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Earlier this week I bought roughly 200 4x4 plates from the Pick A Brick wall at my favorite LEGO store. Greed got the better of me, and to fill up my PAB cups as much as possible, I stacked the plates tightly onto each other:

PAB cup with two stacks of 4x4 plates

Now that I'm back home, how do I take these apart easily without breaking my nails? I don't get enough leverage using a LEGO brick separator, and using the flat end to pry apart plates is damaging the separator a lot.

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  • 1
    Have you tried, and hear me out here, two brick separators side-by-side?
    – RSchulz
    Apr 20, 2023 at 1:56
  • @RSchulz yeah, even tried more than two - It's hard to get good leverage and I end up having to use the flat end every time.
    – Tuzi
    Apr 20, 2023 at 9:30
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    In such a situation I'd try using a larger plate. Stick it on top of the stack and try to pry one or more 4x4s off with its leverage.
    – zovits
    Apr 20, 2023 at 13:33
  • Do you have a zillion brick separators? Maybe just sacrifice one for this task, and then next time, remember that this particular form of greed probably doesn't pay off.
    – RSchulz
    Apr 20, 2023 at 14:54
  • Do not use brick separators for plates - they can easily damage the plates by stressing the plastic. I had several plates break this way. Nowadays I try to avoid putting large plates directly on each other and use smaller plates in-between them.
    – xxbbcc
    Apr 24, 2023 at 21:01

5 Answers 5

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Pop them apart with a pocket knife (don't cut yourself!) should work just fine. A note for next time, put them together with one row of each piece exposed to make it easier for you.

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  • Were I to try this method, I would use a butter knife; a sharp knife would easily damage the plates.
    – RSchulz
    Apr 20, 2023 at 5:47
  • Won't that damage the plates?
    – Tuzi
    Apr 20, 2023 at 9:30
  • While this have a high chance of damaging parts, the thinner the blade of the knife the easier it is to get parts separated.
    – Alex
    Apr 20, 2023 at 15:35
  • 3
    Keeping stacks of plates with each layer offset by one stud is a great way to store LEGO plates.
    – chicks
    Apr 20, 2023 at 17:23
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4x4 plates might be the worst-case scenario - larger plates flex a lot and so can be twisted apart; smaller plates can't bind as much because the have fewer studs. I had this problem, and it required multiple brick separators - typically two on top, two on the bottom, and one or two along the edges to try to pry the plates apart. Next time, you should consider off-setting your plates by one stud so that they are not fully attached.

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Try using a pair (or possibly three) longer 4-wide plates (4x8, 4x10), attaching them on a offset- gripping 12 of the 16 studs of your 4x4's. The longer plates should give your hand and arm something decent to hold on to, and you may be able to get some twisting and prying action because of the good grip provided by new elements, and the fact that you won't need to be pressing down on the whole stack.

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Dental floss works quite well.

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What I often do is place the stack on the large flat base plate or bigger plate of some size, and use the stud end of the separator to pull them off one at a time. That often helps, when the stack is firmly stuck to a larger plate. You can also use the underside of the flat part of the separator, I don't know why, but that works for me sometimes better than the top-side of the flat part of the separator. Also, when your separator gets too damaged, you can use sandpaper to smoothen it out again.

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