Congratulations, you collector-treasure-hunter! You managed to get ahold of a rare, out of print item that can't be found through conventional means, only through patience and foreign import services- the Nintendo Ultra Hand. If you're reading this, then we both know what the Ultra Hand is and the stories behind it. I don't need to give you the same historical spiel about it.
However, if you're reading this, then you're probably not too happy with the condition it's arrived it. Maybe the hands on it are crusty, cracked, and folded. Maybe the string on it's broken, and you're looking for a suitable replacement. Maybe you're just looking for ideas on how you could fix it, just to see if anyone else had done it. I'm that "anyone else", and I'm going to show you how to safely dismantle and repair your new collecting trophy in this guide. By the end of this, you should be ready to roll in time for your next grill-off!
Note- This guide isn't meant to cover restoration of the Ultra Hand. This is meant to cover how to repair your Ultra Hand back into a functional, usable condition. With that out of the way, let's-a-go!
-1/4" drill bit
-Washer (1/8" innder diameter, or 3/8" outer diameter)
-DMC #666 embroidery string (can be found at Hobby Lobby stores)
-Medium sized suction cups (approximately 1 1/2" to 1 3/4" in diameter)
-(Optional) Small weight
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Step 1: Step 1: Removing the Hands
Let's get the big one out of the way- replacing the hands. After all, we want something that's usable. Before we begin, I want to make two things clear:
-Yes, the suction cup hands being used aren't yellow like the originals. I couldn't find a good set in the original diameter of 1 1/2", let alone in yellow. I settled for these clear 1 3/4" ones. If you can find a way to make them yellow, let me know and I'll include them in the guide.
-DO NOT try to restore the original hands using a hair dryer! I learned the hard way on this. What will happen is that the hands will dry up and crack, worsening their condition. Try to find a different way that won't crack them. I don't have any ideas on how to repair them, but I can show how to replace them.
Tools and materials needed for this part:
-1/4" drill bit
-Medium suction cups
Step 1: Removing the original hands
We want to remove the original hands so we can replace them with our newer, clear suction cups. Don't think about throwing them away, though! Keep them handy, because the original material can't be replaced, and there's only so many available!
1) With the unit (the body of the Ultra Hand) facing up, start by working the left hand off. Gently twist the hand left and right, or try to loosen it like you would a screw. Hold the arm behind the hand for extra leverage. Once you're done there, you should have the peg exposed. Clean it off if needed.
2) The right hand is trickier to take off. We need to safely remove the washers holding the metal rod (and the hand) in place. Start by pressing down on the hand, and using your needlenose pliers, pop the back of the washer out and down of the crevice it's seated in. You should hear a loud pop. From there, work the washer off by moving it back and forth until it comes off. Put it somewhere safe!
3) Still on the right hand, remove the hand assembly from the unit, and set the spring aside. Repeat the same motions used the the previous step to remove the washer underneath the hand. From there, set everything aside.
Step 2: Step 2: Replacing the Hands
Now that we have everything disassembled, we can prep the new hands and replace them on the unit.
Step 1: Prepping the hands
DISCLAIMER: I'm not responsible for any injuries sustained during this part. Children must have adult supervision. Adults should supervise children. Man-children must supervise themselves.
1) Get your power drill with the 1/4" drill bit and the medium-sized suction cups. Remove the hooks from the suction cups- we won't be needing them. Prey them open using your needlenose pliers if necessary.
2) Line up your center point on your suction cups. Before doing any drilling, I recommend making a pilot hole with a smaller drill bit, then using your 1/4" bit to finish it. Otherwise, you could be off and miss the center of the ring underneath the suction cup, making for a messy job.
Drill a hole straight through the center of each one. Be careful with this part- I didn't have a vise or anything to securely hold it, so I just pressed it onto a hard surface and went through it, or I held it in my hand while drilling. Drill slowly and carefully, because the suction cup will catch onto your drill bit. Once it's drill through, remove the suction cup by either running the drill in reverse and pulling gently, or by unscrewing the suction cup from the drill bit.
POST-PRODUCTION NOTE: For the right hand, I would drill a smaller hole into it. Putting a 1/4" hole through it made it feel looser on the rod than I wanted to. I would start with a 5/32" hole and go up from there.
3) At this point, (if you haven't already, go ahead and cut the nub off the edge of your new hand. Test fit it on the left arm- looks kinda snazzy, doesn't it? Maybe you could try coloring the hand to see what works!
Step 2: Replacing the hands
1) With the left hand already on, go ahead and re-assemble the right hand with your new hand in place of the old one. Squeeze the sides of the black washers back into place so they don't pop back out.
2) Voila! You've got yourself some new hands! Now about that string...
Step 3: Step 3: Replacing the String
Your Ultra Hand isn't much good if the string on it is broken. That string is what allows you to release the hands after grabbing something. Let's fix that right up- this will be easy!
Tools and materials needed:
-DMC #666 embroidery string
1) Using your tape measure, cut one yard (36") of your DMC string.
2) Tie a fat knot on one end. What I did was I looped one end around about a dozen times and pulled it together. It made a good, fat knot that would keep the string from being pulled through the unit.Let it get tangly, but make sure it tightens up into a a wad of string. Cut off any excess, save for maybe 1/8" or so.
3) Now we just have to thread the string through. Start by threading the string through the hole on the ratchet wheel between the hands. Next, go under the arm bar just below that, and through to the ring on the middle of the unit. Finally, go through the ring on the bottom-right corner, then thread your small weight through it and then through the hole on the bottom-left corner. Tie it off to the washer, leaving as little waste as possible.
Step 4: Finish!
And now you're done! That's how you fix your Nintendo Ultra Hand! Now that you have a new clean string on it, some clean new hands, it's time to go pester your friends with your slick new hardware! Let me know if you find any new tips or tricks for repairing these!