How to Remove a Stuck Bit or Arbor From Your Machine

Bits and arbors become stuck onto the motor shaft for a variety of reasons and generally, they can be easily removed with just a little bit of work. It is important to remember that the stuck bit or arbor is now attached to the most expensive and delicate part of your machine - the motor. It is not uncommon for someone removing a stuck bit or arbor to succeed in getting it off only to cause severe and irreversible damage to the motor. For this reason, it is important to follow the removal steps below in the order they are listed - that is from the least invasive to the most potentially invasive. Followed carefully, and in order, these steps will prove useful for any machine whether from Inland Craft or other manufacturers.

Bit or Arbor Removal

Step 1:

It is often the case that the shaft above where the bit or arbor was mounted has become crusted with ground material, debris, hard water residue, grime, grit, etc. This residue might not even be obvious but has caused the bit or arbor to stick to the motor shaft.

push bit down on motor shaft ScotchBrite and steel wool use ScotchBrite or steel wool to clean motor shaft clean inside bit with paper towel if needed secure bit or arbor to flat of motor shaft

Completely loosen the set screw and then see if you can push the bit or arbor further down onto the shaft. If you can, push it down as far as possible. If you are not able to push the but down, skip to Step 3.

With the bit or arbor pushed down as far as possible, inspect the motor shaft above the bit or arbor. If you see any burrs or scars on the shaft, skip down to Step 2. But if the shaft looks smooth, then it is likely that reside, grime, or ground material is what is causing the bit or arbor stick. This can be cleaned up rather quickly by using a small piece of ScotchBrite (that green scouring pad) or a piece of very fine (0000) steel wool to polish the motor shaft.

This is easily done by turning the machine on and then holding the pad or steel wool to the motor shaft as it turns for a few seconds, making sure to polish the exposed shaft all the way down to where the bit or arbor sits now. If the bit was stuck because of residue, grit, or grime, you should now be able to slide it up and off the motor shaft.

Clean the bit on the inside (where it slides over the motor shaft) as it will likely have dried residue or grime in there. A wet paper towel can clean out most, if needed you can use the Scotchbrite pad or 0000 steel wool but be very careful, brass is much softer than the stainless steel motor shaft and it won't take much to widen the ID of the bit or arbor beyond spec. See the Prevention and Maintenance Tips at the end of this article on how to avoid this problem in the future.

Step 2:

motor shaft with burIf when you pushed the bit or arbor down as above you noticed a burr or scar on the round side of the motor shaft. It will appear as a small ring or a curved mark cut into the shaft. These burrs are created when the bit or arbor is not properly installed. NEVER tighten the bit or arbor to the round side of the motor shaft. There is a flat side on the shaft that is added at great expense as a place for the set screw. You must use it all the time to avoid damage! See the Prevention and Maintenance Tips at end to avoid this problem in the future.

This can often be done by using the same steel wool and process mentioned above. Be very careful here! You only want to polish the shaft to the point where you remove the scar; you do not want to make the shaft smaller.

Turn on the machine and hold the pad or steel wool to the shaft where the burr is, moving slightly up and down the shaft. Once the scar is polished out, remove the bit. Clean the bit on the inside (where it slides over the motor shaft) as it will likely have dried residue or grime in there. A wet paper towel can clean out most, if needed you can use the Scotchbrite pad or 0000 steel wool but be very careful, brass is much softer than the stainless steel motor shaft and it won't take much to widen the ID of the bit or arbor beyond spec. Clean the motor shaft and then use some kind of lubricant as mentioned in the Prevention and Maintenance Tips at the end of this article when reinstalling the bit or arbor.

Occasionally you will need to use a more abrasive product such as very fine grit emery cloth or super fine sandpaper if the scar is deep. But, again, be very careful! You can quickly damage the motor shaft if you are not paying attention.

Step 3:

faucet or gear puller for removing stuck grinder bitIf the bit or arbor is stuck such that it will not move in either direction (up or down,  you will need to use a device that we call a gear puller (some call them faucet pullers or plumbers helpers). They are used to get gears or faucet handles off the post they are pressed on to.

If you happen to own one yourself, or know a mechanic or plumber that can help you, be gentle and patient with this device and the bit or arbor will almost certainly come off. If you don't have access to a gear puller, you can usually walk into a plumbing supply store (with a smile) and they'll do it for you while you wait.

Once the bit is off, inspect the shaft for burrs, scars, residue and grime then clean / polish the motor shaft as outline in the steps above. Clean the bit on the inside (where it slides over the motor shaft) as it will likely have dried residue or grime in there. A wet paper towel can clean out most, if needed you can use the Scotchbrite pad or 0000 steel wool but be very careful, brass is much softer than the stainless steel motor shaft and it won't take much to widen the ID of the bit or arbor beyond spec.

If you are unable to remove your bit or don't want to attempt the process, please call Inland Customer Service at 1-800-521-8428 between 8am and 5PM weekdays for options and instructions to send your machine in for repair. Please DO NOT send a machine in with out obtaining a Return Material Authorization Number.

A Stripped or Stuck Set Screw

Generally a "stuck" or "stripped" set screw happens because the allen wrench used to tighten and loosen the screw was not inserted properly and has rounded the edges of this socket cup type screw so it no longer seats properly. It is very important that you align the allen wrench with the screw and insert it fully making sure it is snug before you start turning it. To remedy the situation you can try the following:

  1. If the bit is not on the machine, you can certainly turn the screw in further to the point where it falls out through the shaft hole in the bit. Replacement set screws are available from your supplier or if you have an old worn bit, remove the screw and use it
  2. You can try using a small flat head screwdriver (like that used for eyeglasses) on a stripped set screw. It may be able to grab two "edges", allowing you to remove it. Make sure to replace it with a new screw so you don't have the problem again.
  3. Some people have had success by putting a very tiny amount of cyanoacrylate glue (Super Glue) on the very end of an allen wrench and then insert into socket cup of the stripped screw. You need to exercise great care to not glue the wrench or the screw to the bit. The goal is to glue the wrench to the set screw only! Let the glue set-up for a few seconds and you should then be able to remove the screw.
  4. You can drill it out using an appropriate size bit made to drill stainless steel. Again, extreme care needs to be taken not to damage the motor shaft!
  5. If the set screw is "frozen" in the bit due to corrosion you can try applying iodine (it can be found in the first aid aisle of the drug store) or a penetrating oil or spray like WD-40 to loosen it. To avoid this problem in the future, make sure to store bits dry and to remove bits from your machine when not being used for an extended period of time.
  6. You can contact Inland Customer Service about sending it to us for a repair.

Prevention and Maintenance Tips

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