The original LEGO brick separator was introduced in 1990 and was produced until 2011. It was the first dedicated tool that was made specifically for separating LEGO plates and removing tiles. It saved many LEGO elements from tooth marks, and many teeth from getting chips and cracks. This first version of the brick separator came in dark-gray and green, and was available in several of the larger sets and could also be purchased as a separate item.
An updated version of the original brick separator was introduced in 2012 and is produced to this day. It has a slimmer handle, but other than that, it serves the same purposes as the original brick separator (separating plates and removing tiles), with the additional feature of an axle remover, and the ability to remove jumper-plates. This version of the brick separator is available in orange, dark-turquoise, and green, and is added to pretty much all medium to large LEGO sets.
A wider version of the brick separator was introduced with the LEGO Art mosaic sets in 2020. As this tool is four studs wide instead of two, it can remove more tiles and plates at once. This is very helpful when taking apart large LEGO mosaics made with LEGO tiles and plates. This tool is only available in the LEGO Art sets and only in black (as of this writing). See the LEGO Art section of the Online LEGO Shop.
The above-mentioned brick separators work great, and especially since LEGO has been including them in so many sets, they have become commonly used tools by young and old LEGO fans alike (although some of us who grew up using our teeth needed some reeducation). They can be used for taking apart a great variety of connections in a wide variety of situations.
However, as the standard brick separator is two studs wide and almost ten studs long, it could not be used in small and tight spaces. So, we still needed another tool for these connections. LEGO fans (and even LEGO designers) have been using the flat end of the minifig crowbar and screwdriver for removing single tiles and to reach into tight spaces. These little tools work well, however, because they are so small, they are a bit awkward to handle. To eliminate this problem, some people modify them in various ways to make the handles longer.
A variation of the LEGO screwdriver and crowbar is the recently introduced tile remover key that comes in several of the new LEGO DOTS sets. This little tool has the flattened end of the screwdriver and crowbar that can easily slip under tiles, and it has a heart-shaped handle. It basically looks like a small key. In fact, in the LEGO DOTS sets, it serves the dual purpose of a key and a tile remover. This tool is only available in dark-azure at this time, but I expect it will come in other colors as well in future LEGO DOTS sets.
This is a super useful little tool that’s easy to use and easy to get. If you are curious to check it out, it is available in the #41924 LEGO DOTS Secret Holder (1 key), the #41925 LEGO DOTS Secret Boxes (two keys), the #41926 LEGO DOTS Creative Party Kit (3 keys), and the four recently released LEGO DOTS Bag Tags (1 key in each). To purchase one or more of these sets, visit the LEGO DOTS section of the Online LEGO Shop.
An interesting variation of the standard LEGO brick separator is made by Mega Construx. It is similar in size as the standard LEGO brick separator, but it has some extra functions – all fully compatible with LEGO connections. I was visiting the Mega Construx factory when this tool was just introduced, and was given a copy as a gift. It’s called the nine-in-one tool, because it has nine different functions. I will describe the functions below, and I also added a video to demonstrate them. This tool was included in some of the Mega Construx Inventions sets, which are similar to LEGO Creator. Although this line has been discontinued, you can still find them on Amazon: MEGA CONSTRUX INVENTIONS SETS ON AMAZON
Here are the functions: 1.) At the top of the tool, there is a 2×2-stud plate, which serves as a slider. When the slider is pulled back, the tool works as the standard LEGO brick separator to remove plates from the top of other elements. 2.) In the same configuration, the tool can be used to remove jumper-plates (works the same way as the LEGO version). 3.) When the slider is pushed forward, two studs appear at the tip of the tool, which allows the removal of plates from underneath other elements. 4.) There is a lip at the front of the tool for removing tiles (works the same way as the LEGO version). 5.) This same lip can also be used upside down to remove tiles. This side of the lip has a different angle, so it works better in some circumstances (the LEGO version can also be used upside down in a similar manner). 6.) There is an axle remover on the right side of the tool. 7.) There is a Technic pin remover on the left side of the tool. 8.) There is a small slot at the back of the handle, which allows grabbing, twisting, and removing standard rods. 9.) There is a larger rounded slot a bit further down the handle, which allows grabbing, twisting, and removing larger bar elements (these have been very common in the Mega Construx building system, and only recently introduced in the LEGO system).
If you have been in the LEGO hobby for a while, you know how hard it is to separate some elements. Even if you never used your teeth, you likely got seriously split and cracked fingernails. The LEGO brick separator has been a game changer, especially since LEGO has been including them in all the larger sets. Most of us have several brick separators lying around as we build, with many more spare ones in our collection. The newly introduced LEGO tile remover key can be a great addition to the brick separator when you need to make adjustment in small and tight spaces. And, if you don’t have one, you can always borrow one of the prying tools from your minifigs.
What do you think? Do you use the LEGO brick separator regularly? What about the smaller tools? And what do you think of the new tile remover key? Are there any other tools you use for separating elements that you really like? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below!
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I really need that key! It seems easier to grab than the crow bar.
just order it through missing bricks, its free
How good is the mega separator? Is it working well? I think I want one! 🤗
Mega uses a slightly stiffer plastic that LEGO, so there is a somewhat different feel to the separator, but it works well.
“Mega Separator”, looks like some Transformer or superhero from the 90’s…
Almost as important as a swiss army knife. LOL! I can safely say, that we (the LEGO fans) have a lot of them. What I do. is because I keep my sets in containers that I put a few LEGO brick separators in each container. so, I will always have some available and a easy find when needed.
I do the same. And I also have strategically placed brick separators aroind my room, just in case I work in one area and need to grab one.
Why not? The newer orange ones have been ubiquitous…
Now that you mention, I like using the brick separator upside down to remove tiles. I thought I was the only one doing that. Haha! 😄
I always thought the ordinary brick separators don’t work very well for tiles; I keep a couple wrenches on my desk for that reason. But every time I have to remove 100+ tiles with a wrench (especially 1×1 round tiles…), the wrong end of the wrench starts to dig into my fingers. I can’t say I like the looks of the heart key very much, but it definitely sounds useful!
The mega tool looks handy as well. I very much like how versatile it is. I’m always having to stick bars into things in order to get other bars out and so forth.
They key to using the key… pun intended, haha… is to hold it perpendicular in your hand. You get a better grip and you can move down a row of tiles surprisingly fast. At least that’s my experience. 🙂
I prefer the oldest brick separator because you could stack two of them on top of each other to separate two plates stuck together. You can’t do that with the new one because the axle pusher is in the way.
I have to try out those keys. I don ‘t have those. The other ones I use regularly. And the MCX tool seems well thought out, but perhaps to expensive to make with that moving slider.
My brand loyalty is pretty strong, but this article inspired me to find a Mega set and try out their tool. Slightly gimmicky, but I can see how it can be a useful addition. The most helpful feature may be that the handle projects almost vertically in normal use, which could allow it to work in close quarters where Lego brick separators just don’t fit.
Yes, the angle is another feature that makes the Mega separator useful. And I also like the rod pushers. 🙂