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Old 04-07-2010, 02:43 PM   post #1 of 16
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Default Treating Rubber feed rollers for printers?

We have a bunch of HP 2200 and 2230 business deskjets at work. They are good printers, but every few months, the feed roller (a rubber coated roller that sucks up the paper) gets dried out and needs to be treated.
In the past, I have used alcohol and a q tip type swab, clean it down a few times and the printer feeds and works great.
I am beginning to rethink this - doesn't alcohol dry out rubber?

I am doing another printer - this time i used gunk automotive belt conditioner.
I would think that this would work better - long term - than cleaning the roller with alcohol.

Am i wrong? Do you think wiping alcohol on rubber dries it out more than softens it up rubber?

Besides for the printer smelling like an auto shop,
it seems to be feeding fine. Im just not sure if belt conditioner will do any long term damage to the rubber coated roller - if it would i can go back to alcohol...
I also have some armorall type rubber conditioner, i use that if the printer rollers squeak, i would think that using this stuff would make the feed rollers too slippery and defeat the purpose... It does a great job on squeaks though...
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:51 PM   post #2 of 16
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Default Re: Treating Rubber feed rollers for printers?

YES, using alcohol on those rollers will dry the rubber out and cause them to crack and disintegrate. You should use an a rubber revitalizing product, like MG Chemicals Rubber Re-Nue. I am NOT a sales rep for them, its just the product I have used for 25 years as an AV technician, television technician and computer technician for cleaning every belt and/or roller I've come up against. Trust me, I've seen rubber rollers disintegrate...

Rubber re-conditioners generally DON'T make the rubber slipperier, they increase its "grabbiness"...
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:51 PM   post #3 of 16
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Default Re: Treating Rubber feed rollers for printers?

I might would be a bit concerned about the belt conditioner leaving a 'residue' on your printed media?

I've used rubbing alcohol in the past, too, but with the same concerns.

I don't really have a better solution for you, though...
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Old 04-07-2010, 07:30 PM   post #4 of 16
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Default Re: Treating Rubber feed rollers for printers?

you need Fedron! Best stuff I've ever saw for restoring rubber on electrical stuff.

http://www.teeveesupply.com/product_...als/fedron.htm
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Old 04-07-2010, 07:35 PM   post #5 of 16
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Default Re: Treating Rubber feed rollers for printers?

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Originally Posted by Steve (Magnolia, TX) View Post
I might would be a bit concerned about the belt conditioner leaving a 'residue' on your printed media?
It cleaned up pretty well, there was no residue after a few pages.

Thanks guys, ill try one of those items. the odor from that gunk stuff is probably not good for the office - im hoping it doesnt eat away at the plastic printer parts..
the rubber roller was good as new though

GC: is that fedron like a high quality armorall?
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:09 PM   post #6 of 16
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Default Re: Treating Rubber feed rollers for printers?

SJ, don't really know, but it's one thing definitely not to use in a closed area.
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:46 PM   post #7 of 16
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Default Re: Treating Rubber feed rollers for printers?

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Originally Posted by simple_john View Post
It cleaned up pretty well, there was no residue after a few pages.

Thanks guys, ill try one of those items. the odor from that gunk stuff is probably not good for the office - im hoping it doesnt eat away at the plastic printer parts..
the rubber roller was good as new though

GC: is that fedron like a high quality armorall?
Usually what you do with any rubber treating compound is treat it, let it dry for 5-10 minutes or until there IS no residue. Rubber Renue is an acetone-based compound, the acetone does evaporate after you apply the compound... Its the acetone that gives it the strong smell, and DEFINITELY NOT something to use in an enclosed area... It used to come in glass jars, I knocked mine off the corner of my desk onto the waxed tiled floor of my office one day... Couldn't use my office for about 3 days after cleaning it up, and then they had to replace the tiles because the acetone stripped the finish off them.... No, its NOT good to get it on the plastic parts of the printer...Depending on the quality/grade of plastic it CAN melt it or deform it if you get enough on it... If you're doing feed rollers that are still installed in the printer and there are any plastic bits that touch the roller (feed cams etc), you can clean the roller in "strips", that is, clean the visible piece, let it dry, advance the roller, clean the next strip, etc.... Generally you just need enough on your q-tip to wet the roller slightly, you don't need to douse it... Possibly a bit of scrubbing if you notice grunge coming off on the q-tip... On tape deck and VCR pinch rollers, that grunge is oxide shed from the tape traveling between the pinch roller and the capstan. On printers, that grunge is usually toner...

One more public safety warning about this stuff, never EVER use it for significant periods in an a tine enclosed space (like on an old betamax video tape recorder, the HUGE old ones that took the 1" tapes, inside its rolling cabinet into which it has been mounted and cannot be removed without bolt cutters and a crane) and then do tequila shots with the science teacher whose old video tape recorder you just cleaned and then go to the bar with the other teachers (because it seemed like a good idea at the time) and then get home and remember at 10:30 that night you have to write up a quiz to give to your Grade 6 class the following morning... I don't think its likely to ever happen to you, but if it does, DON'T write up the quiz! Everyone will fail, and you won't have a clue why because you won't be able to remember ANYTHING about what you wrote in it....
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:49 AM   post #8 of 16
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Default Re: Treating Rubber feed rollers for printers?

Thanks little tractor guy, yeah, i know acetone

we used to use that stuff like water in organic chemistry...

thanks for all the info!!
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:13 AM   post #9 of 16
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Default Re: Treating Rubber feed rollers for printers?

I had the same issue with my 4050 laser jet a year ago and tried everything....even 600 grit emery paper. When I discovered how cheap and easy they are to fix, I just bought new ones.

Check out eBay or this site, for example:
http://www.feedroller.com/Store/inde...1_17_86_37_342

If it is for work and under $20 per machine, it's well worth it.
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:33 PM   post #10 of 16
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Cool Re: Treating Rubber feed rollers for printers?

If residue is an issue, take some tractor pin feed paper and tear off the pin feed sides and run it through the printer.

My dot matrix printers, friction and pin feed have forward and backward capabilities at the push of the proper button. I still have two Epson MX80 units, one with Graftrax+ from the 1980's in addition to newer Panasonic and Epson dot matrix printers. Dot matrix printers are the cheapest way to print out large manuals and read me files off disks.

If you want extra absorbency, take some commercial (The brown rough stuff.) hand wiping paper and trim it down to size using a paper shear and run that back and forth through your rollers.

Glad I saw this thread in that I have a commercial letter folder, and an envelope slitter whose rollers are getting stiff.

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Old 07-24-2015, 04:41 AM   post #11 of 16
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Default Re: Treating Rubber feed rollers for printers?

I use this stuff for cleaning and conditioning tape deck pinch rollers, might work pretty good too.

SR-Audio PRC-2 Studio Grade Audio/Video Tape Deck Pinch Roller Cleaner Conditioner Rejuvenator Fluid SR-Audio PRC-2 Studio Grade Audio/Video Tape Deck Pinch Roller Cleaner Conditioner Rejuvenator Fluid
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Old 07-24-2015, 09:30 AM   post #12 of 16
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Default Re: Treating Rubber feed rollers for printers?

From what I understand(ha!) all the 'rejuvenator' or 'treatment' fluids just dissolve some of the roller 'rubber', leaving a layer that is softer structurally, and thus more 'grabbier'.
You can get the same result using sandpaper to abrade the glossy, hardened outer layer exposing some new material. I think the fluids will penetrate the roller material and thus lead to quicker deterioration of the inner 'layers' as the chemicals affect the rubber 'bonds' internally.
Perhaps a chemist or chemical engineer will note the post and make a comment. Maybe even a HP or Epson engineer?
In use, the surface of the rollers just needs to be 'scuffed' a bit to perform properly. It does not need to be 'gummy'.
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Old 07-24-2015, 10:09 AM   post #13 of 16
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Default Re: Treating Rubber feed rollers for printers?

How long were the printers in service before this happened the FIRST time? If a brand new printer experiences this issue within a few months time, it's more likely to be that you need some quality air filtering in the office space as it's likely picking up a residue and not actually drying out.

And, yes, a light sanding of the rubber will rejuvenate it without also then drying it out. But, you can't keep doing this as it wears down the roller. There should also be a piece of cork or similar in there UNDER the paper at the pickup point. Once this wears, it must be replaced.
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Old 07-24-2015, 05:43 PM   post #14 of 16
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Default Re: Treating Rubber feed rollers for printers?

I just saw this thread now, sorry for not commenting earlier.

I used to work on broadcast video tape machines both at work and as a side business, and was certified as a repair tech for a certain line of very high end color printers. That company was in direct competition with hp and Epson; more the former than the latter due to the target market.

You want to use at least 90% IPA on a linen cloth to clean all rubber rollers. The IPA will clean it, strip off the paper dust and any leftover toner, and won't degrade the rubber beyond its current point. At some point the rubber becomes hard from age and has to be replaced anyway.

Sanding was mentioned above. Only do that if you don't care about the rest of the mechanism downstream of where you sanded a roller. Microscopic stuff will ablate from the roller and be carried into the rest of the mechanism.

It's important not to use any IPA concentration less than 90%, as those products will contain oils and other chemicals which do not do you any favors.

You NEVER want to use any "cleaning fluid" inside a video tape recorder, as it will leave a film which will transfer to the tape, then to everything in the tape path - including the heads! I've cleaned up a number of machines which had this done to them, and it wasn't a cheap job for the customer.

The best thing to have is prepackaged alcohol wipes, as they are always ready to go. The brand I use and still have around is CleanTech, CT806. These have a pre-saturated large linen pad which can take some real abuse as you scrub surfaces, guides, and rollers.
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Old 07-24-2015, 08:02 PM   post #15 of 16
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Default Re: Treating Rubber feed rollers for printers?

Fedrons what I used to use for rollers. Haven't had any in a while tho
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