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 Post subject: The Science of Sticker Removal
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:05 pm 
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Location: Bay Area, California
A few months ago when I did the ABS puzzle dyeing thread I was asked about how to remove stickers to prep a puzzle for dyeing:
Mindstormscreator wrote:
Now what you have to figure out is a quick process to remove all of the excess goo from removed stickers of some puzzles, like a Cube4You Gigaminx (mine is covered in it).

My hypothesis was that a hydrocarbon like mineral spirits would do the trick but I decided to setup a little science experiment to determine what, if any substances could be used to remove stickers and goo with minimal manual labor.

I took a VIDEO of the process.

I started out with a very messy Gigaminx:
Attachment:
sticker_removal_screen_1.png
sticker_removal_screen_1.png [ 514.78 KiB | Viewed 2676 times ]


Setup the controls and solvents:
Attachment:
sticker_removal_screen_2.png
sticker_removal_screen_2.png [ 482.12 KiB | Viewed 2676 times ]


And got great results from the mineral spirits:
Attachment:
sticker_removal_screen_3.png
sticker_removal_screen_3.png [ 555.32 KiB | Viewed 2676 times ]


So now if the only thing holding you back from dyeing your puzzles is removing the stickers, this should help!

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 Post subject: Re: The Science of Sticker Removal
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:52 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:19 pm
Thanks!
This will really help; I've been considering getting spiral stickers for my C4Y tera.

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 Post subject: Re: The Science of Sticker Removal
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:12 am 
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It looks really interesting.
Now I just need to know what is mineral spirits in Hungarian.

I know what is mineral, and know what is spirits, but if I put some stone into a brandy or vodka, nothing will happen! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: The Science of Sticker Removal
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:43 am 
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Olivér Nagy wrote:
It looks really interesting.
Now I just need to know what is mineral spirits in Hungarian.

I know what is mineral, and know what is spirits, but if I put some stone into a brandy or vodka, nothing will happen! :lol:
The more common name for the mineral spirits is "White Spirit" which is a mix of a bunch of different hydrocarbons.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum_ether
and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aromatic_hydrocarbon

It is mostly made up of:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentane
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexane
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heptane
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octane

I'm pretty sure "lighter fluid" or "kerosene" will work just as well as they too are a mixture of light hydrocarbons.

The reason the solvents aren't labeled with their exact chemical content is that the way the distillation process works, they are separated by weight. It would be too costly to isolate just one hydrocarbon so they just try to get all of the light ones together.

For what it's worth, the product "Goo Gone" uses light hydrocarbons as the main solvent too.

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 Post subject: Re: The Science of Sticker Removal
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:46 am 
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I am curious if anyone has any information on how these solvents might affect the plastic over time. People used to think vaseline was a great lubricant but it has delayed damaging effects.

Here are two other threads on the matter:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6104
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=7214

After using Goo Gone and alcohol, I'll note that alcohol seems just as effective but requires no gloves or cleanup afterwards. As it evaporates pretty much immediately I don't see any lasting effects.
Packing tape has some of the same advantages.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: The Science of Sticker Removal
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:24 pm 
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DLitwin wrote:
I am curious if anyone has any information on how these solvents might affect the plastic over time. People used to think vaseline was a great lubricant but it has delayed damaging effects.

Here are two other threads on the matter:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6104
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=7214

After using Goo Gone and alcohol, I'll note that alcohol seems just as effective but requires no gloves or cleanup afterwards. As it evaporates pretty much immediately I don't see any lasting effects.
Packing tape has some of the same advantages.

Dave
Hey Dave, thanks for those links, I wasn't aware of the previous discussion on the subject. I looked up the interaction of ABS with petroleum jelly and it is supposed to be fine below 70F. I'm not sure (chemically) what happens at higher temperatures but obviously with long-term use it breaks down the plastic.

I'm nearly certain that soaking the ABS pieces in a light hydrocarbon overnight has no long-term effect on the plastic. The solvent evaporates faster than alcohol and doesn't leave a residue.

I can't discount the possibility that if you soaked the pieces in the solvent for months (similar to what you'd be doing with a petroleum jelly lube) there could be some damage.

Even though the primary ingredient in Goo Gone is a light hydrocarbon, the other ingredients make it viscous and messy. If you use Goo Gone you do have to spend time doing soap+water cleanup. With mineral spirits you don't.

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 Post subject: Re: The Science of Sticker Removal
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:40 pm 
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I have been using White Spirit and occasionally Methylated Spirit to remove sticker residue for ages now.
I generally use White spirit as Meths does tend to leave a purple tint (that can be wiped away) but adds to sticker preparation time. However with some adhesives Meths does seem to work quicker.

I have never had a problem with White spirit or Methylated spirit even with cheap plastic puzzles.

Hope this helps
Robert

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 Post subject: Re: The Science of Sticker Removal
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:49 pm 
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Robert111 wrote:
I have been using White Spirit and occasionally Methylated Spirit to remove sticker residue for ages now.
I generally use White spirit as Meths does tend to leave a purple tint (that can be wiped away) but adds to sticker preparation time. However with some adhesives Meths does seem to work quicker.

Interesting, Methylated Spirit is the same thing as denatured alcohol (mine is clear, not purple and about 50% methanol, 50% ethanol with some Methyl isobutyl ketone to make it taste too terrible to drink). Denatured alcohol caused the stickers to come apart in layers but even overnight didn't remove the stickers or dissolve the goo on the surface of the pieces.

Are you soaking the stickers off or are you manually rubbing them off? My goal was 100% removal without any manual rubbing off.

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 Post subject: Re: The Science of Sticker Removal
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:52 pm 
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This is the kind of thing that wins a science fair. I love it and my Gigaminx just may be salvageable afterall.

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 Post subject: Re: The Science of Sticker Removal
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:10 pm 
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bmenrigh wrote:
Interesting, Methylated Spirit is the same thing as denatured alcohol (mine is clear, not purple and about 50% methanol, 50% ethanol with some Methyl isobutyl ketone to make it taste too terrible to drink). Denatured alcohol caused the stickers to come apart in layers but even overnight didn't remove the stickers or dissolve the goo on the surface of the pieces.

Are you soaking the stickers off or are you manually rubbing them off? My goal was 100% removal without any manual rubbing off.


I am not sure why it is purple, maybe to prevent a child drinking it?
What I tend to do is peel smaller puzzles stickers (as it doesn't take too long) then soak it in the spirits, and then do what you do and wipe off any little remains with a paper towel.

On the bigger puzzles V Cube 5, 6 and 7 I left it in a tub similar to what you did, and simply left it over night on top of my washing machine and that caused the majority of the stickers and residue to come off, all that remained was easily removed.

Robert

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