Jump to content
Legarm

Cleaning Solutions, UltraSonic and not

Recommended Posts

Thank you Bob! I will try using the lighter liquid. One last question :) What exactly does an ultrasonic cleaner do in terms of cleaning the parts? and do you think it would also work if I simply rinsed the parts in an ultrasonic cleaner solution without the machine? Thank you! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't really answer the question accurately but I can tell you that ultrasonics warm up the cleaning/rinsing solutions so they should not be flammable (or not much) and help dissolve the gunk and greases. The "waves" will penetrate small places all over and detach dirt from the parts. It is said that it will -- with enough sessions -- wash away the plating and other finishes from objects submitted to this process. So, it is very powerful. The solutions themselves are designed for this process and they are rather expensive.

 

Lighter fluid doesn't need the "tech" add on (the machine). It is able to achieve a good result by simply dipping the parts and stirring a bit (usually with circular movements and/or agitating the fluid, gently, with the air from the blower). Check out some of Marks videos on cleaning hairsprings and jewels. Even with my ultrasonic machine I still use lighter fluid for those.

 

I'll give you an example: I wash my jalopy (old car) with the rain and it does the job (just park it outside, it is free). If I had a, say, 2015 Jaguar, I'll spend US$150 for a good hand wash every time (maybe). So there you have it, both methods do the job one better than the other but the objective is achieved.

 

The beauty of the lighter fluid vs. Ultrasonic solutions, -- both valid and proven methods -- is that both will do a better job than rain on my car!

 

Hope this helps,

 

Cheers,

 

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just clean around 5-10 movements/year and never bought any machine.  I don't mind spending 1-2 hours cleaning parts.  Its relaxing....lol and I dont do this for the money.

I've seen a few movement/part get some nasty wear marks from cleaning machines/ultrasonics so really dont care for them.  If I did this for a living, that would be a different story.

 

I just bought some small closeable metal straining baskets from Esslingers in the USA.  I just put a few parts in at a time (usually the mainplate/balance go in first).  Soak for about 3-4 minutes with some light back and forth movement to agitate.  Then put in 2 different rinses.  I remove key bridges/mainplate and peg the jewel holes and rewash/rinse if needed or just for good measure.  I use a blower to dry the parts and also dry with watchpaper.  The metal watchband goes in last.

 

I use Zenith 67 cleaner and Drizebrite rinse.  Works great with really no residue.

 

I do use lighter fluid or One Dip to soak the hairspring and jewels in prior to final install.

Edited by perpetual92

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like the forum's recommendation on  cleaning solutions to use with the L&R Master cleaning machines. I have seen Ofrei and Esslinger offering an ammoniated and non-ammoniated solution. What is the difference between these solutions? Which one will work better with the Master series cleaning machine?

 

Also, I have been designing circuit for my L&R Master involving an Arduino microprocessor and a couple Solid State Relays which will allow me to run the machine direction either forward, reverse or automatically alternate between the two directions. I just placed an order with an electronics supplier in the US for the relays. I have used Arduino prototype boards in the past and they are great. Any interest on the board members to see the end results? I will be happy to post progress pictures as I develop this. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi rod,

 

I use L & R Extra Fine Watch Cleaning Solution and L & R Ultrasonic Watch Rinsing Solution and have always had good results. Next, I will try Zenith Radiant Watch & Clock Cleaner and Zenith Drizebrite Rinsing Solution but I still have a lot of the first ones. Lots of people also have had good results with the L&Rs.

 

By the way, it would be great your suggestion to post the Arduino progress...and for those of us that are not fully familiar with it, a little introduction to the technology. :)

 

Cheers,

 

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bobm

 

Thank you for the recommendation. I will start with these solutions first. I have a few pocket watches in desperate need of a good cleaning.

 

I am on vacation in Puerto Rico at the moment, but when I go back I will be posting more about this idea. I have seen a few machines being sold on the 'bay that have been modified to alternate the direction of the motor. That's what gave me the idea for this project. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have recently acquired some vintage Vostoks, and my dads old Seiko. All have stainless steel cases.

I want to clean the cases (disassembled of course) in my ultrasonic cleaner. I am not able to get my hands on any of those professional cleaning soutions like L&R because of restrictions. Is there any good alternatives I can use? Is isopropanol a good option as a final rinse?

Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Washing up liquid is usually fine. A warm temperature (say 40c) can help. Don't run your ultrasonic for extended periods like over 10 mins without giving it a break to cool down as they can fail for this reason.

For cases, I usually find that hot tap water works fine as a rinse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. I want the cases to be really clean. Isopropanol can't hurt, can it?

My ultrasonic cleaner has a cooling fan and heat protection that shuts it down if its gets too hot. It can be set to a 30 min cleaning cycle and has a heating element. Is it not reasonable to believe it can handle more than 10 minutes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Halvis said:

Thanks. I want the cases to be really clean. Isopropanol can't hurt, can it?

My ultrasonic cleaner has a cooling fan and heat protection that shuts it down if its gets too hot. It can be set to a 30 min cleaning cycle and has a heating element. Is it not reasonable to believe it can handle more than 10 minutes?

As mentioned before I've found that warm water and dish soap is the most effective for the type of dirt found on case and bracelets. But I that guess one can use anything else too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Be very careful if you have any chapter rings or printed crystals. Like the Seiko  diver and the Omega Mark II . Certainly a lot of other watch cases also. 

Have damaged both of this. And an Omega LCD watch  crystal with printed on the back crystal? 

It's not always they could be Ultrasonic cleaned? I usually clean the cases by hand If they aren't very dirty? Pegwood and Topz do magic. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For case and bracelet, as above I use washing up liquid in small quantity diluted in warm water in the ultrasonic cleaner.

isopropanol will not hurt steel, but I would avoid using it in the ultrasonic cleaner due to flammability and volatility

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, rodabod said:

Alcohol works as a solvent and also dries faster than water

You are absolutely right, rod, I always have to order a second alcoholic drink...while I never do when it is of water. :D

No, seriously, alcohol and plastic are usually bad news...plastic may become brittle and break...that's probably the fogging you are talking about.

Cheers,

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi I have a super elite Elma . 1st rinse I'm using Elma 1:9 solution and benzene for the other 2. Funny thing is after about 8-9 washes. The Elma 1:9 1st wash solutions always have a lot of foaming. Is this normal? Do I need to change solution? How many washes before having to change solution? Also what speed should o run the machine at? Min max or medium during wash? Can advice? Thank you everyone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Newbie to the forum so hello to everyone, my first post! I have been quite lucky and got a very nice Elma super elite cleaning machine from Ebay in Australia recently for not very much (so I couldn't say no!) Looks like a 1970's vintage but it looks like new!

I have been restoring clocks for years and have only just got into the world of watches (Wow is everything smaller!). I used to complain about re-pivoting a French escape wheel... not any more, at least I can see the pivot! :wacko:

I have a question in regard to if Shellite (known as naptha in the US) is ok/safe to use in these machines? There is only one supplier left here in Australia that I have been able to find who sells the L&R watch cleaning solutions and they are over $100 per container so am considering other options. I have lots of clock "brew" lying around but that is not suitable of course. I have always used Shellite in the final stages of clock cleaning and never had a residue issue. I have done some French polishing in the past on clock cases so I know not to use any form of alcohol on parts such as hairspring and pallets. Some French clocks have the same issue with jeweled escapements.
I may of course just bite the bullet and buy the professional solutions.... Never had any rust issues with my water based cleaning solutions for clocks after rinses with Shellite and drying. However I am aware that watch parts may be very difficult to eradicate all the moisture even though my machine has a very nice drying chamber!
Does the Elma 1.9 solution have any fans here as this is what my machine is "supposed" to use?
Thanks guys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shellite is good for the rinse, but you do really need proper cleaning solution for the initial wash.

I use turps 70% to 80% shellite 20% for the first rinse and 100% shellite for final rinse.

At my watch cleaning school we make our own watch cleaning fluid, but its not really practical to make your own for just yourself as some of the active ingredients and very expensive and unless you are making 20 litres or more it isn't worth doing.

Unfortunately there really isn't an alternative to buying the real watch cleaning solution, but save yourself some money and skip buying their rinse.

Where in Australia are you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...