Pinning is Winning

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This article originally appeared in the February edition of the JoeCanuck Newsletter.

Pinning is Winning

You ever try to glue two flat surfaces together? If they were at an articulation point or under any kind of stress, chances are the glue didn't hold. Under those circumstances I like to pin (using a pin, nail, or wire) to help hold the objects together in addition to the super glue.

There are two main ways to pin. The first is heating the pin so it melts into the plastic. The second is drilling a hole into the objects for the pin to fit into. I like to use the heat method when strength of the bond is more important than accuracy of the pin placement. If you only have a small spot to work with or you need things to line up perfectly then the drill method is the safest way to go.

What you will need:

  • Pin, nail, or wire (twisty ties are perfect)
  • Needle nose or vice grip pliers
  • Glue
  • Steady flame heat source such as a tea light candle or gas stove top
  • If using a nail then you will also need a dremel, saw, or anything else that will cut the nail

For the heating method I'm going to be connecting a Gatorade bottle to a radar dish via a rubber cable. I use a tea light because the plastics aren't that thick and won't take much heating of the wire to work. The tea light provides a steady flame that I can control easily. For a bigger pin job I'd use the gas stove top to really heat the tip of the wire to get that bright orange glow to the metal. The heated tip melts the plastic which then conforms directly around the wire creating a strong bond.


Here you can see the melted hole on the radar stand as well as my original attempt to glue the two together that ended in a mess.


Then, use the pliers to push the wire into the ends of the rubber cable.


After some glue is added at the connection points, the bond is solid enough that I can pick up the two pieces, drop them on accident, and still have it hold together. True story.


For the drilling method I will be changing the neckball on a Bazooka head for one with a longer neck. This method is also perfect for adding swivel wrists, switching boots on Star Wars figures, or adding a larger holster or pouch to a leg. After cutting the original neck off, find a drill bit that matches the width of the pin you are using. Then start drilling a hole dead center of the neck about 1/4 inch deep (roughly 6mm). Also drill a hole dead center of the neck you want to use.


Use the pliers to bend the pin back and forth at the breaking point. Then do a test to see if the two parts will fit together without the pin showing.

Too long need to re-cut the pin.

Add glue to the connection point and push the two pieces together. I use a brush to make sure the glue is properly smeared over to fill in cracks. The finished product is a little rough but the bond is solid enough that it will prevent the parts from breaking off even while traveling through the mail system. Or if it does break off after some rough mail handling, at least the person on the other end can just add a dab of glue and put it back on the stem you created. Sadly, another true story.

Head=blurry. Dirty fingers=perfectly focused.
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