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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Well, since this news broke on the Amiga forums over at
eab.abime.net, it looks like a
lot of people have been using hydrogen peroxide to restore their now-yellowed computer cases to their former, grey glory. After my initial attempts to find an aqueous solution of H
2O
2 failed (it seems that it's not as common as it once was here in Australia), I tried using some peroxide gel that I found at a hairdressers; while the general consensus is that the gels don't give as consistent a finish as the liquid, it's a nice, cheaper alternative to buying tub-loads of the pure(r) stuff. See the post over at
www.vintage-computer.com for a nice summary. And, for what it's worth, here's a little before and after shot of the Apple Adjustable Keyboard I picked up a couple of days ago... (Pardon the white balance, but you get the idea - the left half shows the original colour, while the space bar and the right bezel shows the final result.)

That looks AMAZING - both the keyboard and the results.
That's great progress Peter. I'm curious as to what process you used. Please post your final results.
Looks great - remember to protect that little apple logo on the left. The process might remove the paint. I can't wait to try this as well - as soon as I get the time.
Did it soften up the plastic at all? I think there were some concerns about that.

I've also heard that you might want to use a little bit of "Armor-All" (UV protectant) to try to prevent the yellowing from re-occurring. (but check that someplace inconspicuous first in case it messes things up.
No it didn't – the texture and hardness (plasticity?) was unaffected by the peroxide paste, though I seem to remember some comments that an excessively long treatment might make the plastics more brittle. As for the Armor-All (or the Australian equivalent), I might look into it but don't those sorts of chemicals leave a nice oily residue? (Guess it depends on where I end up keeping the restored parts and cases.)

As for Murray's comment re: the logo, thanks for the warning, but I usually just pop (or otherwise remove) the logos before repainting or 'bleaching' the cases.
Peter, would you mind posting a photo of this gel your purchased, as well as details about where the exact same formula can be found. The form of hydrogen peroxide you used has some incredible results!

So you've not find any down sides to using it at all? (Changes to surface texture, natural shine of the plastic going matte, etc.)

I assume you first cleaned the keyboard with something like 409 and then applied the gel for an extended period of time? What other yellowed items, other than the keyboard, have you tried the gel on?

Thanks.
just as an update on this stuff you might like to follow these links

"RetrObrite" http://retr0bright.wikispaces.com/
and Amibay http://www.amibay.com/viewtopic.php?f=88&t=1645&hilit=Retr0...
That is totally awesome.
found this today on a Newton mailing list (yes, there are still a few of us out there) reposted from an Amiga list (a few of those, too, apparently:

http://retr0bright.wikispaces.com/

before/after looks reaaaally good.

plus, there's a recipe on the site (http://retr0bright.wikispaces.com/Retr0Bright+Gel ) so you don't have to guess at proportions.

my mellow yellow SE/30 is looking more and more like my next project machine now...
All:

Be careful about the percentage of Hydrogen Peroxide that you are using. I've found that my compact Macs need very little Hydrogen Peroxide (less than 3%) in the solution to effectively de-yellow the plastic. Also - I'm not a big fan of Armorall. I find the stuff to be wet looking and greasy to the touch. I've been using 303 Aerospace Protectant - leaves an even/natural finish and no grease/slick feel. Additionally, it contains UV protection. I highly recommend it.

I've posted details and pictures of my adventures in de-yellowing two Mac 512Ks here: http://68kmla.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=9381

Charlie
Looks great Charlie! You couldn't ask for better results. So that is just regular pharmacy H2O2?

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