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The Case of the Yellowing White Bricks

13

Comments

  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 2,473
    ^ I would expect any submersion to damage electronics. I don’t know how much electronics there is in a simple light-up fig or brick (not much; maybe a resistor), but I’d have to be willing to trash the piece if it can’t be cleaned.
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    ^ I would expect any submersion to damage electronics. I don’t know how much electronics there is in a simple light-up fig or brick (not much; maybe a resistor), but I’d have to be willing to trash the piece if it can’t be cleaned.
    I've found all the light-up Bionicle pieces and exo-force light bricks to be surprisingly water resistant- never gone multi-hour submersion, though...
  • CyberdragonCyberdragon Maryland, U.S.AMember Posts: 378
    The way to find out I guess would be to see how the same or similar alloys used would react. Take some similar already dead device (or the parts like battery contacts) and soak it in the solution and see what happens.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,375
    Today is going to be sunny with a high of 93F today. I decided to just let these sit in the sun without any HP. Well, they have been sitting out in the sun for 4 hours and haven't changed a bit. Now, I have them soaking in HP out in the sun, but unfortunately, the sun isn't as strong. I'll let everyone know how they turn out.
    omniumFowlerBricksAstrobricks
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,375
    edited August 2018
    They did get clearer with the HP. These are older Lego pieces (They look yo be pre 1980) It may work better with newer plastic. These might be too far gone
    AstrobricksomniumPumpkin_3CK5
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 878
    ^Looks like a great improvement to me!
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 2,473
    ^ Except it apparently lightened his countertop too, so that makes me wonder.
    Pitfall69SprinkleOtter
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,375
    Yeah, I took the pics at different times of the day, I should have taken them in the same light, but they definitely cleared up quite a bit, but the point was that the sun by itself did absolutely NOTHING and I left the parts out for 4+ hours in the hottest part of the day. Then I left the parts in HP fir approximately 2 hours in the later part of the day and there was a significant change. 
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,099
    edited August 2018
    I'm not sure if you have Cellulose Acetate or Polycarbonate clear bricks, and I don't know if they are affected differently than ABS plastic.  But when I tested whitening of old classic ABS plastic windows... I left them in a sunny window for a month and they turned back to pure white.

    I somehow doubt a few hours in the sun (without HP) make that much difference, but I've not tried it for short periods.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,375
    Yeah, I definitely don't have the patience to let parts sit out for a month...lol. 

    There obviously isn't an exact science to restoring the original color of Lego bricks, but my method has worked for me countless times:

    3% HP + sunlight in a clear container for at least 1:30. For completely discolored parts you should probably leave them out a bit longer. Again, I don't just throw a bunch of parts in a small container of HP and put them outside; I line them up on a baseplate, so each part gets exposed as evenly as possible.

  • FowlerBricksFowlerBricks USAMember Posts: 1,626
    I have a sand green Fanatasy Era Giant troll whose torso has yellowed. Is there any way to reverse that? I've seen a bunch of different suggested solutions but is there one that works well?
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 2,473
    ^ I’d see ^^
  • FowlerBricksFowlerBricks USAMember Posts: 1,626
    Pitfall69 said:
    Yeah, I definitely don't have the patience to let parts sit out for a month...lol. 

    There obviously isn't an exact science to restoring the original color of Lego bricks, but my method has worked for me countless times:

    3% HP + sunlight in a clear container for at least 1:30. For completely discolored parts you should probably leave them out a bit longer. Again, I don't just throw a bunch of parts in a small container of HP and put them outside; I line them up on a baseplate, so each part gets exposed as evenly as possible.

    Would this make printing come off though?
  • flordflord CanadaMember Posts: 673
    ^ Come off completely, no. Fade, yes most likely. I've never done it with printed parts. I guess I should try it.

    I'm also unsure as to how sand green would react in the first place. Anyone tried that colour?
  • stevecook132stevecook132 Member Posts: 112
    Thats an outrageous degree of colour change! Well worth it - truck looks fantastic.
    omniumsid3windrgmonkey76Pitfall69SumoLegoBaby_YodamadforLEGO
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,375
    Pitfall69 said:
    Yeah, I definitely don't have the patience to let parts sit out for a month...lol. 

    There obviously isn't an exact science to restoring the original color of Lego bricks, but my method has worked for me countless times:

    3% HP + sunlight in a clear container for at least 1:30. For completely discolored parts you should probably leave them out a bit longer. Again, I don't just throw a bunch of parts in a small container of HP and put them outside; I line them up on a baseplate, so each part gets exposed as evenly as possible.

    Would this make printing come off though?
    flord said:
    ^ Come off completely, no. Fade, yes most likely. I've never done it with printed parts. I guess I should try it.

    I'm also unsure as to how sand green would react in the first place. Anyone tried that colour?
    The printing won't come off. As far as fading, I think it would depend on how long you leave the parts out. I have had no issue with printed parts, especially minifigures, but I have only left my printed parts out no more than 2 hours.
    AstrobricksFowlerBricks
  • Addicted2OxygenAddicted2Oxygen Somewhere behind all the boxes of LegoMember Posts: 316
    Keep reading HP as Harry Potter, which makes this thread quite horrific!!
    Pitfall69sid3windrPumpkin_3CK5
  • Gibbo1959Gibbo1959 Northumbria UKMember Posts: 285
    ^ TBH it all sounds a bit like magic and wizardry anyway!
    Pitfall69catwranglerPumpkin_3CK5
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 2,473
    It kinda feels like we’re all a bunch of alchemists trying to make gold out of ABS ;-)
    Bumblepantsgmonkey76Pitfall69sid3windrBaby_YodacatwranglerLittleLoriPumpkin_3CK5
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 878
    Well, I would like more warm gold pieces, but I doubt hydrogen peroxide will do it...
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 2,473
    Then they would all just break anyway. Search “gold plastic syndrome”.
  • PJ76ukPJ76uk Derby, UKMember Posts: 438
    Craig_B said:
    I had my first go with it recently using that method, I think the print faded a tiny bit? Not much though. Here's a before and after



    Is this a LEGO set or your own build? Impressive either way...
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 2,473
    edited August 2018
    PJ76uk said:
    Craig_B said:
    I had my first go with it recently using that method, I think the print faded a tiny bit? Not much though. Here's a before and after



    Is this a LEGO set or your own build? Impressive either way...
    It’s #5580. See the license plate?
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,375
    It kinda feels like we’re all a bunch of alchemists trying to make gold out of ABS ;-)
    I thought Lego was better than gold. I swear I read that somewhere in this forum.
    sid3windrmadforLEGOgmonkey76AstrobricksdavetheoxygenmanBumblepantsBaby_YodaCraig_B
  • Addicted2OxygenAddicted2Oxygen Somewhere behind all the boxes of LegoMember Posts: 316
    Pitfall69 said:
    It kinda feels like we’re all a bunch of alchemists trying to make gold out of ABS ;-)
    I thought Lego was better than gold. I swear I read that somewhere in this forum.
    Fools Gold?
    Pitfall69gmonkey76AstrobricksLittleLori
  • PJ76ukPJ76uk Derby, UKMember Posts: 438
    thanks @Astrobricks, not sure how I missed that detail! was searching "rigs" on brickset but gave up and thought I'd just ask on here!
    Astrobricks
  • sgusersguser 3rd RockMember Posts: 17
    I've not seen any post about soaking entire assembled sets (with discoloured bricks) in hydrogen peroxide solution without taking them apart.

    But in case you're considering doing it to save you the trouble & time to disassemble and reassemble the set, here's my personal experience:-

    (a) It can certainly be done
     
    (b) You'll need a container large enough to put the entire set in

    (c) You'll need a HUGE volume of 3% hydrogen peroxide to completely immerse the set in (and cost will become an issue with big sets). The solution can usually be re-used 1-2 times unless your set is horribly yellowed

    (d) You can add in a small amount of Vanish Oxi Action Crystal White / Oxi Clean (or similar products with sodium percarbonate) to generate more hydrogen peroxide and speed the process up. Repeat with further doses if necessary. As shown below, when sodium percarbonate is combined with water, it is broken down into sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2):-

           2Na2CO3.3H2O2(aq) → 2Na2CO3(aq) + 3H2O2(aq) 
     
    (e) You'll need to put it under direct sunlight (32,000 - 100,000 lux). 2-3 hours of strong direct sunlight is usually adequate but more may be required for badly yellowed bricks

    (f) Direct sunlight will also help to warm-up the hydrogen peroxide solution to enhance the speed of reaction / effect as the reaction is slow at temperature below 25ºC

    (g) If the reaction is happening, you'll see tiny bubbles forming on the surface of your bricks. Thick foam may start forming on the surface of the liquid if the reaction is too vigorous (from too much Vanish / Oxi Clean being added)

    (h) Household UV lamp will not work well cos they're not powerful enough (<1,000 lux from a 200W bulb)

    (i) A slightly weighted mesh (or similar item) is usually required to help prevent the set from floating up

    (j) Printings on bricks are not affected by the process 

    (k) Dark blue bricks get discoloured by hydrogen peroxide - Remove them!

    (l) Not sure why but some connected parts under stress started cracking/breaking off. In my case,  about 10-20% of the clips broke off (eg part #60470) and needed to be replaced. You may want to temporarily remove these connected parts first

    Hope this helps!

    madforLEGO
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,818
    The problem with immersing a whole model is that liquid will get into the gaps and never dry out. Drying parts takes long enough as it is. If they are assembled I cannot see them drying at all well. If it is water, it is not too bad. But if you are getting HP into the voids and leaving it there then longer term that might not be good. It may also leak out and drip onto whatever you display the model on.
    madforLEGOdmcc0Pitfall69
  • sgusersguser 3rd RockMember Posts: 17
    edited August 2018
    CCC said:
    The problem with immersing a whole model is that liquid will get into the gaps and never dry out. Drying parts takes long enough as it is. If they are assembled I cannot see them drying at all well. If it is water, it is not too bad. But if you are getting HP into the voids and leaving it there then longer term that might not be good. It may also leak out and drip onto whatever you display the model on.
    I did consider that potential problem when I first started but do the following steps to deal with it:

    (1) Gently hose the whole model with garden tap after completing the process to remove as much hydrogen peroxide as possible from the surface and crevices 

    (2) Completely soak the whole model in a pail of clean water overnight to remove the remaining hydrogen peroxide

    (3) Blow dry the model with a handheld air blower. I use the Metro DataVac ED500 electric duster. This will blow off 90% of the water from the model

    (4) Rest the model over a few layers of kitchen paper towel and let it air dry on its own. I use a dehumidifier and set it to 40% RH to speed things up - Model is usually dry after one night

    Even if there's a remote possibility of hydrogen peroxide remaining in the voids & crevices of the model, it'll be in extremely low concentration - Too low to do any harm and will just decompose to water and oxygen with time


    I've not tried hydrogen peroxide gel/cream on whole models yet so can't comment on it
    catwrangler
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,356
    sguser said:
    CCC said:
    The problem with immersing a whole model is that liquid will get into the gaps and never dry out. Drying parts takes long enough as it is. If they are assembled I cannot see them drying at all well. If it is water, it is not too bad. But if you are getting HP into the voids and leaving it there then longer term that might not be good. It may also leak out and drip onto whatever you display the model on.
    I did consider that potential problem when I first started but do the following steps to deal with it:

    (1) Gently hose the whole model with garden tap after completing the process to remove as much hydrogen peroxide as possible from the surface and crevices 

    (2) Completely soak the whole model in a pail of clean water overnight to remove the remaining hydrogen peroxide

    (3) Blow dry the model with a handheld air blower. I use the Metro DataVac ED500 electric duster. This will blow off 90% of the water from the model

    (4) Rest the model over a few layers of kitchen paper towel and let it air dry on its own. I use a dehumidifier and set it to 40% RH to speed things up - Model is usually dry after one night

    Even if there's a remote possibility of hydrogen peroxide remaining in the voids & crevices of the model, it'll be in extremely low concentration - Too low to do any harm and will just decompose to water and oxygen with time


    I've not tried hydrogen peroxide gel/cream on whole models yet so can't comment on it
    Thanks for all the information, but in terms of soaking a whole model, really it probably is best to remove the pieces and soak them. It also means you can inspect the pieces to ensure that they have no other issues (such as cracks), you also do not want the danger of mold growing in the model with any water that does not evaporate
    catwrangler
  • sgusersguser 3rd RockMember Posts: 17
    Thanks for all the information, but in terms of soaking a whole model, really it probably is best to remove the pieces and soak them. It also means you can inspect the pieces to ensure that they have no other issues (such as cracks), you also do not want the danger of mold growing in the model with any water that does not evaporate
    I absolutely agree with you that taking apart the model and soaking the pieces is still the best and safest way.

    But for those who just want to freshen-up their aging model but to save the time and trouble of dis-assembling and re-assembling the whole thing, soaking the whole model is a feasible option. 
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 11,944
    It kinda feels like we’re all a bunch of alchemists trying to make gold out of Smurfs* ;-)
    Gargamel?




    (* Modified for comedic effect.)
  • darthdcdarthdc Member Posts: 228
    I'm trying to find a place in the UK that sells hydrogen peroxide. Any ideas?
  • Wookie2Wookie2 Leeds, UKMember Posts: 186
    darthdc said:
    I'm trying to find a place in the UK that sells hydrogen peroxide. Any ideas?
    Boots etc sell it behind the pharmacy counter but I've only found the 6% up (which can obviously then be diluted accordingly).
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 475
    I got mine from eBay. Different strengths and sizes are readily available.

  • Addicted2OxygenAddicted2Oxygen Somewhere behind all the boxes of LegoMember Posts: 316
    @darthdc I got mine from https://apcpure.com/ last time
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 2,473
    @darthdc I got mine from https://apcpure.com/ last time
    Figures someone @Addicted2Oxygen would have a source :)
    560HeliportBaby_YodaAddicted2OxygenCyberdragonSumoLego
  • sgusersguser 3rd RockMember Posts: 17
    @darthdc ;

    I got my initial supplies of 3% Hydrogen peroxide from local pharmacies but found the reaction to be rather slow.

    Subsequently managed to get 18% Hydrogen Peroxide from shop selling hydroponic supplies - Apparently used for improving plant health in hydroponic systems and is available in as high as 35% solutions! I add these higher concentration solutions (and a small amount of Vanish Action Crystal White / Oxi Clean) to the 3% solution to improve the speed of reaction / whitening
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 2,473
    ^ Be veeeerrrrrrrry careful mixing cleaning chemicals. Some combinations can react to create poisonous fumes.
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 878
    ^Bleach and ammonia (or products containing them) are a very bad combination.
    Astrobricksgmonkey76
  • CyberdragonCyberdragon Maryland, U.S.AMember Posts: 378
    ^ Be veeeerrrrrrrry careful mixing cleaning chemicals. Some combinations can react to create poisonous fumes.
    https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/tips/a32773/cleaning-products-never-mix/

    Drain cleaners can apparently explode. (fun experiment time) >:D
    Astrobricks
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,099
    Now you tell me..... :-O


    BumblepantsAddicted2Oxygensid3windrPitfall69560Heliportpharmjod
  • SharpinouSharpinou CanadaMember Posts: 1
    I have done the same thing as you guys but 4 month later it's worst than ever. Have you experience that? I have use the hydrogen peroxyde 6 month ago on my white parts, now they are more yellowed than ever, it's very frustrating!!! What can I do and anyone have the same issue??? My parts are now like the truck 5580 in the previous posts.

    Cheers
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,375
    ^I think this sort of issue has been mentioned before either on this thread or another. It is very frustrating to go through all of that trouble and have your nice white bricks turn back to yellow or even worse than before. I haven't checked my light grey parts from my UCS ISD since I soaked them this past summer. I'm afraid to look :0 
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,375
    It's almost that of year for me to go through my collection of yellowed pieces and try to get them back to their original color :) 
  • pxchrispxchris Oregon, USAMember Posts: 529
    I'm about to embark on my first test run in this whole restoration journey... Wish me luck (i.e. give me tips).
    Pitfall69
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,375
    I place my parts onto a baseplate and submerge them in the HP solution. I use weights to keep the plate from floating to the top. I space the parts so that the sun can hit most of the parts evenly. I only leave it out in the sun for approximately 1.5-2 Hours. If the sun is extremely strong that day, I don't leave it out for no more than an hour or so. 
    pxchris
  • GomjabaGomjaba UKMember Posts: 20
    I find the hardest is gray - as there might just be subtle differences in shades of yellow. So I'd be tempted to treat the lot (2k+ pieces) but base plates aren't obviously an option ... We also barely get any sun - does anyone have any good experience with artificial UV light ? Would  that be A / B / Black light etc. ? A guy on youtube apparently skipped UV altogether and just heated up the peroxide - wonder if that is an option ? 
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,818
    Heating it up may speed up the reaction slightly but it will also increase the degradation of your H2O2 solution. It can also be dangerous if you have a concentrated solution (it produces oxygen which can ignite if not careful) but I'm guessing you are using a weak solution so this shouldn't be a problem.
    Pitfall69
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