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Cleaning Solutions, UltraSonic and not

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11 minutes ago, jdm said:

Could you tell the exact components and percentage?

This is what I use with good results, your mileage may vary:

60% Odorless Mineral Spirits (by volume)

35% Xylol or sometimes called xylene, not quite as explosive as naptha, and has better reaction with spirits (from another website quoting a chemist)

5% virgin olive oil (used as a corrosion inhibitor)

Second rinse is straight VM&P Naptha

Final rinse is straight denatured alcohol

15 minute cycles for the first 2, 10 minutes on the last

 

I'm considering replacing rinse #2 with the same formula as #1, as naptha is very volatile, and I know #1 works, the coloration of the fluid (turning darker) means it's working , you can see the grunge from the movements settling at the bottom of the jar.

Edited by khunter
additional information

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I use 20% turps and 80% Shellite (Naptha) for my first rinse and %100 Shellite for my final rinse.

I use this in jars in a water bath in my US, but I keep a close eye on the water temp. If it gets close to 40C I tip it out and put fresh water in it. I don't like the Shellite (Naptha) getting too hot, and I do this in my workshop, not my house.

I stay away from Isopropanol (dentured alcohol) as it can dissolve shelac and its hygroscopic.

 

You should be able to find Oleic acid at a local chemical supplier, but you may want to team up with other people as they probably will only want to sell it in bulk rather than olive oil.

 

As a side note Oleic acid is also used for cleaning clocks with water based solutions.

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Yes I don't run the balance or pallets through the cleaner, I do those by hand while the other parts are stirring around.

Honestly the naptha scares me a little, it's very volatile, thus why I'm thinking about replacing it all together with another round of #1.

The other forum where I read about the xylene (xylol) and olive oil, I can't remember where I found it but I believe it was UK based, was talking about the reason for the inclusion of oleic acid. One contributor, a chemist, speculated (obviously because he didn't actually work for L&R) that it's main contributions would be some level of breakdown of organic material (such as oils from your hands/fingers) and as an anti-oxidant. At the levels of inclusion, <5% as per the MSDS, he surmised olive oil as a reasonable substitute. Again, this wasn't meant as a CSI investigation as to exact contents, just as a suitable DIY home brew. Personally I'd rather spend $15 on a consumable rather than $50, and take the extra $35 and buy another tool that I'll have for the next 20 years.... :) 

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Hello, I am posting because I have recently purchased an ultrasonic cleaning machine as an alternative to cleaning by hand. I am a little bit confused, however, about the liquids and what solutions, or how I should go about using the machine to its potential. 

I am new to the ultrasonic scene, so I am not aware of common practices or were to buy specific resources that are recommended. If you can, please leave some links to help guide me, I am looking for the sites to purchase them from, and information on how to complete the process correctly. 

 

Thanks,

Luca 

 

 

 

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Hello, I am posting because I have recently purchased an ultrasonic cleaning machine as an alternative to cleaning by hand. I am a little bit confused, however, about the liquids and what solutions, or how I should go about using the machine to its potential. 
I am new to the ultrasonic scene, so I am not aware of common practices or were to buy specific resources that are recommended. If you can, please leave some links to help guide me, I am looking for the sites to purchase them from, and information on how to complete the process correctly. 
 
Thanks,
Luca 
 
 
 
Hi.

I use this stuff and it's fantastic! After introducing it to my colleague, they are now using it too!

https://www.coleparmer.co.uk/i/cole-parmer-micro-90-cleaning-solution-1-liter-bottle/1810005

I've used cleaning agents like Flash diluted in water but not as good as the stuff above.

Enjoy the world of sonics

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

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hir3na5hra

That solution looks great! How would I go about using it? So like just running the parts in that, or doing something else then that? 
Thanks for the help
I will take it you will have a relatively small tank (3-5 litre) so you will need only a very small amount. I use only a capful and that small bottle lasts for ages.

So yes clean tap water and throw in a capful. Run the Sonics to stir it all up. If your tank has a heater, wait for it to get hot before cleaning your pieces.

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

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I used this solution this week and it gave good results. For the very best results ie parts to come out with a real shine you need ammonia based solutions BUT not to be used indoors. The fumes are overpowering. 

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On 29/3/2018 at 9:17 AM, clockboy said:

I used this solution this week and it gave good results. For the very best results ie parts to come out with a real shine you need ammonia based solutions BUT not to be used indoors. The fumes are overpowering. 

Bought 24.5 % technical ammonia (I guess concentrated!?) Gave the main plate of a Russian Poljot 2614.2H a 20 minute bath in my ultrasonic cleaner, and the results were inconclusive. My brass tweezers turned black (dipped it in the ammonia), saw no difference on the main plate except perhaps a little arker, patchy, dull, in some places, however the jewels became ultra clean. Before this I had cleaned the main plate with detergent using a tooth brush, and in naphtha using my ultrasonic cleaner. I did have a slight problem getting the jewels really clean so in that sense it was efficient.

I guess I should have diluted the ammonia, but I thought, WTH I'll give it a try. I guess brass and ammonia is pretty bad combination, and I guess these Russian main plats are brass based with some sort of silver colored coting, no?

Anyway, I'd appreciate to hear more about cleaning watch parts in ammonia. For example. what alloy is used for the train wheels? Brass?

Edited by jdm
Please don't include pictures in quoting

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Sometimes a high concentration of alkali/acid can have less effect than a dilute solution.  Extreme is magnesium which will just darken with some strong acids but fizz away like mad with very weak acids.

I have a small U/S cleaner and I just put the parts in lighter fuel in a flat bottomed container which goes straight into the U/S without anything in the tank. Provided the container is heavy enough then it seems to U/S ok.  I've also done this with water based U/S cleaner fluid.  However I usually just rely on hand cleaning and use the U/S as belt & braces for dirty or troublesome parts as its only a hobby for me.

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A suggestion to those using aqueous cleaners: mix with distilled/deionized water, not tap water. The minerals in the tap water can cause deposits, particularly in crevices where it is difficult to dry. 

You can usually get distilled water at the grocery store for your iron. 

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On 29/3/2018 at 9:17 AM, clockboy said:

I used this solution this week and it gave good results. For the very best results ie parts to come out with a real shine you need ammonia based solutions BUT not to be used indoors. The fumes are overpowering. 

1
1

Just want to let you know I picked up a bottle of this SeaClean2 and tried it with a Russian movement. Most parts (plates, bridges) came out shining, especially the train wheels and all other brass(?)/gold coloured parts but all wheel arbors, wheel pinions and most parts of the keyless works turned black like soot. So, I decided to scrap the movement and use it for spare parts.

Edited by jdm
Please don't include pictures in quoting

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I have used this solution too with my ultrasonic cleaner giving very good results. Strange how parts turned to soot almost as though some carbon has attached. Maybe the solution was too strong or too hot. I use my ultrasonic mainly for clock parts and I now use Elma 1:9 which is also giving very good results.

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I've tried loads and loads of fluids all the jewelery  ones the ones that come with the cleaners and many home made concoctions, but at the end of the day I use L&R cleaning fluid with amonia for cleaning, I use it in a small glass jar sat in water in my cleaner (small amount doesn't smell at all) the cleaner is fantastic, cleans great all and  shines plates and wheels niceley, I won't use anything else now. As for rinsing I use alcohol, ie isopropyl,  I use two jars for this, one for rinse one and one for rinse two, same method as when cleaning. For drying I borrowed my daughters hello kitty hairdryer, such a low speed and warm it's perfect for drying parts. 

The cleaning fluid I get from cousins, its about £30 for 3 litres but add on postage and it's nearer £50, but that 3 ltrs has  lasted me nearly a year. And to be really stingy I filter it through coffee filters and use that stuff for case and strap cleaning applications.

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I am not a professional watch maker but a Jobber Fixer (most anyway!).  I use a basic U/S cleaner 40KHz and for cleaning fluid I use NAPHTHA (panel wipe medium-fast) from my local auto paint shop. It is a very good de-greaser and cleaner and it is about £12 for 5 litres.  For Balances and very sticky unserviced movements I use ACETONE. The best de-greaser and oil killer I have ever found. I also lightly brush the components as well.  Then a final clean with FRESH NAPHTHA and leave the components to dry. I never filter used Naphtha or Acetone as one can only filter solids and not the oil contamination. Just my proven method  which has worked very well for me on many watches. 

Edited by ecodec
More info.

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10 hours ago, clockboy said:

I have used this solution too with my ultrasonic cleaner giving very good results. Strange how parts turned to soot almost as though some carbon has attached. Maybe the solution was too strong or too hot. I use my ultrasonic mainly for clock parts and I now use Elma 1:9 which is also giving very good results.

 

Probably too strong and too hot, now that you mention it! I have a tendency to overdo things. I guess its an irrational emotional thing. You know; if a little is good then more must be better, just like beer! ;)

Anyway, I'll give it a try again at some point at return back to this thread.

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3 minutes ago, ecodec said:

I am not a pro but a Jobber Fixer (most anyway!) I use a basic U/S cleaner 40KHz and for fluid I use NAPHTHA (panel wipe medium-fast) from my local auto paint shop. It is a very good de-greaser and cleaner and it is about £12 for 5 litres.  For Balances and very sticky unserviced movements I use ACETONE. The best de-greaser and oil killer I have ever found. I also lightly brush the components as well.  Then a final clean with FRESH NAPHTHA and leave the components to dry. I never filter used Naphtha, one can only filter solids and not the oil contamination. Just my proven opinion which works very well for me on many watches. 

2

I've had the best results with this method as well and it is the method I use when I'm not experimenting. However, for my final rinse, I use isopropanol and I'm very careful not to let the impulse pin and pallets stay in the isopropanol for more than about 10 to 20 seconds as I know from experience it will dissolve the resin holding the impulse pin and pallets in place.

ACETONE sounds extremely interesting! Once in a while, I buy interesting/unusual Russian vintage watches (for sometimes next to nothing, and I love it), and it can be quite a challenge to get them clean just using naphtha, as they are often poorly serviced and has been drowned in what I expect to be substandard Russian oil that has dried up and/or is all black and everywhere in the movement. Anyway, I suppose acetone just like isopropanol would dissolve the resin pretty quickly, no?

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On 2/1/2018 at 12:57 AM, khunter said:

Ok, this topic has probably been covered over and over, but I just got the biggest kick out of reading some of the MSDS (material safety data sheet) on popular watch cleaning solutions. One brand, I'm not going to mention names, has a cleaner advertised as "specially formulated" etc etc etc, then you look up the ingredients on the sheet and it's a fancy chemical name for Naptha, regular old naptha, and perfume (basically)...that's it...that's their "special" formula.

There's another that a lot of people are probably familiar with, which contains mineral spirits, naptha, olive oil, ammonia and a little alcohol......period.....the "formula" leaves a little wiggle room for exact amounts of each ingredient, but basically it's 65% spirits, 20% naptha, 10% olive oil (ok, oleic acid, but essentially the same thing), and <5% ammonia/alcohol......and as we all know, none of these "special formulas" sell on the cheap, they're in the range of $50/gallon!

I'm currently using the above formula (minus the ammonia) in my cleaner and I get excellent results, and it cost me about $15

I guess I'm just kind of venting, and I'm not knocking the companies for making good products. It just seems a "bit" excessive price-wise for basically over the counter ingredients. 

Oh, and hair-spring cleaners? Carbon tet, (carbon tetrochloride) otherwise known as engine degreaser! Even some brake cleaning fluids are carbon tet, so save some bucks and go to NAPA! (just kidding......or am I?) :) 

Acetone for the balance and HS ! Superb cleaner and the best de-greaser and old oil killer/cleaner. Period !.

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5 hours ago, ecodec said:

Acetone for the balance and HS ! Superb cleaner and the best de-greaser and old oil killer/cleaner. Period !.

This sure sounds very convenient and more than feasible in terms of cost (I guess), at least if like me you're not a professional. I have one concern though; wouldn't acetone dissolve the resin holding the impulse pin and pallets in place? For how long do you treat the balance, I suppose in your U/S cleaner?

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On ‎2018‎-‎06‎-‎23 at 10:47 PM, VWatchie said:

Probably too strong and too hot, now that you mention it! I have a tendency to overdo things. I guess its an irrational emotional thing. You know; if a little is good then more must be better, just like beer! ;)

Anyway, I'll give it a try again at some point at return back to this thread.

 

Tried the SeaClean2 with my wife's gilded mesh bracelet. I used the recommended 10 ml solution per 400 ml warm, but not hot, water and it worked so-so. To really get the bracelet to shine again I had to use my old trusted method that I also apply to watch plates and bridges; warm water, detergent, and a soft and dense toothbrush. Nothing seems to beat it...

Edited by VWatchie

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7 minutes ago, VWatchie said:

To really get the bracelet to shine again I had to use my old trusted method that I also apply to watch plates and bridges; warm water, detergent, and a toothbrush. Nothing seems to beat it...

Correct. But people wants technology even where isn't needed, or the  collector's pleasure of having an archaic machine heat , shake and swap jars for them.

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Hello,

another newbie question, I know. So far, I cleaned all of the watch movement parts using the ordinary lighter fluid. My system was as follows: put all of the watch movement parts in small jars with lighter fluid, leave them for about 10 minutes (except pallet fork and balance, I took them after few minutes), clean them with a soft brush, peg the pinholes, rinse the parts again in clean lighter fluid in one bigger jar, and leave them on sheet of paper to dry.

Now, I am afraid that the lighter fluid (basically naptha) would leave some residue.

Any ideas on improving this? What cleaning solutions would you recommend for rinsing the parts, and especially for cleaning balance and pallet on budget? Isopropanol maybe, although I heard it could do harm to shellac.

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On 10/13/2015 at 8:03 AM, DJT2 said:

Hi guys, I've been absent of late due to decorating to keep the wife happy. But I'd like to discuss a conversation I had with a friend who is the technical manager for a leading Swiss watch manufacturer. I asked him what he felt was the best degreaser to buy at present. He said" without question & nothing can compare, isopropanol which is available from the chemist. I was surprised to hear that they also use it in the final rinse pot during cleaning". He said you can't leave the lid off as it evaporates. He said it's ideal for the last rinse because of this fact.

Has anybody else used this product. I've just order 5ltr off amazon for £15,so pretty cheap.

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk

Well,  In my opinion that info is not quite correct.. The best de-greaser and old oil killer by far is ACETONE !. Isopropanol is one type of  alcohol and has it`s uses no doubt. I have an unopend can here. I am a Jobber Fixer (not a qualified watchmaker) and I am not in the league of you modern chaps. I use an ultrasonic bath (40KHz) and Fast Naphtha. The balance and scape are cleaned with Acetone then rinsed with Naphtha and I brush the components as required. Do NOT use acetone on any plastic`s. Just my way of doing things and it works very well for me.

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