Theme Screws
by Jani 'Japala' Pönkkö

As you may have quessed from the name of this little project we are going to focus on screws this time. For some time ago I noticed a nice case project that combined thumb screws and dice and decided to see how easy it is to make them and does this technique offer even more possibilities.

Yes, you can say that this is more of a photo gallery than a tutorial but this mod doesn't need rocket scientry and is purely made to give you more ideas for your future modding projects.



We start with the basic ingredients; screws and some buttons. Yes, buttons. The ones that you have on your coat etc. They are easy to find, almost every fabric store has them and they are cheap. Also there are tons of different kinds of buttons and designs available so you should be able to find matching items that match your case or project theme.



I'm sorry about the poor quality of these few photos because I forgot to reset my camera from ISO400 that I needed the previous day... amateur. ;)

Diameter of this button is 20 mm so it is quite wide. I liked the coloring of it and the fact that there is a "logo" printed on it so I bought couple of them. In our local store the price for one was 0.47 euros. While the button itself is quite flat and seems hard to use for example when unscrewing it actually works quite well. Given its large surface area and the fact that the side panels etc. doesn't need to be tightened down that hard in the first place.



Brass and aluminum might mix quite well so I bought two of these brass buttons. Button measures 19x15x5 mm.



Well, if you are after a soccer theme there are buttons for you too. :) They are made from a soft plastic and costed around 0.50 euros a piece. Diameter of the button is 20 mm. The store had the same model with 10 mm diameter as well.



These "toy" dice cost 1.25 euros as pack of five. Working with these needed bit preparation because the material they were made of was quite hard to cut. I used Tungsten Carbide Cutter from Dremel and had hard time getting the tool to carve the dice. Material was very tough and it turned to dust when cut so you should wear a breathing mask to protect yourself. Once I finished the cut the thumb screws slided in perfectly and I wasn't able to pull them back any more so now glue was needed.



Because the material of these footballs were really soft it was easy to make these small holes for the screws. I decided to use regular screws because the height of the button was not that great.



I used two compound glue (epoxy) to glue the screws to the buttons. This epoxy that I used hardens in about 5-10 minutes but it is best to leave the screws alone for 24 hours to make sure that the glue is dried through.


All finished

After about one hour (+ glue drying time). 45 minutes for the dice and 15 for the rest. I still can't believe that the material of those dice was so tought. :) Lets see how they look when installed to a case.


Regular thumb screws

Thumb screws look better than the regular screws and you don't need tools to screw/unscrew them. Great for most projects.

Sunbeam Tech Anodized Thumb Screws

Anodized thumb screws can be used if you are after a certain color or tone to much the rest of your case.


For this case these screws maybe too wide but the idea can be seen. With chromed/polished surface they bring more class to the case.


Brass and aluminum do work great together. I also like the smooth surface of these screws and probably go out and buy more of these buttons and make a complete set.


Not something that you see every day. :) I'm not sure how much I like these myself but if you are after for example a different sporting themes, these are for you.


You can find dice with every possible colors. Those classic casino reds could be great but these plain white dice are great looking too and something really different compared to regular thumb screws.

So there you have it. Thumb screws have been around for a long time now but perhaps there is still some ways to improve them as I demonstrated. Maybe Lego should start to produce thumb screws with heads from various of Lego characters or to make licenced thumb screws from Star Wars R2D2 robot. If some company thinks that the idea is worth developing, I still have some variations planned so call me. ;)

Questions, comments?
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31.08.2003 - ©Japala

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