Removing High-Strength Inserts

I like to organize my workspaces at the end of each school year, and really thoroughly. This is my first end-of-year organization of VEX parts. I’m having trouble removing the inserts in a number of the gears. They’re all the inserts that lock onto the thinner axles as opposed to the ones that let the axles slip. If I can get one side out, the other side is trivial. But getting that first side out is a pain.

Does anyone have any tips?

Use pliers and grab both sides simultaneously

Put a hex key at an angle through one insert onto the inner face of the other. Push with sufficient force.

That’s my method of choice!

I had tried that. There isn’t enough room to provide enough grip to overcome how tight they’re in there.

Nice. I hadn’t been able to see the separation clearly but had tried doing this with a small spade-head screwdriver. It didn’t work. But the hex key has a narrow enough yet still wide enough flat section to work. Thanks!

Best method we’ve found is making a tool from an shaft and collar. Put the collar on the shaft about 6mm (1/4") from the end. Put shaft into the metal insert and apply a small force sideways in all 4 directions to gently rock the insert out. You can use this tool for insert insertion too. We used to use all the methods mentioned above until switching to this one.

Use and bandsaw or something else and cut the wheel or gear away, gotta save those inserts.

You should get the cyber chocolate :wink:

What is a spade-head screwdriver, and why might one be used for this?

Flat screwdrivers. There are several terms.

I tried because I’ve got some really small ones and they have edges that might be used.

The hex keys / allen wrenches work much better.

Ah. Thought maybe I had missed a new tool release or something. I had never heard of a “spade-head” screwdriver. As it happens, neither had google. I tried there first. In a day or so, these posts will be the first hits for that term.

Really? I found photos on Google with that term. I also found “flat mouth,” but “flat head” looks most common so I’ll switch to that. I’ve been using tools so long, and names shift and are somewhat regional. For example, lots of people call cat’s claws wrecking bars and wrecking bars crow bars, etc. There are so many terms (pry bar, crow bar, wrecking bar, etc.). I just grew up with the progression of cat’s claw is in the ballpark of 1.5’ long, wrecking bars similar but usually closer to 3’ long, and reserving the term crowbar for longer, heavier bars without all the hooks.

Let me suggest you are being mislead by how Google builds results for “images” searches. Here, for instance, are the results for searching Google Images for oxen-breast screwdriver:

Note the pictures of screwdrivers.

Googling outside of Google Images, however, does not find any mention of oxen-breast screwdrivers.
Here’s how that looks:

As another test, here’s ocelot-pancreas knife:

Note the pictures of knives.

Here’s the same search outside of images:

So, an oxen-breast screwdriver isn’t a thing, according to Google, nor is an ocelot-pancreas knife. Applying the same test for spade-head screwdriver means, at the very least, it is not a term common enough to ever have been indexed by Google. I’m not saying you haven’t heard the term, just that even if you have, it’s not widely used enough to be on a web page anywhere that google indexes. That’s why I asked about it, because I thought maybe it had appeared in a meme or something, since text in a meme image isn’t currently indexed into the available public search database.

But maybe “spade-head screwdriver”, “oxen-breast screwdriver”, and my personal favorite, “ocelot-pancreas knife” will make it to a meme now. I can hope.

Except I the term can actually be found on some of the pages I went to through the search, so there is that…

Yes, you are completely correct. That is very different from my favorite “ocelot-pancreas knife”.

Your term has been indexed, mine has not.

Off to research some more. I could be wrong about ocelot-pancreas memes as well. Let me know if you find any. It really is very hard for us oldsters to keep up.

[edit: Google says “spade-head screwdriver” has been indexed 3 times. Which is infinitely more than my terms.]

There is also the issue of ordering. For example, if something says “spade-head or flat-head screwdriver,” then it will get indexed under “flat-head screwdriver” but not under “spade-head screwdriver” due to the extra words lacking in the middle.

Anyway, as I said, a lot of it can be regional and older language, too. Since it’s caused confusion, I’m going to stop using it and switch to “flat-head screwdriver.”

Thinking about it more, this is a bit painful. The problem is that a screw being flat-headed means something totally different than this. Flat, oval, button, pan, etc. heads for screws refer to the shape of the non-piercing end, not the shape of the hole for the screwdriver. “Slotted” is the typical term for the hole for this type of screwdriver. “Slot head” does return more searches than “spade head,” though not nearly as many as “flat head.”

Maybe it is a colloquialism - but if you look up pictures of spades on line, typically, spades aren’t even flat! The’re basically shaped like a spade in a deck of cards. So I’m not sure how the colloquialism “spade head” even started as a replacement for “flat head.” The English language is odd indeed!

Probably because “flat head” is a terrible term as it technically refers to something totally different. Yet that seems to be the typical term, even though it’s also a totally wrong term. As you said, the English language is odd.

As I mentioned, I’m going to switch to “slot” or “slotted” or “slot tipped” or “slotted tip.” That appears to be the most correct set of terms while also being fairly standard.

Since I’m about to burn up more robotic bandwidth, let me say the point of this is that clear communication of technical terms is very important. So when you don’t know what someone means, it’s good to ask. In some other forums I frequent a very slight discrepency in terminology means someone might place themselves or others at serious risk of physical harm. Not likely here, but you can run afoul of the rules with a misinterpretation, just not with screwdrivers.

As @callen has educated me, It’s definitely a term in some amount of use, but it is likey a colloquialism (love that word!) or regionalism. To your point about spades not being flat, here’s a spade-head screw, which is entirely unrelated to a standard slotted screw or screwdriver:


This is the “spade-head” associated with screws with which I am familiar, and you can understand the derivation of the name. For a screwdriver meant to fit into a standard slotted screw head, the silhoette of the business end does resemble the silhoette of a spade. Another possible connection is that a “spade lug” wire termination is a straight connector. Like this:


Sometimes I learn unusual things from odd sources. Once, my brother commented on the bread being served at dinner by calling it “cathead” biscuits. So called, he said, because “they’re about as big as a cat’s head.” I assumed at the time he had made the term up on the fly. As in this case, I was wrong. I later heard the term on “America’s Test Kitchen.” That’s pretty authoritative. Here’s a Google search of the term:

My brother is a diesel mechanic, and spends long hours at truck stops. Turns out he had heard the term from truckers who are not confined to a single region’s vernacular.

I intend to ask him about “spade-head screwdriver.” He’ll probably have heard that from some passing trucker.