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Cleaning Yellowed Lego Bricks

Postby architect » Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:56 am

A link to this site: http://retr0bright.wikispaces.com/ was provided on lugnet by Jonathan Wilson

Fans of vintage computers made with ABS cases and keyboards have discovered a new method for reversing brick yellowing. This new method involves several techniques currently used by Lego fans to remove yellow: Hydrogen Peroxide and sunlight (UV rays). A new paste called retrobright is applied to the plastic and put out in the sun for a day (or under a UV light). Check out the link for dramatic restoration pictures. This may be the quick solution we have been looking for.

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Postby Heir of Black Falcon » Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:15 am

That is great. Need to find some. Thanks for the info Ben.

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Postby melonkernel » Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:06 am

Alright!. This is most welcome.
When i sorted my bricks i accidentally put some gray bricks with the tan pieces. I didn't notice it just has some severe yellowing on it.
Thanks for the tip.
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Postby Littlebrick » Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:52 pm

Holy cool. I doubt I'll ever use it, but it's nice to know that the option is there.
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Postby Count Blacktron » Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:20 pm

Seems like the old fan method was less expen$ive...
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Postby architect » Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:25 pm

Count Blacktron wrote:Seems like the old fan method was less expen$ive...


True. However the old fan method using only Hydrogen Peroxide took much longer. The other fan method of only using direct sunlight had mixed results. I do agree that making this new cleaning gel could be expensive. Removing yellow in 1-2 days is a nice change though.

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Postby natelite » Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:51 am

at least those with rare yellowed parts now have a real option! :D

those classic space parts are hard to come by and i had to throw away many in near mint condition because of yellowing. ouch.
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Postby LORD DOOM » Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:59 am

natelite wrote:at least those with rare yellowed parts now have a real option! :D

those classic space parts are hard to come by and i had to throw away many in near mint condition because of yellowing. ouch.


D; I too have many a part in need of correction due to yellowishness.
For shame. u_u

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Postby architect » Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:15 pm

natelite wrote:at least those with rare yellowed parts now have a real option! :D

those classic space parts are hard to come by and i had to throw away many in near mint condition because of yellowing. ouch.


The best application of the cleaner is more rare white, blue, and grey elements and classic printed elements. Printing held up on the computer examples. Early Lego printing of space and castle torso and bricks is fragile. Hopefully it would hold up to this cleaning.

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Postby psu_ericksen » Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:20 pm

Here's a link to the support thread they reference. It provides a bit more "how-to".
http://www.amibay.com/viewtopic.php?f=88&t=1645&hilit=retr0bright

It may be more expensive, but it also appears to work quite well. I think it's worth it. And the ability to revive my priceless old grey is, well, priceless.

Now just to find time to try it out. I think I'll wait until the natural UV light is stronger. :wink:


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Postby natelite » Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:53 pm

architect wrote:
natelite wrote:at least those with rare yellowed parts now have a real option! :D

those classic space parts are hard to come by and i had to throw away many in near mint condition because of yellowing. ouch.


The best application of the cleaner is more rare white, blue, and grey elements and classic printed elements. Printing held up on the computer examples. Early Lego printing of space and castle torso and bricks is fragile. Hopefully it would hold up to this cleaning.

Ben


my suspicion is that any gold/silver prints (such as the classic space logo) will disappear. since the cleaner is in gel form, you can easily avoid the prints.

i got a few SW mfs from lego flea markets which have yellowed. i can probably restore those and resell them! :D

also, i wonder if this works on the transparent bricks of the 80s.
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Postby architect » Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:26 am

natelite wrote:also, i wonder if this works on the transparent bricks of the 80s.


Trans bricks are not abs but harder plastic. The same flame retardant chemicals could be causing a similar problem in these elements.

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Re: Cleaning Yellowed Lego Bricks

Postby Papy.G » Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:55 pm

Does somebody tried with only N2O2 and UV, are the results so bad it really needs TAED?
I'd Like to know, since I don't want to waste much, in trial and error, I'm not a good chemical boy, and don't want either to blast my workshop.
I am happy enough to have dozens of UV lamps on 24/7 all year long at work, so amount of UV needed won't be a problem.
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Re: Cleaning Yellowed Lego Bricks

Postby KarenJ » Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:19 pm

I am also a plant Safety Manager by trade and, purely by coincidence, around that time I read about a dust explosion that had occurred in the UK with a chemical called TAED, which is the booster in the ‘active oxygen’ laundry products.”


What is TEAD? The oxygen laundry product that I have ("Oxy Clean") is sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate.

“The problem was finally cracked in late July 2008 with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, a small amount of an “Oxy” laundry booster as a catalyst and a UV lamp;


Has anyone tried a paste of HP and Oxyclean? I don't want to blow up my kitchen, but I'd be willing to try it for white bricks.
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Re: Cleaning Yellowed Lego Bricks

Postby Papy.G » Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:51 pm

KarenJ wrote:What is TEAD? The oxygen laundry product that I have ("Oxy Clean") is sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate.


On some laundry products, it is listed in the composition, I have some home, but TAED is less than 5% in final composition, so I'm afraid others components will interfere and will do no good.

If nobody has an answer, I'll give it a try anyway. Remember, it seems that one needs only very small amount of TAED, I don't know about the correct proportions, since they are given in ancient world measures, which I don't know of, it tells about teaspoon and gallons... :twitch:
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