Fixing a broken Herman miller chair

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alexdingley
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Fixing a broken Herman miller chair

Post by alexdingley » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:24 pm

Hey there,

So... It may not have vu meters.... But my chair is a pretty essential piece of studio gear. Recently, i had a bit of an ordeal with my studio sitting machine. This post is just a story of how my chair broke, how i got duped, and I hope to fix it... If interested; read on.

Getting the chair
If you've read a recording magazine, you've seen one... So of course I saved up and bought one a couple of years ago. I heard a radio ad for a company selling the Herman Miller chairs at nice prices, so I called and ordered. The guy who took my order was a bit short with me over the phone, but I tried not to take offense. The chair arrived, and I assembled it (which just means putting on the back) in a few minutes. I was really happy.

The issue
Using the chair in mt home studio, I kept noticing that the little bolt on the right of the seat bucket would work it's way loose. Very annoying! I'd simply use an Allen wrench to tighten it back in place. It would be fine for a couple of months, then it would come loose again.

My solution
I bought some lock-tite at the hardware store and applied that to the bolt about a year ago. It held just fine until recently.

The death of my chair
I noticed the bolt coming out again, and then i tightened it one last time... The next time I sat down, the chair's seat fell apart! The metal nut I'd been tightening a bolt into finally stripped itself out of the housing... The only fix i can think of is using some serious epoxy or resin and let it set for a couple of days before i try to rebuild the chair. I looked up replacement parts n the web and a new seat is $328 from an authorized service place.

Warranty???
So then i remembered a friend sayng that the Herman miller chairs all carry a 12 year warranty... Great news! So I called up the company I bought the chair from, and explained the issue. They wanted to charge me over $120 for a replacement part!!! I turned that option down.

Conclusion
...it turns out that hightechseating.com sells used or rebuilt chairs with no serial numbers (sticker ripped off of the bottom) at a mild discount. I got hosed on this one... But if I can fix it with epoxy, I'll post the results. Chances are, there will be another sucker like me buying aeron chairs for his studio.

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Gregg Juke
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Post by Gregg Juke » Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:15 pm

Hey not about chairs, but... I just noticed your avatar.

Is that George Washington Karate-kicking a British Redcoat in-half?

Just wondering.


GJ

Tyler
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Post by Tyler » Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:37 pm

If there is enough metal left over (and it wouldn't take much) you could drill out the threads with a bit slightly larger than the stripped out hole and cut new threads. A tap set is great to have around, but it would be easy to get an individual tap and a matching bolt at the same store.
For that matter, you could fill the stripped out hole with J-B Weld and drill/tap that to fit the bolt you already have.
Maybe I'm just too ready to buy new tools? But just think; if you already had a tap and die set this would be taken care of. You would just have to remember which tool box the set is in.
If you have two solid surfaces, epoxy really is pretty awesome. Just break out the clamp duffel-bag.

So. How do you like Dr. McNinja's portrayal of Benjamin Franklin?
http://drmcninja.com/archives/comic/4p12

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Snarl 12/8
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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:07 pm

If this is just thick-ass sheet metal, you could drill it out and instead of tapping that again, just get a longer screw and screw through it into a nut? I can't see it, so no idea if that would work in reality. I just really wanted to post my favorite George Washington story....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqzUI1ihfpk
Carl Keil

Almost forgot: Please steal my drum tracks. and more.

The Scum
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Post by The Scum » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:05 pm

You say you pursued the warranty with the shady vendor. Have you tried H/M directly?

Alternatively, browse the fender repair aisle at the auto parts shop. JBWeld is the first thing that comes to mind, there may be something similar that's even better.

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alexdingley
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Ideas

Post by alexdingley » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:01 am

Hey all,

Thanks for the ideas... I should have taken pics first... But last night I filled the plastic molding with loctite epoxy, and it seemed to dissolve and bubble-up the plastic into a thick froth. I screwed the metal receiving thread into the froth... Scooped out some excess, and I'm letting it set for a day or two.

And yes Greg, he'll kick you apart... He'll kick you apart!

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alexdingley
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Post by alexdingley » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:08 am

The Scum wrote:You say you pursued the warranty with the shady vendor. Have you tried H/M directly?

Alternatively, browse the fender repair aisle at the auto parts shop. JBWeld is the first thing that comes to mind, there may be something similar that's even better.

Hey The Scum,

I did actually give them a holler last night, and they explained that the chairs sold through HighTechSeating.com are all used or defects, and since that company rips the serial number off the chairs... They cannot offer warranty coverage. They also explained that they have been trying to get the company shut down, though it's a tough battle... Bummer. But they did point me to a service provider in Ca who offered me a chair-seat replacement part for $269.

If my epoxy fix doesn't hold, I'll just pony up and buy a proper seat.

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Brian
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Post by Brian » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:10 pm

Ya know, you can buy one from a local used office furniture supply joint. I bought two a few years back, and they were already old, and they both still work.
Harumph!

ckeene
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Post by ckeene » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:56 pm

I love the George Washington video. The part about not saving the British children is my favorite.

But I have nothing to contribute about fixing your chair, sorry.

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Re: Fixing a broken Herman miller chair

Post by mattbillenstein » Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:45 pm

So re fixing the chair hip bolt stripping out of the plastic -- I'm on my third repair now, what I've learned is that regular epoxy doesn't hold well, and Loctite plastic epoxy bonder holds better, but since the hole is approximately a cylinder, it's hard to get something to hold that doesn't bond to the plastic very well.

But what I think has actually fixed this is using a dremel tool to expand the inside of the hole in the plastic -- it's now tapers to a larger diameter from the entrance. By expanding the inside part of the hole and leaving the outside the same diameter you get a mechanical hold since once you fill that void with epoxy and the original threaded insert, it would have to break out of the surrounding plastic since the ball of epoxy is now larger than the outside diameter of the hole. It's a bit hard to explain, but the epoxy itself is very strong and it mechanically bonds with the threaded insert, so making it mechanically bond to the plastic in the chair is the key.

It's been holding for a week now and if you have the tools, it's not that difficult of a repair.

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