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Care of rubber parts

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*Altaira has a "Butterscotch Pony" from a few years back with a soft chamois-like rubber snout which moves as it neighs (with an inner armature) in which the rubber is still pliable and as perfect as the day it was made, doesn't seem to be going anywhere for awhile anyway. I've seen recently on e-bay some of these where the nose has been torn as if age was taking its toll on it or maybe just rough 'horseplay'. :breakit:

As for the rubber hands on vintage robots, I've never tried to apply anything for fear that it may adversely affect them due to their age.

I know eventually all rubber will disintegrate over time but are there any ideas of stuff we can apply to newer items such as the rubber horse snout to preserve it or is it best left alone ?? :lecture:

I've heard of stories of some revitalizers which actually cause more degradation than they cure.


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Hi Dr. Morbius,

The big consideration is the type of rubber that your dealing with.

Natural rubber, like latex, is very suseptible to damage from, UV light, heat, and most damaging, oil.

Even oil from your skin can cause it to break down.

For latex the cure all USED TO BE Armour-All protectant. Mask collectors used it years ago to preserve them.

Now Armor-All has fallen out of favor and the best suggestion is to clean the piece witn water and a litte Dawn dishsoap.

This will get the damaging oily residue off, then after drying, give it a light dusting of talc powder, and keep it away from UV light sources.

Synthetic rubber, (vinyl, neoprene,urethane,etc) all have different properties, but most of these will do well with a cleaning with soap and water. if the part touches another chemical based part,( plastics or paint) it can actualy cause a chemical reaction that will melt one or both parts. (Vinyl and Styrene plastic are good examples of chemical melt).

If this is happening you only option is to separate the pieces that are melting.

this will stop the reaction, though the styrene may remain gummy for a long time.

A lot of sythetic rubber responds well to the vinyl protectants you get from auto parts stores.

Some will take faded cracking rubber and restore the color, and sometimes the surface sheen to an extent.

Hope this helps

Say hi to Altaira

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I've been using Krown Leather and Vinyl protectant on my car for years now and seems OK, doesn't seem to harm anything and was highly recommended by Krown rustproofing shop I've dealt with for many years. I heard a few years back (as you have) that Armor-All protectant isn't all it's 'cracked up to be' and like WD-40 it's not recommended for much anymore. I learned years ago about WD about what it does best. Lubed my former wooden garage door rollers with it and whatdayaknow the bolts all released and came crashing down onto my car at once. Realized I was lucky that any 'bots I'd sprayed this stuff into didn't blow the innards apart, releasing all the cog connections from one another.

The Dawn dish soap I suppose would moisten the rubber and help keep it flexible over time, maybe the kids' hands on the snout of Butterscotch likely caused sped up the damage. As for *Altaira, she took extreme care of the horse she has, still like new. I have invisioned the snouts on these all disappearing like the Cragstan Creeping Hand toy but likely it's the original pure real rubber that has disappeared over time on the older toys, maybe the synthetics won't have the same fate? Creepy toy really, it'll actually appear to watch TV and react to what it sees. We've always kept his head covered from room lighting.

Hey most folks think of toys as toys...we're very much different here at Alphadrome.

Thanks for your detailed thoughts on this AtomicRobot, much appreciated. I'd never thought of hand oil as a culprit on something like this, we learn here every day. As a life-time model car builder I've seen styrene wheels react with rubber tires a bit over time.

Oh, and I passed on your hello to *Altaira! Thanks! :biggrin: And yes, she's also a member of Alphadrome.

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