Beyond Basics: Articulation Joints: Simple Fixes and Reinforcements

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by chansformers, Aug 3, 2013.

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  1. chansformers

    chansformers butcher of the bots

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    Ever have really tiny/thin parts snap on you or have ball joints break? This is the way I go about repairing and reinforcing them.

    The first example is actually my little girl’s favorite Ariel necklace. I can't count how many times I’ve fixed it from the head being twisted off to the brace the necklace actually clips onto to cleaning and resoldering the inner electronics, etc., but that's another rant about her now knowing that "daddy will fix it". Her cousin snapped this thing right off at the waist one day which resulted in a lot of tears. The waist itself is just slightly bigger than 1/8" diameter, maybe 9/64" or 5/32. The screws and pins pictured in here are all gutted from junker toys bought in bags from value village and/or previous customs.

    This is what she looked like after Max got to it:

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    In the highlighted areas, I’ve gone and drilled a 5/64" hole into both halves (same diameter as the steel pin I’m going to use), keeping sure to make it all stays in line with the center of the torn spots:

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    Once done, with a pair of pliers, I put a drop of Loctite 496 (I swear by this glue and this glue only) on one end of the steel pin and shove it in only half way. The yellow highlighting shows the actual length of the pin and how far it's actually buried into the lower half:

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    The teal highlighting shows how far the steel pin is now drilled and screwed into the bottom half while the yellow highlighting shows the remaining half still protruding which will now get a drop of glue and then be shoved into the upper half of the body:

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    Once finished, this is now the strongest part of the whole figure, being as it now literally has a steel spine. The red square shows the hairline gap still showing but that can now confidently be covered with some skin tone colored paint:

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    Ta da! Happy wee one!

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    This is how to fix a swivel joint (not for ratcheting joints, unless you know what you're doing as most ratcheting joints involve springs/tensioners of some sort, more complex)

    First off, thanks to fellow member Stepper for giving me a smoking deal on this guy, and being fully honest on what the issue was.
    This poor Quintesson had his inner elbow joint's shaft sheared right off but luckily it was a clean break:

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    The easiest way to fix this and still keep the articulation was to drill a 1/16" hole through both halves while holding them together the way they should be. Then I came back with a 3/32" drill bit and only drilled/enlarged the hole in the actual forearm piece. This will allow the outer elbow chunk to move freely around the screw while the screw is nice and snug into the inner elbow chunk:

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    Once both pieces were drilled, then came screw selection. If you notice, the black screw is slightly longer than the thickness of both elbow halves put together. You don't want this, as when it's all assembled, some of the black screws tip will stick out and look ugly. The silver screw is ever so slightly shorter than the two halves put together; this is the one you want (the highlight on the black screw shows how much would have stuck out on the inside of the elbow once done):

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    This shot shows exactly where inside the elbow joint that the silver screws tip ends up when you bottom it out:

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    Once reassembled with the right length screw, you now see a screw head on the outside of the elbow joint. This can be rectified with some red paint, making sure to match the same paint/spot on his other still good elbow outside (I didn't do this step yet but I will later on).
    If you don't like the look of this and want to try to hide the screw even more, you can always countersink where the screw head sits. Just keep in mind that once it’s countersunk, you’ll want to use a shorter screw or you'll end up with the same problem the black screw would have had in the screw end sticking out the other side:

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    When screwing in the screw, you want it just snug. Don’t over tighten it as it won't be able to move and vice versa; if it’s not tight enough, it'll be floppy.
    Once you're happy with it, flip it over and put a drop of glue into the screw hole (not the side with the head), thereby fusing the screw tip into the hole so it doesn't ever back out as you position/pose him:

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    This is just showing that it is now fixed and can still move the way the designers intended it to:

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    Now it’s back with its cohorts that made the trip from Toronto to Calgary with him:

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    How many of you have a Beast Wars bot where the arm has snapped off, leaving the ball of the ball joint in the cup itself and a broken arm in your hand?
    If you can manage to dig out the ball, this is how I usually fix them for locals.

    I’m using a Struxx ball joint and a funny looking Struxx clip as an example. Just imagine the triple-balled piece being the ball of the joint itself once you manage to dig it out of the cup, and the other chunk as the arm that broke from said ball joint. The steel pin used here is another value village donor toy special.

    Notice how also the drill bit used is the same diameter as the steel pin. The pin size required is all dependent on the diameter of the arm/leg/etc. that you're trying to fix.
    Keep in mind that no matter what, the pin should be centered within both pieces and still maintain enough "meat "around it to grab it. I dread the day Max snaps the arms off of Ariel above, as I think those pins will end up being cut down sewing needles:

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    First off, drill a hole that matches the diameter of your pin into the arm/shaft chunk, keeping it straight and in line with an imaginary level line. The red highlights the imaginary centered straight line on this chunk:

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    Once done, repeat to the actual ball of the ball joint. The red line shows how much per side of the pin will insert into each chunk:

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    To insert the steel pin, I like to grab the pin with a pair of needle nose pliers, and set the pin half way into the jaws. This will ensure that once you start inserting it, the pliers themselves will stop you once it gets exactly half way in (a good trick because once you have glue on the end and you start sliding it in, you don't have much time before the glue sets and it's difficult to try to remove and reinsert it the second time):

    [​IMG]


    Once it's in, you should still have half of the pin exposed:

    [​IMG]


    Put a drop of glue on the remainder of the pin and shove it into the ball of the joint into the hole you drilled.

    Now everything else besides where the pin is will break before this repair does. The red shows where inside the piece the pin actually now sits end to end:

    [​IMG]
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2013
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