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Saturday, November 21, 2009


Homemade Magic Erasers recipe?

A while ago, I went through some MSDS sheets and other information to figure out how to make your own windshield washer fluid. Inspired by Dan's comment on Mr. Clean's Magic Erasers, I thought I'd do a bit of digging, not only to see if they contain formaldehyde, but to figure out what they actually are. The Magic Eraser MSDS sheet does state that they don't contain formaldehyde (my attempt at degreasing car parts with them might have been more successful if they did!), but it doesn't state what they actually do contain. A bit more searching, though, turned up that Mr. Clean didn't really try to hide their source for the Magic Eraser material - it's actually melamine foam, made by BASF.

Normally, melamine foam is used as a sound insulation, although it's also used as a fire retardant. At some point, somebody found out that if you cut this sound insulation foam into blocks, you could use it as a very fine grit abrasive. So the way a Magic Eraser cleans is mechanical, not chemical - it's like a polishing cloth or sandpaper. And, predictably, a little searching for "melamine foam" turns up a couple sources where you can buy the stuff cut into blocks for sound insulation use. Predictably, McMaster-Carr sells it. (If that link's broken, start at their main page and search for melamine.) It's worth noting this is a different grade of melamine foam from what Mr. Clean uses, and it would only make sense if you used Magic Erasers by the crate.


Saturday, November 07, 2009


Removed the Dart's power steering

I've been getting a bit more wrenching done on the Dart. Removing the power steering is definitely going to get me a lot more clearance for the turbo, but first I had to remove the up-pipe to get enough clearance to pull the box out. The biggest difficulty was probably that I didn't have a suitable socket wrench for the bolt on the steering arm. In the end, I managed to get the bolt off using a giant set of channel-lock pliers. I'll get a proper socket before reinstalling it, but I didn't feel like driving off to get a large socket in mid-pull. The old power steering box is out, and hopefully next week I'll have the manual one switched in. Got the box already mostly degreased and an adapter from Firm Feel, so it should just drop in.

Of course, "should just drop in" are pretty dangerous words.


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