Why Do We Have Phillips Head Screws?

As a DIY Dabbler™ and a User of Power Tools™, I have interfaced with many a screw (the fastener kind, get your mind out of the gutter).

In most cases (at least until recently, I think) your options were usually flat head or phillips head. I do not have the patience for flat heads. So phillips head it has been (yeah, it’s probably supposed to be capitalized, but that seems like a lot of work).

Or, had been.

If you’ve used phillips head for more than the odd hanging of pictures or assembling of an IKEA (or maybe an IKEA assembly is all you need to experience this), you’ve inevitably had one strip out (or ‘cam out’ if you want to sound like you know what you’re doing (TIL etc etc)).

That is actually by design.

The Phillips drive came to prominence in the automotive world because they couldn’t be over-torqued. The head would ‘cam out’ before that happened. (As I learned at about the 3:35 mark in this episode of the Cool Tools podcast.)

Very useful for that purpose. Very not useful pretty much everywhere else.

If you’re looking for an alternative, try Torx. (Specifically, try GRK Fasteners as recommended by Jeff in that podcast episode. I will happily cosign the rec.)


Randomize me, cap'n!
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