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I've always had trouble with solvent based lume. I think it has something to do with the climate. I live in Singapore which is usually hot and humid. (32°C, 80% RH)

I discovered that UV cured nail varnish works really well here. Just mix lume powder to the desired consistency and use the biggest oiler. It has unlimited working time. If you make a mistake, just wipe it off and start again. And there is minimal wastage, any unused lume can be stored in a light proof container and reused. When you are happy with the results, just pop it into the UV curing unit and cure it for a minute or two.

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For what its worth, I've used PLA (wood glue), clear nail polish and UV cure nail polish, all of which work reasonably well. The trick is to make sure the mix is nice and "gloopy", as it needs to bridge the gap without dripping. I've only ever used lume powders, not pre-mixed stuff, and I suspect that this makes life a little easier as you can always add more lume powder to thicken the mix, or more of the fluid to thin it.

In the case of PLA, you could also add water. Nail polish can be thinned with acetone if you need a very wet mix. I've no idea if acetone works with the UV cure but I suspect that it may, since I think the UV cure stuff appears to be removable with standard nail polish remover, which is generally just 99% acetone with a little scent and colouring thrown in to jack up the price. 

My worry with PLA is that it may be hydroscopic and if so, might cause steel hands to rust. I've no evidence to support this idea, it is just a possibility.

Edited by AndyHull
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Try "waterproof" wood glue as the binder to avoid absorbing water. Usually darker color too, for the "vintage" look. I guess. Never messed with lume other than cleaning with Rodico and/or tinting with coffee. Yet.

I am somewhat inspired to make my own dials and put a watch together myself, which would require luming the dial and hands...

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  • 4 weeks later...

Those airbrush results look great! what kind of paint are you using?

 

@Tudor, when you are tinting lume with coffee, is that with water-based PVA binder? What lume tints work well with solvent-based mediums?

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I put the coffee over the existing lume material to darken it. 
 

if it has a lot of sugar in it, it crystallizes on the metal and looks like corrosion. 

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  • 2 weeks later...


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