Fixed a broken tuner screw

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Super Iridium, Mar 4, 2014.


  1. Super Iridium

    Super Iridium Supporting Member

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    Just wanted to share a good experience I had with fixing a little broken tuner screw.

    A little background- I have a bass with the sealed mini Gotoh tuners, and as you probably know, the single screw on these tuners is crucial, as it prevents the tuner from loosening or twisting when you are tuning the string. I've been carrying the bass in my car to lessons, and I'm sure that I must have banged the headstock or tuner knob against something because when I went to check my tuning tonight, I noticed that one of the screws was snapped off and the tuner was twisted at an angle to the others. Huge bummer, especially since tonight was my night to practice.

    Anyway, here's how I fixed the whole thing, with no special tools. It turns out that the cheapness of the metal screws (which makes them likely to snap in the first place) actually works in your favor here. I simply used my Dremel tool with a bit that is slightly smaller than the gauge of the broken screw. I kept the Dremel on a nice, low speed and pushed the tip of the bit down into the broken screw shaft. As I drilled, nothing but metal shavings came out of the screw hole, meaning that the cheap screw metal was getting destroyed by the Dremel. At the very end, I started to see some white (wood) dust coming out of the screw hole, meaning that I had reached the end of the metal screw and was starting to hit bare wood. I finished the hole repair with some wood glue and a toothpick shaft. When I reinstalled the tuner with a new screw, the tuner and new screw covered up the repaired hole entirely.

    So if you're wondering, the tiny tuner screws that seem to snap off frequently are made from really junky metal, which means that they can be easily drilled out with the kind of bit that you use with a Dremel tool. No need to buy one of those fancy plug cutting tool kits from Stew Mac.
     
  2. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

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    You would think the drill bit would want to skip off and follow the softer wood but that was apparently not the case here. The flex cable and Dremel micro bits are great. Even the finest burr bits are surprisingly durable.

    Good work!

    Riis
     
  3. Super Iridium

    Super Iridium Supporting Member

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    Yea, that was my thought too--the bit is just going to head sideways and then I'm really going to be looking at some damage. But it didn't work out like that, for one simple reason. The Dremel drill bits are made from a nice, high quality tool steel, while the stupid little tuner screws on my bass are made from pot metal. The Dremel bit grabbed right into the metal and went straight down. So I guess don't rule out the simple solution!
     
  4. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

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    Did you use the flex ext cable and micro bit? The set in front of me runs 1/32"-1/8" which is perfect for lotsa stuff. The flex cable allows me to anchor my hand like a dentist would do with his handset (...rinse) and that adds stability. I would hate to have to support the entire motor / cord assembly while trying to maintain some degree of accuracy.

    FWIW, I've used the burrs to countersink / flush-mount Dunlop strap lock receivers when real estate is at a premium.

    Riis
     
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  6. Super Iridium

    Super Iridium Supporting Member

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    I actually find the flexible cable difficult to use, so no -- I just put the micro bit onto the Dremel itself and supported it with my hand.

    For what it's worth, I think the problem with the flexible cable extension is that it doesn't weigh enough! Something that's heavy and dense in my hand is easier to stabilize and hold steady, in my opinion. Also, I was using the smallest bit in the kit (I guess it's 1/32") and then wobbling it around a bit to drill out the metal screw shaft, so perfect aim isn't required. If I needed the accuracy of a drill press, I wouldn't use the Dremel at all.
     

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