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OT: How To Remove Petrified Rubber Band

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  • OT: How To Remove Petrified Rubber Band

    OK geniuses on this board, here's one to challenge that title.

    The speakers for my wife's laptop died so I looked on my computer stuff shelf and found a pair that were available. Nice looking ones in blue and silver plastic enclosures. But they were still packed from my move from Iowa some years ago and I had used some rubber bands around them to hold them together with some padding between them. Those rubber bands have hardened and bonded to the plastic.

    So my question is how can I safely remove those petrified rubber band segments from the plastic without damaging it? I know I can use fingernails or plastic tools to scrap them off, but that is sure to leave some residue on the speakers. So I am guessing that I need a solvent that will remove the hardened rubber and not harm the plastic or any finish that may be on the plastic.

    The blue and silver colors have a metallic sheen so I am assuming that they were either painted after molding or some kind of powder was brushed inside the mold before the plastic was injected. In either case, the finish is probably only a shallow outer layer.

    Any suggestions will be appreciated.
    Paul A.

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

  • #2
    If isopropanol does not do it, you are probably escrewed.

    Much more aggressive solvents will do just what you want to avoid, they will melt both materials, or maybe only the speakers.....

    The plastciser escaped and formed a lousy solvent weld between the plastics. Just good enough to make a mess.
    1601

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

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    • #3
      Try Armorall or the like. Might rejuvenate the rubber enough to remove it.
      Sole proprietor of Acme Buggy Whips Ltd.
      Specialty products for beating dead horses.

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      • #4
        The plastic will likely have taken on some color that won't go away.

        Goo Gone, WD40 (really... it works wonderfully on tape glue residue so it might work well here too. And won't harm the plastic at all).

        In order of least damage potential I'd go with alky, WD, Armorall, Goo Gone. If those don't work get creative with things like hair conditioner or plastic and rubber detailer for cars.

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        • #5
          Ask at your local automotive paint supplier. They have lots of experience with this kind of problem.

          -js
          There are no stupid questions. But there are lots of stupid answers. This is the internet.

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          • #6
            Along with Goo-gone there is Un-du.

            Un-du has a high VOC version that is available from Amazon if you don't live in California. You can take mailing labels off cardboard without harming either. Same with price tags off of packaging.

            Try first on a hidden area.
            At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

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            • #7
              Mineral spirits and WD40 are my go-to's for stuff like that.

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              • #8
                Just a WAG but try some peanut butter, before going caustic on it.

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                • #9
                  The solvent for rubber is Hexane, which is like Ether and very volatile and flammable !
                  Doubt that it would not affect the plastic. My first choice would be to freeze the speakers and see it the rubber will break off.

                  Rich

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                  • #10
                    Naptha (lighter fluid, white gas) will not hurt the plastic.

                    Ken

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                    • #11
                      I goggled it & it said dry cleaning solvent.
                      "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
                      world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
                      country, in easy stages."
                      ~ James Madison

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                      • #12
                        My past experience with things like this is that there is usually some damage imparted to the plastic part that the dried out rubber band has stuck to.

                        Related experience........... I have made book cases and shelves in the past. after staining I used to use Deft for a finish. It looked nice, was easy to apply and very forgiving.
                        One day I noticed that where a rubber electrical cord was laying across the shelf it left an impression in the finish.
                        The rubber in the cord somehow reacted with the Deft finish and like melted into it.
                        So, there is some chemical reaction going on there when rubber comes in contact with certain materials. Not quite sure what it is.
                        I've also seen this reaction with other rubber containing products like, synthetic leather, cell phone and eye glass cases etc.

                        JL..............
                        Last edited by JoeLee; 10-17-2018, 08:56 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by flylo View Post
                          I goggled it & it said dry cleaning solvent.
                          No need to actually dissolve the rubber. We are just looking for something akin to penetrating oil but for the latex to break down the bond between rubber and plastic.

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                          • #14
                            Dry cleaning solvent might work. I used to use it to clean aerospace precision bearings, never tried it on rubber though. I would suggest brake clean. I used the red can stuff to remove the glue from plastic and synthetic Velcro. I used an old cottage cheese container and would spray the brake clean into it and just let it the velcro soak. It would literally melt away the glue and not touch any of the plastics. I just let the brake clean evaporate, that was the last time that container got used because the glue turned into some nasty stuff in the bottom. Moral of the story is, don't use your favorite HSS coolant cup.
                            My recommendation?

                            No matter what I tell you, get a second opinion.

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                            • #15
                              Citrus oil is one of my go to solvents, though you would need to try it on an unseen area first.

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