Removing probes from the box and techniques for holding
See video here.
How to mount a probe to a manipulator or stereotax
The shiny silver plate over the probe base, the “silicon spacer”, is as much in line with the axis of the probe shank as possible. Therefore it may be the optimal place to attach for straight insertions, recording geometry permitting.
Otherwise, you may attach to any part of the green PCB, which has a nice flat surface near the back. One such scheme is shown in the adjacent figure, and you may find stl files to 3D print the custom piece here. There's also a rod that is compatible with the 3D printed piece (in stl or ipt format) that can be ordered from protolabs. For questions about using this system, contact Nick Steinmetz (email@example.com); and thanks to Pip Coen for the rod. This example mounting system is for Phase3A (which version do I have?) but a similar system is possible for Phase3B.
How to break Neuropixels probes
The shank of the probe is obviously the most fragile part. If the probe is dropped or sustains an impact, the shank is likely to break off at its junction with the base. This junction can be reinforced with MasterSil 912med, though experiments are ambiguous about how much this ultimately helps.
Example deflections that are possible. But do not attempt!
If contact is slower, the probe can actually bend substantially before breaking; see image. So when inserting the probe, some bending should not be a concern (though presumably the force at the tip decreases substantially when the probe is bent, so pushing until very bent is unlikely to help much).
It's strongly recommended to acquire mechanical dummy probes to become accustomed to the mechanical properties before working with a real probe.