Cleaning up scuffed SGI cases
Does anyone have a "magic" cleaning solution or some type of plastic restorer that I could use to make my SGI cases for my Indy, Indigo, and Indigo2 machines look a little newer?
If you have scratches in the plastic you can make them less noticeable by polishing them out with a little solvent. Don't get greedy, though, or you'll very easily end up scrubbing the texture off and creating a big shiny spot.
Simply find a solvent that says "WARNING: DO NOT USE ON PLASTICS", dab it on a rag, and brush very lightly and quickly over the scuff. The scratch will still be there, but the colour will blend back into the rest of the case making it much less visible.
Don't use this technique on scuffs where another material has rubbed off onto the case, or you'll just end up melting the contaminant into the surface and entombing it there for all eternity.
You'll probably want to practice on an area that won't be seen often.
For general cleaning you can use swarfega with granuals and a stiff washing-up brush, works wonders! You could also try label remover (but be careful - it melts certain plastics but I suspect the Indy cases are OK with it), oven cleaner, foam cleaner, etc. I haven't tried this, but you could also try things like chrome polish which have quite an abrasive effect.
I normally clean the area with some mild household hand soap & water to remove any residues that aren't readily visible.
Then for scuffed areas with no other contaminates present, I'll -LIGHTLY- drag a pick or small knife blade (dependent on size/depth of scuff) over the area. The idea is to determine the direction that the scuff was made, if possible, and work in the opposite direction. Yes, at this point, it looks like hell ;o) However, I am not done yet.
For scuffed areas with other plastics/contaminants, I'll use a bit of oven cleaner puddled onto the area, then -LIGHTLY- drag a pick or small knife blade (dependent on size/depth of scuff) over the area (as above). I've gotten good results this way, seems that the oven cleaner tends to aid in the separation of the contaminants from within the surface's texture while the pick or small knife blade tends to raise the tiny bumps of the texture back up somewhat.
Once I've gone over the case like this, there are of course, still quite visible, the discolored areas where the "repaired" scuffs exist.
The discoloration of these scuffed areas, alluded to in the 2nd paragraph of Tony's post are solved in the next step.
A liberal application of Formula 2001 Tire Gel by Turtle Wax is applied, I normally apply it by bare hand, massaging it into the plastic. It's then allowed to sit for 5 - 10 minutes and is then wiped off with a damp cloth. This brings the case back to a uniform and even color, (yes, even over the repaired scuffs), rendering the repaired areas barely visible at all. Dependent upon the case, more than one application may be needed.
I have in times past, tried various automotive vinyl treatments such as ArmorAll or STP's Son of a Gun, however most of these have the consistency of water and will simply not last. You'd likely be treating the plastic on a weekly or monthly basis as the treatment solution evaporates.
This is where the Formula 2001 Tire Gel by Turtle Wax really shines (no pun intended, well maybe a bit . . . or byte, nevermind.) Since it's a gel, it lasts for quite some time, this of course may vary dependent upon your indoor climate.
I've used these techniques on Indigo, Indy, Indigo2, Personal Iris, Crimson, Power Series, Octane, more SGI monitor cases and external drive enclosures than I could count, and even crappy PC faceplates.
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