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cbmeeks

To paint, or not to paint?

by cbmeeks Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:22 am

I have an Amiga 1000 that I'm working on restoring. Cosmetically, it's in pretty bad shape. I count at least four shades of orange all over the thing.

I'm going to try retro-brighting it. I've had some success with that because I always submerge. However, finding a container large enough (with low sides) might be a little difficult for the top case.

In the past, I've painted small cases and such and never really liked my results. 99% of the time, I *DON'T* prefer painting because I think it takes away from the originality of it.

However, if the case is already very bad, and if your painting skills are very good, then painting a case/keyboard could be a good alternative to retro-brighting. Not to mention preserving the plastic even longer.

So, what are your thoughts on painting vintage computers? Especially ones that you don't plan on selling.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

Re: To paint, or not to paint?

by intric8 Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:41 pm

Man, that's a tough one. One additional option: use your current A1000 as you would want to and just not worry about it today. Pretend she looks brand new. Then, in the next 6 months when that "new girl" shows up but might be presented as "as-is" and not fully working, you get the future one for cheap and swap cases.

And then you always have a backup machine whenever you need to scrounge for parts. Those days will eventually come.

A lot of times the really ugly ones work like brand new, and the pretty ones are dead. You could paint your current daily driver, but also keep those feelers out there. You might be able to do an external swap-a-roo at some stage sooner than you think.
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McTrinsic

Re: To paint, or not to paint?

by McTrinsic Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:28 am

Hi,
that’s indeed a tough one.
I admit that due to the colouring of my case i had someone paint it black, see the showroom.
The reality is: the cases change, if you do something about it or not. They age.
While I appreciate a pristine case that keeping the original look we need to consider that sooner or later all cases will have lost the original impression since the plastic ages.

Well, maybe someone should find a CNC/shop that could ill a new case out of a block aluminium :D.

Cheers,
McT
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

Re: To paint, or not to paint?

by intric8 Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:20 pm

@cbmeeks here is McTrinsic's amazing A1000 Phoenix in black he's talking about.
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A10001986

Re: To paint, or not to paint?

by A10001986 Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:45 pm

In my very humble opinion, don't do anything, neither bleach nor paint.

Bleaching never brings back the original color. The plastic gets rougher, some say it gets brittle. If you add temperature to support the bleaching process (as some youtube videos suggest), the plastic loses its shape, develops waves and looks awful in the end. Speaking from experience, I ruined a A1000 keyboard case that way.

Also, in case of the A1000, the checkmark on the keyboard can't be removed (AFAIK), and if you bleach it, it vanishes.

Finally, good luck getting the keyboard and the main case to the same shade of white over all surfaces.

If you are a sucker for the original look, don't even think about paint.
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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

Re: To paint, or not to paint?

by Zippy Zapp Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:56 pm

A10001986 wrote:Bleaching never brings back the original color. The plastic gets rougher, some say it gets brittle. If you add temperature to support the bleaching process (as some youtube videos suggest), the plastic loses its shape, develops waves and looks awful in the end. Speaking from experience, I ruined a A1000 keyboard case that way.

To say RetroBright never brings back the original color is not entirely accurate as it most certainly can. I have used it on several Amiga, Commodore and Macintosh gear where it did work very well and the color afterward was indistinguishable from the color on the inside of the case that was original. I am thankful to have a C64c, C128 and an Amiga 500 that never ever yellowed even slightly. The C128 was sealed in the original box up until 2013 when I opened it for the first time. So I have some reference.

That said, it is not perfect and I share your opinion that there is potential for damage. Myself I have only ever used the cheap diluted 3% peroxide that you can buy anywhere and have had very good results, except for things that were darker in color like C64/VIC-20 (brown) keycaps. I have ruined a set by trying to whiten the letters.

If you don't mind the risk, you can get good results if you are patient with the very diluted peroxide. It takes way longer than the 12% or even 40% that many people use.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

Re: To paint, or not to paint?

by intric8 Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:32 pm

@ZippyZapp do you also set things out in the sun or use a light of some kind to accelerate the bleaching process?
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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

Re: To paint, or not to paint?

by Zippy Zapp Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:18 am

@intric8, It depends on the weather. I have put keycaps in a jar and left them inside and seen results on a window ceil. Usually, I put them in the sun. But I do check them frequently to make sure they are getting even exposure and the solution is not getting too warm. I don't have any kind of UV light for indoor use.

To me, it is a tough call. If it is something priceless then I sometimes won't take a chance. On the other hand, I really have only had one or two bad results. One was the brown keys and the other was a Macintosh Keyboard, which I probably needed to leave submerged for another day as some parts weren't de-yellowed yet.

What about painting?
I am not a big fan of painting the plastic cases, even though I have seen some cool results from others.

However, as an owner of an A2000, the metal case is another story. My original was loaned out to my friend's kid and after he used it for less than a month, it sat in his garage on a shelf for ~20 years. So when I finally got it back it had rust spots on the top of the case. Only about 5 which I managed to clean off with a fiberglass pen. But I have yet to find any information on a paint color or type that can be used as a touch-up paint. It's one of those things that if you don't touch up the bare metal on the top it may rust again, depending on the area (humidity levels) you live in. Has anyone here found anything to match?
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bonoedgey
Canada

Re: To paint, or not to paint?

by bonoedgey Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:00 pm

For what it's worth.. I had an A1000 keyboard that looked very orange.. and I bleached it. I used some hair bleach (40%) gel from hair salon.. put in oversize glad bag.. out on the patio in the sun. Turned out rather good and white I thought.

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