NEPS Epee Point Screws: Making My Life a Little Easier One Screw at a Time

Screen shot 2013-01-08 at 7.36.23 PM******Admin note:  Greetings, people!!!  Hope you all had a swell holiday season no matter what you celebrate or where you happened to be.   All pleasantries aside, though, I’ve recently contributed to American Fencing Magazine.  For those of you without a subscription (which I gather is probable very few in number) check out my little submission below.   Otherwise just go to your mail box and flip through.  It’s much prettier!*****

My favorite part about innovation is how a seemingly miniscule alteration to something already in existence can instantly become a necessity.  When it comes to the task of making the world just a little bit better for the people around you, it takes a really keen eye for recognizing a problem that no one knew existed, and then logically finding a way to solve it.

So when I heard about the Ultra Durable Point Screw also known as New Epee Tip Screw (NEPS) featured on the Shop Page of Fencing.net, I found myself rolling my eyes and asking, “Aren’t screws fine just the way they are?”  Well, after testing the new design I learned that the answer was an indisputable “No”.  Actually epee tip screws are an awful and ridiculous encumbrance.  Who knew?  I guess I’ve just become accustomed to the aggravation of putting a screw in a point.  Fortunately for us epee fencers, though, someone out there saved us from a problem most of us didn’t even know we had.

Unlike the traditional epee screws, NEPS are center hollowed core screws, with a large metal collar that wraps around the center.  Basically, this will allow the fencer to put the screw in from either side up.  Each bag also comes with its own “special tool” that when inserted into the hollow core will hold the screw in place while you put it into your tip.

What does that mean for the epee fencer in a rush?  Speed.

Gone are the days of laying flat on your stomach with a towel stretched in front of you as you struggle to get a screw in before your next bout.  And no longer will you have to comb the floor for vanished screws like someone that lost a contact lens.    Admittedly, I was pretty skeptical at the new design.  Unlike sabre and foil fencers, epeeists – myself included – take their points absurdly seriously, the maintenance of which can almost border on ritualistic.  I’m always hesitant to incorporate a new element to my equipment when everything is working fine, but once I saw how fast I could insert and remove a NEPS screw from my point, I was totally sold on adding them to my toolkit.

As for the claim for the screw to possess a lifespan 5 times to that of its counterparts, that is still up in the air seeing as how its only been a few weeks since I started using them, but they’re still looking pretty good.  Plus the steel collar in the center of every screw prevents from over-tightening, so you don’t have to be so worried about loosing a screw that you destroy the threading in your point.  This is a remarkable feature, potentially extending the life of your points and also saving you some money in the long run.

In the end, the only real draw back was the potential for loosing the tool that makes inserting NEPS into your points so easy.  Its extremely small and I can see it ending up lost in the corners of a fencing bag for a klutz like me.  In anticipation of this problem, the screw is designed with the traditional slot so that you can use the regular precision screwdriver if you’re ever in a bind.  In the end, that one downside doesn’t detract from the appeal of this product at all.  It’s actually a really well thought out concept and design considering that it is just a tiny screw.

If you’re an epee fencer and would rather be spending all that time that you use to fiddle with your point to actually fence bouts, I suggest that you check out the NEPS screws.  You can find them on Fencing.net.

@BenBratton 

Comments
3 Responses to “NEPS Epee Point Screws: Making My Life a Little Easier One Screw at a Time”
  1. Jeff Altman says:

    They work well but…out of a package of 10, less than half, when inserted, would travel the full length of the slot on a FWF barrel. It appears the collar is a bit too large on many of the screws which caused the tip to bind at the top of the oval cut; causing the point to fail the large shim test. I look forward to version 2 as they were very easy and fast to insert and remove.

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  1. […] For those that don’t receive American Fencing, you can read the version that Ben posted to his blog. […]

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