RetroMacCast

Where great old Macs live again!

14 Nov 08

I have a number of old Macs that have rather yellowed cases -- a common condition to get them in, I know. Has anyone had any luck in restoring them to partial or full condition? If so, what method worked the best? I have a few in my collection that I'd like to spiffy up, so any good advice would be appreciated.

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Hey, I am not afraid about trying a few things, so tell me what to apply ! What annoys me most of is an uneven dying.
This topic was discussed in early RetroMacCast episodes. You might want to look for the notes on it for some links.
I actually tried to use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on a small edge of my Quadra 650 that was showing some yellowing on the front. I didn't notice any change upon using it. Apparently, the yellowing is a chemical reaction that happens to the plastics due to the environment it's been exposed to, so there's not much you can do. You might be able to sand it down, but then the case would lose its original luster and on areas where the model badge shows (Apple logo and name), you would lose the coloring for the badge.

As Wholly Mindless mentioned, it was covered an on earlier RMC episode. IIRC, it was the one where John was trying to remove some magic marker on a compact Mac that he picked up.
I have known people to paint their cases. Of course finding the right shade is the problem...
This is true, but if you're not a purist about the case color, you can get creative with the paint job. The badge us the only issue. You'd have to be REALLY careful and patient with that one.
Yes, getting the right tint and texture is a bit of a problem, but I've repainted a few cases now and, on the whole, I've been pretty happy with the results (actually, much happier than when I've used an abrasive cleaning paste). The two most recent jobs have been an Apple IIc, and an old DECwriter III hard-copy terminal.
For the IIc, I just used an off-the-shelf can of flat enamel spray paint; the colour match wasn't perfect, but the end result was much less yellow, and the light coat of paint preserved the case's texture pretty well. For the terminal, I actually brought a(n internal) piece of the unyellowed plastic in to my local hardware store, and got them to make up a batch of low-gloss enamel tinted to match my sample; to paint it, I ended up buying an AUD $40 paint sprayer, and thinning the enamel down using mineral turpentine. Due to the finer mist and the colour matching, this job turned out even better. Oh, and in both cases, I washed the plastic down, and used an all-purpose primer to prepare it for the paint job.
Hope this helps, and good luck!
I like the color matching idea. That's much better than trying to find something off the shelf that might be close.
Like this guy did? Nitrozone 5
I gotta say, I love the metallic blue and green Apple IIs. Wish he could have done something with the keys, though.
I just found this site - and I haven't looked around much yet. So I don't know if this link or info is already listed here - but I have had this bookmarked for a couple of weeks now. I plan on trying it on my ColorClassic someday.

This is a long thread - but they apparently found a way to de-yellow plastics. It involves strong hydrogen peroxide, Oxiclean and a UV light.

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?s=a558a97c28...
Let us know how it goes and if it does something bad to the finish/texture.

It'd be a bummer to pick up an old mac that claims to be in "mint" condition only to find that it's mint toothpaste... (grin)

Some of these cleaning ideas might mess up things so we need to stay on top of what problems it can cause. I don't mind it for my machines or machines that I'm not trying to sell (or buy) but I don't want people to get the idea that these machines are inferior or that they all look like cardboard boxes. Part of the love of apple was texture and surface.
In an update to my link regarding the de-yellowing process. Someone is de-yellowing some 68k macs (note the emblem removal if you decide to do this)

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?t=12566&...

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