This issue is usually a problem not with the type of the socket itself (hex) but with size of the screw. M3 is a really small screw. Even if we wanted to predict some of the issues by using almost highest class of screws (10.9 while in our application even 4.6 would be enough), this is still a very small screw. It means if you use too much force to fasten it, there is a possiblity you will damage the socket... just like with other types of screws. That is one of the reasons why we added hand wrench instead of hex driver bit.
Makes sense. I was probably too vigorous during assembly. The good news is that it's just the screw that's stripped - there appears to be zero damage to the case. (Other than the tiny scratch I made, but that's totally unnoticeable.)
There are several solutions to solve your problem. Everything depends on what level of damage you are (as i know your impatience, at this moment there is almost no screw head to work with ):
1. If the socket isn't "working" properly, but you didn't damage it too much, you can try to use the star wrench of the same size or one size higher.
2. If the socket is so damaged that it changed its dimension to the higher hex size, use bigger hex bit and add some pressure while unscrewing it. It is very possible you will need to use electric tool for this operation, and if you are lucky, thanks to the friction you will be able to unscrew your screw.
3. If there is still some socket, then you could go to your local tools shop and ask for "broken screw extractor tool set" for small size screws, and show them one of the screws. Such tool works like left-hand screw and it should help in such situation. Example, Example 2.
4. If the socket is damaged so badly that you don't have anything to work with, you can use a dremmel and make a narrow gap for flat screwdriver. You have to do it very gentle to not damage the surface around the screw.
5. If the socket is damaged in the way that you ask yourself "what socket", then your options are very limited. You can use an industrial glue used for fastening steel elements and waste some hex bit by fastening it to the screw.
6. If you are at this point, then probably welder is the only tool which would help you
The socket appears to be pretty much rounded out; I have no idea how this happened without my noticing - though I'm sure I aggravated the situation last night by trying repeatedly to remove it using the allen wrench.
The broken screw extractor is a fascinating little tool - I'll try and hunt one down today. If not, *gulp,* dremel time it is.
You could fill the stripped socket completely with a strong epoxy like jb weld and make a new socket indentation/imprint using the screw driver/wrench before it dries. Then use the wrench to unscrew it as normal after the expoxy hardens.
Huh, I will give that a try first, actually. That seems like the most likely / easiest possibility.
Thanks so much for the quick replies, you guys; I love the community that's grown up around this case.