacing the batteries, you reused the screw with the new head hole since it was going to be covered up by the mounting magnet anyway. It was an early Tuesday morning when this happened; the sun was shining into the garage but the heat wasn’t unbearable. You stood for a moment thinking about how you had accomplished something, and for a brief beautiful interval, you felt pride. You texted photos to your sister-in-law, who ironically had just purchased her own Dremel, to show her how you fixed it.

Then you thought, I should write a blog post about this so I don’t forget what happened here today.

After writing the blog post, you thought I hope someone else finds this useful.

Author’s Note: I love Hue lights, btw. I have them all over the house, on schedules, controlled with sensors, controlled by Alexa. They are the greatest invention ever and the height of Future Living. A Dremel is a close second.