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600 Series top cover clean and refresh (Eraser vs face cream vs polish)

Older ThinkPads from the 300, 500, 600, 700 Series, iSeries, Transnote etc.
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600 Series top cover clean and refresh (Eraser vs face cream vs polish)

#1 Post by nfraser01 » Fri Aug 05, 2022 3:12 pm

Hi All

I'm heading further down the ThinkPad rabbit hole and acquired a 600E (not yet arrived)

I've seen various discsussions/videos about rejuvenating TP top covers and the 3 most popular ways are a) Magic Eraser b) Face cream and c) Boot polish. I've not tried any yet, but I'm thinking that it surely depends on the type of plastics that were used orignally. My 340 for example is just hard plastic and so none of these would work well, I think. Does anyone have a preferred technique for the 600 series?


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Re: 600 Series top cover clean and refresh (Eraser vs face cream vs polish)

#2 Post by solidpro » Mon Aug 08, 2022 6:12 am

I've done loads of 600 lids and each one is different.

Some are just dirty and haven't succumed to the rot that seems to happen to most of them where the rubber coating goes moist and sticky. This is irreversible. If it hasn't happened yet, I would suggest cleaning with water spray and a soft cloth, then applying some nivea skin cream and then letting it air for 48 hours and then bagging it into an airtight pouch with a dessicant pouch. DON'T use any kind of surface cleaner, detergent or even soapy spray as many of these are too harsh for the rubber and will start to remove it.

Some have not succumbed to rot but are scratched a lot deep under the rubber but not enough to have scratched the harder black plastic underneath. In this case, I will disassmble the lid and remove the rubber coating with IPA and stiff 'thumb pushes' on a disposable soft rag. The black rubber comes off leaving a satin plastic lid underneath that is almost as 'factory' to look at as the original.

Succumbed to rot but not scratched. Same as above.

Succumbed to rot but with deep scratches that have pierced the hard plastic under the rubber. In this case, I remove the rubber with IPA and then use a wet cutting agent to turn the lid into high gloss black lid. Sometimes having to cut hard to remove the deep scratches. Is completely different to factory but ends up looking modern, nice, interesting variation and keeping an otherwise trash lid alive.

Beware that when using IPA you have to treat the lid seperately and remove it completely from the rest of the case. If you get IPA on the keyboard surround or base you will quickly get down to bare metal which looks crap.

T2x are similar but as I recall the keyboard and base are also plastic so you can IPA the degrading rubber to those to return to a satin black which looks fairly neat and factory.

The only other option I have considered but can't be bothered is to 'wrap' a lid in the same plastic used to coat cars.

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