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I've got a desk held together by these really strange screws below. The tapped end goes into one end of a joint, the plastic piece goes into the other end of the joint, and then the head of the screw goes into the plastic piece, with an additional screw (shown in bottom picture) to hold it in place. The pen is for scale, with the screw about 1.5 inches / 4 cm in length.

While I'm not optimistic that someone here would recognize these two pieces, is there a general process for identifying parts like this? I'd 3D print a copy of the plastic piece if I had some way of reproducing all the grooves inside it and getting a matching screw, but I have no idea if these types of pieces are standardized, and if so what they're called and where I'd look.

Thanks in advance for any help here, you guys are awesome!

Edit: It’s not IKEA. I brought it to them and they said they’d never seen the parts before.

Desk screw and plastic piece Screw and plastic piece in connected joint

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    Generically it's some sort of "knockdown" fastener - i.e. for assembling some type of particleboard/MDF "flatpack" furniture. But both the look and your description indicate that it's not the usual "camlock" also used for that purpose.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 7 '20 at 2:43
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    looks like an IKEA cam-lock fastener
    – jsotola
    Oct 7 '20 at 5:48
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    @J... so it’s not IKEA. They said they’d never seen anything like that before Oct 8 '20 at 19:50
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A well-equipped hardware store will have a drawer with many common fasteners used in this type of flatpack furniture.

I mean well-equipped. Home Depot is not a hardware store. ACE or better. Preferably that family-owned hardware store that has been there for 80 years and has creaky floors and weird little mezzanines with things just crammed everywhere.

Anybody who's enough of a Maker to be 3-D printing things, honestly, ought to make themselves familiar with the 3 nearest such hardware stores, if they aren't already :)

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  • I totally concur with @Harper and will add that you could always investigate an alternative traditional method to fasten those pieces, rather than duplicate the lame Swedish assembly it came with... like wood screws and glue. Oct 7 '20 at 6:25
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    ACE "Hardware" does not sell any fasteners in my town, for what it's worth. Have to go to Home Depot or Lowe's. But there is a Fastenal about half a mile further down the road, luckily.
    – TylerH
    Oct 7 '20 at 13:09
  • Just stumbled across an 80-year-old hardware store loaded to the gills with little things like this. Sadly, they're closing their doors - they can't compete with the big-boxes. On the bright side, I'm looking to buy some storage racks from them to organize my garage!
    – FreeMan
    Oct 7 '20 at 13:50
  • The Home Depot near me does carry parts like this. And they're significantly better quality than the original ones that came from IKEA - those things snap right off with just a little bit of shear stress. After I broke a few on some IKEA furniture in the process of moving, I decided to replace all of them (even the not-yet-broken ones) with the ones I found at Home Depot, haven't broken one since. YMMV of course. Oct 7 '20 at 16:08
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    Every ACE I've been in has a much worse selection than Home Depot. Not saying Home Depot is great, I've been unable to find things there too, just that ACE doesn't seem to be any better.
    – Kat
    Oct 7 '20 at 18:15

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