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Restoring a brick

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Restoring a brick

Postby arc » Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:36 am

In my other hobby sometimes I have to refinish things, or barring that, sand them down and repaint them.

I'm curious if anyone has devised a clever method for refurbishing Lego Bricks which are a little worn. Since it's ABS plastic, I'm wondering if a gentle hand sanding with 1200+ grit sandpaper wouldn't do it, or maybe a turn of a polishing wheel with the old Dremel tool, or a combination thereof. This is assuming of course you don't want or need to preserve any printed elements, stickers, etc.

I wouldn't really want to paint them because then they wouldn't be a real Lego color.
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Postby kelderic » Wed Oct 03, 2007 2:28 am

You might try asking this question in the Castle Customs Forum, or asking an Admin move it there. Or try PMing Lamanda2, she is a very skilled customizer, and should be able to help you out.

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Postby KarenJ » Wed Oct 03, 2007 2:52 am

I frequently have this problem with white elements. I thought I read on the Lego website that they recommended putting them in the sun for up to a week- but I suspect it was sunlight that yellowed mine in the first place.

I also got a lot of blue elements off ebay and the color differences are pretty stark. Some of that blue is downright dingy.

I think "a gentle hand sanding with 1200+ grit sandpaper" is a good idea. Maybe try it with one really worn brick and see what happens. Stay away from the top & bottom of the brick.
Too much, though, and one could ruin the size standard- cuz you'd actually be sanding off a layer of ABS.

Regular bricks that are worn and discolored are good to use in supportive/unseen roles.

Special bricks are another story.
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Postby architect » Wed Oct 03, 2007 3:07 am

KarenJ wrote:I frequently have this problem with white elements. I thought I read on the Lego website that they recommended putting them in the sun for up to a week- but I suspect it was sunlight that yellowed mine in the first place.


You can place yellowed white elements in a closed container with hydrogen peroxide (3% solution found at pharmacies) for a month and it will take out most of the yellowing. Of course the container needs to be sealed from light and air during this time period.

Brasso is commonly used to remove printing from LEGO elements. This might also work as a mild abrasive similar to fine sand paper.

Since this topic is about restoring all LEGO bricks, and not customizing castle elements and figures, it is fine in General LEGO.

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Postby arc » Wed Oct 03, 2007 7:35 am

architect wrote:Since this topic is about restoring all LEGO bricks, and not customizing castle elements and figures, it is fine in General LEGO.

Ben


Yeah I wasn't wanting to customize or bastardize, just restore.

Maybe I need to get some very, very fine sandpaper and my Dremel tool out and just go for it.
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Postby KarenJ » Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:35 pm

architect, Thank you. I'm going to try that.

There is product called "Maas", which is a very fine polishing compound- almost like a jeweler's rouge. Also, there's "Simichrome" which is also very fine. I wonder if that would work? Wouldn't want anything with too much abrasive.
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Postby RotsiserMho » Wed Jan 09, 2008 6:37 pm

arc, I'd be interested in hearing how your 'experiments' turned out. I recently bought a large lot of sets off of ebay that could do to be cleaned and polished if possible.
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Postby Traveler » Sat Jan 12, 2008 6:23 am

Be careful with your dremel, I think you could easily take away too much material and cause a loose or at least not quite right fit with other bricks. LEGO is designed to pretty strict dimensions and even a little off of the sides could be significant.
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Postby Asterios » Sat Jan 12, 2008 6:40 am

hmm let me see replacement brick costs about .10 on avg. refurbishing said brick takes 30-60 minutes(maybe more) . . . . . . hmmmmm



Time to order another brick :P
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Postby Stephen » Sat Jan 12, 2008 4:30 pm

I've found that a little toothpaste and a soft cloth will restore the shine to a dull brick. It will take off the grime, light scratches and some of the yellowing.

Be careful, because it will remove the printing after about 10 minutes of rubbing.

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Postby Jibbajaba » Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:20 pm

Asterios wrote:hmm let me see replacement brick costs about .10 on avg. refurbishing said brick takes 30-60 minutes(maybe more) . . . . . . hmmmmm


Do you ever contribute positively to discussions around here, or are you just here to be a smart mouth and waste space? I'm sorry if I am violating the TOS by saying that, but I would think that you would have learned something after getting banned for a day last week. Maybe I shouldn't be saying anything since I am a relative newbie/lurker, but your posts get really annoying after awhile.

Maybe the bricks this guy is talking about are not the common 0.10/ea variety. Or maybe he doesn't want to throw out perfectly good Lego when a little bit of elbow grease will restore them.

If you don't have something helpful to say about the discussion at hand, then why are you posting? All of your posts on this forum seem to be either you being a smart mouth, or you posting your theories about how some set that has been out for 4 months is already being discontinued and then arguing with an admin about it.

In regards to the topic at hand, sanding the brick would help remove the scratches and remove the layer of discolored ABS plastic, but it will also dull the brick. Hitting it with a polishing wheel on your dremel may restore the shine (I'll have to try that myself.) In any case, I think it would have to be a 2 step process, because I can't see you removing the discoloration and keeping the shine in one step.

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Postby boses » Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:27 pm

It won't clean your bricks, but a can of pressurized air removes most dust and pet hair quickly and easily...Hope this helps...
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Postby Asterios » Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:54 pm

Jibbajaba wrote:
Asterios wrote:hmm let me see replacement brick costs about .10 on avg. refurbishing said brick takes 30-60 minutes(maybe more) . . . . . . hmmmmm


Do you ever contribute positively to discussions around here, or are you just here to be a smart mouth and waste space? I'm sorry if I am violating the TOS by saying that, but I would think that you would have learned something after getting banned for a day last week. Maybe I shouldn't be saying anything since I am a relative newbie/lurker, but your posts get really annoying after awhile.

Maybe the bricks this guy is talking about are not the common 0.10/ea variety. Or maybe he doesn't want to throw out perfectly good Lego when a little bit of elbow grease will restore them.

If you don't have something helpful to say about the discussion at hand, then why are you posting? All of your posts on this forum seem to be either you being a smart mouth, or you posting your theories about how some set that has been out for 4 months is already being discontinued and then arguing with an admin about it.

In regards to the topic at hand, sanding the brick would help remove the scratches and remove the layer of discolored ABS plastic, but it will also dull the brick. Hitting it with a polishing wheel on your dremel may restore the shine (I'll have to try that myself.) In any case, I think it would have to be a 2 step process, because I can't see you removing the discoloration and keeping the shine in one step.

Chris


well i wonder about your experiance with LEGO brick since its common knowledge that Sanding will ruin the brick since you would have to sand off a good portion of a brick to slimline it or anything,if your sanding to fix the color your wasting your time since the coloring effects of the sun and such is a thorough job and not just skin deep,furthermore you may end up sanding the brick to the point its not just equal or calibrated to the exacting standards of the rest of the LEGO Bricks,not too mention the brittleness that would ensue from doing such operations on a LEGO brick.

LEGO as itself is strong and durable but over time the brick tends to become brittle from use and such,and here your even recommending to do even more altercations on the Brick itself?Sorry but i'm a firm believer that once a LEGO has lived its life it should be let go not dragged thru the much and grinder beyond its years.
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Postby RichardAM » Sun Jan 13, 2008 12:09 am

Interesting responses, and really handy too- some of my older bricks are definitely beginning to reach their retirement age.

I'd never actually though of sandpaper simply because I would've though it would take too much of, but I am intrigued by the toothpaste solution. I've used Brasso too for removing torso and printing off of bricks- i'd imagine it would work slightly similar to removing yellowing?
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Postby Brickzone » Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:58 am

I've used toothpaste, specifically on white bits, and it does whiten them. I've only used it on quite scuffed parts (old Lego from the household collection, white castle wall panels; 5 of us kids and poor storage did some damage) and although they cleaned up superbly, they were still dull.
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