It happens on all old computers, and even some not-so-old computers. The rubber pads that sit on the bottom of Commodore 64s to protect the desk surface and keep it from sliding around can fall off, liquify, or otherwise go missing. But even though the last ever C-64 was built sometime in early 1994, you can still get Commodore 64 replacement rubber feet. Here’s how.
Hardware store options for Commodore 64 replacement rubber feet
You can walk into any hardware store and pick up a package of adhesive rubber bumper pads. Hardware stores sell them because people put them on cabinet doors to keep them from slamming. They might be the wrong shape and the wrong color, but they’ll work. Just pick up a package of 1/2-inch diameter, 3/16-inch high bumper pads or surface bumpers, or the closest you can find. Outside the United States, a 12mm diameter, 4.5mm-high pad would be very close.
This commonly available type isn’t quite a perfect match height wise, but it’s pretty close. If you’re not concerned about originality, these are fine. A package of 16 should cost you around $3, giving you enough for the computer and the disk drive.
Save your originals!
I’m not a stickler for originality, though I will admit it makes me sad when I see a Youtuber do a “restoration” and part of the process involves prying off three good rubber feet to give way for four new clear ones he bought at Home Depot. That said, when the new clear ones aren’t quite the right height, you don’t necessarily have much choice unless you want the machine to wobble.
I do have one C-64 I bought in the wild that was missing all four. But it’s much more common to see a machine that’s missing one or two of them. So when you pry off some originals, save them in a parts drawer. That way, when you encounter a machine that’s missing one or two, you can complete it with originals from your stash. The 1541 uses the same pads as the C-64.
But ultimately, it’s your equipment and your decision. Some would say my use of 65C22 chips in 1541s isn’t proper. But I do save the 6522s I replace, assuming they still work.
Original-looking Commodore 64 replacement rubber feet
If you want your replacement rubber feet to look original, that’s doable. Get rubber feet that are 1/2 inch in diameter, 3/16 of an inch tall, and have tapered or beveled sides, rather than being a semicircle or hemisphere shape. This Ebay search will get you close. Look for black bumpers, and double check the dimensions of any round ones that look promising. Sometimes people don’t give the details in the title and you have to look in the description.
Plundering replacements from other gear
It turns out that a Dell laptop that I own uses feet that are the same size as the C-64. They aren’t quite a perfect match, shape-wise, but I plundered the remaining feet off that laptop to complete some Commodore gear, then put hardware store replacements on the Dell. They were a closer match for the C-64 than the hardware store stuff.
I’ve also salvaged replacements from an old router. In some cases the height is correct even if they’re a bit more narrow. In use, the height is more important.
Many people salvage screws and connectors from discarded consumer electronics, but take a look at those rubber pads too.
If you don’t have a small parts organizer, get one. If you’re like me and nobody ever knows what to get you for birthday gifts or other gift-giving occasions, ask for one of those. It makes it much easier to keep parts on hand for repairs, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can use 40 compartments in an organizer when you sort your salvaged parts by application. Then you’ll be able to find the right part when you need it, quickly.
Reattaching used rubber feet from Commodores or other equipment
The adhesive on the rubber feet on computer equipment is fairly robust and you can reuse it once or twice, but eventually it starts to fail. Scrape off the remaining adhesive and rubber from the affected area. Sometimes you’ll need a solvent to remove the remaining adhesive. Everyone has their favorite solvent and I’m sure I’ll get roasted in the comments regardless of what I recommend, but naphtha or lighter fluid works better than alcohol. It does a better job of penetrating the adhesive and it’s less likely to damage the plastic if you have to leave it on for a long time.
To reattach, apply some double-sided tape to the used rubber pad and cut away the excess so it fits. Then stick the pad into the recessed area on the underside of the unit. You can use glue, but two-sided tape is much easier to clean up if the pad ever gets damaged and you have to replace it again.
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.