We were recently taking a look at Klein’s new 4-in-1 Torx Screwdriver when we came across one of the more notable features of the new tool. “Includes T7, T8, T10 and T15 tamperproof Torx pin bits,” the packaging told us. Well, wouldn’t you know, off in the distance, we hear the intern ask, “what’s a tamperproof bit?” And, just like that, we have the subject for our next “Training the Apprentice” article… If there’s a place in the market for tamperproof bits, then logically, it follows that tamperproof screws exist. But, what are tamperproof screws?
What Are Tamperproof Screws? Another Layer Of Security
Let’s say you find yourself in a curious state over the inner workings of the DeWalt FlexVolt battery. And, impending electrical injury risks accounted for, you decide you’ll take a look inside. Well, DeWalt, for reasons revolving around liability and warranty issues, probably doesn’t want you tinkering around in the battery’s guts with something pointy and metallic. So, when they assemble their batteries, they use tamperproof screws to hold the housing together.
The idea behind the tamperproof screw is probably obvious, especially given the name. When you don’t want just any dum-dum that owns a screwdriver to be able to disassemble something, you use tamperproof screws. These screws see a lot of use in places like airports, public parks, electronics, aviation equipment, etc. Is there something where unsupervised repairs or modification could take place? Is there a fixture that could be likely susceptible to vandalism or theft? Because the tamperproof bits are uncommon, tamperproof screws add another layer of protection against, well, tampering.
Take this tamperproof Torx bit, for instance. If you’ll notice, it looks like a standard Torx bit, but with an indentation in the middle that accommodates a tamperproof screw. The screw has a nub in the middle of the depression. That nub will render a standard Torx bit useless, but the tamperproof bit will fit around it.
Of course, tamperproof screws and bits come in myriad shapes and sizes. However, as patents expire for proprietary tamperproof designs, bit manufacturers can begin to sell these tamperproof bits. At that point, the term “tamperproof” begins to become a bit of a misnomer, as any consumer can purchase bits that allow for tampering with a screw that was at one time a bit closer to what we might consider tamperproof.
Even still, the average person probably won’t have too many tamperproof bits in their tool arsenal, and so the system does still have merit as an extra protection against vandalism, theft, or unauthorized tinkering. But, for those of you budding electricians and repairmen out there, it might not hurt to get your hands on some of the more common tamperproof bit designs.
If you’re a Pro that has any tips, tricks, or general knowledge to pass on tamperproof screws and bits, feel free to add a comment below!