How to extract a metal pin from MDF panel


I have a modular bookshelf that is made of MDF panels with an aluminum joint. The joint is an "X" shaped joint and it's embedded into four pieces of MDL wood panels as shown in this picture:
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-10/1090906/endshelf3_center.jpg
The aluminum joint has a few "pins" that bites into the grooves. When I removed these joints a few pins were broken off and got stucked inside the circular holes the pins were in. I tried drilling and the drill bit will not penetrate into the pin. Any idea how I can extract the broken off pins seated deep and tight?
Thanks,
MC
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On Wed, 28 Dec 2005 02:09:24 -0500, "miamicuse"

Remove enough of the MDF around the pin to get some vise grips or pliers on it. You can use the drill to drill next to the pin on 2 sides.
-Leuf
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I have a pointy-nosed pair of small ViseGrips for just that purpose. Works well.
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If you have an old plug cutter, use it to cut a circle around the broken pin to get "gripping room" and yank the sucker out with vice-grips... If not, try sharpening a short piece of 1/4" or 3/8" pipe and chucking it in your drill.. YMWV
mac
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If your drill bit won't penetrate aluminum, I'd suggest that you need another drill bit. Just a cheap high-speed twist drill (assuming you are using a power drill) should penetrate aluminum rather easily.
If the problem is that the drill keeps slipping off the aluminum and drilling the softer MDF in which the pin is held, make a guide for the drill out of some scrap material. Drill through the scrap, using the same bit you want to drill out the pin with. Then align the hole in this scrap with the pin and clamp it to your workpiece. Then if you go easy, it should prevent sideways movement of the bit until you can get it started in the aluminum.
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Thanks for all the information so far. I felt I did not do a good job of describing the situation so it's a bit tricky. I took more pictures so hopefully will have a better idea what we are dealing with.
The shelf, when fully assembled, looks like this:
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-10/1090906/endshelf3_center.jpg
Each aluminum joint is either a "L" (corner), "T" (top or bottom) or "X" (interior). For example, a "T" joint looks like this:
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-10/1090906/hardware.JPG
See how one side where I have a red circle? the pin broke from that one.
The shelf panels look like this at the corner, where these joints are to be "embedded". Here is an image of a corner where the hole is fine.
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-10/1090906/holeexposed.JPG
Here is a panel where the hole is jammed with a broken off pin. The hole itself is seated deep into the groove.
When I tried to drill, it did not even make a dent. The groove is narrow so it's hard to get a vice grip in there.
MC
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Those pics helped.

I still can't figure that one out. It looks like a clean break, so that you don't have a slanted surface that the drill slides off of. Seems that a bit somewhat smaller than the rod, combined a screw extractor might be able to get it out.
I'd take a cordless drill and one of the already broken joint plates to a hardware store and ask for a bit that will drill this stuff.
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miamicuse wrote:

I doubt if you will have much luck drilling the metal pin. It is smooth and once the drill bit bites it will more than likely just spin in it's hole. Perhaps a pair of long pointy nose pliers will do the trick. Place the tips on either side of the broken pin and give them a couple of taps with a hammer to sit so that they sink into the MDF a bit. Then grasp the pin and gently work it out. By looking at the joint design, a little damage inside the groove isn't going to effect the strength or aesthetics.
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On Thu, 29 Dec 2005 00:20:46 -0500, with neither quill nor qualm,

Did you center-punch it first? What's the metal, aluminum, potmetal, or steel? All should be readily drillable. Get a new 1/8" dia. -long- drill bit.

If that were mine, I'd take a 1/8" chisel and cut the MDF away from a portion of the sides of the pin and use my longest pair of needle nose pliers to twist and pry the pin out.
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