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AshF

Watch cleaning machine on the cheap

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I've not committed to buying the bits yet but for £40 I'm tempted to have a go.  I wouldn't put the balance in, and I'd separate the parts into little baskets.  Maybe pad the bottom of the large basket out so that the parts were further away from the magnet?

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I don't know if using a ferrous basket would be able to act as a magnetic shield, something like a Faraday's cage, and prevent the parts from getting magnetized. 

Actually I was thinking of using the star shaped stirrer and fixing it to the bottom of the basket. This way, the entire basket would spin. That would be more like a conventional watch cleaning machine. 

Even if the parts do come out magnetized, putting it through a demagnetizer should be able to fix it, I think. :D

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Possibly not a bad idea on the cheap. If you are lucky then the metallic detritus will be attracted to the base, or to the paddle. If you are unlucky then it will magnetise the ferrous watch parts which will cause the metallic detritus to become attached to the watch parts.

 

Does it say how many RPM it can manage?

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I'm thinking that the parts may be likely to become magnetised.. there are magnet shielding metals - "mu-metal" I think - as used in some microphones and audio equipment. That shielding doesn't simply block all magnetism that could possibly be generated, but works relative to the parts and expected magnetic fields.

Having said that, demagnetising is a fairly standard procedure within watch servicing - so I'm curious to see how this topic develops.

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This may prove useful in terms of understanding their operation:

 

If you can get the parts basket enough distance away from the fixed magnet in the base then you may be able to make it usable.

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2 hours ago, AshF said:

@rodabod It says it has an adjustable stirring speed 100 - 3000rpm.

I'm going to give this a go.  I'll report back how things went.

 

Ok. I'll join you. But I'll probably get the one with the built in hotplate. That way, if it doesn't work I can use it to a cup of hot cocoa. :D

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You know, I wonder if I could adapt a micro-mesh single-serving reusable coffee filter to the same purpose. I keep ending up working on large (50 & + mm.) Swiss pocket watch movements that would not fit into smaller cleaning holders.

But they might fit in a coffee filter.

You gave me an idea, sir! Thank you.

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Just received my magnetic stirrer yesterday. The magnets are not very powerful, so hopefully it doesn't magnetize everything. It can also works as a "line release" tool. 

If it doesn't work, I'll have a hot cocoa machine, parts dryer, a line release tool and maybe a demagnetizer. :thumbsu:

20200709_145052.jpg

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Hi  A line release tool is a transformer which creates an alternating magnetic field and is used to drive quartz watches at speeds greater than  the circuit block. Used to loosen up the gear train on sticky watches and remove gear train jams through dirt. Its no substitute for cleaning and oiling the train but handy for diagnostic work.

The Inventivness of members is brilliant and must be encouraged in getting round dificulties and sharing their ideas is just great long may it continue.Not everyone can afford swish tools but make do with DIY soloutions. Magic.

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I don't know why it's even called a "line release" tool. Maybe it was what the Chinese manufacturer called it.

A "line release" tool is found on some quartz watch testers. It uses a spinning magnet to produce an alternating magnetic field. When a non working quartz watch is placed on it, it will spin the rotor of the stepper motor inside the watch and move the hands of the watch. It is used to test if the problem with the watch is a mechanical one or something else.

Sometimes it's a quick fix for a quartz movement that is just stuck for some reason. I've used it many times to free up a seized movement. But many times the watch will be back shortly as the reason for the watch being stuck was not fixed. 

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11 minutes ago, watchweasol said:

The Inventivness of members is brilliant and must be encouraged in getting round dificulties and sharing their ideas is just great long may it continue.Not everyone can afford swish tools but make do with DIY soloutions. Magic.

Necessity is the Mother of all Invention.

Let me tell you a really sad story. You see the nice L&R Mastermatic below? I won the bid on that last month. It was one of the best ones I've seen on ebay in a long time. And it came with all the accessories. It even came with the cleaning fluid samples.

The seller forgot to remove the cleaning fluids and shipped it. And as luck would have it, the US Customs found it and immediately confiscated the shipment on the account of shipping restricted materials. :startle:

The seller attempted to get it back for me but I told him to leave it as it might involve a hefty fine. I blame myself as the auction cutoff time was on Sunday morning, in the middle of church sermon. I ducked out for a few minutes to get in a last minute bid. And I won it at a ridiculously low price.

I guess God wasn't happy with that. :phew:

 

20200701_112857.jpg

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1 hour ago, HectorLooi said:

The seller attempted to get it back for me but I told him to leave it as it might involve a hefty fine.

You should check if that is really the case. For example, it has happens that import watches are seized because of a protected species (CITES) strap, the addressee is given a chance to recover the watch with the condition the strap is destroyed. That turned complicated anyway.

Also, I assume the items was shipped domestically and seized by USPS. Because it is pictured with an USPS box above.

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On 7/2/2020 at 12:33 PM, AshF said:

@rodabod It says it has an adjustable stirring speed 100 - 3000rpm.

I'm going to give this a go.  I'll report back how things went.

That might actually have the effect of de-magnetising the components.


If you have ever encountered the workings of an old fashioned CRT based colour TV, they often had a degausing coil circuit.

This worked by applying an alternating magnetic field around the tube with the coil (at line voltage frequency) that slowly collapsed, so not entirely dissimilar to the rotating magnet of the stirrer.

Degausing coils work exactly the same way as watch demagnetisers. Generally they consist of a coil of wire (the electromagnet) and a PTC thermistor or some similar arrangement that allows an initial inrush of current, but then rapidly quenches that inrush, and thus a strong, but rapidly changing magnetic field, the quenching circuit then acts by decreasing the intensity of the field to zero. When you switchedon an old colour TV, then off and back on rapidly, you could sometimes see the effect, as the picture would shimmer for a second or so at power on. Some even had a button on the back of the TV to demagnetise the tube. Pressing the button produced the same effect.

You stir bar should cause the rotating magnetic field (at 100 to 3000 hz). The trick might be to slowly withdraw the baskets while the stirrer is still running, hence causing the field to decrease to zero without setting it up in any particular orientation for any significant time.

Edited by AndyHull

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That did cross my mind, but I’m not sure the moving magnet would work like a degaussing coil as it’s a fixed magnet which is moving radially, rather than its pole changing, ie. if the fixed magnet’s pole was effectively rotating, which it is not. Still, the rotation may have some effect which I’ve overlooked. 
 

I can’t remember if I mentioned this here before, but when HD TV first appeared, I had a lecture where the lecturer used a white board marker to point at and circle the various measurement aspects of the then-new Testcard HD. That was all fine until he used the whiteboard eraser.... he’d forgotten it was a magnetic one and made a real mess of it. It was a £50k Sony with built-in degauss on startup which made absolutely no difference. I think that one had to go back to the maintenance department.  

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Watch testers of the design below use a similar setup as a stirrer. A bar magnet is rotated on its centre. At any point on the perimeter of the circle, an alternating magnetic field is produced. It works on weakly magnetized objects. I haven't tried it on strongly magnetized ones.

20190424_121947.jpg

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On 7/4/2020 at 4:01 AM, HectorLooi said:

Just sidetracking a little. Here is a cleaning basket which I made from a tea strainer. I fix it to my drill press and spin it in a jar of cleaning fluid. Works pretty well.

20190613_101553.jpg

 

Could we have dimensions here please?

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