A hard, flat backup plate with fine grit carbo paper (like 600) lightly
wet-sanded will usually brighten the ground without dipping into the
embossing. Don't just wrap the paper around, or it might wrinkle enough to
mess up the letters -- glue it onto the backing.
If the plate is dented, it won't work in the dents.
My backhoe has an aluminium serial number plate. The letters are lightly
embossed and inked. I'd like to clean it up a bit. Can anyone think of
a chemical which will clean the surface without removing the ink?
Here's a picture:
Suggestions would be appreciated.
Chris, I've "been there done that" and I think the only thing you can
realistically do is to mechanically remove any paint drips (I used the edge of a
credit card) and then gently clean the surface with detergent/water, and that's
about it. If your lettering is black & background gray (grey in Britspeak) you
can fix small gaps in the lettering by using a sharp felt pen (in the US we have
a wonderful product called "Sharpie" - I bet most metalworking shops now use
them). In areas where there isn't any lettering, you can try lightly rubbing
with fine steel wool. It appears to me that your lettering is simply inked onto
a flat surface, so once it's gone it's gone. Another thing you can do since
you've gone to the trouble of pulling it off, is to do a high resolution scan of
the plate and try reproducing it somehow. There are lots of approaches to doing
It does have a few dents unfortunately, so I'm reluctant to try emery
paper. It also sounds like a technique which might make things worse if
I get it wrong. Thanks for the suggestion though.
Blimey Chris, If my dream came true and >I< had a JCB the last of my
worries would be the s/n plate probably be far more worried by
rusty door bottoms, leaking hoses, worn pivot bushes, bent forklift
bar, jammed extradig etc etc
If you want my advice on the subject of buying one...
If you want one to use, spend the extra money and buy a good one to
start with. Mine is something of an eternal restoration project. There
are a hell of a lot of things to go wrong with a JCB. If you're
seriously looking to buy one I can suggest some of the likely faults to
look out for.
They're great fun though.
I came within a few thou of generating a good excuse to buy one when
we were buying a farmhouse and land earlier this year which would have
needed a fair amount of groundwork. We pulled out at the last minute
when it turned out the seller was a crook and half the buildings had
no planning permission and were set to be demolished by the Council !
When the move was 'on' I did a lot of homework on JCB's and came to
the same conclusion as you. Was aiming for a 5 year old 4WD 3CX with
extradig and 4 in 1.
New insight on the nameplate restoration --
Contact JCB, and have them print you a new one. Betcha it wouldn't be more
than a double saw-buck, just because THEY would like to see the machine
spiffed up. You might have to send the old one in, so they don't suspect
you're stealing a machine....
The alternative is to buy an old machine with non of these things
fitted. My 1963 MF65R is somewhat basic with no cab, forks, extradig,
etc. It's interesting to own but obvoiusly lacks the usefulness of the
later models. It depends on how much you will use it. I bought mine
some years ago for some work which it did and I've never quite got
around to selling it on.
In answer to the OP, I own an old car with aluminium number plates
which I clean regularly. My answer is to ignore any damage to the paint
and repaint when I've cleaned the ally. Personally I get them in the
sink and scrubb with domestic scouring powder such as Ajax. A coat of
black on the low bits takes some time but it looks really good
afterwards. I suppose the plate should be laquered afterwards to
protect it. That's something I've never done though.
In that case, google for "aluminium serial plate".
There are a number of companies that will make one off's from your own
artwork. A photo of the original can be re-touched in paintshop and
copied onto the ally.
Most seem to work on a surface print or an anodising system so the
detail won't be recessed. Might be worth a look though.
Don't know the cost.
That would be a sound choice for the job if you've got the money to
spend on it. There are a few things I don't like about the modern
machines. They have too much in the way of electronics and plastic. I
hate the plastic cab roof, for example. That said, the newer I-section
chassis is better designed and more fatigue-resistant than the old
"Hydrachassis". But if you need a cheap machine, a 1970s 3C or 3D in
good order will work great for a self-build.
Looks to be screenprinted not acid etched and filled. I have made
thousands of these plates and many repros. The serial numbers are
engraved so they will be ok.
Get as perfect a digital image as you can and clean it up in photoshop.
You can rescreen it or there is an easy way to make a waterslide decal
if you have a laserprinter.
Print it onto the decal paper. Very lightly spray the print with clear
laquer. This might take 8-10 coats. once that is all very dry soak it in
water and apply to the more cleaned up plate.
Funny thing is, I did meet a guy with a mint 1960s JCB which he'd
acquired as a true rust bucket. He showed me a "before" picture of the
machine and it was brown all over - hardly a sign of paint anywhere! The
restoration was a real credit to the owner. Anyway, he let me have go
and I noticed a pair of mint specification plates in the cab. So they
are available from somewhere. I doubt he blagged them from JCB though...
I suggest a wash with soap & water followed by careful use of a pencil
eraser (rubber to you, I believe).
I've used this technique on a few aluminum serial number plates. You
do need to keep cleaning the sludge off the eraser as you go, though.
Please remove the spamtrap to email me.
"I always wanted to be somebody...I should have been more specific..." - Lily
Grab some Mothers mag/aluminum polish. Warm it up some so it isn't real
stiff. Use a tissue or VERY SOFT cloth to apply it to the plate. Once on
wipe GENTLY around all the areas with paint, try not to damage the paint
(it should be ok but why take chances) Once you have it cleaned up good,
carefully wipe off any excess. Mothers is a polish with wax in it but
for better protection I would wipe it with wax/grease remover and spray
it with some clear lacquer.