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Posted By: BigB small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 04/29/05 03:02 AM
I have the worst problem with dropping screws and never being able to find them. The worst are cieling fan screws, the ones that hold the light kit on, you can't get them started then they fall and you can't find them. I try to put them in the end of my phillips and hold them with my finger while I attempt to start them with no success. Ballast screws and nuts are another one, trying to start them while you're holding the ballast up with one hand, balanced on top of your ladder. Yes I have big hands, I suppose that doesn't help. Well I just had to rant, I spent the whole day on ceiling fans and ballasts.
Anyone try those screwdrivers that hold on to the screw?
Posted By: Dave55 Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 04/29/05 03:07 AM
I have big hands too, BigB. I have a screwdriver that holds onto a slotted scew by spring pressure. The trick I've learned over the years is to watch the screw when I drop it.

Also, on a smooth floor, get a flashlight and scan low. The screw will cast a long shadow.

Posted By: renosteinke Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 04/29/05 03:19 AM
I feel your pain!

Funny thing is, I usually can find the screw if I HEARD where it went. Failing that, I start "sweeping" the area with a magnet.
I've had mixed luck with magnetic tips, and better luck using a nut driver instead of a screwdriver (where I can).

I don't know why they call 'em 'magnetic' ballasts...they don't stick to nuthin! :-)
Posted By: SimonUK Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 04/29/05 10:31 PM
Being a bit of a gearhead with engines dating from as early as 1921 its usually a one off nut or bolt to some obscure old thread standard that I end up dropping on the workshop floor that just happens to be the roughest bit of floor that dropped items just seem to evaporate into.

When I worked for the MOD it was the ****** nuts and bolts that held the hypertac connectors together that drove me crazy. Nearly as bad as BA nuts and bolts.

Posted By: electricman2 Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 04/30/05 01:16 AM
I don't know why they call 'em 'magnetic' ballasts...they don't stick to nuthin! :-)
[Linked Image] LOL
Posted By: derater Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 04/30/05 01:21 AM
Never use nothing but a magnetic tip, and mostly w/ the cordless.(I hate when you drop them inside those big canopies)Can't remember the last lost one.
Posted By: BigB Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 04/30/05 03:55 AM
Hey Dave I always used to watch them fall too but The older I get the harder they are to see,like Reno said, sometimes I have to hear them.
I decided to get a good set of those retaining screwdrivers, do you know a good brand? I refuse to buy junk tools.
Posted By: russ m Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 04/30/05 01:39 PM
When I can't find a screw I've dropped, I drop a few more on purpose to watch how they bounce. I't works some times.
Posted By: makokiller Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 04/30/05 05:25 PM
just put the fan together on the ground and hang it as one unit.. works all the time.. no lost screws, and you dont have to work upsidedown..
Posted By: luckyshadow Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 04/30/05 07:05 PM
Don't laugh -- if you chew gum you have a "holding" screwdriver ! Old Timer showed this to me. A tiny piece of your chewing gum placed on the screwhead then stick it to the screwdriver. I thought the guy who told me this was "yanking my crank " but it does work.
Posted By: pauluk Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 05/01/05 10:49 AM
From Alan Belson: [Linked Image]

[Linked Image]
Posted By: nesparky Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 05/02/05 12:36 AM
LOL Alan
That would not work for me, my luck with dropped small screws is too bad for it to have a chance [Linked Image] [Linked Image]
Posted By: Steve Miller Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 05/02/05 10:26 AM
My eyes don't work any better than my ears. I keep a small container of extra screws in the tool bag and don't even try to find the dropped screw unless I spot it right away. Even the ceiling fan screws ... almost every ceiling fan comes with an extra screw or two. Over the years I have never thrown one out and have lots of extra blade screws, blade mount screws, washers and metric machine screws all in one container.

[This message has been edited by Steve Miller (edited 05-02-2005).]
Posted By: DougW Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 05/02/05 06:21 PM
Barring mecahnical adjuncts, another trick for one handed screw starts is to use a piece of electrical / duct tape on the end of your screwdriver to hold the screw in place until it seats.

Basically, you make a hole about the dia. of your screw shaft, slide it over the screw, sticky side towards the head, then seat the screw on the driver and press the tape onto the shaft.

Here's a bad ASCII illustration:

tape ------------------\
Screwdriver shaft +{========
tape ------------------/

The tape should provide enough hold to keep the screw a) seated and b) off the floor, and then by holding the tape and pulling away from the (now 3/4 inserted) screw, you can remove the tape and finish the screw placement.

+100 for the low-angle flashlight trick. Don;t forget to check under the nearest immovible object - usually about 2" farthe in then your longest reaching object [Linked Image]
Posted By: DYNAMITE Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 05/03/05 12:06 AM
If all the screws would be Robertson head there would be a lot less screws being dropped.
Posted By: Bill Addiss Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 05/03/05 12:09 AM
Great Picture Alan!

[Linked Image]
Posted By: chipmunk Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 05/03/05 12:30 AM
100% agreed re: Robertson screws and screwdrivers. When I first went to Canada I cursed them, not having the tools to deal with them, a quick visit to Canadian Tire and I was a convert. Love the picture, but those pants could be dangerous if you dropped the ballast itself [Linked Image]

On tips to reduce the likelyhood of dropping screws, the gum tip does work really well, but gets a little fiddly after the 45th screw.

I have had a lot of success for certain sizes of screw only, using a piece of soft rubber hose over the screwdriver, flexible enough to stick the screwhead into, but easy enough to pull off [Linked Image] Soft sheathing from some types of cords might also work.
Posted By: Alan Belson Re: small screws or "arrruuuggghhhh!!!" - 05/03/05 10:49 AM
Your method, of putting all your different spare screws into a container, kind of breaks down when you get into your sixties, like me, and find you have half a dozen 1 gallon ice-cream tubs full of everything but what you need!
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