How do you get these parts unstuck?
In my experience, the tan axle pin is the element most likely to be damaged when I'm teaching with the NXT or another Technic set.
As best I can tell, my students damage the pin tips when they are trying to remove it from another part, especially if they use their teeth (shudder).
Bent axle pins won't spin freely in a Technic hole, and they won't grip a hole well enough to stay in place.
If the axle side is stuck in a gear or a beam, you can use an axle to push it out from the other side. That's not an option with a number of Technic connectors, like the one shown in the photo above.
Sometimes, I can get a fingernail between the collar of the axle pin and the connector, but not always.
If I put something in the pin, like an antenna, I can grip the pin and pull it out easier. The antenna prevents the pin tips from getting crushed when I squeeze the pin half of the axle pin.
The below picture from the building instruction of box 8842 shows how LEGO recommends to disassemble some constructions, including how to remove an axle-pin. Note how the axle-pin is first stuck in a beam to prevent the pin getting deformed by the thin antenna size insert. This insert pushes the axle-pin firmly in the beam so it will have more friction then the (old style) Technic connector.
Do any of you have another method for separating these parts?
For apes and men, it's the natural method that comes first to mind (when it comes to mind at all). ;-)
I always use my teeth. Though, I always grab onto the gap between the wall and pin. It comes out alote easier and with very little damage to the pin.
These thin rubber sheets are perfect for gripper a slippery surface - it's what they are made for, and you can generally find them for free somewhere as a promotional giveaway. They are the studless equivalent of the plate separator, and are dirt cheap. They work much better than using the 1x2 rubber piece, and they're cheaper and harder to loose as well.
No more needle-nosed pliers for us. (They weaken and/or break the pegs).
The scan from the 8842 set is very helpful. I wish LEGO would do an update. Or maybe there is one that I don't know about.
I need a visual guide to teach students the importance of keeping their beams parallel. This is not such a big issue when building with the studded beams, but studless beam designs often suffer from this flaw.
Borrowing from this image, I talk about happy LEGO and unhappy LEGO. This seems to make sense to the kids -- that we want to build in a way that avoids stressing the pieces.
I only use pliers when I'm trying to pull out a stubborn light sabre blade or piece of flex tubing.
My standard equipment for disassembly: A technic brick, a bar, a long technic axle, a pocket knife, pliers, and two brick separators
I have a strip of butyl rubber, left over from when we dug a garden pond over 20 years ago - the pond has long-since gone, but I still have a couple of small strips of the rubber pond liner tucked away.
One strip lives in the kitchen, and is used to open jars with - wrapping it around the lid gives you better purchase on it, and prety much anyone can open any jar if the grip is right. I guess that your jar openers are pretty much the same idea.
The other piece lives in my Technic box. I tend to use it a lot with the studless stuff - especially to pull stubborn pins out.
I'm still appalled that we have grown-ups using their teeth. My 5-year old received her first few boxes of Lego for Christmas this year, and even she knows that teeth use is a hanging offence. (Got to train them young.)
1. Place a brick inside the technic pin, an antenna or some pointy brick. It's purpose is to pressure the connector from the insize.
2. Place a brick with holes outside the technic pin, a technic beam will do. It's purpose is to pressure the pin from the outside.
3. Push the antenna against the beam (any direction will do), and pull the pin (and these 2 bricks) out of where the pin is stuck.
Never, ever, chew on bricks!
They will be deformed, and models will not function as intended when the pin doesn't have the right amount of friction.