What tool would be appropriate to cut a gap around a metal slug that is holding this plastic join together? It has been press-fit to be flush with the surface. There is no access on the opposite side for pushing it out.

I've been trying to cut a small gap around the perimeter so that I can grasp at it with a pair of pliers and pull it out. But I want to do it in such a way that I can reinsert it later.

It is a soft plastic. I drilled small holes around the perimeter and have cut away at it with an x-acto knife.

Is there a better tool that I can use to nibble away at this?

enter image description here

  • 1
    Are you sure it will be removable even if you can get a hold of it ? What is the end goal, why remove it ?
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 9, 2020 at 22:56
  • 2
    Have you thought about drilling a hole and tapping it to pull it out with a screw? You may not be able to get a grip on the metal but if you drill and tap you can hang onto the screw to pull it out and the hole won’t be oversized any larger. But a utility knife may continue on your core the path+
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 9, 2020 at 23:34
  • There is also a chance the square hole is just the way they finished off the opening for the full round pin that is inside. I would try carefully carving away at the thin edge of plastic to see if the actual hole that the pin is in is round or not.
    – Jack
    Mar 10, 2020 at 6:36

3 Answers 3


If you can cut it with an xacto you can cut it with a razor blade utility knife (aka carpet knife, Stanley knife), like this:

Utility Knife

The blade is thicker and more durable than an xacto, and the handle allows you to apply more power to the blade.

My option 1 would actually be a rotary cutting tool like a Dremel with a cutting wheel attached, however it's an expensive thing for a single job, the utility knife will do the trick for much less money.


If you cut away enough plastic to grip the metal, you may weaken the joint. I would drill a hole on the opposite side of the exposed pin large enough to start a metal punch in. Some places it is called a drift or pin punch as found in a Google search. Once the hole is drilled, set the exposed pin over a hole it can drop into that is sturdy, like a drilled hole in a block of wood and drive the square pin out with the drift through the drilled hole.

A word of caution... the end we see is square, but somewhere it must be round. So somewhere the round will be larger than the square or vice versa. I have a feeling more plastic is going to move in such a way that is not healthy for the joint. There may be another way to remove it that is not so drastic, but the picture does not tell all.


This looks like a hinge of some sort. If the space between the upper and lower plastic parts is accessible, or if it's hidden behind a shroud and you're willing to cut the shroud away, then try inserting wedges between the plastic pieces to force them apart. In other words, rather than pulling the bar out of the plastic, pull the plastic off the bar. The bar might well be captive, ie molded into, the lower piece of plastic anyway.

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