Buzz Lightyear Joint Repair




Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Buzz's arm get broken off in the movie?
Today my son broke his Buzz Lightyear's arm at the elbow joint.  Now I'm not sure if all the joints are similar, but I suspect that they are, and could very likely be fixed the same way should they break.

Regardless, we have a toy with a broken limb, which means it's not being played with, and as we all know a happy toy is one that is being played with.  So let's get to work!

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Step 1: Preprare for Surgery

Prepare your work area.  Find a nice space where you can setup shop and keep a couple tools and store the screws.  To repair a broken elbow joint you will need to remove 6 screws.  These are located on the back, and underside of the arm.
The screw that is located in the shoulder is easiest removed if you rotate the shoulder joint so that the screw is facing downward into what would be the armpit.

Step 2: Remove Elbow Joint

Once you have removed all the screws, remove and set aside the pieces that form the upper arm.  Using your fingers(or a prying tool if you like) pry the two gray pieces of plastic apart that hold the elbow joint in place.  While you have it spread open use a pair of pliers to remove the joint.  The joint itself is probably stiff.  If it is a tight joint the easier way to remove it is to pull downward while rocking the joint along it's axis.

Once you have the elbow joint removed, open up the forearm and remove the small gray plastic piece that is contained within.  Set aside the forearm pieces,and the hand.  We're going to focus on the small gray piece that you just removed and the elbow joint.

Step 3: Reassemble the Elbow

Like the bionic man we're going to hopefully make this better.  Here's where you may have to dig around a little, but if you have a small container of miscellaneous sized and type screws it should be pretty easy.  Otherwise take the two gray pieces with you to a hardware store and find an appropriately sized course threaded screw.  Try to find one just slightly larger than the hole in the gray pieces.  But not obnoxiously larger.  You want to be able to thread it into the hole without having to enlarge the hole.

Align your two pieces so that the break on both pieces fit back together like a puzzle, and thread your screw back in.  Make it nice and snug, but don't over tighten or you will strip the plastic and have to use a larger size screw.

I suggest using super glue on the screw threads when you're ready to screw the two pieces together, just for a little extra rigidity.  I didn't do this, and shortly after my son was playing with buzz his arm started to be able to rotate slightly(the wrong way), but still holds in place.

Step 4: Finish Up

Since the elbow joint now has a screw in it, the forearm will need to have a small portion removed from the inside to make space for the screw head on both pieces.  Using a small pair of cutters you only need to nibble a small portion of the plastic away.  This is good since it won't (shouldn't) affect the strength of the pieces that make up the forearm. 
Once you have the notches cut out, remove the elbow joint from the forearm, and assemble it back into the upper arm piece.  Do this first, as it will be easier to put the forearm back on without stressing the repair than it would if you had the forearm already on and acting as a fulcrum when you were to reinstall the joint.

Now that you have the elbow joint reassembled just put buzz back together in the reverse order.

Step 5: Done!

Once fully repaired, I moved Buzz's arm through some various poses to test it out.  There's nothing worse than giving your child a toy back that they expect you to fix only to find that it's not really fixed, or easily broke.  However, lets be honest here, children are the ultimate stress test.  If it can survive a child then it's truly fixed.

As of my writing this 'ible it has come to my attention that the arm while still holding strong has the ability to shift a little perpendicular to the joint axis.  Which brings me back to my previous comment about using super glue.  When my son falls asleep later, I will remedy this.



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    7 Discussions


    3 years ago

    i have a 12inch buzz lightyear with a broken right leg.

    Does anyone know where i can buy a replacement?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    my buzz lightyear has his right foot broken and it won't go backon, anyways his helmet and head popped off i fixed the helmet and the head though can't find his arms. his leg is still on but not the aprt that broke off his joint broke when my friend set on him accidently I WILL NEVER FORGIVE. i wish i could show you please help me get it back on tried glue,

    3 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

     It's difficult to know how to help without pictures and seeing the kind of break that is involved. To the best of my knowledge all the joints in this toy are very similar so this instructable should be able to help you. Did you read through the repair steps?


    Reply 3 years ago

    No, I would never sell my son's toys. Besides Buzz has to be around until my son goes off to college. (if you don't follow the reference, watch the movies)

    Anyway, there are plenty of these Buzz dolls available on eBay as well as other shopping sites like Amazon. Good luck with your search.