Dealing With A Pin Hinge

A Pin hinge can be tricky at first. If you’ve never kit bashed before, the most you’ve probably fiddled with were screws, and information on how to tackle removal of the pin can be hard to find. The method I use is the most common, though there are those that swear by a fine tipped soldering iron.

I never thought I’d say this, but I think using a hammer is the safer way.

In today’s guide we’re going to be using the deluxe TF Animated Bumblebee, as he had a tricky pin hinge that stood in the way of giving him full stingers.

First thing to do is to go about getting some nails. A look around your local wal-mart should find you faced with several options, and in this case it’s best to go with cheap and plentiful. Just look for ‘finishing nails’ and a box of several sizes shouldn’t set you back much more than $1.

Once you’re home, find a nail about the diameter of the pin and flatten the tip of it so it isn’t so pointy. (Otherwise it might slip and damage the plastic.) Just whack it with a hammer a few times and that should do it. Get out those aggressive urges now, as the nail can take what plastic won’t.

I’m sure you knew what that looked like, but I had the picture so I figured I’d use it…

To figure out where to nail, we have to find (or take our best guess at) where the notched end of the pin is located. A pin is mostly smooth, but to keep it from falling out one end of it has rough grooves that grip the plastic. That’s the end you want coming out first.

Here’s a diagram to help illustrate things…

So remember, the grooved end comes out first. On Bumblebee it’s on the underside of his forearm.

How’d I figure this out? I guessed.

Sometimes there’s a little pattern end of the pin to indicate where the grooves are. Some sources say the plastic might look a little rougher. I’ve found it’s the end closest to the top of the hole. If you look at Bumblebee’s forearm, one side has the pin further down than the other. That comes in handy when aligning your nail…

Nail here.

Comes out here.

Next brace the part with the pin hinge. You can do this with a vice, but I wouldn’t recommend alcohol. Gambling should be fine, though.

Personally, I didn’t feel like fiddling around with any vices, so I just held the part and the nail in my left hand while I hammered with the right. I have a pretty strong grip, so don’t try this unless you work out a comfortable position with your hand.

Here’s how I held it:

You can see that the forearm rests on my middle finger while my thumb applies pressure and helps the index finger hold the nail in position. My ring finger provides extra stability while my pinky pretends to help.

A few forceful taps should force the pin out far enough to use some pliers on it. I don’t have a picture of this, so you’ll have to use your imagination. Just grip the end of the pin (made easier by its rough surface) and pull.

Once you’re past the rough part, it should slide out smoothly.

To reinsert the pin, just use a hammer to tap the pin back into the hole. Remember, the rough part should be the first part out and the last part to go back in.

~Matt Booker

4 thoughts on “Dealing With A Pin Hinge

  1. So this works in general situations, but what about specialized ones, like Hound’s Ravage’s shoulders? There’s only one opening for the pin. How would you get THAT pin out?

  2. Ravage was in easy reach, and I see what you’re talking about. Normally, for something with just a flat surface on the other side, you could probably drill a hole, but that would completely screw up Ravage.

    Hmm… Well, I’m not sure if the pins have much iron in them, but a very strong rare earth magnet might help get it out far enough to grip with pins. Or not. If that ever comes up, that’d be one of the things I’d try.

    For Ravage in particular, his shoulders are two halves glued together. If you could get the glue to loosen (being VERY careful with a thin blade), you’d have a much easier time getting the pin out by separating the halves of his shoulders.

    ~Matt Booker

  3. I’m trying to take apart the Activators BB for a custom, but the pins are so small I can’t tell which way they went in. to be specific, I want to separate the body frame from the car-top shell. any advice?

  4. Are you talking about the one with the spring on it? It is pretty tiny…

    Looking at mine, I can’t tell which end it is either. You might want to look around for the hot method, and heat up the pin then take a guess at which end has the rough part.

    I’m not sure if there’s one there, but the Radicons section at TFW2005.com is full of things like that, and it’d be the next place you should ask. They’re nice people, and have pretty awesome customs to boot.

    ~Matt Booker

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