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Broken Case Screw Stuck in Movement

Alecofsometrades

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Sep 4, 2021
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Hi Everyone-
I am relatively new to this so I have yet to encounter this problem until now. This screw that secures the movement in the case is broken. The movement didn't come with a case, it's just a practice movement and it also secures the barrel bridge to the main plate. Not really sure where I should go from here, let me know what you've done when encountering problems like this in the past. A picture is attached below and any help is appreciated. Thanks! (it's the screw right next to the "S" in "Springfield" in case that wasn't clear) IMG_4566.JPG ,
 

Skutt50

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Mar 14, 2008
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I am afraid I don't see the broken screw (the barrel bridge) in your picture but I have dealt with broken screws.....

Firstly if the screw head is gone you may be lucky. Lift the bridge and hopefully you will find enough material sticking out from the plate to get a grip with some pliars,

If that does not work, strip the plate from all parts and cover any left steel part with wax. (Don't cover the broken screw!)

Then soak it in a saturated alum solution. If you heat it slightly (e.g. on top of a radiator) you should find that the next day there is nothing left of the screw....(and any other steel part you forgot to cover with wax).

EDIT: Noted the addition abut the screw next to S in Springfield. Is half the head left? If so I would punch the screw with a small punch on the side of what is left of the screw. That should loosen it enough to get it out. If you break the head, even better. Then you can do as I described above.....
 
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viclip

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Jul 20, 2018
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If it's the screw by the "S" then I think that it has half a head on purpose.

This would enable removal of the movement from the case by simply turning out the screw a half turn.

Normally the half head would be configured such that part of the slot would still be present however I've come across such screws with half heads through the slot.

I find that these screws can nevertheless be unscrewed by pressing the screwdriver down right next to the half head while turning it.
 

Alecofsometrades

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Sep 4, 2021
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If it's the screw by the "S" then I think that it has half a head on purpose.

This would enable removal of the movement from the case by simply turning out the screw a half turn.

Normally the half head would be configured such that part of the slot would still be present however I've come across such screws with half heads through the slot.

I find that these screws can nevertheless be unscrewed by pressing the screwdriver down right next to the half head while turning it.
Yes, this screw is meant to be a half head. But the small piece of the head on the other side of the half head has broken off, which results in no place for the screwdriver to go. Maybe I need to give it some more force, the rest of the screws holding the movement together were tightened down quite hard.
 

Alecofsometrades

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Sep 4, 2021
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If it's the screw by the "S" then I think that it has half a head on purpose.

This would enable removal of the movement from the case by simply turning out the screw a half turn.

Normally the half head would be configured such that part of the slot would still be present however I've come across such screws with half heads through the slot.

I find that these screws can nevertheless be unscrewed by pressing the screwdriver down right next to the half head while turning it.
Ah I saw someone do the Alum solution with a winding stem that had been broken into the crown. Before I go out and buy more expensive tools though, I think I'll try a punch. Thanks for responding to my thread!
 

topspy

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Nov 17, 2013
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I've run into this many times. My method is to use a sharp 1mm screwdriver to gouge into the top of the screw on the left side, and 'drag' the screwhead counterclockwise while simultaneously pushing the right side of the screw with another small screwdriver or needle. Pushing or pulling on one side only usually won't work as side loading prevents the screw from turning. Once you have it moved a half turn or so you can easily unscrew it with a needle from one side only.
 

Jerry Kieffer

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May 31, 2005
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Hi Everyone-
I am relatively new to this so I have yet to encounter this problem until now. This screw that secures the movement in the case is broken. The movement didn't come with a case, it's just a practice movement and it also secures the barrel bridge to the main plate. Not really sure where I should go from here, let me know what you've done when encountering problems like this in the past. A picture is attached below and any help is appreciated. Thanks! (it's the screw right next to the "S" in "Springfield" in case that wasn't clear) View attachment 678233 ,
I think we all have experienced this from time to time.

My solution has been as follows.

(1) In most cases the case screw cavity has been greater than half round in diameter as in this case. My first step is to machine the end on a piece of round stock the exact diameter of the OD pocket in the plate per the red arrow in the attached photo.

(2) Next, the end of the stock is machined to an exact fit to the missing half of the screw per the blue arrow.

Since the case screw pocket is greater than half round as mentioned, the blue arrow portion is held in place while rotating the stock to loosen the screw.

Jerry Kieffer

fullsizeoutput_8d9.jpeg
 
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DeweyC

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Feb 5, 2007
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I've run into this many times. My method is to use a sharp 1mm screwdriver to gouge into the top of the screw on the left side, and 'drag' the screwhead counterclockwise while simultaneously pushing the right side of the screw with another small screwdriver or needle. Pushing or pulling on one side only usually won't work as side loading prevents the screw from turning. Once you have it moved a half turn or so you can easily unscrew it with a needle from one side only.
Topspy,

I also use this for case screws. It is simple, quickly accomplished and does not require elaborate tooling. This, plus Alum, has handled almost every "screw problem" I have necounterd in nearly 40 years as a watchmaker.

I will add one other screw related technique. I keep a broken carbide ckt board drill in my drawer. This is very effective when a screw head has broken off and cannot be "Alumed" (like in a barrel arbor). The carbide bites into the steel thread allowing you to unscrew that thread. I also use for other things, like sliding out a shank from a broken screwdriver blade by working thru the set screw hole in the screwdriver. Lots of uses.

Like the Swiss say: "Why make a tool when the back of a tweezers will do?"
 
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roughbarked

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Everything Dewey has said and those who said similar things, is what my master passed to me whenever each situation arose where I asked the question, "so what do I do here before I go ahead and ruin it"?

Sometimes a bit of heat and bending can also make the front of the tweezers into a really useful tool, such as, something to get tight hairspring studs loose from balance cocks. I made two, one for pocket watches and one for wrist watches. Looking in tool catalogues and prices and seeing an old pair of tweezers that can be modified...

I won't go into what one can do with an old engraving burr.
Though this is likely a good thread to start. Not one about specific use but a general thread about how we each make our own tools for whatever use.
 
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DeweyC

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I won't go into what one can do with an old engraving burr.
Though this is likely a good thread to start. Not one about specific use but a general thread about how we each make our own tools for whatever use.

Roughbarked,

I think this is a good idea. I am always interested in how someone came up with a better way. ANd I have some modifications that may be useful to others.

I will take some pics and start a thread (unless you do) that focuses on useful tools and hacks.
 
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