Repairing Broken Screw Posts
This is a common find in older consoles and controllers, but fortunately it's an easy problem to fix.
- Broken posts are typically caused by
- Damage from impact: being dropped, squished, etc.
- Overtightened fasteners
- Poor design choices (weak/thin plastic, improper reinforcement)
Listen for "rattlers" when opening a device to be sure that you can locate the original piece. Typically the broken piece of the post ends up attached to the screw. If it's stuck fast, you might need to gently use pliers to hold the broken piece while using your screwdriver to unthread the screw.
If the broken piece isn't necessary, I wouldn't bother to reattach it. For example, Atari paddles have a plastic post that always breaks and doesn't really serve any useful purpose.
- Cyanoacrylate adhesive, a.k.a. Super Glue. The liquid, not the gel. NOT THE GEL!!! DO NOT USE THE GEL!!! ;)
- Cheap electrical Tape
- Nail polish remover or acetone, if you're prone to gluing your fingers together.
- Zip tie assortment (optional, see below)
I'm serious about not using Super Glue gel. It feels like it takes forever to bond and the resulting joint is never as strong as the liquid Super Glue. The gel could be use to fill wider gaps or joints but I never ever use it as the primary adhesive.
- Liquid Super Glue caveats
- It bonds fast and will glue your fingers together or to anything else nearby
- It tends to flow quickly and easily, usually right toward your hand.
- It gives off fumes that can turn surrounding surfaces white, which leads us to the usefulness of electrical tape:
Electrical tape: There is something magical about electrical tape and it will not stick to Super Glue. This makes it effective for masking areas from glue fumes or for temporarily splinting pieces together while glue is drying.
Before you begin, make sure your parts are clean. The parts you want to glue together that is. I mean, hygiene is important but this is neither the time nor the place.
Super Glue, on its own, is typically strong enough to affect repair of smaller pieces.
- Test fit beforehand
- Apply a light coat of glue to the larger piece
- Press and hold the smaller piece in place
- Wait at least a few hours for the glue to set
Here's an example repair using a zip tie as a reinforcement band:
Step 5: Fill any cracks / gaps in the broken piece, post, and zip tie. Remember, a little goes a loooooong way. This picture shows that the glue is still wet, but the excess zip tie should be cut once dry. If you trim the zip tie with the glue wet, expect super glue droplets to rain about your work space.
Remember, tighten screws until they're snug, and no further. The screws just hold the case together, they aren't critical load-bearing fasteners.