'RetroBright' - De-Yellowing plastics

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by mAJORD, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Messages:
    9,846
    Location:
    Griffin , Brisbane
    Hey guys n Gals.

    Anyone else heard of, or tried this out on some of their gear?

    http://retr0bright.wikispaces.com/

    Essentially a collaborative effort from vintage computer folk to come up with a solution to de-yellow those 80s-90s plastics.
    I've given it my first, cautious go, and i'm stoked so far..


    [​IMG]

    The photo doesn't quite do justice compared to viewing it in the flesh (i.e the yellowed area appears more yellow in reality depending on the light source) but also Bear in mind, This is after only 2 hours sun exposure (UV) using a mild solution of 6%.. Most people are exposing for a whole day, but it seems to become tricky.

    I'm going to give it a 2nd application tommorow. and give the front of an old xt clone I have a go.

    I'm hoping repeated short applications may avoid some of the issues people have had with 'bleaching'. (check the above link)

    I'm also covering the paste in glad wrap in an attempt to prevent it drying out at all.

    The Mixture I'm using to trial is:

    300ml Hydrogen Peroixide 6% (20vol)
    2 teaspoon Xantha gum
    1/2 teaspoon Glycol (Liquid)
    1/3 teaspoon Oxy ("Activated oxygen") disolved in approx 1/3 cup water




    Discuss!....
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
  2. Haxman

    Haxman Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    1,010
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I've been looking to do this for awhile but I havn't been able to find where I can buy everything.

    Would you be able to list where you got the stuff from?
     
  3. ck_psy

    ck_psy Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Messages:
    4,236
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    try to use some windex.
    i used some on a old canon laser printer,
    and it seemed to work..

    though that might have just been grease and smudge..
     
  4. OP
    OP
    mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Messages:
    9,846
    Location:
    Griffin , Brisbane
    6% Hydrogen Peroxide and Glycol was from one of those 'chemist warehouses' I'll have to find the name.

    Xantham gum was from Flannerys natural grocerers in Chermside.

    http://www.flannerys.com.au/

    Oxy booster was from IGA ;)

    ck_psy: This method is used in an attempt to reverse the process caused by (primarily) UV reaction with Bromide fire retardent in older plastics. You have clean the parts very well before application, so perhaps windex would be good for prep
     
  5. Reaper

    Reaper Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    11,358
    Location:
    Brisbane, Qld, Australia
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
  6. Haxman

    Haxman Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    1,010
    Location:
    Melbourne
    So how did it go after you did more coats of it?
     
  7. OP
    OP
    mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Messages:
    9,846
    Location:
    Griffin , Brisbane
    I haven't had a chance to give it another coatr yet!

    I couldn't mess up the laundry that day, but will soon
     
  8. OP
    OP
    mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Messages:
    9,846
    Location:
    Griffin , Brisbane
    I hadn't updated this as I didn't want to cross post too much, but Iv'e done a few keyboards since last, I thought i'd put the results here also..

    In both cases I used the same mixture, just varied the method slightly to avoid the bleaching/ attacking of the plastic seen in the first example.

    I used glad wrap after coating to prevent drying out

    This was my Copam president AT keyboard..

    This run resulted in some attacking of the plastic (fairly minor and only noticable on the dark keys)

    BEFORE AND AFTER
    [​IMG]

    attacking up close:
    [​IMG]

    Now, the interesting thing is.. I used this mix on an OVERCAST day , actually no, TWO overcast days for the entire day(s) and because of the lack of UV, aborted mission and washed all the mix off.

    At this pt, no damage whatsoever was noted, only minor 'deyellowing' (not enough)

    So I repeated the process on a very sunny day, and de-yellowing occured in only a few hours.. however, the bleaching effect was evident.


    where i think I went wrong is

    A: too much OXY
    B. not disolvingthe oxy enough.. I notices some 'dot's of bleaching on some keys when viewed up close
    C. too intense UV.


    Take 2.. 386 Keyboard.

    This time I disolved the oxy a lot bette,r and only added completely disolved mixture.

    I also did this in the 1-4-oclock sun, and periodicly (every 5-10min) removed the parts from the direct sunlight to cool off a little.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    The after picture doesn't really do justice.. I adjust the levels to match the mouses colour in the before picture, It really did come out a lot better. Almost 100% as good as the orignal colour on the inside of the facia.

    there was absolutley no bleaching of the plastic.. almost a perfect run.
     
  9. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    37,491
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Beautiful stuff, thanks for sharing the successes.

    I've got a couple of SNES units that are in dire need of a de-yellowing.
     
  10. xsive

    xsive Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    4,342
    Perhaps it's just the adjustment of the colours in the second set of photos, but the "bleached" keyboard looks much better than the "unbleached".

    Either way, thanks for sharing! Like elvis I have a SNES in need of de-yellowing and a couple of NES dogbone controllers.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Messages:
    9,846
    Location:
    Griffin , Brisbane
    not quite sure which image you're refering to :)

    I adjusted the levels on the last picture only, though I'm looking at it again now and I probably shouldn't have, it's definatly whiter than that IRL.. might look at it on another monitor
     
  12. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    59,398
    Location:
    brisbane
    good results looks amazing reckon my Amiga 500 is going to get this treatment sooner rather than later.

    good work and thanks for the update.
     
  13. xsive

    xsive Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    4,342
    I was comparing your first effort to your second. The first looks better and I don't see any bleaching.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Messages:
    9,846
    Location:
    Griffin , Brisbane
    ahh got ya

    looks like I forgot the closeup pic of the dark keys, this shows the effect..

    [​IMG]

    side by side the first attempt is slightly whiter, but not as much as in the above pic.
     
  15. xsive

    xsive Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    4,342
    Keys are easily replaced :p

    The keyboard casing looks terrific however (the second effort is a bit muddied imo). Perhaps different strength solutions are more suitable for some parts than others?
     
  16. Reaper

    Reaper Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    11,358
    Location:
    Brisbane, Qld, Australia
  17. OP
    OP
    mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Messages:
    9,846
    Location:
    Griffin , Brisbane
    wow, sounds good! Im in the same boat as you for the weather hehe. Did you get any more odne today?
     
  18. mugginz

    mugginz Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Messages:
    540
    Location:
    Victoria
    I've got a couple of Vic20's I've been meaning to Retrobrite but this sounds much easier.
     
  19. TERRA Operative

    TERRA Operative Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    6,925
    Location:
    Niraikanai
    How effective would this stuff be on polycarb headlights? I've got about 4 sets spare for my Levin, and they're all suffering from various shades of yellow.
     
  20. Reaper

    Reaper Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    11,358
    Location:
    Brisbane, Qld, Australia
    Yes, I put the same thing I did friday, (case blank from my at desktop), with a case blank from my hx45 case, it was a 3.5" one that, compared to the rest of the case had become very much more noticibly yellowed.

    I put them in at about 9-ish this morning, I used some coles homebrand oxy "nappy" cleaner, 4%oxy and ~35% sodium percabonate. I put two lid fulls into a chinese takeout container, disolved as much as I could in hot water, then topped it with cold.

    Left in the sun to around 2pm, I then went and checked it, I couldn't really tell in the light at the time how it was going, but there was a buildup of "powder" on the plastics, it just rubbed off as it was just undissolved nappy powder stuff, and I left it then to about 6.

    I've just given it a wash which is dead easy under regular water, stuff comes off easy, no gloves needed, very safe, and now comparing the plastics to each case they came from, they're practically original colours again.

    I'll be able to tell much more accurately tomorrow though as these damn fluoro lights screw my colour vision up, as in everything looks much whiter than it really is.

    Dunno on this as for one, polycarbonate weakens significantly from chemicals, and two, the original "recipe" as such caused clear plastics to cloud. Definitly still at your own risk as it still involves hydrogen peroxide; sodium percarbonate releases hydrogen peroxide when wet.


    Yea, I would have liked to photograph it, but I don't have a camera to do it justice.

    I do have a keyboard here that I might try next, the keys are still bone white, but the casing is yellow. I'll need to get another container to suit it, but I might be able to capture differences with my crap camera. But I'm sure someone else can try it too that can take good pictures. :)
     

Share This Page

Advertisement: