Rolf (rolfsky) wrote,
  • Mood: proud
  • Music: Lovage - To Catch a Thief

how to fix a broken Wacom stylus

So, this morning, I came in early to work to create some mockups of a concept that I'd discussed with some folks yesterday. I've got a vested interest in making sure that they don't build something that IsLame, so I thought that pretty pictures would give everybody an idea of the middle ground. To do this, I plugged in my Wacom Graphire4 graphics tablet. I hadn't used it in a few months, and this was a good use for it.

On to the real meat:
My tablet pen stylus was stuck at some level (maybe 25%), and therefore, in the Windows world, it was registering always as MouseDown. I fussed with it a bit (Gimp was critical to showing me that the pressure-sensitivity was reading incorrectly), and finally decided that it was a hardware issue. I'd stored it 2 months previous in the little gripper on the top of the tablet, and most likely, I'd unintentionally forced the nib up against the end of the cradle, which apparently, can permanently damage the sensor. (Wacom specifically sends you a little "inkwell" lucite cradle that holds it upright, nib-unencumbered for when you're not using it and warns not to store it in a pen cup.)

But here's the good news, I fixed it!

Steps to revive your stuck Wacom pen stylus:

1) determine that it's really stuck:
- open up the Gimp, or Photoshop or other pressure sensitive aware app
- if it is indeed stuck, it will register as "on" as soon as you get it near enough the tablet to be recognized
- you should be able to press HARDER and make it register 100%

2) decide that it's really broken, so the following step is OK with you
- go to Wacom's site, and see that replacement pens are $30, and out of stock
- convince yourself, that if it's not working 100%, you don't want it to work at all

- get your painting app open again (or, maybe you still have it open)
- make a nice vertical line with the broken pen
- now, here's the hard part: grab you pen at the "eraser" end, between your thumb and forefinger like a wand, and give it a resolute THWACK against the thumb-pad of your other hand.
- try your app again, hopefully, the line is lighter (less saturated)

4) rinse and repeat
- go back and look at step three
- keep repeating step three (THWACK) until your nib is completely un-stuck
- send me half of the $30 you would have spent on a new stylus

Tags: fixed, pen, stuck, stylus, wacom
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