Tools and Materials
Taking apart the device that has been assigned to you for your project would be extremely difficult without a complete toolkit at your disposal. Luckily, we provide you with all of the necessary tools for tackling almost any disassembly need.
54 Bit Driver Kit
It's pretty difficult to remove screws without the correct screwdriver. Our screwdriver kit includes 54 different bits—Phillips, Torx, flathead, and so much more—to cover nearly any screw that you'll find in your device. Feel free to check out our Screwdriver Best Practices guide for some helpful tips.
Plastic Opening Tools
The delicate cousins of the spudger are the plastic opening tools. Beautiful and blue, plastic opening tools are the go-to prying tool when you are especially concerned about scratching or breaking your device. Originally made for iPods, which had tight tolerances and easy-to-scratch outer cases, these opening tools will take a beating so that your device doesn't have to. Plastic opening tools, like spudgers, are ESD-safe and approved for disconnecting cables and ZIF connectors.
Precision Tweezers Set
Some devices, for whatever reason, do not like being taken apart. It is a problem that pesters repair aficionados on the regular. Luckily, though devices may try to trick us with small, hard-to-reach parts, tweezers work wonders at removing small parts. Be careful! These are sharp.
Anti-Static Wrist Strap
It's always a good idea to ground yourself while working on sensitive electronics to prevent static charge build-up. Wear this strap to protect your device from accidental electrostatic discharge (ESD) damage during repairs.
Small suction cup
This is a light-duty suction cup for removing phone and tablet glass panels.
This tool looks like a black stick, and—as a matter of fact—that's what our buddies over at Apple call it. We didn't think that was very original, so we opted for something better: spudger. The spudger is one of the most versatile tools you'll find in your toolkit. The flat end of a spudger can be used for prying and separating, while the pointed tip is good for poking and prodding. Since it's ESD-safe, a spudger is the tool you should be using as a prying tool around connectors and circuit boards, not a flathead screwdriver.
Metal Spudger Set
Any fixer knows that moment when you're stuck needing that one tool for the job—be prepared for the moment before it hits, with this assortment of three sturdy metal spudgers. These spudgers are great for when plastic opening tools and the standard spudger just isn't enough. However, these spudgers are not ESD-safe, so only use them as a last resort.
There are a number of different characteristics of screws that make them identifiable. The two that are easiest to refer to when writing your replacement guides are the head type (Phillips #00, T8 Torx, etc.) and the length. Measure the length of each screw in millimeters. Try to get the measurements as accurate as possible. This handy 6 inch ruler will do the job, but using the digital caliper found in the class toolkit is preferable and will give you measurements to the nearest .1 mm.
It's easy to remember where one Phillips screw came from. It's not easy to remember where 15 Phillips screws of various lengths, seven T8 Torx screws, and three tri-wing screws came from. Using a magnetic mat can keep your screws and small parts in order for when it comes time to reassemble your device.
Some tools may come in handy when working with specific devices, but are either less common or too big to fit into a student toolkit. Therefore, each class will be given a class toolkit with the following specialty tools that you can check out from your instructor:
To accurately measure such small screws requires a pair of precise digital calipers. Every time you remove a screw from your device, use the caliper to measure its length to the nearest 0.1 mm.
Many replacement guides may require you to remove a soldered connection in order to install a replacement component. You can either attempt to desolder using this soldering station (recommended), or simply use the station as a prop to show a reader where they need to solder/desolder. Either way, make sure you include a link to this guide in your step text to provide readers with additional soldering/desoldering instructions. This soldering station also includes solder and desoldering braid.
Many devices use adhesive to hold screens in place. When plastic opening tools and spudgers are not enough to free the screen, you can use the iOpener to apply heat to the adhesive until it is soft enough to loosen its grip on the screen. Be sure you first read this page for further instructions on how to use the iOpener tool.
If you just can't seem to wedge your way into a device using the standard array of pry tools, it might be time to phone a friend. That friend's name is Jimmy. Jimmy's flexible steel blade slips between the tightest gaps in the toughest devices, and the ergonomic handle makes it easy to "jimmy" devices open. Spudgers and plastic opening tools are made of softer materials, and are somewhat less likely to cause cosmetic damage—but when all else fails, Jimmy is your man.
Screw Extracting Pliers
Using correct screwdriver technique is the first line of defense against stripped screws. The second line of defense? Screw-extracting pliers. They're designed to firmly grip the heads of damaged screws. Specially designed jaws firmly grip screw heads, bolts, or nuts, allowing you to twist out even the most damaged fasteners. This tool is ESD-safe, so you can use it on internal electronic components. If screw extracting pliers aren't doing the trick, check out our stripped screw guide for a few more helpful tips on removing stripped screws.