A home-made tool for pin-face screws

Mark A. Overton, Oct 29, 2017        Return to main page

What’s a pin-face screw? It’s a flat-head screw with two tiny holes in it. They are attractive, so many manufactures employed them on their cameras. But you need a special tool to remove or tighten them. If you attempt to turn such a screw with the tips of a needle-nose pliars, the tips will fit poorly in the holes, and will deform the holes and probably slip out as well. Both mar the surface of the screw, making your pretty camera ugly. This photo shows a pin-face screw found on many Retina cameras, along with a home-made tool which turns it with ample torque and no marring.
Start with a bent-nose pliars such as this one. You will bend its tips, so it should not be made from hardened or drop-forged steel, so inexpensive pliars are preferable.
This is a close-up of the tips. Modify the pliars as follows:
  1. Mount it in a vise.
  2. Hammer the tips, bending the already-bent tips some more until they are 90 degrees.
  3. Remove it from the vise.
  4. Grind and/or file the tips to be small and round. I used a Dremel to remove some metal, and then filed them with a needle file until the diameters of the tips was correct.
This photo shows the result, and the first photo above illustrates how well it works. With this tool, your repair work will look professional.