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Polishing Your Bricks


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#1 miki

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 06:32 PM

I want to restore my lego models but i dont know how to get out the toothmarks

Edited by KimT, 10 August 2008 - 11:26 AM.
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#2 Commander Red Hat

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 07:03 PM

Only way is to buy new bricks, as polishing would leave smaller bricks...

Hope that answers your question, i'll close this up....
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#3 KimT

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 11:24 AM

 Captain green hair, on Aug 8 2008, 07:03 PM, said:

Only way is to buy new bricks, as polishing would leave smaller bricks...

Hope that answers your question, i'll close this up....
And I'll move it outta here :grin:
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#4 KimT

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 11:23 AM

 KimT, on Aug 9 2008, 11:24 AM, said:

And I'll move it outta here :grin:
After some reconsideration I've come to the conclusion that this belongs here.
A little fast on moving this one :sceptic:
I'll reopen it.
I'm sure that this has been discussed before and we ended up with the fact that it's nearly impossible to fix bricks with toothmarks, unless you want very small bricks. Also a member did some cool decolouring of yellowed white bricks. A topic I can't seem to find right now. Anyways post your Q's and A's here :sweet:

I'll edit the title of this topic to be a little more suitable for the discussion
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#5 rriggs

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 01:11 PM

 KimT, on Aug 10 2008, 12:23 PM, said:

Also a member did some cool decolouring of yellowed white bricks. A topic I can't seem to find right now.

I'd love to know if there is a way of decolouring white bricks (even just a bit...).  I have tried searching on here but I can't find anything either!  :sceptic:

Edited by rriggs, 11 August 2008 - 12:36 AM.

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#6 Shadows

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 02:01 PM

If you need to remove very slight scratches from non-trans pieces, I'd try rubbing with Brasso. It results in a very smooth and shiny piece, at least from what I've done. Still, it's a lot of hassle and I only use it to remove print from pieces that have damaged logos and such.

 rriggs, on Aug 10 2008, 08:11 AM, said:

I'd love to know if there is a way of decolouring white bricks (even just a bit...).  I have tried searching on here but I can't find anything either!  :sceptic:
I've heard that soaking in hydrogen peroxide helps. I've also heard that despite what people think, sometimes lack of sun exposure can cause it too, so literally a little sunlight helps. I haven't tried either.

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#7 brickzone

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 02:13 PM

If the toothmarks are on the edge of the brick, you can at least make them fit together again properly by squashing down any protrusions back into the crevices using the flat side of a butter knife. If necessary, drag the back edge of the knife carefully over any bumps using a small bit of pressure. This will of course affect the bricks, but they may be better than before treatment.

If it is just that toothmarks/scratches look bad, I can recommend soaking your Lego bricks in warm water with a small dab of washing up liquid (for dishes), or soaking them in Milton for a bit. (Milton is a very very mild bleach used for sterilising baby stuff, or even purifying drinking water - it breaks down just into water again, so very safe and light on the bricks - esp. if there is dirt/bacteria for the Milton to work on). Some recommend washing in the washing machine, but the action of this tends to scratch the bricks and remove any vestiges of glossiness (by contrast the above tends to restore it). If you are doing in bulk, you may want to consider it - we successfully cleaned up some *very* played with bricks using this method.

As for discoloured white bricks (or grey)... the Milton helps a little bit, but for very bad pieces, some toothpaste can help (mmm... minty fresh). Toothpaste will remove the glossiness though. However, maybe there's a better solution (solution, geddit?), some other substance that can be used on discoloured bricks.

Edited by brickzone, 10 August 2008 - 02:53 PM.


#8 CP5670

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 06:15 PM

Quote

If you need to remove very slight scratches from non-trans pieces, I'd try rubbing with Brasso. It results in a very smooth and shiny piece, at least from what I've done.

This stuff works fairly well on transparent parts too. I just used it yesterday on a few panels. It won't affect anything bigger than the smallest, hairline scratches, but those tiny scratches are often what give used transparent pieces a somewhat "foggy" look. Brasso makes them look transparent again and you can see through them more easily, but the larger scratches are still easy to spot.

Quote

I've heard that soaking in hydrogen peroxide helps. I've also heard that despite what people think, sometimes lack of sun exposure can cause it too, so literally a little sunlight helps. I haven't tried either.

There are at least two different types of discoloration possible. The UV tanning is more common, but it can also occur due to oxidation and there is really no way to prevent that.

I actually have an interesting situation on my 8839 Supply Ship model, which I got MISB a few years ago and has been on display since then in rooms with covered windows. All the 1x8 white plates on the model look quite yellowed, regardless of their position on the model or how exposed they are, while everything else looks perfect. :wacko: They must have come out of a different manufacturing batch than the other pieces. I've seen a similar situation with a few other sets too.

#9 Condor

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 02:26 AM

I've had a pile of used Lego that I didn't really want to use since the bricks were scratched and yellowed.  One of my many hobbies is detailing my car, so I decided to put some of those tools to use.  :classic:  I documented my progress to see if I could really make these bricks look better.

This first picture shows the stuff I used:

Meguiar's M205 Ultra Finishing Polish - Available online, or you can get Scratch X 2.0 at any Walmart, Target, etc.
Microfiber pad - You can also use an old towel or t-shirt

Posted Image

I washed these bricks individually using a toothbrush and dishwash soap when I got them, but as you can see, it wasn't enough to get some of the dirt, yellow tint, and scratches out.  This is what they looked like after stacking them:

Posted Image

Here's a close up of the bricks showing the damage:

Posted Image

I put a pea sized amount of the polish on the pad and polished the brick wall using a lot of elbow grease.  I rubbed the polish in for a few minutes until my arm got tired and this was the result:

Posted Image

Here's a close up:

Posted Image

It looks a little cleaner, but I think I can make it look better.  Time for the big guns.   :devil:

I used a regular household drill and the foam pad attachment that came with the 3M Headlight Restoration Kit:

Posted Image

I set the brick wall on the ground, put a pea sized amount of polish on the pad and got to work.  It's best to have somebody help you hold the wall down with two hands while you use both hands to hold the drill steady.  I went across the wall 3-4 times.  Afterwards, I washed the bricks with dishwashing liquid to get rid of the polishing oils and this was the result:

Posted Image

And here's a close up:

Posted Image

Is it perfect?  No.  100 times better?  Absolutely!   *oh2*

I was totally happy with the results and it didn't take much time to do.  Next time though, I think I will skip the polishing by hand and just use the drilll.  I'm sure you could get the same results if you stick to it, but you will have to put a lot of elbow grease into it and spend more time.  

This weekend I'll try to do a 50/50 shot where I only do half a brick wall.  That will hopefully show the results better.

edit: Just in case...

DISCLAIMER: I take no responsibility for the damage to your bricks, any property damage, bodily harm, or any other adverse effects that may arise directly or indirectly from this guide.  Do so at entirely your own risk. This document is provided for information/education purposes only!

Edited by Condor, 30 October 2010 - 08:44 PM.


#10 Big Cam

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 02:33 AM

That's impressive, some of that faded yellow will ever come out, but you are right they look way way better.

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#11 Mrlegoninja

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 03:12 AM

Thats a nice technique, may use it sometime. :classic:

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#12 dr_spock

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 03:30 AM

Have you tried detailing clay?

#13 Condor

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 03:42 AM

 dr_spock, on 30 October 2010 - 03:30 AM, said:

Have you tried detailing clay?

Ah, no I haven't.  That's a good idea.  I'll give that a try tomorrow on a 2x2 brick wall I have.

#14 Brickdoctor

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 07:41 AM

A common trick among AFOLs is also to soak in hydrogen peroxide or a concentrated form of it like OxiClean. The yellowing results when the fire-retardent in older bricks bonds with oxygen, and the hydrogen peroxide will create a reaction to take the oxygen molecules away from the bricks. Elementary chemistry, my dear Watson; no electronics required.  :wink:

#15 Masked Builder

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 04:53 PM

That's a lot better!  I've got some white bricks that need some attention.
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#16 Condor

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 06:38 PM

 Brickdoctor, on 30 October 2010 - 07:41 AM, said:

A common trick among AFOLs is also to soak in hydrogen peroxide or a concentrated form of it like OxiClean. The yellowing results when the fire-retardent in older bricks bonds with oxygen, and the hydrogen peroxide will create a reaction to take the oxygen molecules away from the bricks. Elementary chemistry, my dear Watson; no electronics required.  :wink:

That's true, the bricks are still discolored. This method will take out the scratches and embedded dirt that make the bricks look dirty though  :classic:

#17 Randal

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 03:42 AM

I remember a lot of my old bricks having that "before" look. If I still had them all today (I wish), I'd definitely use some sort of wash and polish technique. Though instead of incescant scrubbing, I think I'd figure out a way to run them through the dishwasher or something. Maybe figure out a way to get maximum brick interior exposure for one cycle, and a wall setup for the exterior for another. I think Lego bricks would fare well in the top rack of the DW with some cascade and jet dry. Then polish them after. I wonder if some sort of compound put in a variation of a rock tumbler would work... I think they do that with coins. It would have to be gentle though. You want to polish the plastic, not scratch it worse.

Edited by Randal, 31 October 2010 - 03:45 AM.

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#18 CP5670

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 05:10 AM

Have you tried that stuff on transparent pieces? I have some that don't look nearly as bad as your bricks, but still have fine scratches. Brasso did a decent job on them, but there is room for improvement.

#19 Condor

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 03:58 PM

 CP5670, on 31 October 2010 - 05:10 AM, said:

Have you tried that stuff on transparent pieces? I have some that don't look nearly as bad as your bricks, but still have fine scratches. Brasso did a decent job on them, but there is room for improvement.

I haven't, but that would be a good project.  I think i would have to do those by hand though since the transparent pieces aren't big enough for the drill.

#20 JimBee

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 08:11 PM

They look fantastic! However, wouldn't all of those materials have a lasting effect on your bricks over time? Please share with us if you notice anything.

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#21 The Yellow Brick

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 08:18 PM

I have never polished my bricks before,
but I might do someday from looking at your results Posted Image

#22 jamie75

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 02:58 PM

I have an old Lego Windshield (Windscreen), I want to use for a MOC, but, it has seen better days.

I'm wondering, if there is a “proven” way to get the scratches out, or, make them less visible?!

Sorry, if this has been asked, before, I did search for it.

Thanks, Jamie

Edited by jamie75, 12 January 2011 - 03:00 PM.


#23 JCC1004

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 03:44 PM

Well I had a part that was a solid colour ABS plastic part that had scratches and nicks. I used a fingernail buffer (my wife's :grin:) and it buffed the scratches out and it was smooth. the glossy feel was lost but it looked  much better. This would probably be the equivalent to a fine sandpaper.

So in turn you will wear a little plastic off and the glossy feel will be lost but the plastic is still smooth.

Since with your case it's a translucent part I'd be cautious. I'd test this on a spare trans part of the same colour. I would defiantly use a nail buffer over fine sand paper.

#24 AussieJimbo

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 03:52 PM

I believe it may be possible to flame polish ABS.

http://en.wikipedia....Flame_polishing

In which case you would buff out the scratches with the finest abrasive you can get and then flame polish to restore the sheen.

I've never done this and have no idea if it's actually achievable but it might work.

:classic: :classic:

#25 richthelegodude

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 04:15 PM

Hmm a fine abrasive polish might work like t-cut. Unfortunately most of these polishes contain petroleum distallates, so its suitability on ABS is very questionable.

It might also loose its gloss. I did use this method to get a CD working the once, not something I recommend though :blush:



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