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Aging rubber and plastic

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old mart17/04/2020 20:35:16
1771 forum posts
138 photos

I got my oldish Practica 10-30 binoculars out of their bag today (with difficulty) and found that the soft handgrips were deteriorating into a sticky mess. They are about ten years old and I had to use degreasing spray to get most of the mess off my fingers. I have a thirty year old Cosina C1 camera which also suffers from slight softening of the grips. My old Pentax ME Super had its light seals turn into a mucky mess some time ago, fortunately you can get a kit of new sponge rubber seals to fit after cleaning the sticky goo off. Is there anything that can be done when the rubber or plastic starts breaking down?

Neil Wyatt17/04/2020 21:40:59
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With the right skills, you could design and 3D print replacements with flexible filament although they probably wouldn't look as good they would be functional.

Neil

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 17/04/2020 21:41:15

ega18/04/2020 11:20:29
1713 forum posts
150 photos

A memorable experience of this when an old but lightly-used pair of shoes spontaneously disintegrated at a meeting causing me to leave a trail of black PU(?) fragments in my wake.

A previous pair from the same Danish maker and manufactured there had served me well over a longer period but the offending ones were made in the Far East. You do wonder whether this is just an example of planned obsolescence; I shall not buy from them again.

Brian G18/04/2020 11:57:15
697 forum posts
27 photos

I found Aldi's "Mamia" baby wipes worked well on 30+ year old Minolta lenses, removing both the white deposit and the sticky residue from the "rubber" on the zoom rings. I don't know their effect on babies but they are my "Go To" degreaser and I use them to remove the shipping grease from machines and tools.

Brian G

Howard Lewis18/04/2020 12:48:00
3272 forum posts
2 photos

Every year the Company supplied a pair of safety shoes of my choice. Since each par lasted at least two years, I hoarded them When retired started to wear them. BAD mistake. The oil proof moulded soles promptly cracked, or the heels fell off. Try walking half a mile with no heel, to get home and change!

(SWMBO had enquired if I had any Centipede genes)

Had to scrap every pair,! Unworn.
have a wind up LED lantern and that is getting sticky and horrible. Works fine, but terrible to touch.

Probably caused by a loss of plasticiser?

Howard

Ian P18/04/2020 12:58:27
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2380 forum posts
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Posted by old mart on 17/04/2020 20:35:16:

I got my oldish P...

Is there anything that can be done when the rubber or plastic starts breaking down?

I doubt there is any way of restoring or stabilising this material and the only option is to remove it completely.

In my opinion there are not many products that this soft covering actually improves (in terms of making it a better product) it might make something look more attractive but (especially) in the workshop soft coated handles on tools just pick up dirt.

Ian P

Neil Wyatt18/04/2020 13:06:24
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The worst thing is the 'soft touch' coating that isn't but uses a 'nanotexture' to fool your fingertips.

I recall that one of either meths or white spirit works for getting it off.

Neil

Johnboy2518/04/2020 13:21:53
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259 forum posts
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White spirit Neil. 👍 tried and tested. Works ok with a bit of elbow grease! 😋

modeng200018/04/2020 14:15:26
219 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by Howard Lewis on 18/04/2020 12:48:00:

have a wind up LED lantern and that is getting sticky and horrible. Works fine, but terrible to touch.

Probably caused by a loss of plasticiser?

Howard

I have a pair as well. On doing a test crank, one worked and the other broke it's drive mechanism.

Too sticky to open up and repair.

John

Edited By modeng2000 on 18/04/2020 14:16:04

Stephen Follows18/04/2020 14:56:11
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63 forum posts
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My electric toothbrush suffered from this, only two years old. Got hands covered in sticky coating every time used it. It wasn't a cheap one either. New one I've bought is cheaper, quarter of the price. works just as well.

Mike Poole18/04/2020 15:16:59
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2575 forum posts
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My favourite shoes were being replaced with a newer model so I stocked up, a couple of years later I dug them out of the wardrobe, a couple of hours later I thought my foot felt a bit strange, the sole and upper had parted along the stitch line like a tear here. The shop were not very interested although I got a discount on a new pair. It is not an unknown problem but does not affect shoes that are worn regularly. There seem to be lots of issues with the long term stability of some plastics, foam often crumbles to dust and soft grip often goes sticky.

Mike

Edited By Mike Poole on 18/04/2020 15:20:27

Bryan Cedar 118/04/2020 17:18:57
43 forum posts
1 photos

I had a pair of Clarks leather shoes with rubber soles. Discovered that the sole had parted form the upper whilst sitting at dinner on a cruise. Left a trail of rubber bits through the restaurant , most embarrassing. Had them re- soled by Clarks only to have this happen again just over eighteen months later. Result will not buy Clarks again and they should get their act together, as not fit for purpose.

jimmy b18/04/2020 17:25:12
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638 forum posts
38 photos

3D printing with "TPU" could be an option, to replace the failed rubber. I have has very good results with this material!

Jim

Samsaranda18/04/2020 17:44:27
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930 forum posts
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Had similar problem with a pair of Clark’s shoes kept for best, out to lunch in a good restaurant and sole parted company with the upper on one shoe, rescued by a stout elastic band which looked very odd when I hobbled out to the car park. Glad to see it’s not a unique problem.
Dave W

Mike Poole18/04/2020 18:15:59
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2575 forum posts
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Mine were Clark’s as wellsad

Mike

bricky18/04/2020 18:51:17
423 forum posts
48 photos

Me too. Clark's, left on a day out with the sole flapping .also had a pair with rubber insets disintergrate also leaving a trail of plastic or rubber.

Frank

ega19/04/2020 00:33:48
1713 forum posts
150 photos

Clark's:

I have been customer for decades but it seems they are no longer Streets ahead!

In fairness to them, when a recent purchase failed after very little use at the cuff (part behind ankle) with some persistence with head office I was able to get them replaced; better yet, they actually admitted that they were defective.

Grindstone Cowboy19/04/2020 02:21:29
300 forum posts
27 photos

It's hydrolysis of the polyurethane - see here - and I've seen it happen with Hotter shoes and others, so not just a Clark's problem.

Danny M2Z19/04/2020 07:59:36
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850 forum posts
282 photos

After my binocuar grips degraded I found this which might explain a bit Rubber Reversion

* Danny M *

Brian G19/04/2020 08:56:27
697 forum posts
27 photos

With the phasing out of lead and cadmium stabilisers and biodegradable plastics contaminating the recycling stream, we may just have to get used to the idea that plastics don't last like they used to. (Does anything?)

Brian G

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