What Is a Triangle Screwdriver?

Jeffrey L. Callicott
Jeffrey L. Callicott

A triangle screwdriver is a tool used in the setting and removal of specific, rarely used types of screws and bolts commonly referred to as triangle recess or TP3 screws. These fasteners are a type of security screw found in certain kinds of toys and battery packs. The head of a TP3 screw has an indented triangle with slightly rounded sides and, in turn, the tip of a triangle screwdriver is designed to securely fit the TP3 screw head. The rounded sides help prevent turning of the screw without the correct driver.

Triangle recess screws are security screws, designed to be challenging to remove or install without a triangle screwdriver. It is possible — but difficult — to attempt to work with TP3 screws using flathead or hex-head screwdrivers, but doing so can often result in “camming out” or slipping out of the driver when too much torque is applied. This usually results in damage to the screws, the driver or both, after which removing or installing such a security screw becomes even more of a challenge. A triangle screwdriver is necessary to reliably install and remove TP3 screws without slippage.

Security screws, including TP3 screws, are used in situations in which limited access is needed or desired. Such screws are commonly used when a panel has no user serviceable parts, or a manufacturer simply wishes to restrict access. This is usually accomplished through the use of screws with nontraditional heads, because their relative rarity and the similarly scarce drivers prevent a lot of would-be handymen from being able to work with them. A triangular screwdriver is similarly difficult to find, though the screwdrivers are available in sizes to match the TP3 fasteners.

Acquiring a triangle screwdriver is somewhat difficult, because it is among the rarer types of security screwdrivers. Most home improvement centers and local hardware stores do not carry them, although they can be obtained from online retailers that specialize in security fasteners. Both the screws and the drivers tend to carry a price premium higher than that of the more standard types. When available, there are a few different sizes of triangle screwdriver available that mirror the more common types of screwdrivers; typically, these are the #8 and #10 sizes.

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