Repair a Z6 peeling rubber grip with Sugru

Started 10 months ago | Discussions
jthomas39 Regular Member • Posts: 480
Repair a Z6 peeling rubber grip with Sugru
7

My Z6 had the usual rubber wear spots, near the F1 F2 buttons, and at the bottom corner where it sits on my palm. It wasn't bad enough to try to get it fixed under warranty.

Using Sugru

I got some Sugru for another repair project, and realized it might work on the Z6. So I did a quick patch test on the Z6, and it didn't come off. A few weeks later, I opened another pack and did a better repair.

Sugru is a flexible silicone rubber that sets up in 24 hours after air exposure. It's a strong adhesive, and also a fairly stiff rubber material. I had put off trying it, since the packs expire in about a year. But keeping them in the fridge, they can last three years before opening.

I had a few other small projects ready, to use up the rest of the pack: molding a bigger zipper pull on my winter jacket, and patching a worn seam on bike shorts. I molded a little bump on a USB cable plug so I know which side is correct--nice! I have about 30 minutes to finish the repairs.

I suggest using a pack for less cosmetic repairs before attempting the Z6 repair. The "press globs and smear with fingers" technique needs a little practice.

Z6 repair

The corner wear points, with my first quick test patch on the corner--I didn't try to cover it completely. The Z6 rubber's peeling edges are ugly, and they tend to keep peeling more, too.

I used a tiny piece of 320 sandpaper to remove the temporary patch and smooth the peeling edges. And help with adhesion. Then I wiped it all down with isopropyl alcohol on a rag and let it dry for an hour.

After smoothing with sandpaper. I was careful not to scratch the buttons. I used a folded, fingernail sized piece of sandpaper. No lens, just the Z6 cover for better access here.

A Sugru pack. I'll only use a small bit of this on the camera. The rest went for the other repairs I had ready to go.

I had this much left after the camera repair.

Press blobs and smooth them out.

The Sugru website has videos on repair ideas. Their technique of pressing small blobs and then smoothing / smearing with a finger works great. I pressed hard and spread these out, then added more small blobs as needed. I thought a putty knife might be helpful, but I never used it. Finger tips work better.

Have some paper towels ready to clean off your fingers during the repair session.

Smearing it out. Almost done.

I wasn't looking for perfection, I just want it protected from more wear. I suggest having some clean rags, of various materials, like terry cloth, etc. Press them onto the surface to give it a bit of texture at the end of the process. My fingerprint texture was reasonable, though.

Done! I waited the full 24 hours to harden. It actually looks better than this photo shows. The light normally doesn't reflect off the patch toward my eye, and the color matches very well. Texturing the patch surface would be even better.

I didn't spend much time on smoothing this area. It good enough, and it's kind of hidden down there.

I've only used the camera for a few sessions since then, but so far, it's working great. It was worth doing. I think the Sugru will resist wear better than the Z6 rubber did.

Nikon Z6
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
AprilSum Regular Member • Posts: 117
Re: Repair a Z6 peeling rubber grip with Sugru
2

Thanks for the detailed information. That reminds me to buy a camera case to avoid the worn.

Digital Shutterbug Veteran Member • Posts: 5,273
Re: Repair a Z6 peeling rubber grip with Sugru
1

Thank you for taking the time to document your procedure with the photos, and then writing it up. You did a very nice job of the repairs. You took the usage of Sugru to a new level. Good for you.

Please let us know sometime in the future how it holds up.

-- hide signature --

Steve

jimhughes
jimhughes Senior Member • Posts: 1,541
Re: Repair a Z6 peeling rubber grip with Sugru
1

AprilSum wrote:

Thanks for the detailed information. That reminds me to buy a camera case to avoid the worn.

-- hide signature --

www.jimhphoto.com

This problem isn't caused by wear. Mine failed in exactly the same spots within a few weeks of occasional use. I hadn't even touched those buttons.

gnet158 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,082
Re: Repair a Z6 peeling rubber grip with Sugru

I just picked up my Z6, how common of a problem is this?  Wonder how much Nikon would charge for the re-grip.

-- hide signature --

I got to get out and shoot more.

 gnet158's gear list:gnet158's gear list
Nikon D3 Nikon D200 Nikon D7100 Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition +3 more
jimhughes
jimhughes Senior Member • Posts: 1,541
Re: Repair a Z6 peeling rubber grip with Sugru
1

gnet158 wrote:

I just picked up my Z6, how common of a problem is this? Wonder how much Nikon would charge for the re-grip.

-- hide signature --

www.jimhphoto.com

I tried a aupport ticket and included photos of the bad spots. Got a worhtless canned reply saying you have to send in the camera for them to determine if any problem is covered by warranty.

They're not talking about this problem. I think some guys got new rubber under warranty and others were charged.

OP jthomas39 Regular Member • Posts: 480
Re: Repair a Z6 peeling rubber grip with Sugru

jimhughes wrote:

This problem isn't caused by wear. Mine failed in exactly the same spots within a few weeks of occasional use. I hadn't even touched those buttons.

The worn spots near the F1 & F2 are from my fingertips and fingernails. I have long fingers, and the fingertips touch there. If my nails aren't really short, they scratch the rubber.

This area near the F1 & F2 was peeling long before the bottom corner started, probably within a month or so from my purchase. But it didn't get much worse after that.

I'm often carrying the camera at my side, with the first joint of my thumb on the thumb grip, and the tips of my middle finger and ring finger are bearing most of the weight. That's right where it had the wear spots. Those nails are touching the rubber covering there.

~~~~

Digital Shutterbug wrote:

Thank you for taking the time to document your procedure with the photos, and then writing it up. You did a very nice job of the repairs. You took the usage of Sugru to a new level. Good for you.

Please let us know sometime in the future how it holds up.

I'll report back in a few months, or at patch failure!

~~~~

gnet158 wrote:

I just picked up my Z6, how common of a problem is this? Wonder how much Nikon would charge for the re-grip.

It's been a recurring complaint last year. My Z6 is 15 months old. Perhaps they've modified the rubber cover? I don't think I've seen a recent thread on this.

I saw threads where the person got it replaced under warranty. But I didn't want to send in the camera and wait, even if it's free. And that works the first year or so, but what about afterwards?

sdias Contributing Member • Posts: 519
Re: Repair a Z6 peeling rubber grip with Sugru

jthomas39 wrote:

It's been a recurring complaint last year. My Z6 is 15 months old. Perhaps they've modified the rubber cover? I don't think I've seen a recent thread on this.

I saw threads where the person got it replaced under warranty. But I didn't want to send in the camera and wait, even if it's free. And that works the first year or so, but what about afterwards?

This issue from what I see is a faulty camera or a faulty design. Looks more of a design issue, use of faulty/cheap material.  Where I live the camera needs to be replaced under consumer law regardless of warranty.

PeterJohan Regular Member • Posts: 204
Re: Repair a Z6 peeling rubber grip with Sugru
1

You 'd expect this to happen after ten years intensive use or so, not after a year already. For me this really is a reason not wanting to buy a Z6 or Z7. Any Z50 users have the same complaints?

gnet158 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,082
Re: Repair a Z6 peeling rubber grip with Sugru

Do you guys recall the grip staining or discoloration of the D200's?  I still have mine and my grips looks as good as new.

I don't feel a major difference on the quality of grips on my Z6.  The cool thing was it came with the 3.0 updated firmware from new.  I did have to upgrade the firmware on the kit lens tho.

-- hide signature --

I got to get out and shoot more.

 gnet158's gear list:gnet158's gear list
Nikon D3 Nikon D200 Nikon D7100 Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition +3 more
OP jthomas39 Regular Member • Posts: 480
Re: Repair a Z6 peeling rubber grip with Sugru

The very thin, textured surface layer peels off the base layer(s). That was the main problem with mine. I wonder if the base layer or layers would hold up without more wear? When I used the fine sandpaper prep, it didn't seem to be peeling off any more layers.

I suppose the surface layer is there to give a good grip and a nice appearance. I am wondering if they've changed the formula to improve it's durability, since there's not many complaints recently.

~~~

My road bike brake hoods are made of extremely sturdy rubber, very difficult to damage.  But after many hours of holding onto the hoods, the surface texture is completely worn smooth.  So even a very sturdy rubber would look worn and shiny after a while.

OP jthomas39 Regular Member • Posts: 480
Re: Repair a Z6 peeling rubber grip with Sugru

Three months later: The repair is fine, with no wear or peeling. I haven't been shooting as much this summer, though.

EDIT--5 months in.  No change to the repairs.  Good!

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads