Ingenious ‘Knife Edge’ screwdriver bit can easily remove stripped Phillips screws

If you’ve ever used a Phillips screwdriver, you know firsthand just how frustrating they can be to work with. Turning a screw should be a pretty straightforward task, but for some reason, the shape of a Phillips bit makes it a delicate affair. You know what I’m talking about — one false move and the bit will push itself out and mangle the screw head, making it difficult (or downright impossible) to drive/remove the screw.

Ever wonder why this happens? Well as it turns out, it’s because that’s exactly what Phillips screwdriver bits are designed to do. They were invented back in the 1930s for use on automotive assembly lines, and their creator Henry Phillips deliberately designed them to “cam out” or push themselves out of the screw at a certain point so that they wouldn’t damage cars on the assembly line. The screws used back then were made of higher quality steel than the ones you currently buy at Home Depot, so this was an important feature at the time. Thing is, we use Phillips screws for a totally different purpose now, and the fact that the bits tend to “cam out” is more annoying than it is helpful to most users.

philips driver patent drawingRelated: Brilliant new bearing design spins with 10x less friction, doesn’t require grease

To remedy this problem, inventor Dan Pinckard has developed an ingenious new Phillips bit, dubbed the Knife Edge, that not only prevents cam out from happening, but also allows you to turn damaged and otherwise unusable screws.  As you’ve probably guessed from the name, the bit’s unique geometry causes it to dig into the screw head and lock in place when lots of torque is applied, so instead of slipping out and demolishing your screw head, it actually gets tighter. Check out the video to see it in action.

You won’t be able to find it at your local hardware store yet, but Pinckard has filed a provisional patent for the bit’s design, and launched a Kickstarter to jumpstart production. Unsurprisingly, the project has already blasted past its initial $35K funding goal, and is currently sitting at well over $50K. There are only a few days left before the campaign concludes, and all the “early bird” backer rewards have been snatched up at this point, but if you back the project now you can still lock down a set of four Knife Edge bits for a pledge of $48 bucks.

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