Tag Archives: cintiq

How to Fix and Repair Scratches on a Wacom Cintiq 21ux

Extreme circumstances call for extreme measures.

The screen you see in the photos is a pressure sensitive drawing tablet manufactured by a company called Wacom. It is the industry standard technology for producing digital art. The way it works is that you use a pressure sensitive pen (just like the one in the picture) and you draw directly on the screen in programs such as Adobe Photoshop, or Corel Painter. It is quite an expensive toy, running around $2000.

The problem: After a while  the screen started to scratch. It got so bad that I could barely see what I was drawing.

The solution: After hunting around the Internet I found out that the model I own (see comments below) is actually a glass screen covered by a thin layer of plastic. It is the plastic that scratched, not the screen. I was not interested in dealing with the manufacturer, losing work days, and paying a significant sum to fix it. So I followed some blogger’s suggestion and peeled off the plastic layer. This was a little difficult because it is glued onto the glass, but it can be done. Then, using GooGone and a soft rag, I slowly and methodically removed the glue. I found that waiting a little after applying the Goo Gone allowed the glue to dry a little, creating enough friction so that I could rub it off with the skin of my finger ( the glue, not my skin).

The result: As of now the screen is clear and perfect. The only downside is that it’s a little more reflective than before. I am considering getting a screen cover which is available online, but I don’t think the glass will scratch as easily as the plastic did.

Disclaimer: I take no blame for anyone who tries this method on their own machine. There might less risky solutions out there, but I haven’t found any.

Update 12/28/11: It’s a month and a half since I took off the plastic. I am not using any protective covering and there are absolutely no scratches on the screen. One thing though, the screen is very, very, very, smooth. You are really drawing on glass. It took time to get used to it. I would still like to find something to put over the glass that would make some resistance.

Another point: I have gotten over 300 hits on this post in the last month alone! That means many people all over the world are looking for a solution to this problem. HOW IS WACOM GETTING AWAY WITH THIS! This is a $2000 item! Artists should stop suffering in silence and join together to force Wacom to take responsibility for this ridiculous issue. They barely acknowledge it on their website.

Update: 1/13/2012: Here are several links to people who have done the same solution of peeling off the screen’s top layer:

http://boards.core77.com/viewtopic.php?t=18620 look for: cjs

http://bferoumont.blogspot.be/2013/03/reparer-les-griffes-dune-cintiq-21-ux.html ( 2013 – In French with pictures of the process)

Discussion of the new Wacom Companion surface and other models  ( look for Yuureikun, read the next few pages – overall thorough review of new Companion from many angles)

After much research it is becoming more and more clear to me that this is a problem specific to Cintiq models that were put out in the 2009 period (that’s when I bought mine).

Check your warranty before you try this solution, After you scrape off the top layer it feels like you are drawing on glass.

Important Update 3/7/2012: I have recently contacted Wacom about this issue by phone and email.

 I have spoken to several staff including managers. The response so far has been that they are not responsible for scratches that appear on the screen, even during warranty. The only thing they could do was offer to repair my screen for $200 plus shipping ( of course that would mean a significant amount of days off work.)

In no way did they acknowledge that there was a manufacturing mistake with the coating on Cintiq screens produced during the 2009-2010 period.

 I believe they are lying.

 I get hits from all over the world everyday on this blog from people looking for solutions to their screen scratch problems. I have found several sources on the Internet that all point in the same direction: They experimented with a new screen coating on Cintiq’s produced during 2009-2010. It was a terrible mistake because the coatings scratched in no time, and now they are covering it up.

If you had the same experience please comment on this blog.

If you know others with Cintiqs from that period please share this with them by Facebook or any other means and tell them to sign on.

Update 11/3/13: I have seen another less invasive solution for minor scratches – simply place a protective plastic screen cover over the Cintiq and you won’t feel the scratch with your pen when you go over it. (see comments for recommendations)

If the scratches are bad and affect clarity aside from disturbing strokes, or you are to lazy to buy a cover, than just take off the plastic. Either way I recommend using a screen cover, so the sensible approach would be to buy a cover, see if solves the problem, and if not just pull off the plastic.

Wacom says the screen covers cause the unit to overheat and therefore voids warranty (very convenient for them to discourage protection against scratches) but that has not been my experience. I us it all day with the protective cover, summer, winter, no problem- again use your own judgment. Of course always change your nibs regularly if you are using the original plastic coating, but I have barely had to change my nib since I started using my own cover.

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Posted in Equipment and supplies, Tutorials | Tagged , , , , | 70 Comments