How to remove a superglued security base from my tablet?
August 29, 2014 12:35 PM   Subscribe

I was given a tablet demo unit from my workplace because we no longer sell this model. It's functional and great, but still has the old security base attached. It's a circular nub about 1" thick that fits into the cradle of the demo pedestal, and has wires coming off both ends of the nub. I can cut off the wires, but the nub is superglued onto the back of the device. What's the best way to remove it? Photos within.

Photos: 1 2

It's a Kobo Arc tablet.

I was the one who superglued the security nub onto it in the first place - I'm in charge of the Kobos at my store. Lest anyone think I'm asking for nefarious purposes.

All superglue removal tutorials online seem to focus on removing a patch of glue from a surface using acetone/hot water, not unsticking two items. And anything that does involve unsticking two items involves lots of heat (hair dryer etc.) which I think would damage the tablet.

posted by wintersonata9 to Technology (8 answers total)
The heat from the water is just to speed up the reaction. Acetone is the way to go, it's just going to take a lot of time. Gelled nail polish remover snicked in the edges of the base will eventually do the trick.

If it was me I'd just saw off the thick part and grind down the rest, slap a sticker over the ground part of the case and call it a day.
posted by sunslice at 12:44 PM on August 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

You need "cyanoacrylate debonder", which you should be able to find at a local hobby/model shop. It may damage the case.
posted by bensherman at 12:49 PM on August 29, 2014

Be very careful with acetone on the case back too. It's hard on many kinds of plastic.
posted by bonehead at 12:56 PM on August 29, 2014

How about "sawing" at the bond with a thin wire?
posted by alphanerd at 1:14 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

How about a combination of above answers? Find some cheap threaded dental floss (not the plastic kind) or a thin but strong string. Soak in acetone or other solvent and use that to "saw" underneath the nub to cut through the superglue. Keep re-soaking as the acetone evaporates or using new strings as they wear down.
posted by trivia genius at 1:22 PM on August 29, 2014

Yeah, the universal solvent for any cyanoacrylate (superglue) is acetone. Being mindful that it may attack the case plastic, too: apply a very little of it (such as with a fine paintbrush or toothpick) at the seam where the two glued pieces meet and let it wick in. Let sit for about thirty seconds, gently apply pressure to the joint (such as rocking it) to help the stuff wick; determine that there's still glue there, apply another few swipes of the brush / drops from a toothpick, rock it; repeat, repeat, repeat. It may take quite some time for the acetone to dissolve the glue and work its way all the way across the bond pad.

There are a couple other solvents for cyanoacrylates. One I've used is methylene chloride (old-school nasty smelly paint stripper), but I'd wager that'd be harder on the case than acetone. I am told that nitromethane (used for a lot of things, but the easiest way to get it is fuel for model aircraft/car engines) also works; that could potentially be less harmful to the case than acetone. You may want to try leaving a drop of your chosen solvent on a tiny spot and seeing how it reacts.
posted by introp at 1:23 PM on August 29, 2014

Just to confirm introp's nitromethane rumor: The MSDS for Loctite 768 X-NMS Cleanup Solvent says it contains 60-100% Nitromethane (and 5-10% Toluene).

* Exact percentage is a trade secret. Concentration range is provided to assist users in providing appropriate protections.
posted by tinker at 1:41 PM on August 29, 2014

Also: how about latching onto the thing with a vicegrip, parallel to the bottom of the tablet, and turning it, with the security device as the pivot point?
posted by alphanerd at 12:40 AM on August 30, 2014

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