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Brick Problems: Inseparable Connections!

TheBigLegoskiTheBigLegoski Amsterdam, NederlandMember Posts: 1,311
How often do you encounter Lego elements when you take apart a set or break down a MOC which you are unable to separate?

I have encounters this problem now a number of times, and I thought this issue merits a new topic, as it is not necessarily the same problem for which this topic was created:
http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/1694/how-often-are-you-missing-a-piece-discover-a-broken-piece-have-a-quality-issue/p1
I did notice that this problem often occurs between ABS and polycarbonate (transparent) Lego elements, though I have also encountered this problem with elements which to my knowledge are both made from ABS.
This topic addresses specifically polycarbonate and its adverse effects on ABS elements:
http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/21231/question-about-polycarbonate

This weekend I built this set: Starblaster Showdown #76019
Now I want to take it apart but there are two elements from the smaller 'bad guy' Sakaaran space ship that I am absolutely unable to to separate. These are the two elements:
- lampholder (black) element nr.: 4632571
http://brickset.com/parts/4632571
- Couple W. 3.2 Stick, Tr.Red element nr.: 4497943
http://brickset.com/parts/4497943

There is NO WAY I can separate these two elements. Of both elements there are two in the set which you all attach in the same way. None of these elements will come loose. I cannot pull and pry them loose with my fingers, and neither can i push them out using this element also included in this set: 3 M.Arch W.Knob And Shaft (diameter) 3.2 element nr. 4520320
http://brickset.com/parts/4520320

I have other sets with which I have the same problems but with other elements. (I will post these later; I have to look up the sets and element numbers)

How often have you encounters such problems? And if so, have you found a solution to solve this problem? Or have you contacted TLG about it?

Please share your inseparable brick issues and experiences on this thread.
prevereFowlerBricks

Comments

  • TheBigLegoskiTheBigLegoski Amsterdam, NederlandMember Posts: 1,311
    LOL
    Get out of your log cabin more dude! Quick, before you get snowed in.
    ps.
    Damn it! This is a very serious topic!
  • natro220natro220 USAMember Posts: 545
    I've had this happen on a few occasions.  Usually it is getting light saber blades stuck in something.  When this has happened, I put the pieces aside and consider them forever "stuck", only to be used when I recreate that specific set.  I'm sure if I got creative I could find a way, but why risk ruining the pieces (and wasting the time on such common parts)?
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    Have you tried immersing the parts in hot (but bearable for you) or iced water? ABS and polycarbonate are likely to expand and contract differently, perhaps enough to make a difference.

    Be warned though - whilst one may work, the other might crack one of the parts! Perhaps using just warm or cold water might give you an indication as to which is most appropriate.

    FWIW there are a few parts in "solid" colours that are made of polycarbonate.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,693
    edited September 2015
    There have been some other threads on the subject that might be useful, eg. http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/18503/dismantling-certain-pieces

    http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/19168/help-with-tight-connection

    I'd use pliers, with foam rubber stuck in the jaws.

    madforLEGO
  • ricecakericecake Maryland, USAMember Posts: 879
    edited September 2015
    CCC said:
    http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/19168/help-with-tight-connection

    I'd use pliers, with foam rubber stuck in the jaws.

    Came here to post this (I started that thread). It worked for me, though I didn't have any foam rubber, but I did have a hot pad that was a similar material.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,802
    Usually issues with tight connections occur not between ABS and polycarbonate parts but between two polycarbonate parts. Some parts are always produced in polycarbonate regardless of color for stability reasons (like 30374 Light Sword Blade). I think 4081 is produced only in polycarbonate only these days — I had an issue with it being too tight against 30374 in set 70807 Metalbeard's Duel (on the flagpole/mast).

    Usually I don't encounter any parts that are impossible to separate, but it can be tricky sometimes. With parts like these it often helps to try and twist while you push/pull the stuck element but it still takes quite a bit of effort. Some of the other suggestions in this thread are probably worth trying.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    Aanchir said:

    I think 4081 is produced only in polycarbonate only these days — I had an issue with it being too tight against 30374 in set 70807 Metalbeard's Duel (on the flagpole/mast).

    If that's so, somebody's being naughty. PC against PC is supposed to be illegal according to "Stressing the Elements".
  • 77ncaachamps77ncaachamps Aspiring Time Traveler Stuck in the West (US)Member Posts: 2,439
    In life I've learned, when things get stuck in tight places, LUBRICATE!

    Warm water and a little prickly device to poke it from the rear should work.
    VorpalRyukiki180703
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 11,844
    ^  Really?  

    Are you sure this isn't a relationship advice thread....
    VorpalRyukiki180703BumblepantsMorkMancatwranglerdmcc0ReesesPiecesPolyphemus
  • DedgeckoDedgecko Seattle, WAMember Posts: 799
    Don't put those flick fire missiles in any tight spot, the thin spot on the rods deforms under any stress
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 11,844
    CCC said:

    I'd use pliers, with foam rubber stuck in the jaws.


    See, I started to snicker at the above quote - although there is nothing latently inappropriate about it.

    The forum topic "Help With Tight Connection" make me laugh hysterically.
    TheBigLegoskiVorpalRyukiki180703ricecakecatwrangler
  • HokieJoe99HokieJoe99 Member Posts: 348
    Worst set that I own is the Galaxy Commander #6980 with not one, but two:

    LEGO Part 4081a - Plate Special 1 x 1 with Clip Light [Thin Ring]


    wrapped tightly around just one:

    LEGO Part 3957a - Antenna 1 x 4 with Rounded Top


    Many a broken part on that set. 
  • wayneggwaynegg Texas,USAMember Posts: 394
    Brick
    ...
    Separator

  • stank2kstank2k The CosmosMember Posts: 8
    I have found that those rubber jar openers that they give away at banks and insurance agencies are the safest and easiest way to separate stubborn parts. I always keep a pair in my LEGO tool kit.

    catwrangler
  • TheBigLegoskiTheBigLegoski Amsterdam, NederlandMember Posts: 1,311
    Thank you all for replying and providing tips and suggestions.

    @natro220
    I think I am like you also very fastidious about my Lego. So indeed "why risk ruining the pieces", that is also the last thing I want to do, however putting "the pieces aside and consider them forever 'stuck', only to be used when I recreate that specific set" not only severely limits their use, it is also contrary to everything Lego is or should be about in my mind; the ability to construct, separate, rearrange, and reconstruct in as many ways as it possible connect all the various bricks that are part of this play and construction system. These bricks may be "common parts" I nonetheless find it hard to accept that bricks are inseparable as that is the same and just as ludicrous as 'Kragling' them together.

    @Tigermoth
    Thanks for pointing out that "there are a few parts in "solid" colours that are made of polycarbonate". I already thought that the brown and other opaque colour 'light saber' bars are made of polycarbonate.

    I tried separating them after having placed them in the deep-freeze compartment of my fridge for 15 minutes, but even after the pieces were really chilled I could not take them apart. Placing the bricks in hot water seems like a bad idea to me and lukewarm water does not make a difference either.

    @CCC
    thank you for the links to some other threads discussing this topic too.

    I have used pliers in the past with several layers of cotton cloth wrapped around the jaws to prevent the teeth from damaging the Lego elements, but to no avail, trying to separate these two parts:
    6006126 Bad Robot arm
    http://brickset.com/parts/6006126
    4508646 Light Sword - Blade
    http://brickset.com/parts/4508646

    In both set #4182 and set #79010 I have this problem, and all those elements are all still stuck together indefinitely.

    @ricecake
    Thanks for starting that thread. I have not tried applying something such as Vaseline or some other lubricant to aid trying to pry the blade from the Robot Arm loose.

    @waynegg ;
    Separating 1x1 plate with clip on top from a 1x1 round translucent plate such as present in #10199 and #10245 can be really annoying but is not impossible when you have a brick-separator. But a brick-separator as handy and versatile as it is, is a useless tool for all the other elements discussed here (so far).

    Once more thank you all for all your responses, which also extends to all the forum members I have not mentioned explicitly.

    I hope people will continue to post similar brick issues on this thread. I also think it useful that TLG whom I shall contact about this gets informed about this so they can try to resolve these issues.
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 471
    edited December 2015
    I was going to post about how I found these two permanently stuck together pieces in a job lot months ago, shown on the left, but then built the thing on the right and poked the bar far enough that I could pull it out with absolutely no trouble.



    kiki180703TheBigLegoskicatwrangler
  • Came64Came64 Member Posts: 50
    edited December 2015
    Bobflip said:
    I was going to post about how I found these two permanently stuck together pieces in a job lot months ago, shown on the left, but then built the thing on the right and poked the bar far enough that I could pull it out with absolutely no trouble.




    That's what I usually do.
    But the worst thing that can happen is that a minifig head gets stuck in a helmet.
  • dannyrwwdannyrww WisconsinMember Posts: 1,330
    SumoLego said:
    ^  Figured out why that jar opener suddenly made me hungry.


    While I get that looks like bologna....why in the world would bologna make anyone hungry :D
    oldtodd33Mynattkiki180703BumblepantsMasterBeefyCymbeline
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 471
    Came64 said:
    Bobflip said:
    I was going to post about how I found these two permanently stuck together pieces in a job lot months ago, shown on the left, but then built the thing on the right and poked the bar far enough that I could pull it out with absolutely no trouble.


    That's what I usually do.
    But the worst thing that can happen is that a minifig head gets stuck in a helmet.
    Indeed, that is tricky! I wonder if there's some kind of inverse-pliers type tool, that can exert pressure inside a tube rather than around an object?
  • willobee498willobee498 CanadalandMember Posts: 349
    Building 70734 Master Wu Dragon, I had to put a 48729 into a 4081 (lamper holder). It went in, but when I went to rotate it, it was completely and utterly stuck. My attempts at pulling it out broke off the end, so I had to attach the piece to a brick and take a hammer to the back of the pin. Yowch. Grabbed the included spare, and while tight, it did not get stuck. 
  • Tom79Tom79 Member Posts: 15
    My kids once set about filling #2439 trash cans (cfr. #6693) with part #2446 helmets which were a real pain to get out again, does this count? :)
  • GalactusGalactus NLMember Posts: 255
    ^ I've had this happen automatically when I was a kid. I had all my Lego pieces in one box and when searching for the right bricks, sifting through the pieces the helmet got in there. It stayed stuck in the trashcan for many years...
  • LeeLee ukMember Posts: 138
    Tom79 said:
    My kids once set about filling #2439 trash cans (cfr. #6693) with part #2446 helmets which were a real pain to get out again, does this count? :)
    You mean like this.....Been trying to get this out for around 2 years!
  • LeeLee ukMember Posts: 138
    Save the helmet or save the can?? What would you pick?
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    Try a blob of PVA glue on the end of a pencil.
  • LeeLee ukMember Posts: 138
    Thats a good Idea!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,693
    Came64 said:
    Bobflip said:
    I was going to post about how I found these two permanently stuck together pieces in a job lot months ago, shown on the left, but then built the thing on the right and poked the bar far enough that I could pull it out with absolutely no trouble.




    That's what I usually do.
    But the worst thing that can happen is that a minifig head gets stuck in a helmet.
    I find that it is normally possible to remove a head from a helmet by using a torso with some sticky tape around the neck to make it slightly thicker. Put it in the head and twist and pull.
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 471
    Had this little concoction to deal with today... I solved it with a small flathead screwdriver poked into the slot to separate the two :-)

    ...
  • klintonklinton CanadaMember Posts: 499
    There's an assembly in #76087 Flying Fox, mirrored on both sides of the build, that was nigh impossible to undo. It took me several attempts, a blow dryer, and considerable strain on the parts to get it all undone. It wasn't that there was friction between any two parts so much as it was that the entire assembly was woven together in such a way that no connection could be undone without first disassembling another, in a perfectly annoying impossible circle.
  • BrainsluggedBrainslugged England (the grim North)Member Posts: 814
    "Help with tight connection".

    My wife and I have two kids so unfortunately I'm experiencing completely the opposite problem.
    TkattLuLego
  • daewoodaewoo TexasMember Posts: 317
    I might offend some people with this but I use knives, pliers and ice picks to handle those stubborn elements that do not want to separate.  I have yet to damage an element using those tools.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 3,418
    Bobflip said:
    Had this little concoction to deal with today... I solved it with a small flathead screwdriver poked into the slot to separate the two :-)

    ...
    You should have used a 4L bar. Stick it into one of the holes and it will grip the pin, then just pull it out :) Easy!
    dmcc0
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 841
    ^Except that, if you put the 4L bar in too far and it gets stuck, you'll have more pieces stuck! The bar could prevent the inside ends of the pin from bending inward to let the pin out.
  • daewoodaewoo TexasMember Posts: 317
    Honestly I would use my teeth for that.
    LuLego
  • LegolisLegolis Leeds, UKMember Posts: 226
    In the first instance I’d suggest rubber gloves. It’s the same theory as the jar opener. Discovered it after cursing my husband for over tightening the tops on the baby bottles. It works like a charm on jar lids!
    The grouch in the bin... have you tried submerging it in water and poking it. If water gets underneath it should help push it out.
  • mak0137mak0137 VirginiaMember Posts: 261
    Trying to separate a turntable (3403 and 3404). Haven't tried anything other than a brick separator and a thin screw driver. Any suggestions?
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,693
    I normally find they pop off OK using the chisel edge of a separator. Although I tend to store them assembled anyway. That said, I normally use round 4x4 plates instead of the old tops these days.
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