Phillips Screwdriver

Actually, phillips head screwdrivers have a flat tip, and grab on the sides, Reed and Prince have a pointed tip and grab at the tip. Use the wrong driver and you’ll strip the screw.


first time i ever saw that.

the point is (ha punny) that the tip is conically shaped and self centering. ‘pointed’ conveys the idea easily.

Technically, Phillips is a tapered head with a rounded tip. The taper is what Cecil meant by “pointed”, whereas the rounded tip is what you are calling “flat”. Neither is precise.

Any truly patriotic Canadian can tell you that a Robertson screw is a far superior design for screws than phillips screws are, but a squabble with Henry Ford over proprietary rights prevented it from gaining widespread acceptance in the U.S.

Finally, applying something I learned at a museum! :stuck_out_tongue:

Moderator comment: Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Boards, HortGuy1, we’re glad you’ve found us. I’ve taken the liberty of editing your thread title and putting the link to Cecil’s column in the body of your post – makes life a li’l easier for other readers.

The Robertson isn’t completely superior, though it has its good points; a Phillips is easier to bite into blind, or at an awkward angle, and I suspect it’s better for automatic work (which is, after all, what it was invented for). I quite liked the Phillips/square drive that used to be sold at Home Depot under the “Deck Mate” marque; every box of screws came with a blue bit. I haven’t tried the new one that (I am told) has replaced it.

That Philip must have been a very weird looking guy.

Love those too.

On electrical wiring devices such as receptacles, this has been extended to something completely loathsome - a combination slotted / Phillips / Robertson head which doesn’t work well with any of those drivers (though slotted still works best on it). Now all they need to add is Torx and Pozidrive and they’ll be able to use a simple conical depression which will be completely useless.

For lots and lots of information on this sort of thing, I recommend The Fastener Black Book (no affiliation, just a customer).

Phillips Screwdriver: Orange juice, vodka & Milk of Magnesia?

I’ve found that JIS screws and drivers are superior to Phillips. The Japanese camera companies use them, which is why when people attempt to work on their own cameras, they strip the screws. Get a good JIS driver set and the screws will work the way they’re supposed to.

Im a carpenter by trade, and HATE flat-head screws. Whether you use a manual or power tool on them, they constantly fall out of the slot, usually multiple times while installing them. Even when using a bit sleeve, they still come out. Aggravating. The only thing going for them is that they dont strip out that often. Philips are much easier to deal with, you can actually get at odd angles and apply force without slipping out, but they tend to strip out commonly (this is mostly to do with cheap-ass materials that theyre made out of, because solid steel philips screws almost never strip). Square headed screws are better than philips, but you dont have as wide a selection to choose from, but from all my experience, Ive found that a star screw has the superior head. All the benefits of philips and square, rarely strip, great torque because of its 6 sides. Like the square head though, theres not a huge selection to be found in general.

I work with a somewhat different set of screws. In screws for fixing plates to broken bones, there are hex head and star drive screws, but with the same sort of principle Cecil discusses. More control going in, especially under power, with refinements that make removal easier.

It’s a pdf, but some nifty science here.

Dr. Z,
I have two screws in my right tibia from a spiral fracture 20 years ago - no plate or rod. Can you give me a best guess which kind of screw? Phillips/capitalist pig screw, Allen head hex/socialist, or torque/fascist? Or is it one of those cool screws shown in your link, most likely technology given to us by aliens. I suspect there is a communist plot involved here. And what kind of alloy?

As a general point on the original article : Phillips screws don’t strip because they’re designed badly, Phillips screws strip because everyone always tries to save money buying screws made of cheap, weak materials.

Real Men… actually Real Men simply crush the parts together and they remain joined out of sheer fear and intimidation.

Real engineers, however, get really upset about improper screw selection. And weep bitter tears for their colleagues who, thanks to pressure from marketing, had to use poorly plated mild steel screws for the mountings for taps (“faucets?”).

No idea what was popular 20 years back, but these days :

The material would invariably be medical-grade titanium alloy.

As for the type, I was expecting to say Capitalist Phillips head, but Google is throwing me lots of Socialist Allen-key options instead.

Socialized medicine. The unavoidable wave of the future.

<insert random Obamacare screed here> :smiley: