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Are all Ikea cam screws and locks plastic now?
June 28, 2012 12:32 PM   Subscribe

I just received some replacement cam screws and locks from Ikea and the locks are plastic! Are all Ikea cam locks plastic now? Alternatively, do Billy bookcases come with plastic locks now? I bought mine years ago and they were metal. Picture of what a cam screw and lock look like in case they go by some other name I don't know
posted by racecar to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The locks for the Expedit I recently put together were plastic.
posted by Safiya at 12:39 PM on June 28, 2012


I don't know about Billy bookcases specifically, but I've bought and assembled two new Hemnes items in the past month, and all the cam screws and locks were metal (though the screws were combined metal with plastic binding). However, Hemnes items are largely solid wood, and it looks like Billy is particleboard & MDF - not sure if that matters in terms of the hardware you get.
posted by raztaj at 12:41 PM on June 28, 2012


I can't remember the names of the parts, but I was able to by metal replacements at a specialized hardware store (i.e. not a regular big box Home Depot). I just went in, showed the broken pieces and asked what they had.
posted by bswinburn at 12:44 PM on June 28, 2012


Counterpoint: The locks for the Expedit I bought < 1 month ago were metal.
posted by specialagentwebb at 12:45 PM on June 28, 2012


We bought a Billy last month and it was the first time I've seen plastic ones. Other items we purchased were metal, at the same time. Unclear whether it's a Billy line change, or all stock. I'd be surprised if they don't all switch, however.
posted by odinsdream at 12:47 PM on June 28, 2012


Checking the online instructions for the Billy Bookcase and the Hemnes dresser I bought, the srcews and locks have different sku numbers.

However, the online instructions differ from the instructions I had my the box, so who really knows. Give Ikea a call and ask if you got the right ones - or if they can send/sell you metal ones that will work all the same.
posted by raztaj at 12:49 PM on June 28, 2012


I can't remember the names of the parts, but I was able to by metal replacements at a specialized hardware store (i.e. not a regular big box Home Depot). I just went in, showed the broken pieces and asked what they had.
Yeah, you can get them at the hardware store but they are surprisingly expensive and Ikea will replace them for free.

Can the guys that got metal screws tell me the exact product and ballpark how many screws came with it? In case asking for the metal ones doesn't work I'll just call Ikea and tell them I need replacements for a different item.
posted by racecar at 12:54 PM on June 28, 2012


Does the size of the unit matter? I think my 4x4 Expedit, purchased about a year ago, has metal cam locks, but maybe the small ones use plastic.
posted by katieinshoes at 12:55 PM on June 28, 2012


So I just called Ikea and told them that when I bought my bookcases the locks were metal. They said that those locks have been replaced with plastic and they no long carry the metal ones, which based on what some of you are saying seems like BS.
posted by racecar at 1:13 PM on June 28, 2012


Expedit desks had 3 metal screws and locks for each. But in looking at the expedit shelves instruction on their site, it seems like they don't use the cam locks at all, so I guess I was mistaken about that. Also, looking at the instructions for both Billy and Expedit desk, the locks are not interchangeable. I would just take the financial hit and buy metal ones from the hardware store.
posted by specialagentwebb at 1:18 PM on June 28, 2012


The Ikeas I've been to have a miscellaneous hardware bin near the as-is section, you should be able to find enough metal cam locks there. Some hardware stores also carry them, but you'll want to make sure the diameter and depth are the same.
posted by helicomatic at 1:18 PM on June 28, 2012


Seconding helicomatic - if it's not difficult for you to go to an Ikea store, I'd check the miscellaneous hardware bin - it's usually near the returns/order pick-up area. Maybe call the specific store in advance, and plead your case (I don't know if it's free or they charge you, but it's largely unmanned). Don't know if it's relevant, but the Hemnes dresser I recently assembled had like 50-75 of those metal locks and screws. The joy I felt after screwing in the last one, may be the most joy and relief I have felt in years.
posted by raztaj at 1:35 PM on June 28, 2012


based on what some of you are saying seems like BS.

They probably just have a large stock of existing materials that include the older, metal options, which people are going to continue to run into for quite some time.

FWIW, I haven't noticed any stability issues when I assembled items with the plastic options. If you did, you could solve it with a dab of wood glue.
posted by odinsdream at 1:36 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I agree with odinsdream - I have built non-IKEA furniture in the past decade that had plastic locks and they held up fine.
posted by tilde at 1:44 PM on June 28, 2012


Home Depot and Lowe's and the like will definitely have them. You could take the plastic ones in to show them if you wanted to be pointed in the right direction.
posted by bowmaniac at 1:45 PM on June 28, 2012


The Billys I got a few months ago are all plastic hardware, yeah. Even more annoyingly, they no longer make the 23.5 inch wide ones, which are the perfect possible size.
posted by elizardbits at 1:50 PM on June 28, 2012


I work for a company that makes RTA furniture and honestly, there really isn't much of a difference between the metal and plastic cams. The metal ones are cast and typically very brittle. The plastic is more resilient and will last a long time.

It's a common misconception that metal is always better than plastic. Depending on the application and type/grade of plastic/metal used, plastic can be just as good or better.
posted by nolnacs at 1:55 PM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Desks I remember assembling 10-15 years ago used the plastic locks, and some things I've bought more recently have used metal. I don't know if there's a trend, but the plastic ones definitely aren't a new addition.
posted by hattifattener at 2:02 PM on June 28, 2012


I'll try the misc hardware bin. Thanks guys.
I work for a company that makes RTA furniture and honestly, there really isn't much of a difference between the metal and plastic cams. The metal ones are cast and typically very brittle. The plastic is more resilient and will last a long time.
I know the metal ones are brittle, I had a screw break off in some MDF recently, but it's hard to believe that plastic would hold up better. Can anyone second this claim? Also, not that either the plastic or the metal are beautiful, but the metal definitely looks better than the plastic stuff I just unpackaged.
posted by racecar at 2:05 PM on June 28, 2012


IF you can find the instructions for your bookshelves online, it'll list the part number for the cam. I'd be willing to be that, while they might not use metal cams for that particular model any more, that they still have those metal cams used in other solid-wood models. If that's the case, then you can just go to ikea and ask for replacements for the cam model number. The replacements are free. You can go ask for like 30 different pieces and they'll just give them to you, no questions asked.
posted by nushustu at 2:36 PM on June 28, 2012


You should be able to source metal cams from Lee Valley
posted by BrooksCooper at 3:54 PM on June 28, 2012


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