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cracked out

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



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dude normally i hate livejournal and blogging and stuff, but i had been fighting with my wacom tablet for a long time and your technique worked. you are the man! thank you!


Thank god for google

Dude i was so upset my tablet got screwed up but upon one hit my stylus worked again thanks so much.
One night the thing screwed up and I missed one of my shows. Lets just say it took me about five minutes with a hacksaw to get the tv turned back on.

can we get a Best of LJ for this?

all i can say is wow, this saved me (and my stylus from being impaled into the wall).
wow , you fixed mine too thanks!

trying to google a solution was hell in itself. cheers!
It fixed mine, thankyou!


thank you!

i can't believe the solution was so simple! i thought you were joking at first. you saved me a lot of grief :)


I should have remembered that my first rule of repair is to always give the object a resounding thwack - just another round of thanks for putting this guide up for others to fix their stubborn styli with!



I hit it 30 times, and, well, it certainly lowered the pressure, but there's still enough to make windows register it as always MouseDown. Shit. And I didn't even push into it D:

cheers mate

you're a god amongst men
- the bloody thing was driving me nuts

ck from tha uk


Thank you so much

Had this problem for months, I was debating weather or not to break all my hardware. You my friend are a GOD.


I wish I'd found you Earlier

I've been looking for a repair for about a day, and I came across your article.. Thought I'd give it a shot, and you my friend, just saved me some money. Thanks a bundle. I now understand why that bug fix wasn't on the official wacom site. It should have been, but I'm sure beating their hardware against something doesn't sound so good. Thanks


dude thanks for the advice, i couldn't find a solution anywhere

thanks again!


Magician's Trick Works Perfectly

Like the others, I was frustrated and nearly resigned to buying a replacement pen - but then after reading your "Fonzie" solution - I waved my pen like a wand, gave it a thwack... and like the Fonz (Happy Days) it worked again...



I'm so happy that everybody loves this entry. Keep on smacking your stylii!


mine works again too!

ahaha! mine works again too!

You're the man!! I still can't believe that fixed it :D

Where do i send the money? :P


Back in business

Another satisfied customer. Thanks!


oh god it worked I love you
DUDE!!!! I love you! I found this on google and damn, thank you so much.


Just bought a second hand wacom and the pen was giving me a little trouble but you my friend have a pretty good solution. It is helping alot and I'm sure with more thwacking it will improve more.
*hugs* oh god and I was going crazy trying to find the long lost little packet of nibs it came with!



You saved my tablet! I think I love you



You rock man, I followed your steps and my pen was fixed xD. I love it, hold it like a wand and TWHACK!!, woah it worked!!! *bows before you*


working again

I had spent several hours updating the driver, Googling Wacom items and trying to figure out what was wrong with my pen/tablet. I stumbled across your post and decided to thwack my pen. OMG!! Success with the third thwack! Funny!!



Fixed mine with your advice. I needed to do one thing diff: I had to remove nib and thwack. Reapeated thwacks with nib in yielded no progress. I will now proceed to determine if i want to tryout becoming a live journalist.
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