I got this launch edition 1989 Nintendo Gameboy at a yard sale for $1 and decided to restore it and clean it up. First, I needed to re-solder the battery connectors to the PCB so it would start up. Then, I cleaned out the cartridge slot so it would actually load games. The yellowing on the case was pretty gnarly, so I took it fully apart and used the hydrogen peroxide + UV light method to reverse the ageing. It worked great!
The basic chemistry of it, as detailed in the retr0bright project page, is that there was bromine added to the ABS plastic to act as a fire retardant. Over time and exposure to UV light, the bromine finds its way to the surface, lending the yellow cast. Hydrogen Peroxide, and activator, and more UV light finish the job and allow the bromine to fly free, leaving the surface of the ABS entirely.
Here you can see the front of the case after ageing for 29 years next to the back of the case after the hydrogen peroxide + sunlight for six hours treatment.
You can search for the exact method and different recipes online, but you essentially need a high-ish concentration hydrogen peroxide — here I’ve got 20 volume which is 6% concentration — and an activator such as Oxy and something to thicken it. People call this Retr0brite. It turns out that salon-grade hair “bleach” has all of the necessary ingredients rolled into one bottle.
Paint it on (after cleaning the case with water and rubbing alcohol and more water), seal it up in cling wrap, and put it in the sun for six hours.
What a difference!
Here, I’ve gotten the top half going. I didn’t leave it in the sun for as long and may give it another shot to further remove the yellowing.
Hit a semi-disappointing sale this morning. Not too much of interest, or as pickers say, nothing had any age on it.
The two finds I did get: a great little Griswold no. 3 cast iron pan for $5. Nicely seasoned, probably perfect for a grilled cheese sandwich I’ll be making for lunch…
The other thing I picked up is this kooky Keen Kutter pocket knife. It’s a bone handled Barlow model, made from 1940-1960. Blade marked “K288 1/2”.
I call it kooky due to the tip. Looks like the previous owner snapped it off and then did a nice job cleaning it up into a concave dip. I probably paid too much at $10, but I like its apparent history.
I can tell from the other knives at the estate that the previous owner really had a problem with using knives as screwdrivers/pry bars. At least this one has a nifty attempt at saving it.
I have this great little welding cart I got from a picker. The size was almost — but not quite — perfect to hold my little MIG welder underneath. I got 10′ of 1/2″ 16 gauge steel square tubing for $2.06 at Industrial Metal Supply’s remainders bin and cut two lengths down to size to fit the footprint of the welder. I welded them to the cart and now it’s all neatly contained.
1/2″ 16ga. HR steel square tubing
removing rust with a flap wheel
dry fit is good and tight
gorgeous, award-winning weld
exciting action shot
my MIG welder has a home
I just picked up an excellent vintage Brown & Sharpe No. 4 combination square protractor head and blade for $20. It was in good shape, just needed some cleaning and surface rust removal. Made in Rhode Island, it’s a high-quality, forged and hardened precision measurement tool. Not sure of the vintage.
These are great for transferring angles, measuring and marking at non-square (or square) angles along the length of the blade, and using the bubble level not just to check square, but determine the exact angle of out-of-square surfaces. The blade can flip to both edges on both sides, giving four different graduation sets.
Here’s a photo essay of my cleanup process.
My friend Dug North — automata builder and clock maker extraordinaire — sent me a box of vintage tools in trade for some parts bins I built for him. Let’s have a look at his picks!
Videography by Peter Moyer
Delightful little box of useful items I found at a garage sale. Pretty good value for five US dollars.
The Eagle #314 “Chemi-Sealed” DRAUGHTING pencils are excellent, highly coveted pencils among illustrators. This style was made from 1950-1980. More info here. I gave one to my ridiculously talented friend Mark Frauenfelder, who swears by vintage Blackwing’s. We’ll see how he feels this one compares.
Next up, some nice boxes of screws, including a gross of blued, round head steel 5/8″ #6 wood screws from National Products. Just look at that NAT the Robot logo they had! Love.
I also found a warded lock key, a pencil protector, two heavy duty switches, and this lovely Brunswick pool cue chalk.
Three dollars spent this weekend at various yard sales.
First up: four welding plier clamps. $1.50. Original owner was a Lockheed aviation machinist.
Two of them are unmarked, the other two are Knu-Vise brand model P-400-1. They still sell this model today, for around $18 a piece.
Two go carts. $0.00, a.k.a. free. What?! Not technically a yard sale item. I was dropping my son off at school and somebody had set these out on the curb with a FREE sign. They work pretty well, but looking into replacing/upgrading the batteries…
Which leads to: Snap-on/Blue Point MT130 Charging System Analyzer for testing car batteries and alternators. $0.50. Could be helpful in working on the go carts.
Finally, a deck of Magic Castle playing cards — the cards inside are still sealed. $1.00. I’ll be gifting this to a friend who’s pretty into cards and magic.
My $1 yard sale find of the day. A Tensor model 5975 high-intensity mini task lamp, circa 1965.
Love the design and the crinkle paint. I’ll get some bulbs and then possibly rewire it with some cloth braided wire.
Earlier today I had cause to proclaim the following to the world:
“Sorry to yell but OMG I HAVEN’T HAD HONEY SMACKS IN SO LONG AND THEY ARE SO FREAKING GOOOOOOD”
This led me to wonder about the name switch from the Sugar Smacks of my youth:
- 1953-1990s the name was Sugar Smacks
- early 1990’s until 2004 the name was simply Smacks
- 2004 to present the name has been Honey Smacks
- future name: Gluten Smacks?
Thinking about this lead me to go eat another bowl of it,which then lead me to research the box art and mascots of the Smacks cereal line over the years. Go pour a bowl of Smacks and enjoy.
It all began with illustrations of real world Ringling Brother’s clowns.
1953-1956 Clown Paul Jung
Next came an animated seal. Go check out the animated ads, they’re wonderful.
1957-1960 Smaxey the Seal
In came the Hanna-Barbera horse sheriff, Quick Draw McGraw.
1961-1965 Quick Draw McGraw