Sunbeam 3035 Clothes Iron: Rusted Spring

Some weeks ago the Sunbeam clothes iron Mary uses for her quilting projects stopped retracting its cord and a few days ago the entire compartment holding the cord spool simply fell off:

Sunbeam 3035 Iron - detached cord compartment
Sunbeam 3035 Iron – detached cord compartment

One plastic stud and two thin plastic tabs held the compartment onto the rest of the iron. How they lasted this long I do not know, but they are neither replaceable nor fixable.

When you see badly rusted screws in an electrical device, you know the story cannot end well:

Sunbeam 3035 Iron - cord connections
Sunbeam 3035 Iron – cord connections

And, indeed, it hasn’t:

Sunbeam 3035 Iron - retraction spring rust
Sunbeam 3035 Iron – retraction spring rust

This being a steam iron, it has a water tank that gets filled through an awkward port with a sliding cover. Mary is as conscientious a person as you’ll ever meet, but the occasional spill has certainly happened and it is painfully obvious the iron’s designers anticipated no such events.

The coil spring had rusted into a solid mass:

Sunbeam 3035 Iron - spring rust - detail
Sunbeam 3035 Iron – spring rust – detail

I removed the spring, soaked it in Evapo-Rust for a few hours, then cleaned and oiled it:

Sunbeam 3035 Iron - relaxed spring
Sunbeam 3035 Iron – relaxed spring

Rewinding and reinstalling the spring showed it has lost its mojo and cannot retract more than a few feet of cord.

She’s in the middle of a quilting project and will replace the iron with whatever cheapnified piece of crap might be available these days. Similar irons have reviews reporting they begin spitting rust after a few months, which suggests the plastic tank or stainless steel hardware in this one have been cost-reduced with no regard for fitness-for-use.

9 thoughts on “Sunbeam 3035 Clothes Iron: Rusted Spring

  1. Your displeasure in the average quality of today’s products certainly resonates with me, as does the description of nearly everything from Amazon, eBay, and HF that uses “Heavy Duty”. There really needs to be regulations on how words like this can be thrown about when it comes to tools and appliances. In the case of HF, it means “when used twice a year on average” and not the 24/7 most people are thinking. P.S. I actually do not shop at HF out of principle and haven’t even been in one for years.

    1. Indeed!

      I gave up on Harbor Freight, too, because its only benefit was being able to pick up a low-performance tool that very day. Turns out I can almost always wait until tomorrow …

      Turns out all the big-box retailers carry tools from nominally different brands, but all the brands you remember were disconnected from their reputations long ago. As in, did you know Tek, Keithley, and Fluke are all owned by Fortive?

  2. Terrible, but why not just remove the cord retraction mechanism and use it with a fixed cord? Seems like you could live without that “feature” and get better service than the newfangled cheapnified crap you’d replace it with.

    1. For extra bonus fun I’m sure you could 3d print a new baseplate! :)

    2. That’s the plan!

      She’s in the middle of a complex paper-pieced layout involving much pressing, so this isn’t the time for infrastructure fiddling. When the time is right, I’ll gut that puppy, rewire everything properly, and permanently affix what’s left to the iron.

      A pox on their collective backside …

  3. Back in the late 70s and early 80s my parents’ motto was “Nature Cures”. How this is relating to ironing? Well, my dad had a bad case of sciatica. What shall we need hmmm… a linen towel, sea salt and an iron. The towel was folded and the salt was hidden there. And then mom turned iron on (maybe set temperature control to linen ;-). Massaging father’s hip…

    Feeling anything?
    No. Add pressure, please.
    NO NO!!! STOP STOP!!!

    Found the iron on YouTube. We had a greenish one.

    “1960s Hoover ‘Steam or Dry’ Iron Model 4554 demo”
    — YouTube

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