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Screw removal questions for RC monster truck (Loctite)

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  • As I've mentioned on Aros' excellent F-16 RC model thread, I've cleaned the dust off my 1:10 scale nitro monster truck RC model, which has sat unloved and incomplete in my wardrobe for ages.

    I'm disassembling it, to start to cure its [known] problems. I've now got a digital vernier caliper for precise measurements, which was my main problem, as I previously only had a ruler. But... a lot of the screws in the model are very hard to remove, because they had to be coated with Loctite thread fastener, and after years of being undisturbed, the screws don't want to come out easily, which is of course the whole idea of using Loctite!

    The Loctite is used on screws which are embedded into metal, in places which are vibration-sensitive. It is NOT used where screws are embedded into plastic, where the screws are pretty much all self-tappers.

    So, I've done some research into using various heat sources to soften the Loctite to ease screw removal - a simple cigarette lighter (surely too imprecise, especially with plastic parts nearby), a micro blow torch (similar worries - I don't know, I've never seen one, let alone used one), or a small soldering iron, which to my uneducated opinion would seem to be most precise, if it will apply heat effectively.

    Does anyone have any experience or opinions on this, please. I took my truck to a big hobby shop today, and they said to make sure I buy screwdrivers which I must test to precisely fit the screw heads (all Phillips type), rather than just sloppily guessing from my $20 Stanley screwdriver set. This is indeed common sense.

    I've already stupidly done some damage to one screw head, trying to remove it, and it is possible I will have to get an extractor screw set (which I did not know even existed until today - they are absolutely ingenious!) to remove it, which will destroy it, but I will check with the hobby shop that they have exact replacements first, which they were confident they would.

    However, these screws are SMALL (3mm diameter in general)... and I would HATE to have to try to drill into the screw head with an even SMALLER bit, to effect the application of a tiny extractor screw. It would be very difficult, surely!

    BUT, if I can efficiently soften the Loctite, I may indeed be able to remove all the Loctite-affected screws I haven't touched yet, without risk of damage, especially after buying carefully chosen screwdrivers to fit them precisely... and there is enough form left in the damaged screw head that I may be able to get it out if the Loctite is soft enough!

    Any advice would be gratefully accepted, please! OH, and I do know to use MANUAL screwdrivers for fiddly model apps, and not to blast away with a powered driver, as used for larger and grosser applications.
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  • Buy an electric screwdriver with an adjustable clutch. Set the clutch on 'wimpiest' and try to extract the screw. Gradually adjust the clutch to 'more harder' while you keep your finger on the trigger, so that it hammers at the screw harder and harder. Keep pushing the Phillips bit into the screw head so it doesn't strip out as you do this. I've used this technique on little #6 screws that were seemingly stripped out hopelessly and really stuck, using a Panasonic electric screwdriver.
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    GeekHawk
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  • GeekHawk, thank you! Seems a bit like getting advice for a slight cut from a neurosurgeon... :)

    I actually have a really nice Bosch electric screwdriver with adjustable clutch, so I will try this today. Might buy new driver bits first, to make sure I get the best fit on the screws. Am also going to get a little soldering iron (which I've been meaning to anyway) to see how effective it is in making the Loctite-treated screws I haven't touched yet easier to remove. I think I misinterpreted what the guy at the RC hobby shop said - he actually meant not to use an electric screwdriver if I have to resort to using the screw extractors with the reverse threads, so I get more feel for what I'm doing.

    The other frustration at doing fiddly things these days is my freaking eyesight getting worse! I have reading glasses and long-distance glasses, plus I have one of those watchmakers' magnifiers, with an LED light. I'm actually very good at precision tasks. after 25 years of biological dissections, etc, but it's no good if you can't see properly. I've got a desktop lamp (only a small Ikea one) and also a fibre-optic light box I liberated from the lab when I finished up there. I think some sort of decent ultra-bright workbench light would help.

    Anyway, thanks again, Sir!
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  • My friend, I've known many with similar issues and the soldering iron has almost always been their solution. Good luck and keep us posted!
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    Aros
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  • I bought a little 40W soldering iron this morning, Todd, and this arvo I'm going to look at some lights that will make my workbench look like Area 51. Also got new driver heads for my electric screwdriver.
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  • Just remember to 'gradually' increase the clutch setting, so it acts like an impact tool and you let it do the impacting.
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  • GeekHawk wrote:Just remember to 'gradually' increase the clutch setting, so it acts like an impact tool and you let it do the impacting.


    Going to try it tomorrow, thanks. Got a great bargain on a workbench light... for $25 (about US$20), which was priced at $52!
    30W LED, 2100 lumens, 5000K, 5.5"x4" (14cmx10cm) lens.

    worklight.jpg
    worklight.jpg (26.18 KiB) Viewed 692 times


    Must get a can of compressed air for cleaning purposes on the RC truck, too. It's embarrassingly dusty.
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  • Hello Aussie,

    I was in the hobby industry for over 20 years so I hope I can help.

    Heating the screw will help with the Loctite, I used to use a 120w Scope iron. Hopefully your iron does the job.

    I used to have a Dremel tool and a small cutting disk, you can quickly cut a slot in the screw head without damaging the surrounding metal parts. Just for those impossible ones to remove.

    I've been out of the industry for 5 years and the technology has completely changed.

    Good luck with the truck.
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  • VB Hawk wrote:
    I used to have a Dremel tool and a small cutting disk, you can quickly cut a slot in the screw head without damaging the surrounding metal parts. Just for those impossible ones to remove.



    That is a good one.
    Another method, if there is enough material in which the screw is embedded, is to get a drill bit the size of the screw and proceed to drill the screw out. Then get a new screw that is slightly larger to reassemble the parts.
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    replicant
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  • replicant wrote:
    VB Hawk wrote:
    I used to have a Dremel tool and a small cutting disk, you can quickly cut a slot in the screw head without damaging the surrounding metal parts. Just for those impossible ones to remove.



    That is a good one.
    Another method, if there is enough material in which the screw is embedded, is to get a drill bit the size of the screw and proceed to drill the screw out. Then get a new screw that is slightly larger to reassemble the parts.


    Thanks for your replies, Replicant and VB Hawk. I'm going to learn about Dremel tools for future use. I've now got almost everything apart, and unless I encounter problems in the disassembly I still have to do, the ONLY screw I can't budge, despite the soldering iron (which clearly helps a lot with the Loctite) and GeekHawk's tips for the clutch on the electric screwdriver, is the one I babbled about it the first place.

    It's now only academic, as I don't actually need to loosen that screw now, as I've freed everything up around it, so it can STAY there now! I've probably damaged the screw head too much, so IF I still had to remove it, it would be Dremel tool surgery, or reverse-thread extractor screw time. But, would I be able to get an extractor screw small enough to bite into the head of a 3mm diameter Phillips screw? And trying to accurately get the extractor screw precisely inserted would surely be incredibly difficult, without damaging the thread the screw is inside, if not the surrounding area?

    I guess more practical, ASSUMING I could get a new screw easily, is indeed, drilling it out or using the Dremel to cut a slit in the head. Anyway, touch wood it won't be needed! Thanks again - I'll post some photos in a few days.

    VB Hawk, if you're reading this, I'm going to PM you in a minute. Just saying, 'cos some folks here don't check their PM very often!
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  • Got it - Thanks and good Luck !
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  • So, did any of this work? You can't leave us hanging like this!
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  • GeekHawk wrote:So, did any of this work? You can't leave us hanging like this!


    Sorry, I'm going to sound clueless here [1] - did any of what work? I haven't remotely begun to re-assemble anything yet, I'm still making sure I don't need to disassemble more, by reading all the mags. I'm challenged at this stuff, but I'll get there!

    I'm also relieved my stomach has decided it will remain part of me for now - today, I've had the worst gastro, which I NEVER get! Not functioning that well here tonight. If I were a horse, I'd be taken out back and shot!

    [1] If I had a dollar for every time I've written that...
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  • Getting the screws broken loose. Did any of our advice work?
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  • Using this chart, 3 mm is approximately 3/32 which my easyout set has for drill bit sizes. Usually use that for the 1/8 inch which is a 4mm screw. That is kinda tight but probably could work.

    Table link.
    http://www.laptopscrews.com/metric_conversion.htm

    Now as far as getting a set, Please dont get a set of Speedyouts.....no no no no no no no.....and no. First the bit size is a gouger type of drill bit and those dont work as great as a real twist drill bit. Also the twist drill bit can be used for other things and can be sharpened fairly easily. I have a set I got from Harbor freight that seems to work ok. The reverse threading on the easy out tool works better than the old fashioned kind that were just square with a edge to tap into the drilled screw. Easy outs have been out since I was a boy...you are only older than me by months.

    By the way, if you have an old phillips head screw driver, Just a thought is maybe welding it to the screw.....like with Jb weld or superglue. Just make sure the same thoughts apply that Geek mentioned. VERY VERY lightly try to remove it...Keeping pressure on the end into the phillips head. Just some thoughts from an old fart...too.
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  • GeekHawk wrote:Getting the screws broken loose. Did any of our advice work?


    Sorry, I explained myself badly, despite waffling on for an entire paragraph. Not uncommon!

    Your advice about the clutch on the electric screwdriver was excellent, thank you! Buying a new Philips #1 driver bit helped, too. The soldering iron also helped. It is only the ONE original screw which I STILL can't budge, but because I've loosened all the other screws that were giving me trouble, I don't need to keep trying to loosen it now - it can just stay there!

    It was only Loctite treated screws which were stubborn, which of course is why the instructions called for Loctite in the first place.

    I've joined a scale models forum, too, which I was on years ago, when I first got the truck.

    Going to resume re-reading instructions and getting ready to rebuild later today, now I'm nearly recovered from the gastro I had. I wonder if a beer will stay down? :)
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  • Seahawkfan80 wrote:Using this chart, 3 mm is approximately 3/32 which my easyout set has for drill bit sizes. Usually use that for the 1/8 inch which is a 4mm screw. That is kinda tight but probably could work.

    Table link.
    http://www.laptopscrews.com/metric_conversion.htm

    By the way, if you have an old phillips head screw driver, Just a thought is maybe welding it to the screw.....like with Jb weld or superglue. Just make sure the same thoughts apply that Geek mentioned. VERY VERY lightly try to remove it...Keeping pressure on the end into the phillips head. Just some thoughts from an old fart...too.


    What a great site - wow! Thank you! I'm fine on imperial/metric conversion, but all that other info about screws there is amazing. Absolutely bookmarked immediately! And your welding an old driver to the screw, that is simply superb advice! I'm going to try it now, even though I now don't absolutely need to loosen it (see above). I want to see how effective it is, because it could be very useful anytime, anywhere! Thank you again so much for the advice!
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  • VB Hawk wrote:I used to have a Dremel tool and a small cutting disk, you can quickly cut a slot in the screw head without damaging the surrounding metal parts. Just for those impossible ones to remove.


    I've spent time this arvo researching Dremel tools and I've decided I would like to get one, not just for modelling uses, but household uses as well.

    The current king of the range seems to be the (corded) Dremel 4300, but I'm wondering if a smaller, cheaper, possibly cordless unit would be better for me, for mixed usage. I can't see myself using it to do a lot of heavy-duty jobs around the house. Am going to the model shop again in a few days anyway; I'll ask them for advice. But of course, any recommendations here are always appreciated!

    Dremel must be an excellent brand, as it seems to have massive consumer loyalty, and the word "Dremel" is so often used to generically describe ALL mini rotary multi-use tools.
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  • Once you get a Dremel you'll be amazed or at least slightly surprised at all the uses you'll find for it. And you'll wish you had bought a heavy-duty one.
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  • Dremel is one of 3 different companies making that style of tool. I have a pair of Craftsman dremel style tools that are battery plug in operated. That means I remove the battery, plug it in a charging unit and after charging, replace it back in the dremel style unit. I have used it quite a few times in the past. One recommendation on the dremel style tool is to get one that has variable speed. Body work on metal and wood will go easier with variable speeds. I would according to application also grab an electric one with cord and a battery operated one for remote operation. Both have their uses. If you dont have need of remote operation...then a corded one will probably work for you. I tried my light weight corded on with a light weight vehicle inverter and that did not go so well. That was another thought....but went south. I have done a lot in my time.

    Good luck to you.
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  • GeekHawk wrote:Once you get a Dremel you'll be amazed or at least slightly surprised at all the uses you'll find for it. And you'll wish you had bought a heavy-duty one.


    OK, so you're recommending the (corded) Dremel 4300, or similar? I spent so long looking at Dremel stuff on Youtube yesterday that I hardly had any time on my truck. And watering my garden in the face of Adelaide's freaking endless Indian summer... but I'll move THAT discussion to the Curmudgeon thread in the Shack!
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  • Seahawkfan80 wrote:I tried my light weight corded on with a light weight vehicle inverter and that did not go so well. That was another thought....but went south. I have done a lot in my time.

    Good luck to you.


    Thank you! I actually had to google "vehicle inverter" - I thought it was something that turned your car upside down. :)
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  • Aussie Seahawk wrote:
    GeekHawk wrote:Once you get a Dremel you'll be amazed or at least slightly surprised at all the uses you'll find for it. And you'll wish you had bought a heavy-duty one.


    OK, so you're recommending the (corded) Dremel 4300, or similar? I spent so long looking at Dremel stuff on Youtube yesterday that I hardly had any time on my truck. And watering my garden in the face of Adelaide's freaking endless Indian summer... but I'll move THAT discussion to the Curmudgeon thread in the Shack!


    The things I do for my Aussie Seahawk brethren... It's 11:05 on Saturday night, after I spent a very long day doing engineering things for a buddy who does building envelope testing. I saw this post and immediately dragged my sorry ass down to the garage to check... Yes, I'm talking about the Dremel 4300. That's what mine says on the side, I just checked!
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  • GeekHawk wrote:The things I do for my Aussie Seahawk brethren... It's 11:05 on Saturday night, after I spent a very long day doing engineering things for a buddy who does building envelope testing. I saw this post and immediately dragged my sorry ass down to the garage to check... Yes, I'm talking about the Dremel 4300. That's what mine says on the side, I just checked!


    THANK YOU! I now have one too! Am about to have a beer, and unpack it from its box. Had a play with one at the hardware shop, and fell in love with it. It's my 35th anniversary present, unofficially! 35 years today - as my wife says, you don't get that long for multiple murders! :)

    She received another Swarovski crystal figurine from me...
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  • Aussie Seahawk wrote:Thank you! I actually had to google "vehicle inverter" - I thought it was something that turned your car upside down. :)


    You're in Australia. Your car is already upside down!
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  • GeekHawk wrote:
    Aussie Seahawk wrote:Thank you! I actually had to google "vehicle inverter" - I thought it was something that turned your car upside down. :)


    You're in Australia. Your car is already upside down!


    True! But tonight, I have a terribly embarrassing problem... the Dremel 4300 tool I bought - I don't understand the instructions - I have no idea how to use it, and I feel like a total fool. I've just spent $190 (about US$160ish), and I can't even turn it on. I feel like the world's worst idiot, and money-waster. It seems the world of R/C models is meant for types more intelligent than me, curse it all.

    I'm simply and utterly... embarrassed. I didn't buy the Dremel just for the R/C model - it was all the other potential uses I dreamed of around the house, too. I can't remember any of them any more, though. I'm so damned angry at my OWN incompetence here.
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  • Don't panic! There's a button near the business end - that's to lock the shaft when you want to tighten the chuck to hold a bit, or loosen it to get the bit out. There's a speed control at the other end. There's an on/off switch that works by pushing it one way or the other. If the switch is on, I don't recommend pushing the little button to lock the shaft...

    There are a variety of bits that come with it - some rasps, some things that look like dentist tools, some sanding discs, some buffing wheels, some cutoff discs, etc. It took me a few minutes to figure out the locking system for the generic shafts that hold the cutoff discs and a few other things, but it's really simple. There is a butterfly-shaped cutout in the disc, and a corresponding butterfly shape on the shaft end. That part is spring-loaded, so you line up the cutoff wheel with the shaft, push, and turn it 90 degrees to lock it in. Removal is the opposite.

    That should get you started. Try different speeds with different tools, and on different materials. You'll soon wonder how you did without. Happy Dremeling!
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  • GeekHawk wrote:Don't panic!

    That should get you started. Try different speeds with different tools, and on different materials. You'll soon wonder how you did without. Happy Dremeling!


    Thank you! I'm sorry about my "two-year-old tantie" last night about the Dremel - all sorted this morning, thanks. My good wife had the sense to tell me to go to bed, and deal with it fresh in the morning - so I am lucky I'm surrounded by sensible people, at home and on .NET!
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