HelloThere's IBM Model F Cleaning/Restoration

User avatar
hellothere

29 May 2020, 19:45

I read a number of threads and can't find one that deals with this. If there is one, please point it out to me.

I just got a Model F XT (year isn't written/stamped; "IBM Personal Computer" badge). The foam has turned into an evil, sticky, black goo and that goo has spread to the bottom of the metal barrel plate and even to some of the springs. Additionally, the bottom case and barrel plate, both top and bottom, have a good deal of rust, so it's goo+rust.

How can I clean this?
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User avatar
Twst

29 May 2020, 20:41

When restoring Model F i find it best to just use
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on all the goo and rust on the barrel plate and spray paint it afterwards ;)
Prefer to prime it with some rust stopper before some layers of black paint. Leaves you with a like new a surface :)

kelvinhall05

29 May 2020, 21:06

Agreed with above comment, I am restoring my F XT and sanding the goo from the foam (and the paint) and then repainting is the way to go.

User avatar
Twst

29 May 2020, 21:21

Model Fs clean up very well!
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User avatar
hellothere

29 May 2020, 22:10

Thanks very much!

What about the springs?

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JP!

29 May 2020, 22:39

hellothere wrote:
29 May 2020, 22:10
Thanks very much!

What about the springs?
If you have any rusty ones just treat with a product called Evaporust but most I see are usually pretty clean. Optionally a light application of gun oil (soak and later wipe away any excess) probably wouldn't hurt to prevent corrosion down the road but I've not seen anyone here go to this level with these tiny springs. A bit deeper down the rabbit hole there is something called the grease mod which is based on the Soft Touch Model M where each spring was greased from the factory to reduce the pingy sound of the springs. This can be troublesome to do and cause issues if grease gets in places where it shouldn't.
Twst wrote:
29 May 2020, 21:21
Model Fs clean up very well!
Damn :D
Last edited by JP! on 29 May 2020, 22:40, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
fohat
Elder Messenger

29 May 2020, 22:40

Soaking the plate and barrels in warm soapy water for an hour or overnight will get that residue off without much manual effort.

Soaking in vinegar water will get the rust off, but will leave it subject to immediate new rusting unless you get it painted. I love Rustoleum and read the label, many of their products are specifically rust-inhibiting.

I am curious about the springs, because I have a bag of rusted springs that I would like to salvage, but I haven't done anything yet. My inclination is to do the vinegar soak, rinse well, dry, and toss with 3-in-1 oil or something similar.

User avatar
JP!

29 May 2020, 22:45

fohat wrote:
29 May 2020, 22:40
Soaking the plate and barrels in warm soapy water for an hour or overnight will get that residue off without much manual effort.

Soaking in vinegar water will get the rust off, but will leave it subject to immediate new rusting unless you get it painted. I love Rustoleum and read the label, many of their products are specifically rust-inhibiting.

I am curious about the springs, because I have a bag of rusted springs that I would like to salvage, but I haven't done anything yet. My inclination is to do the vinegar soak, rinse well, dry, and toss with 3-in-1 oil or something similar.
:o No acids unless you are desperate. Evapo-Rust won't eat any metal (works through selective chelation) and you won't have to worry about any flash rusting. In fact an application of this stuff will prevent rust for a long while. Good for other uses like restoring old tools and can be found at most auto parts stores or online.

User avatar
JP!

29 May 2020, 22:49

Twst wrote:
29 May 2020, 20:41
When restoring Model F i find it best to just use
2.jpg

on all the goo and rust on the barrel plate and spray paint it afterwards ;)
Prefer to prime it with some rust stopper before some layers of black paint. Leaves you with a like new a surface :)
This tool would be the most economical diy way to clean up a plate to prepare for paint. You could also sand it by hand but that is very time consuming. Even better would be to have it sandblasted, at least that's what I did back when I had access to one.

User avatar
hellothere

29 May 2020, 23:10

I think sanding is going to be fine for the top of the barrel plate, it's just the gooey side made me ask for an alternative. I've seen those wire brush things before, but I've never knew what they were for.

I've seen a couple of Model F restorations on this 'board mention that they've used vinegar to good effect, but I've also seen comparison videos that show that Evapo-Rust, and some of their competitors, work better on other metal things.

I stopped cleaning on the Model F when I cleaned some of the white spots and saw rust. I do know that soon after you sand something metal, it should be primer-ed or painted, or it'll immediately start re-rusting, so I'll stand down until I get stuff from Amazon. I won't run out of projects: I've got an NTC clone that I need to work on and, provided my Model M 122 doesn't sell on ebay (I purposely priced it high), I have a Soarer's Converter that I need to program.

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hellothere

08 Jun 2020, 01:30

It's coming along. These are pics of the barrel plate after soaking in Evapo-Rust for about 7 hours.
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I was able to see some improvement in about an hour. All the raised white spots are now bare metal. Evapo-Rust isn't a miracle, though: the brown rust spots are pitted and need to be sanded down a bit, but it'll be a lot less work than I originally thought. Immense thanks to JP! for the recommendation. I've also bought a can of Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer and a can of Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover for repainting.

On a related note, I tried Evapo-Rust on the springs for about an hour. It didn't do anything. I rinsed them with water and dunked them into some Simple Green for an hour or so. Still didn't do anything. The springs are still springy, as is noticed by a couple of them shooting across my room while I was working with them. I ended up doing a light oiling with PTFE oil. They're currently sitting on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.

User avatar
hellothere

11 Jun 2020, 17:02

Finished product. Both sides have two coats of black Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer and two coats of black Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover Paint + Primer. No sanding. No wire brush.
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However, I still have to deal with the bottom case. This is how it looks after two days of Evapo-Rust:
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In other words, no change at all. So, I'll be sanding that down.

keyboardist

12 Jun 2020, 09:25

Yes, it looks like rust get too deep.

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hellothere

17 Jun 2020, 01:03

My current photographic area is currently covered by a pan of keys being rest0brighted, so I can't take a picture, but the bottom case responded very well to being sanded with a little Black & Decker "Mouse" detail sander that cost me all of $20. After sanding, I did the same two coats of black Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer and two coats of black Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover Paint + Primer as I did on the barrel plate.

I used black instead of white because I knew I wouldn't be able to match the white case. I'm also relatively sure I've seen Model Fs with black bottom cases.

If this Model F does work as well as it promised when I tried it pre-overhaul and I decide to keep it, I might decide to get several sheets of metal-grade (IDK what they're called) sandpaper for the Mouse sander and maybe some acetone or whatever can remove all the paint, then re-Rust-Oleum and repaint. Now that I have more of a clue what I'm doing, I think I could do a better job.

I should also mention that the paint is matte and not shiny. It's a matter of taste, but maybe an enamel bottom cover would look even nicer.

Either way, I'm pretty happy how all this turned out and I thank everyone in this thread!

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ddrfraser1

17 Jun 2020, 02:40

Nice. I’ll have to come back to this when I address a similar issue with my F 122

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Jesseg

17 Jun 2020, 08:32

Great work!

Thought I'd chime in with my barrel plate before and after too, decided to with a dark 'battleship' grey primer for my finish.

Image

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hellothere

18 Jun 2020, 22:21

Here we go! (My adventures in Rest0Bright were interesting and I'll try to post later in a different thread.)
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So, a couple areas are a little rough, but it looks very decent overall.

@Jesseg, I think that one looks very nice, too!

I did some research on sandblasting and I really like it, however, I'm really trying to do as much of everything "by hand." That doesn't mean that if someone just dropped by with a sandblaster and "station" (hood, vacuum, etc.) I wouldn't be using the heck out of it. Hey, I just got an ulltrasonic cleaner because, while the Model F keys cleaned up pretty well in soap and water or water + Mr. Clean eraser, the barrels have white grime on them. More ewwww.

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hellothere

15 Jul 2020, 04:11

I'm not finished. I needed the space, so I did a full reassemble. Currently, I do not have the foam installed. I'm waiting for the correct size hole punches. I also have about 10 keys not registering properly. I'm thinking that this is probably due to bad flippers or springs because I was able to fiddle with them and get some response from a keyboard tester, so I've ordered another 20 new flippers and springs from Ellipse.

After I reassemble and make sure everything is working, I'll do some more clean up of the case. One thing I need to look up is how the stabilizer for the space bar is supposed to go in. My model doesn't have the little tabs on the barrel plate and, if I insert the stabilizer through the two clips on the space bar and the two clips on the space bar plastic assembly for the barrel plate, I can't get the flipper to stay in.

The feel is ... OK. I can definitely tell which springs are new and which ones aren't. After my order comes in, I'll have new stuff for all the alpha keys and modifiers.

I think the black bottom case looks pretty good! I think I'll get some black feet instead of the cork ones.
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User avatar
hellothere

04 Aug 2020, 04:01

Well, I guess this thread is now "my" restoration thread.

I finally got a 12mm hole punch and 1mm art foam. I initially spread out the old foam sheet over the new foam and just spray painted to find the holes to punch. Didn't work. The old foam must have shrunk. Also an 11mm punch probably would have been better. Maybe a bit of adhesive in each corner of the barrel plate, too.

I popped in the barrels and the springs. The spring/flipper for the spacebar was hard to keep in place, but there was another post here recommending looping a bit of wire or string through the barrel and pulling the flipper in place. I can't find the post right now, but the pictured solution didn't work for me. I then tried looping it about 1/2 way down the flipper and that worked famously.

It took me a good 1/2 hour to get the back plate on. I definitely need to make a rig so that the flippers and barrels don't get pushed out. Someone here has a nice wooden rig, similar to a painter's canvas. I don't have any wood, so maybe I'll go with cardboard.

When everything was reassembled, that's where the problems started. I'm still using a bunch of the original springs (Evaporusted) and those keys wouldn't register properly unless I reseated the key caps a few times. I eventually got most of the key to work, but it felt terrible. A mushy Model M. I'm going to have to buy new springs.

I mentioned it took a while to get the back plate on. A lot of the keys I was having problems with was the top row. The big problem I had getting the back plate on was lining up the notches on the barrel plate. Do you folks have any tips? Might I have something bent?

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hellothere

20 Aug 2020, 01:03

It lives! It lives!

After three months, I now have a working Model F XT. I haven't done much typing on it, but Aqua's Key Test shows each key registering just fine. Miscellaneous comments about things I encountered that weren't highlighted enough:

* Clamps! In this case, the clamps are used to compress all the parts so you can turn the mounting plate, foam, barrel plate, and spring sandwich on its side and give the back plate a couple whacks to get everything together properly. Learning this saved me easily two hours. I used some bulk plastic clamps from Amazon I had lying around and, while the clamps did fly off across the room, that sandwich came together in two minutes or less.

* Foam! First, do yourself a favor and download the template from Snufkin's post. For me, I had to use the innermost rectangle, i.e. the one that looks like it has tabs. The old foam mat shrank to about 3/4 the size of this template, which was the main reason I was begging folks to send me some foam. Note that the holes are perfect for a 12mm punch ... which I'd link to if Amazon still had it. Most hole punch sets don't have a 12mm.

I did end up using 2mm foam. I think that's probably a bit too thick, but 1mm was too thin, and 1.5mm was impossible to find in small quantity or it was too large enough/too small, or was backordered.

* Grounding! There's a grounding cable off the keyboard cable. It's supposed to connect to one of the screws. If you don't have the keyboard properly grounded, you'll get random text and other badness.

I did have to disassemble three or four times because of keys not registering right and/or bent springs.

I ended up buying all new springs, flippers, and 26 barrels. I have a BUNCH of extra parts that I'll sell. I also need to decide if I want to keep this keyboard.

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