Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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This would work fine, except in terms of success.

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Screw Catcher Trough

Now where did that blasted thing roll off to...?
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Screws--particularly electronics ones--are getting smaller and smaller, and consequently harder and harder to track down when one inevitably slips out of the hole you're trying to put it in and rolls off the table onto the carpet. So for all of us dining room table electronics repairpersons, we design a plastic trough about 2-3 feet wide that hooks easily onto any table (much like those hook-on child seats). Any screws that roll off the table towards you simply fall into the trough for easy retrieval. And for dedicated workspaces, there would also be a flip out version that mounts permanently to the underside of the table.
ytk, Feb 09 2011

you could also try one of these (comes as a belt, too) http://www.homedepo...76&locStoreNum=3482
[xandram, Feb 09 2011]

The specialist website mentioned by [hippo] http://capturedhero...zx=dced8e9db2f80c7a
amazing [zeno, Feb 09 2011]

I'm certain that Documnets makes a version suitable for this DocumNets
[normzone, Feb 09 2011]

[link]






       It could have a series of compartments along its length, allowing it to be used as an out-of-the-way parts tray, but that may be over-egging the pudding.   

       Woodworking benches traditionally have a trough built into the top, near the rear edge. It catches stray parts, and gives a place to put small items where they don't get in the way.
spidermother, Feb 09 2011
  

       You can avoid that by only having one table
hippo, Feb 09 2011
  

       I'd buy one for watchmaking. Over time, you lose a steady succession of very tiny parts. Eventually, an equilibrium state is reached where you tend to find a missing part, but not the one you were looking for. This invention would be useful.   

       (On the other hand, watch parts tend to go ping out of the tweezers rather than falling and rolling away.)   

       +
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 09 2011
  

       You're missing one of the fundamental forces of the universe: Sod's Law.   

       The universe wants you to lose that screw. If you have a trough along the edge of the table, the universe will still conspire to take the screw from you.   

       You might catch your elbow on the trough, catapulting the screw (and items which you had put 'safely' in the trough) into oblivion.   

       The screw might use the shape of the trough to launch itself in a completely unexpected direction. Some time later (after you've given up on the repair and thrown out the item) you will find the screw perched on a window frame, or in the light fitting, or the cat.   

       The best bet would be to work in a spherical, smooth white room, wearing a lycra body suit and suspended on a harness.
Twizz, Feb 09 2011
  

       //wearing a lycra body suit and suspended on a harness// - I understand there are specialist websites for that kind of thing.
hippo, Feb 09 2011
  

       Gentlemen's trousers used to have cuffs, which tended to catch about 87% of inadvertently dropped hardware items.
csea, Feb 09 2011
  

       You'd want to make the trough tough, though. Having thought it through, you might want to carve it from a solid bough (if you thought that would be tough enough).
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 09 2011
  

       //Gentlemen's trousers used to have cuffs, which tended to catch about 87% of inadvertently dropped hardware items.// Since when did gentlemen putz around with screws? That's for the working classes.
mouseposture, Feb 10 2011
  

       //wearing a lycra body suit and suspended on a harness// We've all been there once..if the harness was connected by a bungee cable you're also halfway there to a new Olympic sport. Maybe to late for 2012, but you never know.
not_morrison_rm, Feb 10 2011
  

       //Turnups are what you get on trousers.// Beetroot is even worse.
spidermother, Feb 10 2011
  

       You could leave the trough in place, as guttering for messy soup-eaters.
coprocephalous, Feb 10 2011
  

       So, this is now a gutter to prevent borscht stains on trousers.   

       //Gravy is the problem.// Baste not, want not.
spidermother, Feb 10 2011
  

       //You're missing one of the fundamental forces of the universe: Sod's Law.//

The loss of small objects is only the first stage in the two stage process that is The Law of Sod. The second stage comes a few days later when, hoovering the room, you hear that depressing rattle of small metal objects as they go galloping up the vacuum tube into a bag full of dust. The location of your missing item is, at last, firmly established but you've now lost any enthusiasm for retrieving it.
DrBob, Feb 10 2011
  

       Sod's Law evidently resembles Heisenberg's Principle: The more precisely you know the screw's location, the more likely it is to be somewhere you don't want to put your hands.
mouseposture, Feb 11 2011
  

       //when I am clutching the item being worked on to my chest//   

       I think I see right there the reason you lose so many screws. Soldering must be a nerve-wracking experience for you.
ytk, Feb 11 2011
  

       Someone should invent a carpet made entirely out of small screws, nuts, washers etc. Then, rather than having to hunt around for a specific, small item, you could just pick up a handful of carpet and sort through it until you found something suitable.
DrBob, Feb 11 2011
  

       My proven method to try and track a lost screw is to drop another one like it, watch where it lands, note the sound and relative distance from the drop point, and then go have a drink.
RayfordSteele, Feb 11 2011
  
      
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