I figured I would give everyone a progress update on The Plus Project I had begun to work on/write about last year. The problem is… there is none.
The next step in the process was to Retr0bright the casing. Retr0bright-ing, if you haven’t heard, was a process developed in 2008 by a bunch of chemists, engineers, and retro hackers to turn the yellow-ing/brown-ing of old computer hardware that would often occur over time back to its original color (usually white). You can read more about it here, but the short version is that a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and an activating agent smeared on the casing combined with UV light for a few hours will actually reverse the aging process.
So that was the plan. I had all the materials ready to start Retr0bright-ing the Macintosh Plus when I came across this video. The author conducted some experiments with different methods of whitening ABS Plastic (which is what most retrotech is made out of) and discovered that applying heat (around 160°F) to a mixture of H2O + H2O2 would actually give better results than traditional Retr0bright-ing methods and in a shorter amount of time. So I went about designing an experiment...
I bought some Salon Creme Developer online to serve as the hydrogen peroxide + activating agent mixture and poured it into a large plastic tub filled with water. The case was then submerged into the Retr0bright bath and with the help of an immersion heater, heated to 160°F. I used an IR Thermometer to monitor the temperature.
This is the part where I started running into a variety of problems and I’ll sort of list them here:
I went through about 3 cases trying to get the Retr0bright to work correctly. Yup. That’s 3 Macintosh Plus’ I had to buy from Ebay, sell the internal components online, and then buy enough salon creme developer to Retr0bright them all. Although I ended up making most of my money back, destroying three Macintosh Plus cases wasn't my proudest moment. By the third one, however, the huge deformities that once occurred turned into barely noticeable imperfections.
Here is a picture of my victims. May they rest in peace.
I ended up learning a lot throughout this process (even though at the sacrifice of three Macintosh Plus’). For one, I managed to cut down the Retr0bright time from ~8 to just under 3 hours with no damage to the item. Here are the steps you could take to roughly achieve the same thing:
Following these steps will pretty much ensure a uniform color restoration in under 3 hours.
Anyway, that’s pretty much my update on The Plus Project so far. Moving forward, I have no idea what’s going to happen. I would like to eventually buy another Macintosh Plus and restore it properly, but I’m not really sure when I’ll have the time and/or funds to do that in the future. So for now this is it. Thanks for reading!