Strange Screws

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You did know that the US Congress was mandating digital-only TV (I think) April 2009 didn't you?

Screwdriver smugglers.
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 04:54:34 -0000, snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

That date keeps slipping, and can be expected to slip some more. It was in 2006 once.

There was an article here once called "my outlaw toilet". Maybe it's hiding screwdrivers.
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Mark Lloyd
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snipped-for-privacy@xmail.com0 says...

That's my prediction too. Congress critters are going to rile up a hornet's nest when OTA analog TV disappears and the station points to Congressman Klutz.

Illegal allen wrenches? ;-)

If I need one, it's across the borDER to Canuckistan. Hmm, I guess I'll need a passport...
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The only reason why we have phillips screwdrivers is because _you_ guys use 'em. If it wasn't for that southern influence, it'd all be Robertson or better. So, if you banned 'em, we'd probably all gladly toss our phillips drivers out.
Americans don't need a passport to come to Canada. The problem is getting _back_ into the US.
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snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com says...

AIUI the Robertson patent licenses were deemed too expensive. I've used Roberson head screws whenever possible for about thirty years. Unfortunately, they're not ubiquitous. Note, Robertsons aren't perfect (clutch and Torx are better, though more expensive).

BTW, I was referring to the 1.6Gal flush and "outlaw" toilets, not the screwdrivers.

Aw, you don't want us to go home? Well, that is sorta the problem. ;-)
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There have been non-Robertson square drive screws and drivers available for quite some time. They're so interoperable it's seldom possible to tell them apart so we call them _all_ Robertson - but many of them aren't really. Patent-wise at least.
[Unlike the umpty-ump versions of Phillips which all behave noticably differently.]
Strictly speaking, McFeeley's (for example) sells square drive in the US, not Robertson.

Either way ;-)

Actually, it's US immigration that gets sticky about southward travel without a passport - even of their _own_ citizens. We're happy to be rid of you.
<just joking>
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snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com says...

Interesting. What's the difference? I thought the patents ran out, which is why we're seeing them (for at least 30 years) in the States.

There are some that look like Phillips but are most certainly not. HP used a screw that looked like a Phillips, but wasn't (IIRC it had straight sides rather than curved). There were four radials stamped in the head indicating the special head. I don't remember the name of the head.

They may sell them, but aren't they still the "Robertson head"?

The "outlaw toilets" are outlawed in the US. Actually their sale is outlawed, hence the trip north (less than 50mi.) if I need to replace one.
"When toilets are outlawed, only outlaws will have toilets."

Understand.
Whew! That's what I thought.

;-)
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wrote:

I have a screwdriver that comes with a lot of bits. It has standard, Phillips, Torx (no 5-pointed though) and square. Then there's some even stranger ones. There's one that looks like Phillips except the 4 points aren't quite aligned, and one with 3 points. Plus the security bits with the recess in the middle. And I almost forgot, some shaped like a bowtie.

[snip]
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snipped-for-privacy@xmail.com0 says...

Haven't seen anythign that looks like an asymetrical Phillips. Sounds like a dumb idea.

I believe this is a "Clutch head". I've seen them used in mobile homes and RVs.
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wrote:

It does lack bilateral symmetry, but is still radially symmetrical. Somewhat like a propeller.

A dumb idea. Probably to be used with dumb idea screws. That kind of thing is supposedly used to restrict access (for "security" reasons).*

&&&
* - Thinking of that sort of stuff, I was just posting (on another group) about the security check Windows Update is making. They call it "Windows Genuine Advantage". I wish they'd quit using words that make something look like an improvement, when all it does is REDUCE the functionality of the Windows Update site.
A lock doesn't add anything to the thing that's locked. It takes something away (access). Maybe it's something you WANT taken away, but notice that such taking away it is actually a NEGATIVE contribution. We don't need false labeling.
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As far as I know, the patents are still in effect - reengineering or something silly like that.
Robertson's primary patent claims are a very precise taper on the tip, so as to be better at gripping and releasing the screw. Square drive normally has no taper.
Years ago the taper probably mattered more, because of manufacturing tolerance meaning that a taper was _necessary_ to get a good interference fit. These days manufacturing is more accurate, so a no-taper tip will grip too. Particularly in screws made to Robertson specs.
I recently bought some fairly high-grade square drive bits (these were part of a very large surplus shipment sent up from the states and resold here). They grip "real" domestic robertson screws real well. In fact, too well at times, and you have to give a bit of a yank to get them to disengage.

A recent bit set I bought had three distinct "cross heads" with slightly different geometries (and 3 sizes of each). One geometry was classic phillips. One, I believe, Pozidrive. Don't know what the other was called. Any, of a given size, would work more-or-less on a screw. But if you wanted a good tight grip to minimize cam-out (especially when you were going to drive a lot), you have to experiment with all three types (at one or two sizes each) to see which one did best.
At least with square/Robertson they're interchangeable at a given size, and if you pick the wrong size, it's real obvious (won't fit, or will be _very_ sloppy).

No. "Square drive" - interoperable with Robertson, but still not Robertson. The name is trademarked too.

I'm aware of that.

If you need one, you'd probably have to hurry. Most toilets sold here these days are low flow too.
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snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com says...

Do you have a reference (patent number or such

...learn something new every day. I thought the patent was on the square drive itself, though the taper makes more sense, patent wise.

Sounds like an advantage to me. ;-)

Ok, so you can't call it a "Robertson", like you can't call it an "Xerox". ;-)

Maybe they'll have 'em in the border BORGs just for yanks. ;-)
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wrote: newarkinone or others have security bit sets that mate to many of these oddball types. I work in an instrument shop and have to disassemble many tamper resistant things. Read carfully the discriptions before you buy. The Wiha set I got is not there any longer as it contains the posidrive. HTH

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I think there are several suppliers with names ending in "inone". The place I got that screwdriver set (with a lot of strange bits, that I've posted about before) is called "mcminone".
[snip]
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Turns out I wuz wrong, supposedly the last patent ran out in '64.
Wikipedia and other places have descriptions of why Robertson isn't more popular these days.
Here's a good reference, with link to Wikipedia:
http://www.megginson.com/blogs/quoderat/archives/2005/08/08/patents-and-screwdrivers /
I identify very much with this comment:
If you've ever worked with a Robertson screw, you immediately feel the urge to kick anyone who tries to make you use anything else, especially the Phillips screw with its easy-to-strip head.
Classic "square drive" without taper is just a variation.
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wrote:

It often is. I get tired of screwdrivers that hold the screw just a little (more common with small screws). This allows the screw to fall off in an unexpected place, where it can be nearly impossible to find and retrieve.

I'll call it a Kleenex :-)

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It looked like the April 2009 date was becoming much more solid than previous efforts (as much as your government can ever be), being brought up a few months from one of the two main proposals, and scheduled specifically to avoid a basketball game.
The remaining sticking point is some sort of fund that US Congress wants to form to subsidize digital->analog converters for those who won't/can't upgrade their tvs by then. Most people don't think the subsidy is high enough - the equipment doesn't exist yet.

You'll not be getting your illegal screwdrivers from Canada this time, unlike the organized toilet smuggling racket.
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wrote:

Careful! Outlawing stupidity, while highly desirable, would lead to chaos.
Arno
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It would. Also, it would require building a lot more prisons.

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I did say capital offence, didn't I? ;-)
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