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Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws. 19709

No Life Club Posts: 1,894
Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« on: May 03, 2008, 06:19:44 AM »
Once again boredom serves as the motivation for innovation. I was washing my EDC Kick for a comparative rust review when I was struck by this idea. I don't think I've seen it so far in the quest for easy disassembly.

1) Find a set of cheap sockets. Mine came form a 10$ 100 piece tool set.

2) Take out the 1/4" socket and the 6mm, 5.5mm and 6.5mm sockets.

3) One at a time, place the 6mm and 5.5mm sockets on the knurled screws on the implement end of you favorite Leatherman.

4) Bash the hell out of them with a hammer, making the insides conform to the knurled bolt. I recommend putting a piece of wood under the tool.

5) Put the 6.5mm and 1/4" sockets on the plier end and repeat.

6) With proper set-up (heating the fasteners slightly to ease the locktite) you can now break down your tool with a minimum of damage. Your going to need a lot of downward pressure to make the sockets seat, I recommend using a ratchet on one end and have the socket in a vise or channellocks on the other so you can really bear down on it.

 :)

I was striking the sockets fairly hard with the hammer but no damage was noted, either cosmetic of functional. I'm also not sure how long the sockets will last but I have broken down my Kick and my Pulse with no issues so far. There also isn't any reason to have such a discrepancy in sizes, I recommend the 1/4" for the plier end and the 6mm for the implement end, I just didn't have two of those sizes so I went up accordingly.







Now, go forth and customize to your hearts content!

*I'm not sure if this will work on the AL Charge models since there is a lip next to the screws.
Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,276
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2008, 06:31:24 AM »
I gotta hand it to you Spoon, I never would have tried that! :P :D   Congrats on a successful solution!


Hmmm, you might want to go back and emphasize the word CHEAP in step #1 "Find a set of cheap sockets....." It doesn't seem like a set of quality hardened sockets would distort that easily? ???

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
No Life Club Posts: 1,894
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2008, 06:41:43 AM »
Thanks! Much to my chagrin it does seem like most things can be fixed by using enough hammer.  :D

Probably not, I've broken a few sockets in my time and it seems like the higher end ones either crack spectacularly or snap at weak spots and pieces actually come off when broken. I got a lot of these working with my brothers tools when I was younger: >:( And then I got banned from using the breaker bar.

The cheaper ones just crack.

I have some bit drivers in similar sizes that I can try tomorrow, they aren't plated and always seemed to be slightly softer so they may make a cleaner imprint and provide a tighter fit. I am quite amazed at how well imprinted the 6.5mm socket is, it's the one all the way on the right but the picture doesn't do it justice. Looks just like it was cast that way.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,595
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2008, 08:36:45 AM »
Impact sockets are softer so they don't explode when fail, guess you can use those. But then again they aren't cheap, and I don't know if they come that small.
No Life Club Posts: 3,994 Improvise.
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2008, 07:52:03 PM »
That's awesome...was there any damage to the knurled screws on the tool at all, or were the sockets so soft that they went unharmed?

[
No Life Club Posts: 1,894
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2008, 08:54:15 PM »
Since it was difficult to keep the sockets perfectly level while striking them there are ever so faint marks around the fasteners but you have move the tool around to reflect the light just right to see them. Actual fasteners themselves look to be in fine shape, no damaged or wear noted.
No Life Club Posts: 1,486
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2008, 03:59:07 PM »
Quote
it does seem like most things can be fixed by using enough hammer.

Ha ha ! Quote of the year right there!

Let me see if I got this right: place socket on LM…and then smack the socket with a hammer while it's on the LM's bolt, mashing the socket to the bolt?

I've been wondering how to take a LM apart without tearing up the bolts. This looks to be a good option.

Side thought on heating the fasteners: I have a heat gun. That may work if I stick to a low setting.
No Life Club Posts: 3,699 Smells like tar and smoke.
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2008, 03:14:29 AM »
sometimes ive managed to open those by heatin up the outer part of pin/axle and the putting some cold spary into those bolt ends and twisting with pliers that had tape on jaws to prevent any marks.the reaction of heat and fast cooling seems to open the thread glue sometimes,and some times even heat does the trick.
Newbie Posts: 10
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2008, 02:17:58 AM »
Spoonrobot,

You're definitely the tool mod maestro. I'm not generally a multi-function anything fan as I don't think any of them do as good a job as any single specific tool. Three things changed my mind: 1. I read an article in Make magazine about the Leatherman, the point being that the tool you have with you is better than the one back in the shop, 2. It's a hell of a lot better than my teeth and fingernails, 3. (most importantly) My wife gave me a Micra a couple of years ago.

In my computer consulting, I generally don't carry Torx screws, just flat and Phillips. I had a call to replace a power supply in a Gateway and it had Torx screws holding it in. Whipped out my Micra and it did the trick. Saved me a trip back to the shop. I know many people really give the Micra type Phillips solution a bad rap, but it was the perfect tool for the job and, since then, I never leave home without my Micra in my pocket and my PST in the console of my car.

Whenever I can, I snatch up odd lots of Micras on eBay to clean up and generally refurb. Almost without exception, the scissors look like they've been used to cut wire and/or some kind of sheet metal. I couldn't sharpen them properly without disassembly. Communicated with Leatherman customer service, which was very accommodating about sending them back to be repaired, but I couldn't see spending $7+ on shipping for an item that cost me $3--sort of defeats the purpose. I stumbled on this forum after searching for information on disassembly tools for a couple of days and saw the cool flat iron wrenches and modified sockets posted by Kwakster. Got in touch with him right away to try to buy some, but he said he wasn't a source for them. I saw your post on the socket mods, didn't have any spare 5mm. sockets and was in a burn to get this done, so I opted to reproduce the flat iron wrench types.

I had a handful of 1.25mm. flat mild steel tools that came with some plant stands my wife had. Drilled a 5.0mm. hole in them, beveled the edges of the holes slightly and ground the outer edge so it would clear the case on the scissors end. I set one over the screws on one of the project Micras and hammered it on until it was fully seated, inspected it, and then did the other one. I was thinking of case hardening them, but I didn't really think it was necessary. When I reassembled them I used blue Loc-tite instead of red, since that's what I had and thought it would be more than adequate.

Can't thank you enough for your great tool sense without which I'd still be trying to work it out with a couple of small Vise-grips.

Goldmeister
9.98 kB | 400x337 10.03 kB | 400x307

"
Global Moderator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 59,410
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2008, 02:39:17 AM »
Welcome to the forum Goldmeister :salute: :cheers: :cheers: And good idea with the plant stand tools :cheers: :cheers: :cheers: :D
Newbie Posts: 10
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2008, 02:50:37 AM »
Yet another solution. Having made the previously posted tools to disassemble the Micra, I started thinking that there might be people who wanted to be proactive with their Leatherman tools, but didn't have access to appropriate scrap metal, a shop with a piercing saw, flex shaft, drill press, bench grinder, etc. Soooo, for folks who may not have access to anything more than a hammer, try an old house or car key. I found a couple of old car keys with round holes that were just the right size for a Micra. All you need is a hammer, but failing that, a medium size rock will do the trick. You can then contour the key so you get clearance at the scissor end by rubbing it on the sidewalk or the rock you used for a hammer. In computer lingo, that would be a "kludge" (an inelegant, but workable solution) or in military terms, a "field expedient". Giving credit where it's due, this was all inspired by Spoonrobot.

Goldmeister

"
Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,276
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2008, 02:58:26 AM »
Welcome to the forum Goldmeister! :multi: Wow, you jumped right in and hit the ground running with some great suggestions! The key idea is particularly intriguing.....being made from brass, they would certainly take the knurled form easier when you hammer them into place. But is the brass itself too soft to act as a wrench? Will it simply spin and wash out the knurled teeth when used on a tight screw? :think:

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
Newbie Posts: 10
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2008, 03:01:43 AM »
Thanks for the welcome Poncho65. Nice forum you have here with a bunch of interesting and really talented tool guys/gals.
 
Forgot to add a note to those who are advocating heat to loosen the Loc-Tite. 350-400 degrees F is a little dicey on hardened and tempered steel. For one thing, it's hard to be that precise with a torch, heat gun or big soldering iron and unless you know exactly how the steel was heat treated, and even though stainless is a terrible heat conductor, it's hard to keep it localized and there's a good chance it will further draw the temper on the edged components.

Goldmeister

"
Newbie Posts: 10
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2008, 03:06:22 AM »
Thanks for the welcome J-sews.
Keys, even though made of brass, are pretty hard. Think about how long they last rubbing on the pins in locks and how much torque they take day in and day out. I saw a TV show on the making of keys a while back and, as I remember, they're a hard alloy and are stamped with a great deal of pressure which work hardens them. Before I posted, I tested them and they worked fine. Don't forget that there are a whole lotta contact points so the stress is well distributed. As far as the long term, I'll use hell out of them and report back.

By the by, according to Kwakster, you seem to be the guy who has the line on the cool factory made tools. Is that true?

Goldmeister

"
Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,276
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2008, 03:12:16 AM »
Thanks for the welcome J-sews.
Keys, even though made of brass, are pretty hard. Think about how long they last rubbing on the pins in locks and how much torque they take day in and day out. I saw a TV show on the making of keys a while back and, as I remember, they're a hard alloy and are stamped with a great deal of pressure which work hardens them. Before I posted, I tested them and they worked fine. Don't forget that there are a whole lotta contact points so the stress is well distributed. As far as the long term, I'll use hell out of them and report back.

By the by, according to Kwakster, you seem to be the guy who has the line on the cool factory made tools. Is that true?

Goldmeister

Good points about the keys, that makes sense :)

Yah, I'm the American liason for the Leatherman factory tools.  (Tarrodemierda handles the European modders) They are on the way to a certain culinary oriented member in Alabama, then probably heading to the east coast. It might be a little while before they are actually available again, but I'll put your name on the list. :)

(check your PM's by the way)

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
Global Moderator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 59,410
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2008, 03:29:44 AM »
 :ahhh That key idea is great as well I might have 2 try that 1 for myself  :cheers:
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,723 The MTO handshake.
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2008, 05:06:50 AM »
Great posts Goldy , those damned knurled screws have been occupying my mind a lot longer than any fastener has a right too. I liked the Spoony sockets but balk at the whacking socket on the tool , I worry about damaging the tool surface around the fastener. I was wondering if you heated the socket's end to make it softer if it would take the knurled profile easier ( It would be handy to have spare knurled fasteners to do this) . I was also wondering if you could make a hard wood tool to get the job done . Goldy if you ever do the key mod please show us , I am interested in a tool for the larger knurled fasteners.  Great work mate. :salute: :salute:


"Downunder Mod (that sounds dirty, doesn't it?)"
Yeh Baby :P >:D >:D
Newbie Posts: 10
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2008, 06:11:34 AM »
Updated report on using keys: I tried them on three Micras that had never been taken apart. Got five screws open, but stripped one key on the sixth which was particularly non-cooperative. As I stated in the original post, it's a field expedient for someone who has no other option and needs to get one apart and together one time. I believe if handled carefully, a pair of keys will work, but should not be considered as long term service tools.

Goldmeister

"
Newbie Posts: 10
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2008, 06:37:17 AM »
Multimat,

I just posted the results on the keys; good for one Micra, one time. The key deal is pretty simple. Just find an old one with a round hole in it. I happened to luck out and find a couple with approx. 5.0mm. holes and hammered them on to the knurled screw. For a larger screw, if you can't find an appropriate key, you may have to take a rat tail file to the hole to open it up a bit. Will get a picture of it up.

I'm working on experimenting with various items found in the average household or available for cheap in the local hardware store. No way wood will work and I think a low quality socket would work pretty well. Those stainless screws are harder than the hinges of hell and if you don't use the same ones over and over, I think you could imprint mild steel very effectively without trashing them.

My next experiment may be a piece of hacksaw blade which would have to be normalized first as they're hardened. Average person should be able to do it over a kitchen stove.

I'm also thinking of some way to use a hex nut of the appropriate size. You'd have to grind one end of it down to get past the counter sink and into the threads and then just hammer it on to the knurled screw, imprint it and then grind the tips off so it becomes a tube, more or less. Get the appropriate sized hex head bolt, put some red Loc-tite or epoxy on it and thread it into the other end of the nut . Then you could get a wrench on the head of the bolt. Obviously, you'd need two of them.

Just thinking out loud here so don't take either of these as fact. I feel the same way you do about the amount of time these knurled screws took to figure out without the factory tools. I've always maintained that EVERYTHING comes apart without destroying it given enough well directed thought. I remember spending several days trying to get the sprocket off the rear wheel of a three speed bike and finally discovering it was a left hand thread. That was about thirty years ago and I've never forgotten how stupid I felt and how important thought is before using brute force.

Goldmeister

"
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,723 The MTO handshake.
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2008, 07:03:32 AM »
Thanks buddy , it would be good if you post pics of your Key tool  :cheers:  :salute:


"Downunder Mod (that sounds dirty, doesn't it?)"
Yeh Baby :P >:D >:D
Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,276
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2008, 07:04:27 AM »
All good ideas so far Goldmeister!

Sounds like you are focusing on the Micra so far. It uses the smallest of the Leatherman knurled screws. You're new here, maybe you were not aware that on the medium-size knurled screw, a pair of Kick pocket clips makes the ideal set of wrenchs. :)


(I wish they sold a pocket clip for the Micra!) ;)

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
Chief of the Absolutely No Life Club! Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here... Posts: 43,090 Why haven't you got a Farmer yet!
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2008, 08:10:28 AM »
Welcome to the forum mate :)

Give in, buy several Farmer's!!!!!!
Newbie Posts: 10
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2008, 08:12:34 AM »
Multimat,

Here ya go. Pictures aren't great, but you get the idea.

J-Sews,

Yep, I'm aware of the Kick pocket clips for the larger sizes. May even have seen them here. Found them for under $1.50/each and got two in my shopping cart. When I checked out, I found they wanted something like $12 for shipping. I registered my displeasure by canceling the order.

Goldmeister

"
Newbie Posts: 10
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2008, 08:29:54 AM »
Mickey d,

Thanks for the welcome. Judging by your number of posts, it looks like you've been around since the very beginning. Having been called Mate by two different members in a space of a few hours, would it be safe to assume there's a contingent from OZ and/or the UK? Always good company and a match for "Yankee Ingenuity" any day!

Goldmeister

"
No Life Club Posts: 4,233 I just don't know what went wrong.
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2008, 08:46:27 AM »
Mickey d,

Thanks for the welcome. Judging by your number of posts, it looks like you've been around since the very beginning. Having been called Mate by two different members in a space of a few hours, would it be safe to assume there's a contingent from OZ and/or the UK? Always good company and a match for "Yankee Ingenuity" any day!

Goldmeister

A large portion of this forum's members are from the UK.

And others, like me, aren't, but have picked up some of their habits...

Got those frog legs.
Global Tuffy Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 28,083 Just Awesome! And a Slayer of Polar Bear!
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2008, 12:16:34 PM »
Mickey d,

Thanks for the welcome. Judging by your number of posts, it looks like you've been around since the very beginning. Having been called Mate by two different members in a space of a few hours, would it be safe to assume there's a contingent from OZ and/or the UK? Always good company and a match for "Yankee Ingenuity" any day!

Goldmeister

A large portion of this forum's members are from the UK.

And others, like me, aren't, but have picked up some of their habits...

There does seem to be quite a few of us now.

Great suggestions Goldmeister, and again, welcome to the forum.  :)

I'm back!!
Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,276
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #26 on: September 30, 2008, 02:42:44 AM »
Mickey d,

Thanks for the welcome. Judging by your number of posts, it looks like you've been around since the very beginning. Having been called Mate by two different members in a space of a few hours, would it be safe to assume there's a contingent from OZ and/or the UK? Always good company and a match for "Yankee Ingenuity" any day!

Goldmeister

A large portion of this forum's members are from the UK.

And others, like me, aren't, but have picked up some of their habits...


Yeah, one of their habits is the way they take a thread off-topic. They do this constantly. I'm proud to say that I never do that. :)

In order to be certain of having the right tool for every job.........one must first acquire a lot of tools
No Life Club Posts: 4,233 I just don't know what went wrong.
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #27 on: September 30, 2008, 02:45:45 AM »
Yeah, one of their habits is the way they take a thread off-topic. They do this constantly. I'm proud to say that I never do that. :)

But. You. Just...

Got those frog legs.
Newbie Posts: 10
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #28 on: October 09, 2008, 11:57:16 PM »
Been working on this since the last post and finally have the $.90 tool for knurled screws on Leatherman Micra, PST and anything else that uses knurled screws of the appropriate sizes. I was lurking around the fastener section of my local hardware store hoping for divine inspiration and I got it: 3/16" coupling nuts. First I normalized it (made the steel as soft as possible), drilled a 5mm. hole in one end about 3/32" deep and then turned it around and drilled a 1/4" hole on the other end to the same depth. Smacked the 5mm. end down on a  Micra knurled screw, turned it over and smacked the 1/4" end down on a PST knurled screw. Filed the ends true and tested it out. Combined it with one of the previously posted flat iron type wrenches and it worked great. You can grab the coupling nut with a 5/16" socket, open end wrench or whatever. Got so much torque that when I was tightening the screws on a Micra, I sheared one of the scissor end screws. If anyone has a spare, I'd be happy to tender coin of the appropriate realm for said screw and postage.

Goldmeister
14.35 kB | 294x392

"
Hero Member Posts: 906
Re: Another hack for the Leatherman knurled screws.
« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2008, 01:13:15 AM »
I don't have a LM anymore so I can't try this myself.  Anyone try using a piece of thick-walled rubber tubing over the knurled heads to both protect the heads and give a little more grab?

Splat

 

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