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Anyone else using a Swiss Army Knife as a brick separator?

I don't own a brick separator, and haven't purchased any of the sets containing one, as I've really curbed back over the years.   However, I decided to try out the large and small flat blade screwdrivers mounted on the can and bottle openers on my Victorinox Swiss Army Knife, the Fieldmaster model to be specific.  Turns out, it's a more than effective brick separator I know prying is a big no-no, unless the blade or tool locks, but the force required to overcome clutch power isn't all that much. 
Does anyone else do this? 

Comments

  • mr.pigglesmr.piggles Snow FortMember Posts: 326
    I have been known to use a knife to separate plates when a separator wouldn't work. That said... Would you like a brick separator? I have a baggie of them, they keep appearing in the darnedest places. 
    BuriedinBricksbendybadgerSethro3
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,667
    NO--you are alone in using metal tools on plastic which will inevitably cause damage to the softer ABS.

    You might as well use your teeth!
    KazJY
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,716
    Brick separators are very cheap on bricklink. Even a credit card or similar is better than a metal knife blade.
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,939
    The ONLY piece I have ever regularly used a knife to separate was in my Bionicle days. By separating the back and front sections of the 'head' of a Bionicle, you could change the colour of their eyes, but those two pieces were not designed to be easy to separate. So knife it was.

    But I would never use one on normal bricks. Separators are so cheap and so versatile, I have yet to get a combination that can't be overcome with two brick separators, a lot of patience and a bit of force. Of course, there are a few exceptions, like smooth 1x1 round bits on top of another 1x1 etc where even as an adult I have occasionally resorted to teeth in my frustration.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,716
    ^ I have a couple customised pliers for those situations. Two small pliers from a set from a pound shop with a piece of foam sheet from my kids craft box glued in the jaws. They give good grip and no scratching to the parts.
    Kevin_Hyattplasmodium
  • leetshoeleetshoe USAMember Posts: 255
    No l use a brick separator. l don't know how you managed to avoid them. l have 7 laying around and l don't open that many sets.
  • Kevin_HyattKevin_Hyatt UKMember Posts: 778
    This sounds like it could develop into another LEGO Injuries thread! :)
    Seriously though, I don't think I could use a metal edge to separate LEGO as is be too scared of slippage and damage.
  • BACbrixBACbrix AmericaMember Posts: 655
    I used to use Philip screwdrivers to remove technic pins because my fingers would become so tender from removing pins I could not use them for typing at work lol.
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,322
    @BACbrix - I tend to use this part for those tricky to remove technic pins 

  • TheBigLegoskiTheBigLegoski Amsterdam, NederlandMember Posts: 1,418
    No. No, and No!
    I never use an army knife or anything else made of metal to separate bricks, cause I like to keep my bricks pristine. If you don't have a BS just use a variety of other Lego elements which do the same job. Though I have lots of orange BS's so I no longer need to use other bricks for the most part, unless the BS's really don't do the job, but generally they are very handy. I always keep two at hand when I am building, or disassembling.
  • klatu003klatu003 Hobbiton, Shire, Middle EarthMember Posts: 723
    The separators work 99% of the time, but they don't work for everything.  I used the flat screw driver blade part of my knife the other day to wedge apart this from this on the side.  The separator won't grip on the rounded pieces.  I also use the small knife to insert between pin and brick, if there is no other way to push the pin out.  Anyone have a finger saving solution for separating a 1x1 plate from a 1x1 cheese slope?  My fingers were shot after a bunch of those, even with the separator.
  • nexandernexander Glasgow Member Posts: 897
    For the safety of my Lego and my fingers I never use anything metal, defiantly not a knife. I stupidly used a knife to seperate two plastic bowls once and nearly lost a finger! In saying that I have a piece of plastic in one of my fingers that I should really cut out.
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFWMember Posts: 6,366
    I would like to know just how you avoid getting separators in sets. I would like this power as well.
    SumoLegoGalactus
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,716
    klatu003 said:
    The separators work 99% of the time, but they don't work for everything.  I used the flat screw driver blade part of my knife the other day to wedge apart this from this on the side.  The separator won't grip on the rounded pieces.
    Could you not have used the pry end of the separator?
  • FauchFauch FranceMember Posts: 2,468
    I avoid using metal, but I found no other solution for this assembly :
  • TheBigLegoskiTheBigLegoski Amsterdam, NederlandMember Posts: 1,418
    @Fauch
    Isn't that from the Ultra Agents 'Blade Runner' cop car set?! #70162
  • FauchFauch FranceMember Posts: 2,468
    yes it is
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    Do teeth count as being part of a Swiss army knife?
  • FauchFauch FranceMember Posts: 2,468
    probably if you are swiss
    TheBigLegoski
  • TheBigLegoskiTheBigLegoski Amsterdam, NederlandMember Posts: 1,418
    So you too are the proud owner of that exquisite set?!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,716
    I have got any parts with me, but can you not use a second double pin plate thingie to push the locked one out, then pull off the other parts in reverse order?
  • matticus_bricksmatticus_bricks Member Posts: 651
    @klatu003 For removing a 1x1 plate from a 1x1 cheese slope (or actually any two square 1x1s) I recommend twisting the two parts like an Oreo to create lips over the edges you can use to pry the pieces apart. 

    I used to use my teeth as a child without a brick separator, and after many damaged pieces and toothaches I have learned that a brick separator is always the only answer. 
    oldtodd33klatu003
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    Shib said:
    @BACbrix - I tend to use this part for those tricky to remove technic pins 

    The snag with that is that it's likely to push the pin outwards, so it's even harder to remove. An axle works better, and if you want to make it more comfortable, make it into a T-piece.
    klatu003 said:
    Anyone have a finger saving solution for separating a 1x1 plate from a 1x1 cheese slope?  My fingers were shot after a bunch of those, even with the separator.
    Twist them relative to each other first.

    And if you want things to line up, don't put them together and then straighten them, but put them together lined-up. It sounds simple enough to be silly, but it actually seems even simpler - just slide the parts together along a flat surface. There's an awful lot of 1 x 1 plates to line-up in the Taj Mahal - and they're transparent, so tighter polycarbonate.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,506
    @matticus_bricks got it right on any combo of 1 x 1's. If you don't have a brick separator you can hold the two pieces in one hand and put your thumb nail at 90 degrees to the stud on the top plate and push sideways and up to separate the two pieces.  
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    edited July 2015
    I would like to know just how you avoid getting separators in sets. I would like this power as well.
    Ditto. They've become an accidental collection in their own right at my house, sometimes i think they multiply at night... prowling the house, seeking unsuspecting builds to take apart before scurrying back to their hiding places with that bit i'm going to want tomorrow.

    That random piece you trod on the other morning? Separators did that...
    klatu003
  • matticus_bricksmatticus_bricks Member Posts: 651
    I always keep at least two brick separators easily accessible in all locations I use LEGO, and yet I still have a bag full of them. I guess if you never buy larger new sets you could avoid them, but it seems like they are everywhere these days. 
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,716
    The OP did say in their opening post, they have curbed back over the years, so presumably they are a vintage set builder.
  • klatu003klatu003 Hobbiton, Shire, Middle EarthMember Posts: 723
    Thanks for all the suggestions on 1x1 separation. @oldtodd33 I don't use my nails, since they always lose in any battle with inanimate objects!  @CCC you caused me to try with two separators, which worked.  Apply the plate to the separator, then push on the rounded parts stud with the second one.  That uses the separator ridge behind the studs for leverage.  Trans clear forms a tighter bond.  Did not know that, it was a Taj Mahal that I was taking apart and killing my fingers.

  • Sethro3Sethro3 United StatesMember Posts: 819
    ^The transparent pieces are made from polycarbonite. It creates more friction when it is connected to other pieces. That's why sticking a lightsaber blade into a transparent 1x1 round brick, is difficult to get out.

    Also, it would explain why ALL of my Iron Man legs were cracked after having the 1x1 round brick in there.
  • TheBigLegoskiTheBigLegoski Amsterdam, NederlandMember Posts: 1,418
    ^WOOOOT!?!
    I just checked my three Iron man figs, and all of them at both legs have cracked heels too from those cylindrical transparent light blue bricks. Well that sucks!
  • jack172jack172 Manchester, UKMember Posts: 3
    I used one last night when I couldn't find my separator but only because I needed to force a gap in between the 2 parts to lift one off. It didn't cause any damage though!
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    Sethro3 said:
    ^The transparent pieces are made from polycarbonite. It creates more friction when it is connected to other pieces. That's why sticking a lightsaber blade into a transparent 1x1 round brick, is difficult to get out.

    Also, it would explain why ALL of my Iron Man legs were cracked after having the 1x1 round brick in there.
    Ooooh dear... things might be about to get a lot worse than this...

    I just checked the legs on my iron man figs, fortunately those were still intact (so i plucked the trans-pieces out whilst they're in storage)... BUT i did notice my alien foot soldier from #6869 Quinjet DOES have a split heel, just from being stood on his sky-sled thing (which isn't a trans-piece underfoot). If i'd been popping him on and off every day since i built it, i could understand some wear and tear, but he's been untouched the whole time. 

    This is a most disappointing turn of events, considering I have some heavily played with figs from the late 80's and early 90's, which had been left stood on a pirate ship in a window throughout a dark age of more than a decade, yet they are all in perfect condition still today. No split heels to be found anywhere.

    So why a fig from a 2012 set, untouched since i built it, should have split heels merely from being stood on a regular lego piece (no time at all compared to my 80's figs), I can only assume is another modern abs/moulding issue.
    I did notice while inspecting the iron men, alien foot soldiers, and ultron figs, that they all appear to have clearly discernible lines up the rear, (like a vein in marble), where i assume the mould has a weak join, and thus is likely to crack along should the plastic contract or dry out at any point.

    If this is a factor for modern figs, it spells a potential disaster for all those licensed figs and CMFs displayed on studs/minifig stands for any length of time... hmm, i might have to rethink displaying my CMF figs on studs. 

    Bummer.
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