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Spray varnishing older modular panels
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Spray varnishing older modular panels
TheDegenerateElite
I'm starting a full refurb on an old Paia 2700 system and am going to have to break down all of the front panels to clean them and replace corroded jacks.

This Paia had screen-printed graphics that can be somewhat delicate now and they are susceptible to corrosion damage because they are chrome plated steel.

I am considering using a spray varnish or clear coat of some sort to add a bit of extra protection on them once they are cleaned up and before components are attached again.


I don't really foresee any issue with it, but figured it wouldn't hurt to ask if anyone has any experience with how this works, best choice of sprays, or hints/warnings?

Thanks for any help in advance!
Wray
I highly advise against this. Once you've added any coating, the look of the original Paia will be gone forever. Moreover, it can't be removed from the screenprint once it's there. In other words, don't do something you know nothing about.
acidbob
Just thinking loud here, but could you add some kind of transparrent plastic laminate?
TheDegenerateElite
How would it destroy the look? And why would I want to remove a clear topcoat?


The 2700 was shiny and the 4700 was matte.

A clear coat of gloss with a quick spray of satin or dullcote would leave it looking about the same. Even a artist acrylic spray might work.


I suspect a plastic laminate would look worse, unless you are talking about something besides a normal paper sheet laminate.
Wray
TheDegenerateElite wrote:
How would it destroy the look? And why would I want to remove a clear topcoat?


The 2700 was shiny and the 4700 was matte.

A clear coat of gloss with a quick spray of satin or dullcote would leave it looking about the same. Even a artist acrylic spray might work.


I suspect a plastic laminate would look worse, unless you are talking about something besides a normal paper sheet laminate.


Well, it seems you don't need any advise. Then don't ask for it...
TheDegenerateElite
Explain what you mean about it changing the appearance then please?

A slight change in the glossiness of the panel isn't a major concern, considering most of the old Paia panels are in variable condition to begin with. Some are even rusty or have peeling chrome, though not any I plan to use, thankfully.

I have several 2700 series panels that are different shades of chrome plating already, including a few that are brand new and never used. That's not even mentioning that the 4700 series is entirely different material, finish, and thickness or the 8700 series with changed panel graphics.


My question was about whether anyone had experience spaying screen printed panels and any recommendations with regard to technique or products to use.
KSS
Agree with Wray. But let's try and answer your questions anyway.

TheDegenerateElite wrote:
How would it destroy the look?

It will no longer look like the original PAIA. You may not care but it is a truth and a potential concern.
Your coating may be incompatible chemically or expansion rate and cause more damage to the screen print. Right away or over time.
Your coating may discolor and look worse in a few years than if you had done nothing. Yellowing, blushing or cratering are all real possible outcomes.

Quote:
And why would I want to remove a clear topcoat?

See the above. But you won't be able to remove your failed or failing coating without also ruining the screen print, as Wray tried to warn.

TheDegenerateElite wrote:
The 2700 was shiny and the 4700 was matte.

2700 modules are aluminum. Only the 2720-11 envelope follower was transitioned into the chrome steel of the 4700 series.
Did you mean vice versa? The aluminum panels look matte, and the 4700's chrome steel looks shiny. No way is a clear top coat going to make one look like the other.

TheDegenerateElite wrote:
I have several 2700 series panels that are different shades of chrome plating already,

This is highly unusual if true. 2700 are bare aluminum, not chrome. Later 2720-11's excepted. 4700 series can look very different at different angles and lighting. But that is an optical effect. And is 4700 not 2700. Do you mean blotchy, oxidized aluminum of old poorly stored 2700 modules?

Quote:
My question was about whether anyone had experience spaying screen printed panels and any recommendations with regard to technique or products to use.


Well, that's one way to try and prevent system growth! hihi Most of us wouldn't mind letting our modules reproduce freely!

Few thoughts coming from plenty of experience with panels and coatings. The problem here is what Wray told you. You don't know what you're dealing with. A call or email to Scott at PAIA is a good next step. He's so laid back he'll probably just say give it a try and let him know how it goes. But he may remember the type of screen print ink used. Then you don't have to find out by trial and error. He's also the most likely person to know somebody who has tried it before. A post on the PAIA Talk forum asking this question can't hurt.
Whatever you use, even if it seems ok now, might not be long before yellowing or cratering and blotching starts anyways and makes you wish you'd left well enough alone.
Your best bet is going to be an automotive topcoat or generic clear coat designed for metal. Take some panels to a local body shop and ask them what they think. 2700 and 4700 panels do not seem to have the same ink so that's another potential problem. The factory finish on the chrome steel is probably a roll-coated dip lacquer. There probably is a simple inexpensive coating that will work well. Finding it is going to be tough, with luck an important part of the process. Worst case at least for the 2700 modules is re-creating graphics and re-screening the panels.
TheDegenerateElite
I don't want to sound argumentative here, and am really looking for some advice.

My main concern is preventing the further deterioration of some of these panels into the future, and a few of them are not what you would call museum specimens to begin with.

I have several 2700 series that are not aluminum at all.

I have two 2720 power panels sitting on my desk right now. One of them has chrome coating peeling away on the lower corner with rust bubbling up underneath it with visible smallish rust spots poking through in various other places. The other has a clear front but the edges are clearly rusty. I also have a couple of the pitch only keyboard panels from the 2700 and early road keys before the glide upgrade that have the same sort of chrome plating peeling issue though they look to have some sort of black oxidation happening underneath, not rusting, maybe zinc corrosion if it is plated aluminum.

So not all of them were aluminum. That's probably why many of them look inconsistent to begin with. Some of my 4700 are nice and shiny, most are a dullish gunmetal color, like my 4770 mixer panel, while the VCO is a shinier gunmetal chrome. It's pretty inconsistent across multiple panels and I have dozens in various shapes from new in the plastic to looking like they were buried in a yard for a decade.

As far as sprays, I was thinking to use an artist acrylic archival spray to "fix" the front to avoid any sort of solvent attacking the print ink. Then follow up with a spray clear coat designed for miniature figures that I have extensive experience with. I've used those for 20 plus years on painted wargaming figures and they don't discolor or bubble/crack/etc. The are also designed to flex, because metal figures can bend a bit with use, and take lots of handling.

I hadn't planned on using cheap shit wal mart deal of the week clear coat.


I had thought about recreating the panels using Front Panel Express or maybe even doing them on printed PCB material. That would obviously change the look quite a bit more.

Like I say, my main concern is preventing further deterioration even though that would likely be minimal since they would be properly stored now in a studio and not ...where ever the hell people seem to store these old synths. Maybe that's enough and no further precaution is needed?
TheDegenerateElite
Sorry for shit pictures....these are really hard to get any sort of image of due to glare etc...camera won't focus on them at all....

Chrome coating peeling on 2720 power





Old pre-glide panel on keys, though this is mounted on a vinyl road.






Not related to matter at hand, but a few shots of a really, really rough Quash that I can't even begin to wonder about...



Astrolabe23
No comments on if you should or should not do what you are proposing, but in response to your initial question, this is my favorite clear spray. (Duplicolor) You can find it at the automotive parts store. It has a very even spray and it's the best I have found. One thing to note is that if you are going for a thick finish, you will find that it will begin to look yellow after 8 or 10 coats. Especially if you are going over white. I'm usually good with a few light coats so it's not an issue. If I need to do a heavy finish or clear over white I will use the Krylon maxx crystal clear.

TheDegenerateElite
I was intending a very light coat just to protect the screen printing and stop further chrome peeling away.

8 coats would be a a bit much I think. Just out of curiosity, what did you coat that heavily?


What have you used those sprays on? The ceramic engine paint is probably a bit much for this.


Thanks for your input!
MrsWedge
I am a conservator by trade and I can tell you that spraying a coating over actively corroding metal is a really bad idea. You need to remove the corrosion and neutralize it's source before doing anything else, otherwise you will be making an even worse mistake than not doing anything.

Constructively, I can tell you there are variety of waxes that dry clear and hard and will not interact negatively with the base material. Renaissance Wax is probably the best known.
TheDegenerateElite
Renaissance Wax

That's interesting. I know people that collect antique swords and helmets that use that stuff.

Does it show finger prints? How does it work in general? Any further info would be great.

- edit -
A bit of googling makes me think this won't work. Apparently it has to applied after corrosion stabilizers and it accumulates lots of dust over time.
Rob_C
KSS wrote:
2700 are bare aluminum, not chrome.

Both 2700 series and 4700 series panels are steel (not aluminum) with a plating. Magnets stick well.

The Original Poster asks a legitimate question. As a vintage PAIA owner, I have wondered too about the application of an appropriate coating to preserve my panels. Obviously something that yellows or is strong enough to dissolve graphics is unacceptable.

I have used Rustoleum's "The Must for Rust" to remove rust from these panels and stop any corrosion.

Long time PAIA-head Kyhotay has two cases of PAIA modules with his custom panels from Front Panel Express. They look great, but expect to spend (at least) $20 per panel, and likely more.

Tarn-X is great for cleaning audio jacks and tip jacks.

You could just give the panels a dish detergent and warm water wash after removing the jacks, pots, etc. Be careful with any rubbing to avoid remove lettering - some panels seem to have "looser" graphics than others.

That QuASH is quite battle-worn. Do you have the D-to-A to bring it to life?
Blairio
I have a couple of old (60+ years) motorcycles. There is sea change in the approach to restoring classic & vintage machines, with growing interest in preserving the 'patina' of the original finish, and addressing any mechanical wear - rather than making the machine look 'factory fresh'. When you do that you wipe the history from the bike.. or panel...

I agree with another poster who suggests stabilising the panel corrosion should be the priority - stop things getting any worse. That will then give you the time to look carefully into refurbishment options - or maybe even get together with other PAIA owners and commission a short run of replica panels?
TheDegenerateElite
I have a full 8700 system with the computer keyboard that I need to get around too someday with a DAC and a pair of very nice Quashs. That battle worn one is just something I picked up in a lot auction of parts. I'm still looking for some of the old software Paia made for it if you have any leads.


I have lots of brand new panels for 4700s and odd bits acquired over the years and finally have time to get to my 2700 project. I just finished a full restore of an Arp Omni model I that just took forever. It had all sorts of weird home brew repairs that were a real pain to correct. I would be quite happy to not ever see a tantalum cap again.....


As far as panels go, that's exactly right. I want to stop corrosion on them and preserve them a bit, NOT refinish them into newish factory condition. Since they are damaged already, it isn't so much about preserving the look of perfect museum instruments, but rather halting their deterioration.

I know that you can spray on "rust converters" that stop rust on metal and make it sort a blackish color. That's obviously not a good idea here. That "must for Rust" must be a different thing than common rust converters. I just watched the video on the site and it looks like a late night TV product. I will dig into it a bit maybe experiment on a trashed panel.


The tip jacks will need a full clean and right now I'm debating whether to replace all the pots and audio jacks. I think the pots will change for sure.

Thanks for the comments so far everyone. I love to keep refurbs as original as possible but these 2700 panels worry me, all my 4700 stuff is pretty much fine.

I do have a 9700 that has bad screen printing chipping issues though.
TheDegenerateElite
I know all about the old car/old motorcycle debates.

My dad is restoring a 1957 Pontiac Star Chief wagon and that has become a joint project every time I visit him. Really cool car, but that one was a boneyard find and not in any sort of "history" condition, unless history here is 30 years of sitting on cinder blocks rusting out.


I did a 1973 Honda CT90 a few years back. Just a mechanical fix on it, no refinishing. That was my dad's from way back when and had been strapped to pickups etc for years when he used to elk hunt when I was younger. Was in pretty rough shape. He owned a Honda/Ski Doo dealership in Orem, Utah way back then, and that bike certainly has history to it's wear.
Rob_C
TheDegenerateElite wrote:
I know that you can spray on "rust converters" that stop rust on metal and make it sort a blackish color. That's obviously not a good idea here. That "must for Rust" must be a different thing than common rust converters.

The "Must for Rust" is a rust converter that does make rust a blackish color. You can purchase is in a small bottle at the home stores if you want to try it. I only had some small spots on my panels, and wanted to stop the rusting, so that's what I used. I found the resulting blackish specks preferable to the more homogeneous patch of rust color. But I didn't have large rust spots. As you said, trying it on a trashed panel is a good idea. Perhaps you just want to use the product on the back of your panels.
MrsWedge
There are also chelating agents that only remove rust without affecting unrusted steel or brass. I use Evaporust occasionally on antique clock parts. It does tend to leave the rusted areas slightly discolored and will leave a visible line on the part if it is not completely submerged in the solution . I don't know how it might react with printed panels tho. It could possibly lift/remove the printing.
TheDegenerateElite
Cool. Thank you guys for the suggestions. I'll report back here later with results of some tests and work.


It's only really an issue with a couple of 2700 series panels that need to have their rust stopped.

The 4700s are all good, mostly new actually.


I also have some brush on top coats used for wargaming minis that might worked over a treated spot. It will stand out, for sure, but then again, so does a big rust spot.
Rob_C
There are some Wigglers who create their own front panels using burnished aluminum and the toner transfer method. I think they apply some kind of clear coat to protect - perhaps they could chime with here with their results.
TheDegenerateElite
Ok time for an update.


I went to Wal-Mart and bought some Tarn X to soak the tip jacks and 3.5 (though I think these are actual 1/8") jacks. They turned out great, about 3 mins and a quick toothbrush scrub. I used a wooden toothpick soaked in the Tarn X to sort of scrub around the insides also. Continuity checks out perfect now on all the ones I've cleaned so far.


The big report though is the "Must for Rust" stuff mentioned above.

I had a spare old pitch only panel that was pretty rough from a bit back that I could test the stuff on. It was in amost the same really rough, rusty pitted shape as these other 2700 panels. The stuff is actually just diluted phosphoric acid, probably like 15 or 20% at a guess.

I poured it into a shallow plastic sandwich container with a lid and left it for about 40 minutes. Then pulled it out and rinsed in hot water, towel dryed.

Here are the results compared to an untouched, so far, 2700 panel from this project.






Pretty damn striking. No damage at all to the graphics. There is still some pitting and it definitely doesn't look like the smooth shiny original chrome, you can see that around the panel holes where nuts sat, but it looks a hell of a lot better than the before panels. I don't think you even need to worry about any sort of clear coat, since phosphoric will leave little microscopic crystals embedded in the old rust areas. You can treat bare metal that will be outside for a year with the stuff, and these will never see that.

One last shot with a power panel cleaned the same way! I'm very happy with the results and they are even better in person. Really nice!

needlz
You can also brush on light coats of poly (minwax makes a clear one) and lightly sand between coats.
TheDegenerateElite
I don't think any sort of top coat is needed now.

With the corrosion stopped these won't be stored in crap conditions again.
MrsWedge
Looks good!
This might be consevator's paranoia, but I wonder what the tarn-x reside will do to the circuitry as it ages. Some polishes will turn acidic and cause corrosion if not completely removed, brasso being notorious in this regard. I would recommend that you switch to a purpose made electronic cleaner or find a solvent that can remove the tarn-x without harming the electronics.
Not trying to be critical, just adding a conservator's 2 cents
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