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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

I snapped off the 'neck screw' which tightens the neck onto the sax body. Half the screw is stuck inside the 'thread hole'.

I think I will need to drill the broken piece piece out with a strong drill bit? Does anybody have any ideas? Dont want to do any damage to the thread.

thanks,
barry
 

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Do you know what an 'Easy Out' is? Have you ever used one?
If not, you'll be better off taking the horn to a tech. They will be able to remove the remnants without damaging the threads in the reciever.
 

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Any good repair shop has a tool specially designed to remove broken neck screws. Many of them will be happy to remove the broken screw if you buy a new one.
 

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Unless I misunderstood the concept of the easy-out (you must drill a hole into the bolt stub) I'd say it's easier to drill the screw from the opposite side, because as soon as the drill starts eating into the screw, it will grip it and wind it out.

But as you're heading to the shop for a new screw, you may as well take the instrument with you.
 

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My advice - dont go drilling in there as you could ruin the internal thread.

if you must ahve a go at getting it out, use a decent screwdriver, apply some pressure and basically screw it through to the other side. it often works. Failing this, take it to your tech who should have the correct tool to get this out.

he/she will more than likely also have a replacement screw as well
 

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Much depends on why the screw snapped in the first place.
It's often the case that the screw sockets are misaligned (through overtightening the screw, due to a poorly fitting crook tenon), which it turn cause the screw to bend...which in turn causes it to break.

In this case the remainind stub of thread should come out easily enough provided you can get something to grip and turn it.

If the screw snapped because the thread itself is damaged then it's going to be a much more complicated job.

The simplest DIY approach is to try to drill the stub out, but you run the risk of any drill bits (or easy-outs) slipping and chewing up the sockets.
So, find a piece of plastic tube that will fit inside the unthreaded socket. Windsdcreen washer tubing is often a good bet, but you might also find that a Rawlplug (used for fixing screws into walls) will do.
Poke this into the unthreaded socket, then feed a drill through the centre of the tube.
The tube doesn't have to be an exact fit in the socket, but the better the fit the less likely it is that the drill bit will wander off-centre as you drill. The drill bit though should be more or less an exact fit to the hole in the tube.

You'll still need to be careful to keep the drill level, but the tube will both roughly centre the drill bit and prevent it slipping off the stub and chewing up the socket walls.

Use a cordless drill on a low speed...you'll probably find that once the drill 'bites' it will spin out the stub.
If this doesn't happen after you've gone some way in then it's quite likely that the stub will have to be drilled right through - though at this point you could insert an easy-out and 'reverse' the stub out.
This is when you will have to decide whether to carry on or take it to a tech...as it's around this time when things can go badly wrong.

Regards,
 

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In my experience, they are never "jammed " in there. They are just sitting there, ready to freely turn to unscrew. All the jamming takes place in the part that broke off.

Drill into the end that didn't have the wing on it, and it will very easily screw its way out. Long before you have a hole big enough to use an easy-out or tap. Use a drill say half the diameter of the thread, and there is no risk of wrecking the thread.

If you are worried about the drill not going cleanly into the middle of the end of the screw, then first mill a dent in the end with a Dremel (or better still, lab micromotor) with a small round or inverted cone tip.

The whole job takes less than a minute.
 

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if you must ahve a go at getting it out, use a decent screwdriver, apply some pressure and basically screw it through to the other side. it often works.
That's what I would try first. If it doesn't work I would use a tiny (around 0.5mm) reversed cone bur in a micromotor to make a slot on the other side, starting with a shallow one (fastest) and deepening it depending on how much force I need for the screwdriver. Usually a shallow slot and very little force is needed. If the threaded part is stuck harder inside (which can happen but is rare) then the same method usually works, using a deeper slot and a very good screwdriver (at least I've never had one where it didn't work yet).
 

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Many times for this kind of repair I just take a pointed hobby knife and put it on either end of the screw and just make small circles with it and just screw the broken part out.
 

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I would concur with steve and paul. If its snapped because the thread has bound then dont do it yourslf take it to a shop for repair, we will drill and tap as required

If its simply snapped of becuase the head kicked at an angle whilst tightening, then reverse drilling will do the job with ease.

Regarding easy outs, theres a couple of different types, do not use the type that is a increasing spiral thread, this will run the risk of expanding the reciever socket as it is only made of brass, use a fluted easy out
 

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One of the advantages of being a busy full-time repairer is that you get to see and deal with a wide variety of problems - and while jammed crook tenon screws aren't common they crop up enough times to make you curse.

The most common cause seems to be incorrectly threaded screws 'fitted' - these little beauties will thread in only as far as it takes to nip the socket up, but no further (plier marks on the wing are a giveaway), closely followed by poorly cut threads on the screw socket (quite common on Chinese horns), and the remainder seem to be due to corrosion/gunk accumulating in unused portions of the threaded socket or even damaged sockets.

I've found that experience has taught me never to expect that the thread stub will turn easily in either direction, and that when it does so it's a bonus.

Regards,



In my experience, they are never "jammed " in there. They are just sitting there, ready to freely turn to unscrew. All the jamming takes place in the part that broke off.
 

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My YTS-23 had a snapped off neck screw when I bought it. Took it straight to a tech, who inspected the horn, lubed it, and removed/replaced the neck screw for a grand total of $30.
Take it to a tech if there is one in your area.
 

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Yamaha neck screws seem to break more than any other. And they cost more too. I was told they were designed to snap if overtighten to try and prevent damage to the neck socket.
As other have pointed out you can quite often unscrew the end bit with a pointy thing. I'd not use something as brittle as a knife blade. Big needle springs can do the job. Sometimes if the surface breaks unevenly you can use a screwdriver.
It's always worth taking to a tech to get check. If you've overtightened the neck screw (don't do it!) there canbe socket damage, damage to the thread etc as has been pointed out. If you're lucky you just need a new neck screw. That can take a while. (I've stock of these but still waiting for some to arrive. The stuff I really need in a hurry is what always goes on backorder. ) If you're not so lucky the tech will sort out the problem.
 

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My tech did this amazing trick in one second with my broken neck screw. Let's see if I can explain it. The neck screw is supposed to tighten 2 sections of the opening together, right? Well the opening between the two sections forms a very thin gap. If you look in this gap, you should see the side of your screw. The only way I can describe it is, he "flossed" or "swiped" the screw out with one long, thin, tool. Kind of like swiping your credit card. With the edge of the tool inserted into the gap, he quickly "swiped" and the entire broken screw that was stuck in there, just came flying out like magic! My guess is the edge of the tool simply grabbed onto the screw at a right angle and by swiping, he was able to force the screw to spin its way out. Maybe someone can explain the process more simply. But I was simply pounding myself in the head later thinking "Why didn't I think of that???" No drilling needed.
 

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One suggestion that I saw nobody mention is that if you have to drill the screw out, first mark the center of the screw with an awl or sharp punch. Trying to drill a screw out with a small drill that will wander on an uneven surface ( end of a broken screw) is almost always a recipe for failure. Steve H's suggestion of using plastic tubing as a guide may help as well. FWIW, on neck screws I am almost always able to drill a shallow hole then press an appropriately sized screwdriver in the hole and unscrew the broken piece. Sometimes the drill bit will catch and screw the broken piece out on its own.
Matt
 

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My tech did this amazing trick in one second with my broken neck screw. Let's see if I can explain it. The neck screw is supposed to tighten 2 sections of the opening together, right? Well the opening between the two sections forms a very thin gap. If you look in this gap, you should see the side of your screw. The only way I can describe it is, he "flossed" or "swiped" the screw out with one long, thin, tool. Kind of like swiping your credit card. With the edge of the tool inserted into the gap, he quickly "swiped" and the entire broken screw that was stuck in there, just came flying out like magic! My guess is the edge of the tool simply grabbed onto the screw at a right angle and by swiping, he was able to force the screw to spin its way out. Maybe someone can explain the process more simply. But I was simply pounding myself in the head later thinking "Why didn't I think of that???" No drilling needed.
After reading the posts above, I decided to try something along these lines. The screw in our saxophone was beyond the two openings as described above. I took a "punch" from my grandfather's tools and a "glue dot" (wadded up piece of rubbery sticky stuff like used in mailers) and put the glue dot on the end of the punch. I applied it to the flat end of the screw which was flush with the outside edge of the hole, then began to twist it clockwise. After applying pressure and twisting for a minute, the screw had turned some and was recessed a little bit. I kept this up for a bit and then tried the threading idea above. Instead of using a special tool, I used G.U.M. brand flossing threader (from kids having braces - found in store by dental floss) and some dental floss (waxed was all we had). I thread the floss behind the screw and through the opening. I pulled a long thread of floss down a few times and it fell out easily! THANK YOU for your post!! It gave me this idea and it worked on a Sunday afternoon when the instrument repair shop is closed.
Much appreciated - Edie
 
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