Presenting...1997 Plant Engineering Magazine Maintenance Tips Of The Year

Suggestions for drilling holes in overhead positions, removing socket set or head screws, and locating bad connections were the problems solved by the winners in Plant Engineering magazine's "Ninth Annual Tips & Tricks Contest.


Suggestions for drilling holes in overhead positions, removing socket set or head screws, and locating bad connections were the problems solved by the winners in Plant Engineering magazine's "Ninth Annual Tips & Tricks Contest." Our readers selected these ideas as the best of the entries in the September 1997 issue.

Dave Mathieu, Plant Engineer, L.E. Jones, Menominee, MI, submitted the 1997 "Plant Engineering Maintenance Tip of the Year." He explained how to create a manual assist device to apply pressure when drilling holes in awkward positions. Mr. Mathieu received $1000 for submitting the winning entry.

Runners-up were Brian Berg, Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork, Wausau, WI; and Gary Bulgrien, Patriot Sensors, Peck, MI. Mr. Berg suggested using a Torx drive socket to back out stripped drives, and Mr. Bulgrien showed how to apply an inline fuseholder to locate an intermittent bad connection. The runners-up each received $250 for their suggestions.

Send your ideas

Tips & Tricks is an ongoing editorial project that relies on the input of readers for its success. If you come up with a maintenance idea that meets the time-conserving, money-saving, aggravation-avoiding criteria, send it along immediately, while the thought and intent to share information are still fresh. Remember that drawings or photographs of the maintenance tip add a great deal to the understanding of the suggestion.

The idea submittal, along with all other suggestions received for the 1997 contest, but not making it to the finals, will be considered for the 1998 edition of the Tips & Tricks or Simple Solutions (which debuted in January) articles. The 1998 Tips & Tricks article will be published in the September issue.

Please send your maintenance tip any time during the year to Ron Holzhauer, Managing Editor, Tips & Tricks, Plant Engineering magazine, 1350 E. Touhy Ave., Des Plaines, IL 60018; 847-390-2668;

Tip of the year

Applying the pressure

Problem: Drilling holes in awkward positions is difficult because it is hard to apply much force with one hand. Is there an aid available?

Solution: Create a manual assist by combining a handle bar, chain, and hooking arrangement. Applying pressure on the drill motor with the handle bar greatly improves drilling ease.

Contributor: Dave Mathieu, Plant Engineer, L.E. Jones, Menominee, MI; 906-863-4411


Hammering home the answer

Problem : Is there a quick way to back out socket set or head screws when the internal hex or square drives are stripped?

Solution : Hammer a Torx drive socket slightly larger than the hex or square into the opening. The hardened edges of the Torx socket cuts into the screw and provides enough holding power for removal.

Contributor : Brian Berg, Machine Design Engineer, Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork, Wausau, WI; 715-842-5666


Locating a bad connection

Problem : How can I locate an intermittent bad connection?

Solution : Hook an inline fuseholder across the suspect connection. Load the fuseholder with a low current fuse that will not carry the load. If the connection breaks, the fuse blows, giving a visual indication of the failure, even if the connection starts to conduct again.

Contributor : Gary Bulgrien, Patriot Sensors, Peck, MI

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