Those frosted case plastics.

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Reflex88, Jun 9, 2019.


Will the B&W G3 be collectable?

  1. Yarp

  2. Narp

  1. Reflex88 macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2004
    Anyone else having ageing problems? Mines getting so brittle bits are snapping.

    I've got a B&W G3. Honestly, it's one of my most treasured possessions (saw one, when new in a department store window, had the whole window to itself, white back drop). I had two, but ran out of space so stripped the rougher one for almost all its parts excluding the internal metal case (all fits in a draw, then.)

    I've had the handles / feet shatter on lifting, and placing down.. and today my case release handle snapped! I've fitted the spare I'm now so pleased I kept. I've also fitted the much stronger feet/handles from a grey G4 to preserve the fried items I still have. The sides are also cracking from the 4 screw holes.

    I think the locking slider actully caused the latch to catch as I opened it.. but it does highlight the fact the frosted white plastics are getting supper brittle.

    Is anyone else noticing this? Or has my machine just been baked in the sun before I obtained it?

    Let me know your thoughts, as I'm desperately trying to preserve this B&W and thought a discussion about the plastics would be good, I see the 8 bit guy / iBook guy retro righting stuff all the time, but I think the frosted plastics will present a whole new challenge on that front as I'm not sure an already brittle plastic will take to bleach all that well.

    --- Post Merged, Jun 9, 2019 ---
    Picture, just cuz why not? 15600957982912034504352708835699.jpg
  2. bunnspecial macrumors 603


    May 3, 2014
    I have a few wearing later handles(Sawtooth/GigE/DA or even QS/MDD) and a few just with shards of handles remaining. I think I have 3 cases with perfect handles, and those get handled VERY carefully.

    I've never had one shipped to me that arrived intact-the ones that are good are all ones I collected in person. As I'm sitting here now, I have one in my line of sight that was shipped to me-it survived being shipped with only a crack in one of the top handles, and the other three are good. That's the exception rather than the rule, though-I've unboxed them with the handles in 100 pieces, and even with other issues like an entire side panel being shattered.

    The Bondi iMacs are just as bad-good luck finding one with an intact I/O door! The internal plastic on those also seems to be the same as is on 90s beige Macs, and we all know how well those hold up.
  3. pl1984 macrumors 68020

    Oct 31, 2017
    Wow! I didn't realize these were so fragile in the senior years. When new I wasn't a fan of the design but, over time, I've come to like it more and more. I've thought about buying one and knowing this will certainly ensure I am careful with it.

    As for retro-briting I believe the reason for doing so is to remove the yellowing of older systems. I've done a number myself and I am very impressed with the results. I've purchase several gunky systems from Ebay and they now look close to new.
  4. amedias macrumors regular


    Feb 9, 2008
    Devon, UK
    This is why my B&W is now sadly wearing a G4 jacket.

    Still got the blue/green plastics on the top and front but the sides and handles are Sawtooth, annoying as you don’t get to see the big G3 one the sides lurking behind the frosting which is one of the best things about them :-(
  5. RhianB macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2016
    505 USA
    The interior frosted plastics of the pmg4 cases are wearing no better. The latch teeth on one of my QS sheared right off. I’ve glued them back on with a high strength epoxy for aesthetic reasons but don’t trust it.

    Another problem I have with these frosted plastics is yellowing/browning & discoloration. my iMac g3 looks hideous. I have a bondi revb that is horribly yellowed/browned due to UV damage & time.

    Mac plastics in general are not aging too well.That IS however a great idea replacing those fragile b&w feet with pmg4 acrylic feet to preserve them. I will certainly do that if I ever land one. That or 3D print some of my own.
  6. B S Magnet macrumors 6502

    B S Magnet

    Dec 5, 2018
    don’t read my status message
    The acrylic and polycarbonate plastics used during the 1998–2012 era all suffer from some degree of degradation from use and exposure to UV light and oxygen, as well as organic contact with human skin. On the conservative end, tiny stress cracks will appear, and at the other end, the plastics will practically disintegrate, as you’ve learnt with your B&W G3.

    There are parts on my 2000 key lime clamshell which have completely disintegrated in one instance, and in another, lost its structural integrity. These parts were not exposed to UV light (like being in front of a sun-facing window), but they were exposed to the heat of continuous use and also oxygen.

    In the end, the best-conserved examples of acrylic/plastic/polycarbonate Macs are probably going to be the ones which were kept in long-term, climate-controlled storage, in darkness, and which experienced relatively little usage/uptime. Unfortunately, those examples are relatively few and far between, and museum-quality examples put on display will probably require additional conservation measures to ward against UV light from fluorescent/metal-halide venue lighting and even from LED fixtures used in display cases.
  7. Hrududu macrumors 68020


    Jul 25, 2008
    Central US
    I’ve got 3 B&W G3 towers and they’re all in great shape. No cracks or crumbling. Maybe I’m just lucky, but i can absolutely see how after 20 years they could get brittle. I’ll be sure to be easier on them when moving them now.
  8. bunnspecial macrumors 603


    May 3, 2014
    I'm eying the possibility of moving the next few months(don't want to say too much now publicly) and this is one of those things that keeps me awake at night :) . Nothing is certain at this point.

    With that said, my B&Ws with intact handles will have them removed, packed in bubble wrap, and set inside the case before packing the whole computer. That's the only safe thing I can come up with.

    It will make moving the towers themselves more difficult since I can't carry two at a time, but I will deal with it.
  9. Reflex88 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2004
    Blimey.. a wider observed issue then I expected.

    I was thinking about the G4 sides, and how they're not translucent. People have been stripping the silver paint off of those for years though, if a finish translucent finish could be re applied to the transparent interior of the panel, maybe a half way house could be reached for a G3 looking machine using the stronger plastics of the later G4s.

    Mine are yellowing a bit, certainly not the crisp white I remember from the shop window.

    It's odd, I've got the matching15" LCD display too, and the plastics on that, both B&W, seem fine.. but I think they're a different material.

    Where's best to get G4 case parts?

  10. amedias macrumors regular


    Feb 9, 2008
    Devon, UK
    I've toyed with that idea too but decided I'd rather have 'original' or 'not original' and not try and approximate the G3 parts. But you could probably achieve a nice looking mod with a bit of effort, would certainly be interested to see the result if you give it a go. It actually looks pretty good with the G4 plastics though. I've got a Sawtooth with non-ribbed QS handles too which is also quite nice :)

    From a dead G4 would probably be cheapest
  11. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

    Jul 13, 2008
    Post Falls, ID
    This thread is sort of intriguing to me..

    I have around 14 G4 towers including my B&W. Only one of them has a broken handle, and it was like that when I found it.
    I've gotten most of the machines from Craigslist or recycle centers. The B&W was actually shipped to me from, in one piece. They all feel very, very sturdy to me. In fact the one I have with the broken handle is the only broken one I've seen in the wild. I can't imagine them breaking like you describe. They must be in pretty bad shape.
  12. LightBulbFun macrumors 68000


    Nov 17, 2013
    London UK
    will also add to this

    I have 3 G3 BWs, 2 of them have no feat and one out of those 2 also has no handles (picking that one up is going to be fun LOL), only 1 has a full set of intact feat and handles and even then one of the feat has a small crack in it

    I also have a iBook G3 clamshell first generation, thats barely seen any use (45 hours on its original hard drive) and it too also has some cracks around the apple logo sadly

    as mentioned, these frosted plastics REALLY do not hold up to time, and if you have such a machine with no cracks in it/broken bits, then handle with kid gloves!
  13. Reflex88 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2004
    I'd be taking them off and swapping out for some of the later G4 type.

    I stripped my G3 years ago for a deep clean when I initially obtained it. Perhaps I over tightened the screws?
    The same G3 did live in my folks loft for some time, so whilst covered and not exposed to moisture or UV, I guess it will have still suffered some of the heat of summer, and the cold of winter.

    I've been thinking about the G4 > G3 homage/replica sides... You can get frosted vinyl wrap, that could be used either inside, or even wrap the whole thing and it might look pretty close to the original G3, possibly even letting the G3 stay visible?

    There's a product called fly-eyes too, which is like a wrap, but rather then translucent it's loadsa' little holes, car mod scene use it over lights, and I've found it's available in white. This would probably allow the G3 to shine through.

    I nearly bought a G4 for the case parts the other day, but the cheapest I can find (£15) is miles away and is £15 shipping.. I don't have that kinda of spare chase for parts at the minute.
  14. amedias macrumors regular


    Feb 9, 2008
    Devon, UK
    hmmm, so you're in the UK too, where about's as I may be able to help out here...PM me if you like

    (MODS - this isn't a sale post!)

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13 June 9, 2019