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3M bumpers melting!!!!!

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by celeste_k, Apr 18, 2002.

  1. celeste_k

    celeste_k Grumbler

    We've had about 4 or 5 customers come in over the past year and mention to us that the round brown 3M bumpers suddendly start to melt and leave a long brown drip mark down the wall. I've gathered that this is not caused by heat or anything and the melting bumpers are usually about 8 years old.
    Has anyone ever heard of this happening?
    After the second person came in to our store complaining of this, I called 3M and was connected to a lab tech., who told me that he has heard of it but not enough of it to warrant them actually looking into it.
    Luckily noone was seriously angry at this happening, since apparently the brown drip is next to impossible to get off the wall.
    Maybe if enough of us have had this happen, 3M will change their bumper recipe!!!!!
    American Picture Frame Academy 1-888-840-9605

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  2. B. Newman

    B. Newman SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Get ready Celeste, you'll get a lot of response to this. It has been happening for a long time, to a lot of people. It's been discussed both here and on the HH. I'm sure Ron or Framerguy will give you the links for it. (I haven't taken the time to learn how to do that.)

  3. FrameItEtc

    FrameItEtc CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Celeste...I use to have the same problem. I switched to United Manufacturer's "plain cork bumpers" about a year ago and haven't had any problems yet. The catalog number with UMS is: #5571 (it is on page 9 of supplement #29 and the cost is only $11.25/thousand). Good luck. ajh
  4. Dermot

    Dermot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I guess this will be another one by a manufacture….”we never have problems with our products or we have never got complaints about that products”……..how do manufacturers make products that never give problems or that they never get complaints about……………one of life’s mysteries.

  5. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Geez, the pressure that comes with this job!!!

    Celeste, A good working rule-of-thumb is <U>The weirder the problem, the more likely it is that someone already experienced it.</u>

    Melting rubber bumpons

    Melty Bumpons

    and my favorite title:

    Hershey Kisses on a Radiator

    Like many others, I use the clear ones and love 'em. That doesn't help though, if you've already installed a few thousand brown ones.
  6. AnneL

    AnneL SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I've seen this phenomenon with other things made of a similar material, like rubber spatulas, rubber gloves, etc. They suddenly liquify and get goopy so you have to throw them out. :rolleyes:
  7. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    We've been using 3M Bump-Ons for 13 years, and never heard such a complaint. Could it be because we've always used clear or black? We've never used brown.

    Chances are that the problem -- if it is related to production -- involves only one or two batches made years ago, some of which might still be floating around in some suppliers' inventories.

    Or maybe it's related to some kind of chemical reaction in the environment?

    In any case, I believe 3M Bump-Ons are the best product for the job, and I intend to stick with 3M.
  8. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I lose a lot of rubber chickens this way and Jerry told me he once lost an entire girlfriend because of this phenomenon.
  9. tnframer408

    tnframer408 SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    There is absolutely nothing in the world funnier than a rubber chicken. One of my ex-wives got one of mine that I had dressed in a tux and suspended by the rafters in a Victorian we owned. Called him "Dressed Chicken."

    even now, I laugh at that ol' bird--the chicken not her [​IMG]
  10. Scott

    Scott True Grumbler

    I, too, once posted about the melting rubber bumpons. Although rare, this problem is widespread and is known to 3M. I E-mailed 3M a several times and got one response from a Technicnal Service Rep. His reply was interesting. I asked permission to post his comments on this forum, but I got no reply back. Therefore, I ask his forgiveness:

    "Hi Scott:

    First of all, sorry for my delayed response to your E-Mail.
    I have a marketing
    colleague, Ms. Maureen Breheim, who works almost exclusively with the
    picture framer industry in the US...and has monitored the grumble site,
    making me aware of the "melting" problem some months ago. The posting was
    created by me per her recommendation, and we of course are still interested
    in getting feedback about problems of this nature.

    All 3M Bumpon(tm) products are made from polyurethane, and differ only very
    slightly between the colored and clear versions. We do not sell a silicone
    bumper at this time. In fact, the performance characteristics and
    properties for clear and colored Bumpons are virtually the same, since the
    adhesives used in their construction are the same as well.

    Although we are aware of complaints regarding "softening" or reversion of
    the material, most product (upon our customer's and our estimation of age
    and installation time on frames) appears to be 5 - 7 years old or older,
    and typically sold prior to '96. It is possible for this thermosetting
    type of plastic to soften prematurely due to exposure to high temperatures
    and humidity, but we have received sporadic complaints that purportedly
    were not exposed to anything but room temperature conditions.

    SInce we make many millions of Bumpons, and no pattern of significant
    failure percentage has been able to be established with respect to a
    specific lot number or manufacturing time, we have informally worked with
    individual customers, helping to remove softened material from walls,
    and/or selectively replacing product, if doing so helps maintain customers
    confidence and loyalty toward Bumpon(tm) products.

    We are confident that manufacturing process and quality control procedures
    are in place to assure you of product that maintains target hardness and
    other performance properties. We assure you that 3M Bumpon(tm) products,
    either purchased recently, or purchased new today, are expected to perform
    to your complete satisfaction.

    Can you tell me more about these "softened bump" complaints you have
    experienced (both recently and in the past)? How old do you estimate them
    to be? How often and how many complaints have you received? Are they a
    single color and shape that have softened?

    Most importantly....what can we do to help assist with the customers that
    have complained to you? Help insure they get replacement product and/or
    assist them in cleaning their walls or frames?

    Please let me know how I can be of any additional assistance.

    Best regards,

    Steve Hurlburt
    3M Center - Building 230-2F-12, 01/089
    Technical Service Specialist - Industrial Tape and Specialties Division
    Tel: (651) - 733-6080
    Fax: (651) - 736-6806 E-Mail: sahurlburt@mmm."

    I think a little hint on how to clean the wall might build some good will in this industry. For now, I'm switching to felt bumpers.

  11. JRB

    JRB PFG, Picture Framing God

    Larson Juhl sells a thick, dark brown felt bumper that comes in a 3/8 & 5/8 size, rolls of 1000. I've been using these for over 28 years, they stay on, don't mark the walls, look proffesional & customers love them. I had a picture come back for re-matting that I framed about 25 years ago, the felt bumpers looked as good as new. I would suggest y'all give them a shot & quit screwing around with those 3M things.

  12. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    John raises interesting questions.

    Are you SURE those melting Bump-ons were made by 3M? Off-brands might look the same, but might have completely different composition. And if they were purchased more than 7 years ago, how could you remember whether they were actually 3M brand?
  13. Kit

    Kit SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Yes, I'm sure the ones that melted were 3M because that's all I ever bought.

    And yes, I've switched to the 5/8" brown felt ones. I like them much better and I don't have to worry about them once they leave the shop.

    And yes, that letter Scott posted sounds exactly like what Dermot has been saying all along.

  14. vsmith

    vsmith Grumbler

    I was just reading all the comments on 3M's melting bumpons. I'm in the middle of a small claims suit against me because of 3M's defective bumpons. I actually helped this customer get a settlement from 3M and then she used this info against me to win a $3000.00 claim to have all her frames cleaned up and rebacked. She would not let me redo the work (which I would have dreaded to do, since I would have to to pay employees for the time,etc), so the judge ruled in her favor. I am appealing. I talked to 3M's lawyer who was involved in the case and he blew me off. I do not intend to stop there.
    So who is going to have to pay for 3M's faulty product? All of us small picture framers?
    I'd love to hear responses on this matter.
  15. Jana

    Jana SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hi vsmith. Welcome to The Grumble. Please keep us posted on how this incident turns out. How many years had those Bumpons been on the pictures? I sure hope they changed the formula for them by now. We still use them. I'm somewhat suspicious of them to this day.
  16. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I, like many of you have stopped using the round brown bumpons. Too scary when I heard they "melted". I have been afraid of being sued by a customer due to the "damage" they could cause. Keep us posted vsmith.

    BTW when I first heard htey had the potential of melting I called 3M and the man I talked to said that they would pay for cleaning on a case by case basis. I was also told that they took "a number of years" to melt. If our customers are told to bring their frames in yearly to be "checked and cleaned" should we really be held responsible for the "damage"? Isn't it kind of like not changing your cars oil then demanding the dealership replace the engine?
  17. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I don't think replacing the bumpers is generally considered routine maintenance - unless we indicate as much on a dust cover label. "Please return this frame for annual inspection in case the bumpers start to melt."

    I switched from felt to clear Bumpons a few years ago, but I'm considering switching back to felt after finding clear Bumpons all over the floor where the ready-to-pick-up stuff is kept. If they can't stay on the frame for a few days here, I have little confidence that they'll do anyone any good.

    'Course, they won't stain the walls, either.

    If I HAD used the brown Bumpons at any point, I'd probably be sending out a recall letter to my entire mailing list. If they get it and ignore it, that might limit your liability.
  18. J Phipps TN

    J Phipps TN SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have been using the white 3M bumpons. Are they in danger of melting also or just the brown ones?
  19. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I can see the backs of the frames now! Store sticker, glazing stickers, warning labels, Conservation and Preservation stickers, MSDS stickers for the spray adhesives... Won't be able to do frames smaller than 16 by 20 in order to have room for all the CYA paperwork!

    I've been using the clear bumpons as well. (I think a previous post called them bump-offs) Do the felt squares really stay on that well?
  20. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Yes they do, Bob. I guess they don't use 3M adhesives.

    I think what happens with the Bumpons is that, because there isn't much 'give' to them, they do get bumped off. The felt bumpers might not really have better adhesive, but they can brush off a little abuse without popping off. That's my technical explanation.

    Also, because they typically come on rolls instead of sheets, you don't get so perturbed at having an odd number.

    I've never encountered white Bumpons but I believe the melting problems have been only with the brown and possibly the black (which I've also never encountered. I've had a sheltered life.)

    The clear ones are a different material, which enables them to jump across the room, to escape, instead of melting.
  21. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Has there ever been evidence of problems with a color other than brown? I've never used brown BumpOns, and I've never had a problem.

    Bump-Ons have a higher profile than those spots of felt, which makes them more susceptible to accidental hits. The felt spots aren't thick enough to provide adequate air gap behind the frame, anyway. Air circulation is important there.

    I think your problems with "bump-offs" are not adhesive related. Check the ones you pick up off the floor; notice that the adhesive isn't sticky any longer, because it's covered with paper fibers. That means the paper fibers separated from the sheet, not that the adhesive failed.

    My solution to that problem is to place a 1" square piece of transparent tape on the dustcover paper, and then stick the Bump-On to that. No more "bump-offs". Try it, you'll be surprised ho much harder it is to bump off the Bump-On when it's placed on a surface that won't disintegrate so easily.
  22. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Jim, if that works, and if I ever see you again, I'll owe you a drink.

    I have several (an intentionally vague term intended to cover up some ordering errors) boxes of clear Bumpons that I'd really like to use - if they don't self-eject from the frames.
  23. Pat Kotnour

    Pat Kotnour SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have used the clear, black, and gray 3 M bumpons for 13 years and, like Jim, have never had a problem. It sounds like this might be an isolated situation that occurs only in the brown color. It could have been a bad batch that got out withouth 3 M knowing that there was a problem. If the bumpons take 8 years to go bad, it will be a tough thing to prove liability in the event there is a damage claim. Hopefully you won't have one.
  24. mattinerie

    mattinerie Grumbler

    Again ---- and again
    Our customer's come in and tell us of the brown drip down the wall.
    I am okay dealing with the customers that COME IN to have their bumpers replaced and sometimes dustcovers.
    I'm worried about the customers who NEVER RETURN because they think that the cheap *ss framer used inferior product on their heirlooms.
    3M should do some kind of marketing/apology to their customers. Any class action lawsuits anyone knows about that we can get involved with?
  25. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    The brown ones definitely drip. A few weeks ago a customer brought in an old frame to ask about rematting the art.

    After he left, I noticed thick, brown stain all over my counter (like melted caramel!), and it turned out it came from the brown bumpers! And the stains are very hard to remove, by the way... [​IMG]
  26. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I have made several house calls to remove drip marks. On regular painted walls, here is my technique:

    >Physically scrape off as much material as you can without harming the wall. The nice sharp mitred end of a chopped wood cap moulding (or a bevelled acrylic handheld windshield scraper) works pretty well for this.
    >Gently scrub the remaining residue with a mild solution of dishwashing detergent (such as Dawn) and water using a clean white rag moistened (but not dripping) with solution.
    >That should get most if not all of it. If you must go farther, try a little isopropyl alcohol on a soft cloth, again very sparingly. In any case, don't rub so hard that you would mar the finish of the painted wall.
    >Bring a supply of clear or felt bumpers with you, and replace any other older brown ones on other pictures in the house.

    When someone first calls with the problem, offer to look at it yourself, and tell them NOT to try to clean the wall using Formula 409 or any other commercial cleaners. That will only make a worse mess, as the cleaner itself will stain the paint.

    :mad: Rick
  27. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Ah, yes. The problem that just keeps going on and on.

    Thanks for the instructions Rick.

    By chance, I have never used the brown ones, which are the only ones known to melt. I use black and clear, which have always been OK...so far.
  28. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    I posted this before but will again, since it's come up...Michel's uses the clear rubber ones. They used to use the BROWN ones, but one lady, having just had her house custom painted, got The Drip, (uh...the frame, not her...sorry)on her new paint, and before litigation started, M's had to pay to have her entire house repainted. Don't know the validity of this story, nor the details, but Management swore it to be true. That's why they switched. So they say.
    I use the clear ones, but lately I'm using the brown felt ones more and more, as I've done for years, before the clear rubber ones were invented.The felt ones don't "Bump-off", don't mark, don't melt and are cheaper -er- less expensinve (WEe don't use the C-word here).
  29. JanetteK

    JanetteK Grumbler

    I have a customer who's been bringing in frames she had done some years ago in Canada with the melted bumpers. I put on new backing paper, felt bumpers, and new hanging hardware (hers have screw eyes, and I prefer the D-shaped ones--whatever they're called) and charge her for the work. I think in her case, though, she may have stored the pictures for some time, and they may have been exposed to temperature extremes. I think she just looks on it as one of those things. She doesn't blame the framer, whose work by the way is very nice, sink mats, V-bevels and stuff, all done well.
  30. JPete

    JPete <span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><

    A gift that keeps on dripping!!!!
  31. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God


    Jim, I thought I heard on TG that the black Bumpons had caused some problems, too. Without me searching through a few hundred melting Bumpon threads, does anyone else remember this?
  32. keiki

    keiki CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Hate to add that the white square bumpons also will melt. Several years ago one of my Dad's old customers brought in a frame with melted white ones and thankfully, just wanted the frame cleaned up. Guess the white on the wall wasn't too bothersome for her.

    I have no idea what year they were purchased except it was between '85 and '95...

    I'm gratefull not to have had any other problems with this product. I may go to the felt bumpons soon tho.
  33. Framerguy

    Framerguy PFG, Picture Framing God

    Jim, I thought I heard on TG that the black Bumpons had caused some problems, too. Without me searching through a few hundred melting Bumpon threads, does anyone else remember this?

    Uh, no, uh, ......... but then, ......... ah,sir, .............. what WAS your name again??? :eek: [​IMG]


    -- I have a mind like a steel trap, one that nobody has set for the last 20 years --
  34. RoboFramer

    RoboFramer PFG, Picture Framing God

    With felt bumpers I cut off the waste every foot or so, but out of it I cut little triangles for use on small frames.

    Anyone else as much of a skinflint?
  35. Bill Henry-

    Bill Henry- SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Nope! Most of the felt bumpers I’ve seen are pre-”scored” into small circles which just peel off from a self release backing. They’re too tiny to cut.

    I’ve never been a big fan of felt, though. To me they seem too flimsy and, in my mind, compress too much to keep the moulding from scratching the walls.

    I still use the white 3M bumpons and haven’t seen any runny, gooey globs (like the brown ones), … yet.
  36. Ruth

    Ruth MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Any ideas for getting them off wallpaper?

    I've been using the clear ones since '97 but those *$&%^^# brown ones keep coming back to haunt me. What really irks me is that it wasn't like we had bought a cheap product to save a couple of pennies, it's 3m, a supposedly respectable company.

    The most recent incident was a customer I gave a sheet of new bumpons to to replace the brown ones. She missed some of them and now has the brown goo on her wallpaper.
  37. RoboFramer

    RoboFramer PFG, Picture Framing God

    We must have different felt bumpers here - maybe they aren't felt!

    Un-bleached things half an inch in diameter, one eighth thick - just pulled one off a frame above my screen - over ten years old - not easy to get off, no stain on wall - (probably because we take all our pictures down and dust weekly) [​IMG] still 1/8" deep.

    Come on a roll - kiss cut - leaves a lot of waste, can be cut into equalateral triangles about 3/8" each side.

    We sell sequin waste too - well, we buy it to sell! Could I sell felt bumper waste AS felt bumper waste?
  38. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    Old thread bumped back to the top, in case anyone new has experienced this issue
  39. preservator

    preservator SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    A dollop of electrical grade hot melt (3M 3797 or 3748) extruded onto the dust cover, should be stable and should remain in place, indefinitely. Volara polyethylene foam can also be used to make bumpers. A sheet of it can be lined with a pressure-sensitive adhesive and can be cut into squares of the right size. University Products has both and United has the hotmelt.

  40. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    I had thought about the hot glue idea but realized the gun would have to be on most of the day to be ready whenever we finished a piece.

    I have had no problems with the black bumpies.:beer:
  41. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    I switched to the black felt bumpies about 2 years ago.

    Hopefully those will be more stable than that brown ones that turned into caramel after a few years....
  42. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    I am still enjoying the clear bump-ons. I jumped up to look at a piece I did a few years back. Still good...
  43. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    danny boy, as I recall, only the brown ones were problematic. 3M claims to have solved that chemistry mystery years ago. If anyone is still experiencing melt-down, I guess it may they may be using some really old BumpOns.

    I have used black and clear BumpOns for about 19 years with no difficulties whatsoever.
  44. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    Funny this should come up again. I just took one in to remat and upgrade glass. Put it on the worktable just now to take it apart and what'the?? Is that gum?? Nope. It was the remnants of 2 white bumpons, melted and still gooey. First time I've seen the white ones melted. Originally framed about 10 years ago.

    I switched back to felt pads when I took over this shop, after picking up the clear dome-type ones we used at M's, they would fall all if you looked at them crooked!
  45. framinzfun

    framinzfun MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    We should give a shout out (boy I hate that phrase, but it seems appropriate here) to Steve Hurlbert from 3M... I remember having this problem years ago, and he was very nice and very helpful, especially considering the barrage of complaints he had to field at that time. I wonder if he's still with 3M?
  46. nikfrz

    nikfrz SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I had one just like you, Val, with white gooeys that a lady brought back about a year ago. We had framed it and she wasnt happy. We resolved it amicably, thank goodness. I had already switched to the clear ones, and they kept falling off. Even reinforcement with atg tape didnt work. Isnt that what 3M is, and adhesive company??? I have since switched to felt and will not go back unless someone tells me cork is better. Havent tried those yet.
  47. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    You hav'nt been chewing on them have you??? I have had no complaints with the clear ones. I have tried felt but prefered the look of the clear ones. Mine seem to stick pretty good.
  48. EllenAtHowards

    EllenAtHowards PFG, Picture Framing God

    Did everyone forget the Handy Hint of putting a square of plain old Scotch tape on the dustcover before applying the bumpon? Works like a charm!
  49. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I like the felt pads.

    The Bump-ons bump off.
  50. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    Y'know, I've never heard of that Handy Hint, and sure wish I had, when I was fighting with those Bumpoffs!

    I'm sticking with the felt pads.
    Pun intended.
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