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This blogpost on Technic Bricks briefly explains a few 'brick paradoxes' or dead ends. This particular model seems impossible to disassemble by hand:

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How can I remove the axle without damaging/destroying the bricks?

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There goes my "what's your smallest impossible-to-disassemble construction" question... –  Joubarc Jan 11 '12 at 5:36
This is kind of a hacky answer, so I am posting it as a comment instead. Get some glue, such as hot glue or craft glue. Apply a tiny amount to the end of a match, and then press that against the red axle. Repeat with the other side and leave to dry overnight. The next morning, use the matches (which have been glued onto the axles) to pull the axles out. Remove the glue by snapping it off of the axles. This only works if you use a glue that is not designed to work with plastic; that ensures that it will stick but come off relatively easily. –  InkBlend Mar 27 '12 at 15:51
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3 Answers 3

up vote 16 down vote accepted

I reproduced the problem and got the axle out using a sculpting tool (similar to an awl). It's a sharp metal point made out of hard metal. Soft metal will actually bend (believe me I tried three tools).

I insert the point in the space left by the axle groove and pried the axle out. The point of the tool is against the axle while the body of the tools is pushing against the beam's rim. I made a short video to explain.

After looking at the pieces, I saw that it does however leaves some damages to both. On the axle it is barely noticeable while the rim of of the beam gets little notches. Because of these small damages, it's not something I would do on a regular bases. On the other hand both pieces are totally usable after the 'operation'.

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Science. It works. Thanks for sacrificing your bricks for this, wish I could + a few more :) –  Zhaph - Ben Duguid Jan 11 '12 at 7:57
I was thinking a toothpick wouldn't damage the bricks but be too brittle. –  Ambo100 Jan 11 '12 at 10:53
how about the tip of a mechanical pencil with the lead retracted? –  craigmoliver Jan 18 '12 at 16:51
@craigmoliver That would probably break/bend the tip. Try it! :) –  pcantin Jan 18 '12 at 19:33
Remember that (at least the newer) axle joiners have holes in the middle, so once you have one out you can use a long tin object to push the other out. I'm wondering if you could use the notch in the 2m axles to do this without damaging it? I do not remember how I got it out myself when I experienced this paradox myself though. (I was like: hmm, if you do this you shouldn't be able to get it out... Oh snap...) –  Sebastian Wahl Jan 22 '12 at 14:53
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A pair of needle nose pliers might just do the trick, or some sturdy tweezers - however it might leave some scratches on the axle (thus limiting the no-damaging).

I assume there's another 2 axle in the the other side stopping the use of a wooden toothpick or similar pushing it through from the other end? The joiner has an inner lip, but is hollow if I recall correctly?

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One option that may minimize damage to the axle would be to find a mini chuck (left) or micro chuck (right) (i.e. a very small chuck, like a pin chuck) with 4 collet prongs that stick out far enough from the nose cap and are small enough to insert between the rim of the hole and the axle:

Then you could tighten it down so the 4 prongs grip the cross shape of the axle tightly enough to pull it out. The match between the 4 prongs of the chuck and the cross shape of the axle will hopefully distribute the gripping pressure in a way that keeps the axle piece from being damaged.

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