The head of my screw broke off!

Hi everyone,

I recently acquired a C&P 10x15, and am currently in the initial phases of clean up and oiling. It belonged to a printer, and has not been used for about forty plus years. It has minimal rust and seems to be in pretty good shape.

This morning I noticed that the screw connecting the bed to the bed shaft on the right hand side was not screwed in all the way. After squirting some WD-40 on it I used a wrench, with cloth covering the screw head, to slowly tighten it. And wrenched off the top. Now I have about a half an inch piece of screw sitting on my desk, and some questions.

Is it safe to run the press as is, or do I need to replace that screw? And if I do, how do I get to it - isn’t the portion of the screw that remains in the bed locking the bed shaft and the bed together still? Right now there’s no available part of the screw to grasp onto. It’s completely flush with the bed.

Should I replace all of the screws on the press, to be safe?

Help! And thanks in advance.

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I suspect it will work fine as it is. I think you mean bolts, not screws (screws have pointy ends). It can be removed by drilling a small hole down the shaft and using a tool called an “easy out” to remove it. As to replacing all the bolts, just make sure they’re tight and you should be ok.

Thanks ginkgo. I appreciate it. And I did mean bolt - thanks for helping me be more clear.

When you say drill a small hole down the shaft, do you mean use a metal drill bit and drill into the bolt that’s already there? Then use the “easy out” tool?

ginko’s right about the easy-out, though if you’re unlucky, it may not work either.

For the future, there are better penetrating oils that WD40 (things like PB Blaster or Kroil). It’s also good to give it some time to work, and maybe some light taps with a hammer.


Google “easy out screw extractor” to find helpful info.


Thanks Preston. Appreciated. Let’s hope I’m lucky.

Why tighten “with cloth covering the screw head”?
I think if the bolt on the other end of the bed shaft is tight, the shaft won’t go anywhere and you can use it as is. If the shaft was free to walk out sideways it would be a problem.

The shaft connecting the bed casting to the main frame is supposed to be locked to the bed casting with that bolt. One reason is to prevent the shaft from sliding out but the other reason is that the actual bearing surfaces in which the shaft oscillates are in the main frame, not the bed casting.

This is important because if you look closely at the outside of the frame at that point on both sides you will find at the top small holes for oiling that shaft. If the shaft is not locked to the bed casting the bed casting will oscilate on the shaft instead of the shaft oscillate in the frame bearings as intended. Not only can you not oil the shaft properly but the shaft and the holes in the bed casting will wear and the bed will become loose. This will affect printing as the bed will then be able to move around.

You should therefore replace the bolt before operating the press. The advice above about drilling out the hole and using an EZ-Out is good. A few tips about doing that:

1. If any of the bolt is still sticking out the top file it flat on the end. This will make drilling easier. If it’s broken off in the hole, just go to the next step.

2. If you can file it flat or even though it’s broken off down in the hole, use a center punch if at all possible to punch a “dimple” in the center of that end of the bolt. That will allow the point of the drill a place to start and keep it from skidding off to one side.

3. Start with a small bit, perhaps 1/16”. Drill into the bolt down to the shaft. It you happen to go into the shaft a bit don’t worry, it won’t matter in the end. Starting with a small bit is easier than with a large one and makes subsequent drilling with the larger ones easier. It also allows you to better adjust the bit towards the center as necessarily, which it often is.

4. When drilling the first hole it is often difficult to get the drill started right in the center and you want it as centered as possible. If the drill gets started off center, angle the drill pointing the it towards the center. Keep doing this, more or less as necessay, until the drill gets as centered as possible as it drills down until finally it’s deep enough to go straight in and is as centered as possible. This is harder to describe than do.

5. Keep increasing the size of the bit until you get almost to the diameter of the hole. Don’t go too far or you’ll damage the threads in the hole. If you ended up drilling a bit off center, make the hole only as large as you can until you get close to the side of the hole.

6. Now you’re ready for the EZ-Out. It should come with instructions.

That was a bit wordy but I hope it helps. I had to replace the bolt on my old 8x12. It’s a standard size thread and I used an old bolt I had in the basement.


Front Room Press
Milford, NJ

Thanks Rich. Thank you a million times over, for not only giving me a solution, but explaining why it’s important to replace that bolt. I value the time you take to provide thoughtful and clear feedback. Much appreciated.