The $1 tool every team needs in their bin!

What is it, you ask? It’s an everyday, checkout-aisle-variety nail file!

I came up with this idea because whenever the fifth graders with whom I work would build, they’d often ask for help removing pins or short standoffs. Sometimes, they just couldn’t reach the back of the plate or beam to push on the back of the pin, such as when they were using two plates together. Other times, their fingers simply lacked the strength needed. This was especially true with the 1x1 pins, 2x2 pins, and 0.5x standoffs.

Well, thanks to this “handy” idea and a quick scavenger hunt through our medicine cabinet, this problem has all but vanished, leaving me more time to help with larger issues. (Of course, there is still an occasional student who needs help with a 1x2 connector. The mold for the 1x2 pins is different, and this trick will not work – I’m still working on that one!)

Check out the video and let me know what you think. Thanks for watching!

Nice! I often use a small screwdriver the same way but the wider curved blade surely makes it easier to use.

Thanks Philo.

Yes, I have used a screwdriver as well, and they work nicely. They are also sturdier in hard-to-reach places.

What makes me prefer the nail file is that my students will use it as a second class lever and not a first class lever. With the screwdriver, sometimes students will underestimate the leverage generated by the longer handle. As a result, when they push down instead of lifting, the part goes flying across the room!

Thanks again for watching and for the reply.