Computers & Mobile Photography & Video Technology
Tamper “proof” screws pool on Flickr

Selection of images from tamper-'proof' screws Flickr pool.
I have a little box in the top drawer of my workbench that I think of as a kind of miniature trophy room. Every time I successfully remove a tamper-resistant, “security,” or other PITA fastener, I toss it in the box. Last week it occurred to me that this might be a fun habit to share with the rest of the web. To that end, and with the gracious assistance of Flickr user Tom Magliery, I present the Tamper ‘proof’ screws and fasteners pool. If you’re Flickr-friendly and have trophies of your own to share, please join us!

66 thoughts on “Tamper “proof” screws pool on Flickr

  1. Wait, what? That one at the top left isn’t a tamper proof screw, That’s a robertson screw – they’re super common in canada, if I remember right. You also see them from time to time in the UK and Australia. Hell, Henry Ford almost used them in the Model T, and very much wanted to, but Robertson wouldn’t sell him the licence(since they’d been scammed before).

    1. I can’t tell from the picture but it could also be a square-head screw, which is the drive that tried to copy Robertson. The difference is that Robertson drive has tapered sides that hold the screwdriver in, and square has vertical sides. Robertson is very common in Canada (in Canadian-made products, of course).

    2. I can’t tell from the picture but it could also be a square-head screw, which is the drive that tried to copy Robertson. The difference is that Robertson drive has tapered sides that hold the screwdriver in, and square has vertical sides. Robertson is very common in Canada (in Canadian-made products, of course).

    3. I can’t tell from the picture but it could also be a square-head screw, which is the drive that tried to copy Robertson. The difference is that Robertson drive has tapered sides that hold the screwdriver in, and square has vertical sides. Robertson is very common in Canada (in Canadian-made products, of course).

  2. Wait, what? That one at the top left isn’t a tamper proof screw, That’s a robertson screw – they’re super common in canada, if I remember right. You also see them from time to time in the UK and Australia. Hell, Henry Ford almost used them in the Model T, and very much wanted to, but Robertson wouldn’t sell him the licence(since they’d been scammed before).

  3. Wait, what? That one at the top left isn’t a tamper proof screw, That’s a robertson screw – they’re super common in canada, if I remember right. You also see them from time to time in the UK and Australia. Hell, Henry Ford almost used them in the Model T, and very much wanted to, but Robertson wouldn’t sell him the licence(since they’d been scammed before).

  4. How is the square-headed Robinson screw “tamper-proof”? Every set of screwdriver bits I’ve ever owned has always had the two or three most common sizes of this.

  5. How is the square-headed Robinson screw “tamper-proof”? Every set of screwdriver bits I’ve ever owned has always had the two or three most common sizes of this.

  6. How is the square-headed Robinson screw “tamper-proof”? Every set of screwdriver bits I’ve ever owned has always had the two or three most common sizes of this.

  7. How is the square-headed Robinson screw “tamper-proof”? Every set of screwdriver bits I’ve ever owned has always had the two or three most common sizes of this.

  8. How is the square-headed Robinson screw “tamper-proof”? Every set of screwdriver bits I’ve ever owned has always had the two or three most common sizes of this.

  9. For that matter, Torx is tamper proof? It was designed to avoid camming out under torque, not as a way to prevent people from opening things. (Security Torx, OTOH…)

  10. For that matter, Torx is tamper proof? It was designed to avoid camming out under torque, not as a way to prevent people from opening things. (Security Torx, OTOH…)

    1. Regardless of its designer’s intention, in practice the Torx screw has been used to restrict access. Screws that hold internal components in an iBook aren’t applied with very high torque, for example, but they’re Torx because Apple didn’t want users getting inside, and that bit was relatively rare when the iBook first came out. I like to fix old cameras, and similar-size screws on internal and external components are routinely regular or Phillips’ head on these old machines. Even on cameras that have been used heavily for half a century, it’s very rare to have a screw vibrate loose. There was no legitimate engineering reason to “improve” on that standard for portable devices.

      Now, the large Torx screws that hold the front fenders on my VW Beetle might have some excuse, but that’s a different story.

      1. i’ve used a mix of flat head, cross point, pozidrive and robertson on one project to restrict access, but that doesn’t make them tamper proof. a bhtooeft said, they designed to prevent camming out, and small screws are heavily prone to this. while you may not have one in the kitchen drawer, torx ARE standard fare in small electronics simply because they don’t strip out, and they’re easy for automated screw tools to install.

        NOT tamper proof.

        tamper proof screws are imho screws that are designed to prevent removal either by resisting the use of “common” bits, or having an obscure, tool head that’s difficult to find, for the express purpose of limiting access. i.e. a 5 point wrench for a fireplug, or pantalobe, or tamper resistant torx or hex.

        i believe the 4th from the left on the bottom row above is actually a high torque special purpose bolt as well, again difficult to remove, but designed not to prevent removal, but to ensure it didn’t strip out under installation or removal. i may be wrong. weird use != tamper resistant.

      2. i’ve used a mix of flat head, cross point, pozidrive and robertson on one project to restrict access, but that doesn’t make them tamper proof. a bhtooeft said, they designed to prevent camming out, and small screws are heavily prone to this. while you may not have one in the kitchen drawer, torx ARE standard fare in small electronics simply because they don’t strip out, and they’re easy for automated screw tools to install.

        NOT tamper proof.

        tamper proof screws are imho screws that are designed to prevent removal either by resisting the use of “common” bits, or having an obscure, tool head that’s difficult to find, for the express purpose of limiting access. i.e. a 5 point wrench for a fireplug, or pantalobe, or tamper resistant torx or hex.

        i believe the 4th from the left on the bottom row above is actually a high torque special purpose bolt as well, again difficult to remove, but designed not to prevent removal, but to ensure it didn’t strip out under installation or removal. i may be wrong. weird use != tamper resistant.

    2. Regardless of its designer’s intention, in practice the Torx screw has been used to restrict access. Screws that hold internal components in an iBook aren’t applied with very high torque, for example, but they’re Torx because Apple didn’t want users getting inside, and that bit was relatively rare when the iBook first came out. I like to fix old cameras, and similar-size screws on internal and external components are routinely regular or Phillips’ head on these old machines. Even on cameras that have been used heavily for half a century, it’s very rare to have a screw vibrate loose. There was no legitimate engineering reason to “improve” on that standard for portable devices.

      Now, the large Torx screws that hold the front fenders on my VW Beetle might have some excuse, but that’s a different story.

    1. Yeah. When I was a child I had a lot of tamper proof toys and one set of “precision screwdrivers” piched from my brother. They helped me open everything, including the first Nintendo Gameboy.

      The other day I openend one of those toy trinkets from Burger King that had some electronics in it. It was easy to open the triangular screws with a PH screwdriver and a lot of axial force.

  11. The one with the chipped yellow paint is common in restrooms and it has to be one of the toughest to loosen. I think I did one time (not in a restroom) and it requires filing a slot so a regular screw driver can “grab” it. Or use a vise grip.

  12. The one with the chipped yellow paint is common in restrooms and it has to be one of the toughest to loosen. I think I did one time (not in a restroom) and it requires filing a slot so a regular screw driver can “grab” it. Or use a vise grip.

  13. The one with the chipped yellow paint is common in restrooms and it has to be one of the toughest to loosen. I think I did one time (not in a restroom) and it requires filing a slot so a regular screw driver can “grab” it. Or use a vise grip.

  14. Yeah…the Robertson screw is definitely not “tamper-resistant” and is actually quite common outside the U.S.

    Another great Canadian invention…just like Hockey and Basketball…

        1. i intend the greek meaning, and lacrosse was i believe formalized and popularized up in canada. went to my frist pro lacrosse match the other week, and had the announcers been able to tell us what was going on i might have enjoyed it more. as it was, no one, fans around me included seemed to know the rules.

  15. Let’s not forget the pesky Triangle-head screw.
    I bought a long power-strip quite a few months ago (lost / pitched the receipt).
    Just recently went to install it – no ground.
    No receipt – can’t take it back; so, thought I’d just repair it.
    Triangle screws, all along the sides of it.

  16. Let’s not forget the pesky Triangle-head screw.
    I bought a long power-strip quite a few months ago (lost / pitched the receipt).
    Just recently went to install it – no ground.
    No receipt – can’t take it back; so, thought I’d just repair it.
    Triangle screws, all along the sides of it.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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