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removing that mean icky gaffa goo left on cables

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by rgsw, Jun 15, 2004.

  1. rgsw

    rgsw Member

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    does anybody know any good tricks of how to get cables feeling as good as new by removing the goo left by gaffa tape?
     
  2. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I use isopropyl alcohol and it works just fine. Be careful of what you buy however, as I found out that in the US this is known as rubbing alcohol. The difference is however, that rubbing alcohol has oils and scents etc in it and the strength is lower as well. As such, don't use rubbing alcohol.

    The alcohol that I use is 95% isorpopyl and is the same as used in the little medical wipes. It evaporates very quickly after application and I have had no issues with it damaging cables.

    I think the guys in the US use denatured alcohol, but I do not know any more about it.

    I don't know what is used in the UK but I am sure that if you gave a local production company a call they could tell you. You will probably have to try a local D.I.Y. store or similar to find either of these.

    You can probably buy other solvents that would do the trick as well but if you do use something other than the two product I have mentioned, or a production company has suggested, I would test it on an old cable first.
     
  3. digitaltec

    digitaltec Active Member

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    Goo Gone or isopropyl alcohol
     
  4. bdesmond

    bdesmond Active Member

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    I call it 97% isoproph here. If you have a chem lab, the teacher there will have the stuff by the gallon. Otherwise any pharmacy would have it (wlagreens, CVS, Osco, Savon, Walmart, etc).
     
  5. 3D

    3D Member

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    use rubbing alcohol or goo be gone, but if it was gaffer's tape it shouldn't leave resadue. are you sure you didn't use duct tape?

    3D (Derek D. Deiterman)
     
  6. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Unfortunately, Gaffers Tape can leave a residue, especially if it is left on for a period of time or if there is sufficient humidity.

    As for rubbing alcohol - just have a look at the label before using it. See my previous post:

    Cheers,
     
  7. 3D

    3D Member

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    ive never known gaff tape to leave resadue. its a nonresadue tape thats why you use it.
     
  8. The_Guest

    The_Guest Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    It's actually a goo (glue) that it leaves, not peices of the tape like you might notice with duct tape or masking tape. Mayhem is right, depending on the climate the gaff tape can do some funky things. When heated up enough the adhesive glue sort of melts off and will leave a residue. It's not too hard to clear it off flat surfaces, but cables however are a bit trickier.

    This past winter I was involved in a competitive theater production which toured to several different venues, so of course you had to spike and strike the equipment in 25 minutes max. Since it was a new venue each time cables needed to be taped down to prevent tripping and breaks. At strike, everything must be cleared out and unloaded immediately. So of course there really isn't time to properly wrap cables at all or completely clear off any tape or residue from the cables. To give you an idea how long this equipment/cables sit in truck...We normally load this equipment into the truck a day or two before the performance. Performances are typically on a Saturday, so the unload isn't til Monday morning. This truck will experience all kinds of temperatures everything from baking in the sun to the Michigan winters. At the unload we'll wrap cables and organize our gear for the next show. The cables come back quite tangled and residue from tape gaff tap comes back, so we'll try our best to whipe them down. We've never tried any anti-goo substances, I'd like to try it.
     
  9. 3D

    3D Member

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    it maybe that we're locatec in texas and like to keep our auditorium nice and cold. this may be why we don't have any trouble.
     
  10. SuperCow

    SuperCow Active Member

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    I find Elmer's Stick-Off is very useful, just as an alternate product to use.
     
  11. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Goo Gone, Elmer's, Goof Off, and other products are designed to remove this residue given it's not baked on in the case of "we will just gaffer tape this gel to the fixture."

    In any case, these chemicals are not very user friendly so read the warnings. After that, they are oil based and tend to linger around for a long time in becoming goo. Also if the adhesive is thick enough, it's than a very thick goo and one that won't wipe off without a scraper - this from even zero residue gaffers tape.

    Given the Goo remover needs to go away even after the surface is clear from goo, some amount of thinner, Naptha, MEK is necessary to reomove the reomover from the surface than, if not a good coating of natural soap and water such as 409 if not Armor All in further bringing rubber back to rubber as opposed to gooey goo remover as an oil based substance coating the cable sticking to all confetti much less such substances will eat thru non-oil resistant cable.

    Once that gaffers tape goo gets removed, get that remover off the cable also.
     
  12. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    dran those double posts.... this time even without an error message. That is unless those with 1K in posts disserve a double stated post of opinion.
     
  13. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    A few years ago I rescued a 650W Fresnel from the bin. This fixture had long lost the gel frame retainers and clip and so someone had gaffed the gel to it. It had baked on that badly that the fibres were actually stuck to the body. I soaked it a tub of isopropyl alcohol for a couple of days, which lifted some of it and took to the rest with a scraper. After much hard work for very little return, I had the unit sand blasted. The end result was that the aluminium was actually starting to get worn away faster than the tape. As a result, I just had to powder coat over the top. Now the finish isn’t perfect but unless you are close enough, you will not notice it.

    Morel of this story – DO NOT use Gaffers tape in high temp situations. Or if you MUST, clean it off as soon as possible.

    Very good point and one that is often forgotten :oops:

    True to a certain extent – but my experience with isopropyl alcohol (95%+) is that it is very effective in removing residue. You sometimes need multiple applications to remove heavy amounts of goo. I plan to experiment with soaking cable and checking for degradation of the outer jacket. Just have not had the time yet.
     
  14. propmonkey

    propmonkey Well-Known Member

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    try using tunnel tape: gaffa with a strip with out the adheisive in the middle.
     
  15. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    How many people actually use this?

    I was given a role years ago to try and I must admit that I have never actually seen it stocked anywhere over here.

    Personally, I was not a big fan of this product as the amount of adhesive tape wasn’t really enough for my liking. I also found that in order to secure multiple cables running side-by-side or even on larger multi-core cable, this tape is not really wide enough to provide a secure enough anchor. Especially in areas of high traffic. As such, I found that I had to run one strip of tunnel gaf and than a strip of normal gaf either side, overlapping the tunnel gaf.

    Essentially, I found that I was having to use tunnel and normal gaf to do a job that I could do better with just using normal gaf and with less of it.

    My method of taping down cables involves placing two strips of gaf in an“x” shape at each end of the cable(s) being taped down and then running two strips along the length of the cable(s). On longer cable runs, I also place an x in the centre as well.

    In running the gaf along the lengths of the cable(s), I ensure that about 75% of the width of the tape is actually on the floor and the remainder on the cable(s). In some instances, this requires a third strip to be placed over the top of the first two.

    Keep in mind that a majority of my work is in providing mobile DJ & Lighting, so many of my cable runs are in areas where the public are walking. Also, a lot of the time I am taping down on carpet.

    To this date, I have never had one of my cables get pulled up by someone tripping over them.
     
  16. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I was given a sample of it a few years also and unfortunately it became popular not for it's use but because of it's striped nature when used on a certain trade show. Bumble Bee tape the crew chief requested it as.

    It was play tested on at least one show and woked ok but was not of much use. Perhaps on convention grade flat cable it would be of more use.

    I found that the adhesive qualities of the tape are at best only that of the cheapest grade of Pro Gaff/Permiciel and not the better Spectape/SureTape or better grade of Permiciel. In other words, your floor needs to be really clean or it's not going to stick.

    Lots of advancements in Gaff tape lately. I know I'm seeing more and more 3" wide Gaff tape coming back from shows if not 4" stuff, and Tunnel Tape as the bumble bee tape is called is available in up to 6" widths of black or yellow or both in a stripe. In addition to that, there is now double sided gaffers tape for better use with carpet and I'm a big fan of 6" duvetyne fabric tape which is designed for repair of drape but I might find other uses for it.

    As for any of it on a Leko.... Not if you expect it to come off afterwards.


    By the way, some small start up company sent me a sample of their Gaff tape last week. More like duct tape than gaffers tape I would have to say. Just about to send their crap back with a roll of the stuff I buy in saying, "that's not gaff tape, this is gaff tape." Yea I buy a few pallets of gaffers tape per year, told them the specification grade I use, and they send me some less reflective form of duct tape. Be right on that order to you - you wish.
     
  17. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Interesting - the tunnel tape I was given was black. They also make the "bumble bee" tape you refer to, which seems to be used mainly to mark the top of stair cases, steps and other hazards. From memory however, it was a fully adhesive tape.

    Interesting how such things differ between hemispheres!

    I also love the super cheap tape or the distributors who offer “superior tape” at “better rates” than I am currently paying. I love asking them how they know what rates I am paying for tape. Mind you, none of them have wanted to send me a sample.

    At the end of the day, it is more practical and cost effective for me to use just the one type of tape.
     
  18. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    My favorite is the industrial supply lighting company type places that cold call you in telling you how much they can save you in money to re-lamp your office with their cheap lamps.

    They all have some "great deal" on some form of standard cool white bulbs no doubt from some off shore company and cheap. They would just love to come out and look at what types of lamps I'm using and price them out for me. As if I did not have a computer file with not only all lamps in use and the top five prices on them, but other files with every alternative lamp on the market to them. But go ahead and tell me the advantages of a 41k cool white lamp over a 30k warm white. What was the CRI of your lamps? Ok, get back to me on that.

    First, when I re-lamp the front office once a year, it's so minor in budget that while I send the lamps out to bid, on the whole I probably spend more for a single xenon follow spot lamp than the whole of the fron office lights.

    So it's a staggering conversation for me with the cold caller in holding back the punch line much less just not hanging up while laughing. At some point it's like this in about a once a year practiced routine: "do you know who you are calling? Do you know what we do here. If you had any faint concept of what we do, why would you be calling, much less be trying to sell me office lamps? But I'll be nice to you. We don't use cool white lamps in the office. We use GE F40/XL/SP30 lamps. I don't care how cheap your cool white lamps are, how much are these specific lamps? Would you like the part number?"

    "Oh, I see, you will have to get back to me on those prices." Never seem to get a call back, much less are they interested in coming in to bid on the rest of the lamps. Much less half the time, my prices on cool white lamps are cheaper than theirs already.

    When not busy actually a times I don't mind sales people cold calling. It's entertaining at times. With the gaffers tape samples, it was kind of like that but you never know when you might find some useful company. I get my tape from both the manufacturer and tape cutters who take large wide spools of them and cut them into usable widths. I have a lot of misc. suppliers direct for the types of tape I use. Of note however is that the prime manufacturer just sent me a letter saying they are having an across the board increase in price for the second time this year of 3%. In other words, finding new sources is not a bad idea because if the manufacturer is raising prices, the others will follow suite soon. But these guys had no idea of what gaffers tape was. Reminded me more of some from the forum that use duct tape. This tape if decent in price would at least be a better alternative in being for the most part flat in color instead of shiny. Beyond that I tossed a roll to the shop manager and told him I was switching to it. He laughed and threw it back at me.

    In any case, true cable path tape is on the permiciel website and it has a gap without adhesive in the middle. For the one time it was used as cable path tape, it had to be majorly reinforced also with other tape just as yours did.
     
  19. TimeWarpedSR

    TimeWarpedSR Member

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    In my booth, due to poverty we use duct tape, I found that Goop-off works well on the duct tape, so you might want to give it a try.
     
  20. silvrwolf

    silvrwolf Member

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    Lighter fluid for wick lighters works wonders for getting gaff tape resedue off stuff.
     

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