Shaft collars/Collar locks

Is it just me, or do vex collar locks break down really easily?
My team has had numerous issues of axles shifting around because the collar lock wouldn’t tighten.
At least we can recycle the broken ones into spacers

Those are some really heave spacers…
As for them not tightening enough just get some brand new set screws from them, vex sells just the set screws I think. No stripped set screws will allow you to tighten them more so they stay.

Or, if you want to buy set screws in bulk:

These are identical to VEX set screws.

You can find a cheaper option then that even at MSC. There’s also one Made in USA that I can vouch for is definitely higher quality then the ones from McMaster or the cheaper MSC ones. The extra $2-$3 for a 100-pack is worth the upgrade in quality, especially if you’re having issues as it is.

Also having one or more quality 5/64" allen wrenches will help make set screws last longer. Better tools means less stripping. Quality tools are an investment that really pays for itself long term. I personally suggest Bondhus for allen wrenches (I prefer the gold plated, also made in the USA).

MSC Set Screws

Bondhus L-Wrenches

On a similar note, has any one else also had issues with the newer locking collars cracking near where the screw is and where the mold seem is? I’m not sure how much of an impact it has, but it’s happened to a lot of ours.

I might be a bit biased as I sell them on Robosource, but I really like the Bondhus hex tools too, and in particular also the GoldGuard drivers. Their ProHold tools are neat too, they hold onto the screw so you don’t drop it, which is particularly nice for getting collars onto hard to reach axles. And they too are made in the US (Monticello, MN).

No, we’ve been fine in that regard. With that said though, we don’t have many of the newer collars (or at least not yet) and still primarily use VEX Allen wrenches, so if we apply too much torque we’ll just have a stripped set screw.

Considering a relatively basic McMaster hex driver was such a monumental improvement over VEX Allen wrenches, I’m now tempted to get my hands on these praised tools…

There are a ton of situations where the black friction collars are the best choice. No screws to fail. Lighter too.

Set screws wear out (even if the heads don’t strip) as the little cups on the ends get flattened. When they are flat – throw them out and replace them. I’ve had great success with these from McMaster-Carr: I’ve not tried the Bondhus tools, but I do have some Wiha chrome-vanadium allen wrenches that are more than five years old:


Seriously, thank you. It’ll be good to finally know which collars (setscrews) are crap and which ones aren’t.

Our team’s go to method is using the collar locks. The shaft collars move too much and, eventually, come loose enough to cause problems on everything we do. However, we have used them recently in very low profile applications. By shaving the ridges off the faces of the collars, which is easy to do, they become very small with a respectable amount of holding force. Although, we need to regularly check on them.

Quality tools are worth the investment. My original set of allen wrenches are 8 years old and are still in great condition. I suggest getting a metric and standard allen wrench set, a set of pliers, diagonal cutters, set of wrenches, and a file. Buying quality versions of these will last you a long time and will be extremely useful.

Also, be sure to learn how to file correctly so you don’t ruin the one you get.

I recommend getting the orange screwdrivers from MIP.