• Harrison

     Number of Views: 3417 

    Retr0Bright Gel

    Making the Retr0bright Gel

    SAFETY WARNING!!!
    You are warned that hydrogen peroxide is very nasty stuff and can cause severe chemical burns to skin and can also cause blindness if splashed into the eyes, if handled incorrectly. Usually, you can’t buy stronger than 12% over the counter, as this is the maximum strength sold to the public and is used to bleach hair. If you want to try this, I would strongly suggest that you wear goggles and gloves to protect yourself.


    Merlin's Original Recipe

    The original magical "Retr0bright" gel mixture that was found to work is:-

    1 pint (500ml) Hydrogen Peroxide, 10 to 15% strength (40 vol) (available from hairdressers' supplies, e.g. the 'Sally Beauty' franchise in the UK)
    2 heaped tablespoonfuls of Xanthan Gum (available from health food shops or online)
    1 level teaspoonful of Glycerine (available from pharmacies)
    1/4 teaspoonful of "Oxy" laundry booster

    Add the Hydrogen Peroxide and Xanthan Gum to the blender or liquidiser. Mix on high speed for 5 seconds. Add the Glycerine and mix for a further 5 seconds. Let the mixture rest for a minute then mix again for 5 seconds. A smooth, non-drip gel should have formed. This gel can be put into a dark coloured jar or tub (e.g. a coffee jar covered in tape) and stored, as long as you DON’T add the “Oxy” until you are ready to use it.



    Lorne's Variant Recipe

    Lorne at Vintage Computer Forums prefers to use stronger Hydrogen Peroxide and his variant recipe is below.

    1/2 pint (200ml) Hydrogen Peroxide, 30% strength
    2 level teaspoons of Xanthan Gum
    1 level teaspoon of Glycerine
    1/4 teaspoonful of Oxy laundry booster
    1 teaspoonful hot (not boiling) water

    In a very small ceramic or plastic bowl/dish, dissolve the Oxy in the hot water. Lorne found that the Oxy doesn’t want to dissolve in the paste/gel very well – this premixture of the Oxy fixed that problem. While the Oxy is dissolving, mix the Hydrogen Peroxide and Xanthan gum in the blender for five seconds. Add the Glycerine to that mixture and blend for another five seconds.
    Let this mixture sit for five minutes.Blend for another five seconds.

    Just before you apply the gel, thoroughly stir in by hand, the dissolved Oxy/water mix.

    Tezza's Arrowroot Variant Recipe

    Tezza at Vintage Computer Forums came up with a variation of the original recipe, based on another starchy food thickener called Arrowroot. Also, Tezza's recipe doesn't use glycerine. Trials have found the arrowroot-based paste dries out more quickly than the Xanthan gum/glycerine mixture in the recipes above and requires more frequent re-application. However, Arrowroot tends to be easier to find than Xanthan gum and is a workable alternative where this is the case.

    The addition of glycerine may held to slow the drying processes but Tezza has not tried this at the time of writing.

    Tezza's recipe is listed below. Note that Oxy-Magic could probably be replaced by any "oxy-type" laundry activator.

    1/2 pint (200 ml) Hydrogen Peroxide, 6% strength (available from most Pharmacies as a hair bleach or antiseptic)
    2 heaped tablespoonfuls of "White Crest" Arrowroot
    1/5 teaspoonful of "Oxi-Magic" laundry booster (to be added to the gel just before use, like the original recipe)

    If you use Arrowroot, you will need to heat the mixture. Don't worry, this is safe to do. Tezza suggests warming the mixture up in a microwave oven for about 45 seconds, based on a 750 Watt microwave oven, you may need to adjust the timings based on the wattage of your microwave. He strongly suggests that you do this in 15 second bursts and check the consistency after each burst. It's ready when is appears as a gel. Sprinkle in the Oxi-magic and stir vigorously with a spoon. This will also help thin the mixture so it can be brushed on.

    Foaming when adding Oxi-Magic is related to how hot the mixture is and the concentration of peroxide. Usually the foaming is mild but if ithe mixture is hot and higher concentrations of peroxide have been used, the reaction can be vigourous. It would pay to let it cool first.



    Other Gelling Agents

    Other starchy thickeners such as corn starch, guar gum or even wallpaper paste may work. If you find another thickening agent that gives good results for you, let us know via the discussions tab and we will add your recipe to the Wiki.

    Other Ingredients

    If you decide to try other ingredients which have not been mentioned here, please be aware that you are out on your own and we cannot be held accountable for the results. Hydrogen Peroxide can react violently with some materials and you are strongly advised to do some reading around and research first. The recipes stated above have been thoroughly tested and are safe to prepare as long as the instructions are carefully followed.

    If buying hydrogen peroxide from a pharmacy or hairdressers, check to make sure it has no other additives. All you want is diluted hydrogen peroxide (typically 3% to 12%). Additives may lead to unpredicable results. Lorne has tried a hair bleach product and he found that a solvent called terpene was present in the list of ingredients; when this was tried there was some evidence of the product attacking the surface which was particularly visible on dark coloured parts. A picture of the problem is posted in the Problems and pitfalls section
     Number of Views: 208 


    The “Retr0bright” Project

    By Merlin, of AmiBay, English Amiga Board and Vintage Computer Forums (among others)

    How to deal with the “not-so-mellow yellow” of old computers and consoles

    Anyone who has dug their old computer or console out of the cupboard or loft for some retro gaming will probably have noticed that it maybe hasn’t worn too well with the test of time. The plastics these machines were made of is called ABS and to make it flame retardant (just in case it catches fire after a marathon session) the plastics manufacturers added chemicals that caused the plastic turn yellow or, even worse, brown over a long period of time.

    It was originally thought that the yellowing was permanent and that the only solution to this was to paint the plastic in its original colour and cover the problem up. However, a chance discovery was made in March 2008, by The CBM Museum at Wuppertal in Germany (http://www.forum64.de), that immersing parts in a solution of Hydrogen Peroxide for a few days could partially reverse the process. This was initially taken up by the Amiga community in Germany (http://www.a1k.org) and the idea eventually found its way to the English Amiga Board (http://eab.abime.net), where a madcap collection of chemists, plastics engineers and retro hackers managed to perfect this concept and put it on steroids, with help from other forums.

    Dave Stevenson from Manchester, UK, aka 'Merlin', the chemist behind the project, explains. “I came across the use of peroxide in July 2008 when Kristian95 told us over at EAB about what people like AmigaGTI were doing with it over at a1k.org. I was intrigued by this, as I am a former industrial chemist. 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.”

    “This got me thinking, and after some really 'full-on', serious chemistry discussions with other EAB members, like Rkauer in Brazil, who is a plastics Engineer and my good friend Zetr0 from Kings Lynn, Norfolk, UK, who endured endless phone calls from me, we wrote some epic threads on English Amiga Board about the possible causes of the yellowing and eventually we arrived at the theory that it was the Bromine in the flame retardant that was the cause. We also knew that Ultra Violet light was another major factor. Having identified the culprit, the next stage was to try to develop and perfect a means of treating the plastic and reversing the yellowing quicker, without causing damage to the plastic. Being a former industrial chemist helped me tremendously, in understanding what was going on at the molecular level and to develop a treatment process to reverse the effect.”

    “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; we believed that this could do the job in hours instead of days. Proof of this concept was demonstrated on EAB by Tonyyeb from Hull, UK, Chiark from Leeds, UK and myself. The original test I did as proof of concept took two hours, as opposed to up to the five days it took for the original tests at CBM and a1k.org. We were on to something!!

    Figure 1. Merlin’s original proof of concept experiment. Figure 2. Tonyyeb’s Amiga keys experiment.

    Sharing the Idea
    Then we took the idea to other forums, where the idea received a sceptical response at first. Lorne (from Arizona) and Tezza (from New Zealand), from the Vintage Computer Forums (http://www.vintage-computer.com) really took on the idea, worked with us and helped us perfect the process between VCF and EAB. We have now proved on several forums that plastics yellowing can be completely reversed in hours without damage using our mixture.”


    Figure 3. Lorne’s Osborne 1 experiment. Figure 4. Tezza’s RX-8800 experiment.

    Reducing The Cost
    “All of the initial tests were done with a liquid and we realised that for large parts this was getting expensive, so the next stage was to develop a paintable “gel” version that could be brushed onto larger surfaces. This was tried in Ariziona in the sun and the UK under a UV lamp (sunshine isn't guaranteed in Manchester!) and was found to be just as effective as the liquid. We have now released this to the public domain for anyone to use, as we can’t patent it and we coined the nickname “Retr0bright” for it, as it summed up what we were actually doing with it.”

    “The most extreme test we have done to date was a Commodore 64, which was treated in several stages by myself over an eight-hour period, to show what could be achieved; this was a particularly impressive result”.


    Figure 5. The Commodore 64 experiment (treated side is on the left!)
    “We now have active threads about this at several forums across the World and we have now set up a Retr0bright support thread for those who are interested at our retro computer trading site, AmiBay http://www.amibay.com in the AmiOracle section.”

    It has come to our attention that some individuals are offering for sale "kits" similar to some of the Retr0bright recipes on auction and other sites. Please be aware that these are not endorsed by this Wiki in any way and the Wiki organisers shall not be held liable for any loss or injury caused by the use of these "kits".

    Hydrogen Peroxide is classified as a hazardous substance and, as such, is not accepted by many postal services and couriers without declarations and special handling procedures. It also has other uses besides hair bleaching and Retr0bright, so we strongly advise caution on where and how much of this you buy.

    This site's founders and authors do not sell Retr0bright for these very reasons and do not endorse or recommend any resale of premixed Retr0bright. If you see it for sale, it is not with our blessing or consent and we strongly advise caution: if you order some for delivery and it leaks in transit, you and the supplier could have some interesting questions asked of you.

    We are also aware of something similar to Retr0bright being sold on eBay, with the seller using a picture taken from this Wiki. This is nothing to do with any of us, and we encourage you to ask the seller if they are complying with the Creative Commons License for the picture as we believe that consent has not been granted for this use, but, more importantly, also whether they are fully declaring the contents of their packages to their courier and are following best practice on shipping hazardous goods.
     Number of Views: 222 

    News and Blog Page


    Here is where you will find details of updates and news about the Wiki.

    5th March 2009
    If you wish to collaborate in the Wiki, please let us know. We have had several people contact us about joining in, but we haven't been able to approve them, as they haven't confirmed an e-mail address. Please ensure that you confirm an e-mail address if you want to join in - thanks. If you have contacted us about joining in with the Wiki, you will have been approved and can start posting now.

    11th March 2009
    We are getting lots of enquiries about whether Retr0bright will work on other plastic items, such as collectable 80s and 90s toys, fruit machines, old telephones and all sorts of other things, including other types of plastics apart from ABS. The basic answer is we don't know; the best suggestion we can make is to make up a small amount of a mix of 10% or less hydrogen peroxide with a small amount of "Oxy" added, then dip a clean cloth in the solution and try it on a small test area that won't get seen if it goes wrong. We know that it works on Super Nintendo machines (see The Gallery) but we can always use more success stories of it being used on other items.

    Similarly, if you have tried Retr0bright on other types of plastics or items other than computer parts, let us know the results (good or bad) and we will add them to the Wiki. Pictures would be great if you have them.

    12th March 2009
    It appears that certain blogs out on the Net have hinted that we are selling Retr0bright as a product. If these people actually took the time to read the menu on the left of this page, they would realise that we have given it away for nothing, as in free, nada, zilch, sod all, diddly squot, zip, ......now maybe they have got the message......

    14th March 2009
    It has been noted on several blogs that comments have been made about colour balance on the photographs in The Gallery. We would ask the skeptics to check out the links in the Related Reading section, which in a lot of cases has the original photographs taken by the person who carried out the treatment in the topic threads. You can be assured that the photographs have NOT been retouched by us in any way whatsoever.

    16th March 2009
    We are now aware that tests with Retr0bright are being carried out on different plastics all over the World. Tests are currently in progress on vintage pinball and arcade machine parts, Lego bricks, G-Shock watch protectors, VW lamp covers, Transformer toys, the list goes on and on.... If you are testing Retr0bright on some items, we would like photographs before and after, along with a description of your test conditions.

    20th March 2009
    As of this morning, the Retr0bright Wiki has now had over 100,000 reads!!! I am amazed at the interest in our project, we never expected this to capture people's imaginations in the way it has.

    11th May 2009
    Retrobright has made it into Retro Action online magazine! Issue 2 was launched today and we have a two page article in the magazine. Cool!

    1st June 2009
    A link has been added in Further Reading about restoring old Lego bricks. Thanks to Smitty5 for the link and photographs.

    9th June 2009
    Well, the Wiki has had over 130,000 reads and it's been confirmed that Retr0bright works on Transformer toys, vintage telephones, Airstream trailer bathrooms and wall trims, and the list goes on.... I've also tidied up the Wiki headings to the left to make them easier to follow. If any of the people that have carried out experiments want to send pictures for inclusion in the wiki, can you please send them to merlin@amibay.com , thanks.

    9th October 2009
    OK, so the original Retr0bright formulas have been tried and tested all over the World on all sorts of items. In the best spirit of product development, it's probably time that we started to collect ideas about what should be added into the mixture to improve it; we are about to start work on creating Retr0bright Mk.2!!

    I've started a topic in the discussion tab area of this Wiki; please feel free to add your suggestions and we will kick the ideas around. If you are a chemist and are interested in working on this, here's your chance, as this will still be an open source project.

    10th October 2009
    I've finally got around to uploading some more pictures to Gallery 2. As before, these photographs have NOT been retouched in any way and you should be able to find the original pictures out there on the Net anyway. If you have pictures you would like added to Gallery 2, please e-mail them to me at Merlin@amibay.com - thanks.

    11th October 2009
    Here's a handy hint for those people who are working with the gel version of Retr0bright, who have reported that the mixture dries out quickly and needs a couple of applications. If you wrap the parts in cling film or out them in a Ziploc bag once you have applied the gel, you will reduce or eliminate the evaporation of the water, which will give you a better chance of avoiding attacking the polymer (see 'Problems and Pitfalls' to see in more detail what I am taking about).

    14th December 2009
    Retrobright came second in a vote for Best Hardware Innovation 2009 held by the Commodore Users Group in the Netherlands!! Now, I wouldn't have classed Retr0bright as hardware, but I am pleased that we were seen to be an innovation.

    6th January 2010
    A Happy New Year to all Retr0brighters out there! I just want to tackle one point that has bugged me for a few months now and I think it's best to get it finally off my chest. There have been some people on other forums and blogs that have questioned and criticised the way the science of why Retr0bright works is explained on this site, whilst others described it as an 'informercial' site. The problem is that it's quite a complex chemistry concept for some non-science people to follow, so I deliberately 'dumbed it down' a bit to make it easier for non-chemists to understand without removing too much of the content. I could have written a whole thesis / dissertation about this subject, but I have no burning ambition to get a PHD right now; suffice to say that I could have written a much more complex explanation about it, but then the likelihood would have been that nobody would have tried it. OK, rant over; normal service is now resumed....

    11th March 2010
    Hi! It's been a while since I blogged on this page. Today, Cottduke has added some pictures of a top loading Nintendo case that was treated with Retr0bright into Gallery 2. If you would like to share pictures of your experiences, please join up and add yours!!

    28th July 2010
    Well, the Wiki has had well over a quarter of a MILLION reads now, I would never have believed that this geek-hack backwater project would have managed to achieve this amount of activity!! It seems to have fired the imagination of so many collectors of retro plastic items, apart from computers and consoles. I've read so many forums using it for Transformer toys, Lego, It seems that new uses are found every month for Retr0bright. Thanks you all for proving that science can be really cool occasionally.....

    17th November 2011
    Arise, Wiki!! I know it's been a long time since I posted in this blog, but I never cease to be amazed by the uses to which Retr0bright is put. I recently found out that Retr0bright is being used by the sneaker collector community, to restore their treasured shoes. Now THAT is cool, Retr0bright being used on Air Force Ones!!

    3rd May 2013
    Yes, I've not posted for ages, however, the support page at AmiBay and my e-mail has been busy with your questions, I want to add a few things that have come to light recently. The first is that Armor-All may not be ideal product for treating the plastic after Retr0brighting, as some people have reported that it can attack certain types of plastic, making them brittle. For this reason I would urge caution before using it.

    Sometimes I get e-mails from people that complain that their Retr0brighted parts have gone yellow again over time. Rather than put this in the support thread where it may get lost over time, I thought that if I put this into the Blog, it may get noticed more.

    So, why do the parts go yellow again? It's for a couple of reasons. I shall explain below.

    Firstly, I stated in the Wiki that the chemical reaction is reversible; that's why we are able to reverse the yellowing that has occurred over time. The downside of this is that it can also revert back, as it's reversible and can go in either direction.

    The second reason is that Retr0bright only treats the surface, it can't penetrate into the plastic where more of the fire retardant is present. Unfortunately, the fire retardant can migrate through the plastic and this is another reason that yellowing can occur again, as more migrates to the surface.

    Is there anything that can be done about this? YES, and it's the part of the treatment that most people seem to forget.

    Just as the Triangle of Fire needs fuel, oxygen and a source of ignition, the yellowing of the plastics needs three things; The flame retardant, UV light and oxygen - the oxygen is in the air we breathe. Take the oxygen away from both triangles and you don't get a fire and you don't get yellowing, either. How can you do this?

    The answer is quite simple. Once the parts have been treated, you should coat the parts in a coat of clear, satin finish acrylic lacquer. This has the effect of cutting off the oxygen supply to the fire retardant and will prevent further yellowing.

    For added insurance, you should use an acrylic lacquer that includes a 'UV Blocker' or 'UV Filter'. These products contain a chemical called an 'up-converter', a chemical that has the neat ability to take light in at one wavelength and give it out at another completely different wavelength, in a similar way that fluorescent colours need UV light to make them 'glow'. By shifting the wavelength of the UV light via an up-converter you effectively 'turn off' the UV light, that stops the bromine molecules from vibrating and gaining enough energy to drive the yellowing reaction.

    Up-converters are used quite widely in plastics these days for this very reason, however, they weren't used in the master batches back when our machines were built and by using a lacquer containing an up-converter, you are retro fitting the answer to the problem.

    This is about as close as you will ever get to a permanent fix for the yellowing problem and I hope that it helps those people who have been disappointed to find that their cherished parts have started to discolour again.

    27th October 2013

    I thought that I'd share an entertaining blog with you that was written by James Dziezynski at Mountainos Words.

    http://www.mountainouswords.com/moun...ation-project/

    He does have a way with words!

    6th December 2014

    We are moving the Retr0bright Wiki over to AmiBay during December. All content that is on here will be replicated over at AmiBay, as a sub-section of the site. You may find that this Wiki disappears at the end of December on Wikispaces. The reason for this is that Wikispaces are now wanting to implement a monthly charge to host the Wiki and we feel that as we already fund the hosting of the AmiBay site that has the support thread for Retr0bright, that the most logical choice was to move the Wiki over to AmiBay. Please bear with us while we migrate the Wiki.

     Number of Views: 2461 

    This was a fascinating project to work on, combined with the fact that it got a lot of forums talking about science in a really serious way was a major buzz for me; science isn't always seen as a 'sexy' subject, but this project actually had a goal that the retro forums could relate to.

    The discussions have also brought together retro forums that hitherto may not have communicated with each other, such as the Atari and Amiga communities; old rivalries die hard it seems, but the Retr0brite project benefits all. I am glad that my chemical knowledge and experience has been able to be put to good use to serve the retro community that I am proud to be a part of. Everyone who has and continues to contribute to this truly global project can be proud that we have created something really special here.

    The information here is released into the public domain for all to share, as we believe that this could not be patented; the public domain is the right place in my view anyway, so that all may benefit.

    We have deliberately simplified the scientific explanation in this Wiki, so that people with a limited background in science can get a rough idea of what is happening; we aren't about to write a thesis here. The science behind this phenomenon is understood, however, it was felt that a simple, easy to read article was more appropriate - and it's not 15 pages long!!
    by Published on 11th April 2014 15:39
    1. Categories:
    2. Forums

    Welcome to the new and improved Amibay!

    I've spend the last couple of days completely upgrading Amibay to the latest version of the vBulletin forum software which we use. This has taken us from a very dated and ageing vBulletin 3.8.7 to the latest vBulletin 4.2.2

    This upgrade has a lot of instantly obvious changes and improvements, as well as many under the hood.

    • New forum design and layout
    • New member profiles
    • Member blogs - create your own retro blog - this could be about your collection, your favourite games, emulation, what you have been restoring etc.
    • New WYSIWYG post editor allowing inline image and video attachment and much more.
    • Right-hand quick info panel showing latest posts, new sales and a search cloud.
    • Activity stream, showing latest activity by all members.
    • Built in CMS which we have plans to utilise fully into the future.

    And much more..

    Asking questions or reporting a bug

    As with anything new a lot has changed. If you are confused about something or can't find a feature then please post in the following feedback forum and I will be happy to help.

    http://www.amibay.com/showthread.php?59907-Q-and-A-Ask-me-anything-about-the-new-Amibay


    Finally, as with any major changes, I can't guarantee everything is perfect. If you spot what you think might be a bug then please post in the following feedback forum so I can investigate. It might just be something I missed.

    http://www.amibay.com/showthread.php?59908-The-New-Amibay-Report-a-bug


    I hope you like and enjoy the new and improved Amibay! Have fun!
    Published on 11th April 2014 03:59
    1. Categories:
    2. CMS,
    3. Forums

    Welcome to the new and improved Amibay

    The newly updated Amibay.com retro trading site.

    We hope existing members like the new and improved site, and new users find it friendly, welcoming and easy to use.

    Please feel free to post comments about the update.