Safest Method to Remove Glue

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by 3 Olives, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. 3 Olives

    3 Olives Member

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    I bought a camera from KEH and it was much better than expected. However, the previous owner put a return address lable in the recessed area of the film cartridge. I was able to remove the lable but there is some soft glue left behind. I don't think soap and water will work. Please tell me the safest way to remove it. Thanks.
     
  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    A little bit of Ronsonol, if you use a refillable lighter and happen to have some around. Otherwise, maybe some rubbing alcohol??

    Personally, I'd just let it get sticky with dust over time, and gradually smoosh it up into little gummy, dusty balls. It'd come off some day....
     
  3. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    What is the material? If it's metal, you might try a soft cloth dampened with some Goof Off, which I think is naphtha, but I'm not certain. It will even work on some plastics, but you would need to test that.
     
  4. 3 Olives

    3 Olives Member

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    Thanks for the reply. It's metal.
     
  5. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    There is also a product called "Goo-Gone" which works well, probably similar to Goof Off. Also Citra-solve.
    I've not had much luck using alcohol on label adhesive.

    If the metal is aluminum alloy, the citra-solve could discolor it, or worse. You would want to follow it up with a wipe down with a damp sponge or towel.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2010
  6. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Be careful with Goo-Gone if it is a painted surface! Don't ask me how I know this, but.... you can discolor the original paint or in some cases, paint/coating can come right off!

    I typically use plastic eraser (drafting kind) and finger to just rub them off. Takes time but usually works.
     
  7. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I've had good luck with goof off, but I'd try plain rubbing alcohol first, then lighter fluid, then goof off.
     
  8. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    My experience has been that there's no magic bullet that will remove all glue.

    Goo-Gone comes close because it's a soup of various VOC compounds (Xylene, Toluene, acetone, and some other things). I think the other brands are similar. But not everything responds.

    Ronsonol - ordinary lighter fluid - is a petroleum distillate that evaporates completely without residue, and works better with some things, especially petroleum based products. If you buy a can of VM+P Naptha (Varnish Makers and Painters) at Home Depot it's exactly the same thing as lighter fluid, and a lot cheaper by volume. (Woo-hoo, clean your old shutters!)

    And plain old alcohol is excellent for other things. Again, I keep a can of denatured alcohol from Home Depot around the house for cleaning. It's 99% pure, and the denaturing agent also evaporates completely without residue. (Although I couldn't pry it out of the manufacturer, I think the denaturing agent is Naptha. But it is a petroleum distillate of some kind.)

    Usually one of these things will dissolve the adhesive.
     
  9. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Nail polish remover may work, too. It's got acetone, which is a decent solvent. I usually try it, then rubbing alcohol, then stronger stuff that I can't get now that I don't work in a lab.
     
  10. jamesgignac

    jamesgignac Member

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    I keep 99% rubbing alcohol around too but it doesn't always do the trick for me - there is are paint thinners out there (sold at art stores for oil painting) which are made from orange oil. These solvents work incredibly well for dissolving gums and resins (designed to be mixed with solid chunks of damar resin to produce varnishes) and are extremely mild and will not damage plastics, metals, or anything else - I always keep a bottle around for removing general gunk off of old equipment. They are also volatile and evaporate completely without residue. Just ensure that it's 100% orange oil and you'll be fine. Perhaps an odd suggestion but it's literally the best solution I've found - plus it doesn't stink up your workspace...it just smells like an orange peel.
     
  11. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    YMMV but for self-adhesive labels and many tapes, I find naptha/lighter fluid the most effective. I would worry that acetone and stronger solvents might damage paint. Naptha seems pretty benign. With paper labels, a bit of naptha applied with a Q-tip soaks right through the paper and softens the glue. Now if they are wet-and-stick material, something like rubbing alcohol with a bit of water content would be a better bet.
     
  12. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    It also contains an oil, which it leaves as a residue on whatever you use it on, so that your nails don't begin to crack. Often scents and colouring agents too.
    Better use plain acetone to clean something.

    Acetone is, of course, not to be used on plastics and painted surfaces. Only on bare metal.
     
  13. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I tend to buy the ones that have fewer additives - you can find them easier now. And, yes, not on painted surfaces. The OP said it was a metal area so would be ok there. The acetone will get the gooey part off then I use the alcohol to clean the area up.
     
  14. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    I have had really great luck with little pads that you can sometimes find at the drug store that are for use to remove adhesive tape without tearing your skin. They are mainly mineral oil. I have used these things to remove Duct Tape from an E-bay camera that I practically stole because it had Duct tape all over it.
     
  15. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    If the label is on bare metal that you can separate from the rest of the camera, consider this:

    One of the few compensations for advanced age is the continuing supply of little plastic bottles from the pharmacy, great for storing things if you can get the labels off. Put the bottle, minus its cap, in a coffee can that has a folded-up paper towel at the bottom, and dribble some lacquer thinner (not paint thinner) onto the towel. Put the plastic lid on the can, wait a couple of hours or overnight, and the label will peel off gracefully with little or no residue. If the bottle is a bit tacky from residue, a wipe-down with mineral spirits shines it right up. Obviously, you wouldn't want to do this with something painted or of unknown plastic without testing first, and definitely not something like an assembled camera!
     
  16. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Out of my assortment of solvents I use for removing residues of stickers mostly artificial terpentine.
    Those sticker-remover gels will work too (but I spare those for soaking stickers).

    Anyway, without prior experience a test with an utmost tiny drop of solvent at a hidden place should be made to test for any matting, glossy or even solving effect of the agent.
     
  17. Fast Frankie

    Fast Frankie Member

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    One of the easiest things I have tried was another peice of tape. Press the tape on the area and lift off quickly. A few taps and the residue will come off.
     
  18. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I wouldn't use goof off for any camera if it has any value. It will dissolve almost anything it touches. It's not very nice to skin either.
    Goo gone works very well except for some rubber or contact cements.
     
  19. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    The OP referred to the "soft" adhesive from the label, but here is a tip for cases where the adhesive is old, hardened masking or gaffer's tape: coat it with a thick layer of automotive mechanics' hand cleaner (the stuff that looks like rancid mayonnaise) and let it sit for a while. At some point, the adhesive will come off with a soft rag, and I have yet to see it damage any kind of paint, plating, or plastic (of course, there's always a first time :smile: ).

    I used this on some barndoors that had twenty year old gaffer's tape on them (it turned into threads and powder when I tried to peel it off) and it worked like a charm. Be aware that some brands have abrasive in them, which would probably scratch anything other than chrome plating.
     
  20. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

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    Forget all the solvents, acetone, lighter fluid. I have always had 100% success using household spray polishes like "mr sheen" (UK). Whatever they put in them, cleans off label glue a treat.
     
  21. AgX

    AgX Member

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    But polishes typically leave a residue. That will likely be a problem with absorbent surfaces.


    And removing sticker adhesive wth the just torn off sticker itself forms an additional stress on the surface (in case of layered surfaces) and in my experience can transfer even adhesive back on the surface. But with sitckers one can peel off in one piece, which are from material that takes a strain and on sturdy surfaces (like glass) it should be the first means, as it could make other means obsolete.