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Harmonesica 2: The Harmonesicing

Page 1: Laying It All Out

Nintendo cartridges are notoriously hard to open. Nintendo used these special screws that no toolbox carries by default, and the three bastards live down deep where my pliers can't reach.

Location of NES cart screws

I came across a page with instructions on opening a NES cart and decided to try that as Plan A. The process is simple enough and the materials even simpler: melt a plastic golf tee around the screw, allow it to set, and use that to open the cart.

Cart opening supplies

I had some extra golf tees lying around (don't ask), so in a matter of minutes I was ready to melt my first NEStool and wait I don't think this is plastic OH SHI

The golf tee was wood. Wood is flammable.

I didn't photo-document the next part, but over the next two days I procured and then attempted to melt three or four plastic golf tees. Precisely none of them set like the Internet said they would. All I got for my trouble was a kitchen full of burnt-plastic fumes and a permanent oily stain on my oven hood's fan.

That's never coming out

I bit the bullet and ordered an official-ish tool from Nintendo Repair Shop. Three postal days later I was back in business and...oh. Hm.

Security bit with no handle

Maybe I can use this other screwdriver handle I have to get enough torque...nope. The screw's not budging.

This handle didn't work

The only way I found to get it to work was to hold it sideways and turn the thing with my bare hand.

Manual labor

Less than a minute later, Tecmo Super Bowl spread its naked bounty before me. You'll notice that a NES cartridge contains plenty of empty space in which to store your nostalgia. Also note the ridge near the bottom opening on the left half. There's a matching ridge on the right half under the circuit board, and they're going to get in our way.

School of grouper

Pick your favorite Dremel grinding/cutting attachment and let's get this party started.

The Dremel has landed

Page 3: Grinding and Screwing