How to deshield a bearing

A few people have been looking for a guide on how to deshield their bearings. It’s pretty simple, and just requires patience.

(Okay, I lied, you’ll need more than patience)

What you’ll need:
-A needle, pin, pushpin, or tack of some sort. Basically anything with a sharp point you can use for leverage
-A level, flat space to work on. A table works best.

Alright, the steps:

1.Let’s identify the c-clips. C-clips are small, thin, metal strips shaped in a sickle, or C shape. They are used to keep the shield in place. There is a small gap between these clips on each side of the bearing. They are found on the outer race side of the bearing. Image 01-2 at the bottom of this post, and image 02 show the gap between the c-clips.

Most c-clips have two different ends. One is easier to remove. Some bearings, such as the One Drop Ten Ball bearing do not have these different ends, so if you are deshielding one of these, ignore the next step.

The different ends of the c-clip are identified in image 02-1. As you may see, the correct end, the one you want to push (in light green), has more of an edge for gripping the needle/pin/tack.

2.Once you have identified which end is correct, take your needle/pin/tack, and push the pointy tip into the little gap, with the pointy tip pushing into the correct end. Push the needle/pin/tack in an outwards direction while holding the bearing firmly. This is illustrated in image 02.

BEWARE! When the c-clip comes out, it may launch itself into the air, flying around the room and getting itself lost. Be ready for this! I recommend wearing glasses of some sort to protect your eyes from these flying buggers.

This may take some time, but keep pushing the needle in that outward direction. It’ll come out eventually. If you’re having trouble, pm me and I can give you some more situation-specific pointers.

3.Once the c-clip has been removed, the shield may fall out immediately if you turn the bearing over. Or, it may need some coaxing by tapping it lightly on the table. If after the light tapping, the shield is still in there, simply take the needle and pry the shield out. This should loosen it or even remove it completely.

Now, if you like, you can repeat this process on the other side of the bearing. It’s not necessary, but I like to do it anyways.

Now you’re done! You can now clean your bearing properly.


Awesome post! I had been thinking about doing a video tutorial on how to deshield a bearing. This seems concise and to the point. :slight_smile:

It might be good to note that some bearings can’t be de-shielded (at least I have not figured out how to do it).

These guys don’t seem to have C-clips:

Nor do these guys:

If you have one of the above types (they are often ceramic or metric size), you can still clean your bearing in paint thinner without removing the shields.

It’d be also nice to post a photo of the ‘anatomy of a bearing’ and show what the shields, bearing and C-clips look like when taken apart.


Oh yeah, good additions. I’ll add some pics when I get some free time and a camera.

For bearings w/o clips you can pry them out with the tip of a knife or small screw driver. Obviously you can’t put them back in. I’ve found that to be the case with the yomega small bearing. The one with the blue shields appears to be plastic. I’ve had some like that. There again, you just throw them away.

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I saw some of the blue shield ones on ebay and was wondering if they were any good. Are they?

I got mine at a hobby shop. They work just fine.

BTW - this has been added to the List of useful modification and maintenance guides

If its best to remove these shields when cleaning, why are they made on the bearing in the first place? For safety of the balls?


Because most bearings are used in applications where the shields protect the bearing from dirt and crud. Far different than yoyos where the bearing is not exposed to the outside world. Yes, stuff does work its way in, but far less than if the bearing was totally exposed. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think any bearings are made expressly for the yoyo market. The size of the market isn’t large enough to support the costs involved.

Abit offtopic, but with the same bearing sizes we use on our yoyos…what other non-yoyo products use size C [I know it’s probably not classified as such outside the yoyo world but still] bearings?

Grooved bearings are.

Mostly machines, and pullys, and wheels. C bearings aren’t usually visible, since they are small they are most likely to be inside machines and wheels, or pulleys, under doors. Ect.

How do you put the shields back on?

Pretty much the exact reverse process. Put one of the shields back on, then use your fingers to push in the c-clip until you can see it’s fully in. Then, do the same on the opposite side. If you still need help, I could probably make a video tutorial for it.

Also, it’s important to mention, your bearing will work fine without the shields in. The shields are there to help protect the balls from being exposed to dirt, dust, hair, string pieces, and other unwanted debris. I prefer to have the shields in, but that’s my preference.