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Safely reshaping small ABS keys

  1. Sep 18, 2016 #1
    I got a used keyboard on eBay, and it works just fine except for one key. It is slightly bent on one side (no idea how they managed that without taking the key out and stepping on it or something) and is clamping down on the channel it rests in. Because of that, when it is pressed in, it stays in.

    From what I found keyboard keys are made of ABS plastic. I was hoping to place it over some steam and soften it enough to use a pair of smooth needle nose pliers to unbend it. I have a few concerns, and I figured the best people to ask were some material engineers. :)

    1. What tempurature would I need to make it so that it isn't too hard or so soft that I risk losing its overall shape. I just want it a bit more malluable so I don't break it in half trying to bend it.
    2. Although I doubt it would have much of an effect, would heating it have any negative side effects to the dye?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 18, 2016 #2


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    A Google search returns over 90 000 hits: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=abs+softening+temperature

    Softening temperature depends on the particular formulation and falls between 90oC and 115oC. That's the temperature that softening starts, you may need to go a little higher to reduce the chance of cracking. That makes steam a possibility, or a hair dryer or heat gun if needed.

    If it is just a slight bend, perhaps a file would be an easier approach.
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