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Ultrasonic Cleaners

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Depends what you are going to clean. I now clean watch bracelets in a cheap o LIdle ultrasonic cleaner with warm soapy water & get really good results.

However for watch cleaning I would not buy cheap.

I've got a mechanical elma job for watches. It was more for the intricate stuff that I don't want scratching by putting them into spinning baskets. Ie.. Hands etc

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Personally i would avoid those chinese ultrasonics, they are made with poor parts. If it is within your budget, go for the lower end Elma range ( approx £300 ), they are simply superb with excellent cleaning action.

 

If you are looking for something slightly cheaper i can highly recommend the JPL Ultra 8060 D-H ( Approx £100 ), i have a few of these for parts cleaning and general bracelets/cases etc. Ive been using them for nearly two years and they are superb, not quite as good as Elma but very very close. Some features include >

 

3 Litre Capacity

Heating Control 40/45/50/55/& 60c

Cleaning fluid duration timer

De Gas ( knocks small bubbles out for better cleaning )

LCD Screen

Large capacity basket

Easy to empty + Hose

Stainless steel tank

Reasonably quiet operation

Timer in 5/10/15/20/25/& 30 Minutes ( you wont need more then 30 min @ 60c unless it is really stubborn grease )

 

The price may seem still a bit high but at £100 they will work well and have lasted me without issue. You do get what you pay for but my JPL's have paid for themselves several times over. There are a couple of other JPL ones that are similar and are equally as good.

 

Hope this helps :D

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OK guys, really appreciate your thoughts. I've decided to spend that little extra as Mr beat suggested & purchase the elma. Hopefully it will last year's.

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I'm new her and new to Horology, I have ordered loads of tools and I'm waiting delivery so I can start working/learning how to fix watches etc.

 

My question is about Ultrasonic cleaning fluid, I have a small cleaner 600ml, and wondered how often should I change the fluid, is it safe to leave it in the cleaner?

 

The answers to my other posts/questions have been really helpful, I appreciate your replies.

 

Thanks

 

Den

Edited by Alienfox

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Hi Den,

 

I only have a small cleaner about the same size as yours, I just use hot water with a dash of dishwashing detergent and find that does the job OK, I believe you can use other fluids even like lighter fluid but I would not be brave enough to try it in the house, just in case it went "Boom", but if you do good precleaning the water and detergent works well,

 

I glass brush all the metal parts after dismantling to clean off any rust or deposits and old dried lubricants, then soak them in Shellite (like lighter fluid) that breaks down any old oils and then into the ultrasonic cleaner.

 

Max 

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Another way is to use just water in the cleaner tank and to place the watch parts in a small glass jar (some say that plastic is less transparent to ultrasonic waves). Then in the jar you can use ultrasonic cleaner fluid, lighter fluid, One Dip solution from Bergeon, dry cleaning fluid or even denture cleaner solution. These small amounts of fluid can be changed for every session, except the expensive One Dip that is best retained for cleaning balance items.

 

I use the small jam jars that some hotels provide and put one or more into the bath as needed. There is the advantage that any small screws that have been left in the item to be cleaned, for example the dial screws in a main plate, are not lost since the ultrasonic will invariably throw out the screws. Incidentally, this can sometimes be the best way of removing screws with damaged heads or even broken-off pivots left in staking punches.

 

Just rambling on.....

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Thanks Geo,

 

Here is what I wrote:

'I use the small jam jars that some hotels provide and put one or more into the bath as needed.'

 

I usually arrange it so that the water comes up to the bottom of the jar caps. Personally, with a prior heavy de-grease using an ammonia based solution and, if needed, some work with a fine glass fibre brush, I find that this method cleans as well as the more cumbersome classic cleaning machines.

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Problem with storing amonia based fluid is that they evaporate and that smells bad and its not healthy, so to keep it in ultrasonic is not good idea unless you have good lid to close it. Also using water could lead to problem with rust if you dont use rinsing solution to remove remains of water. I use elma 1:9 (its water based amonia solution), one jar of clean water for 1st rinse and suprol to rinse/remove water. But I also used clean naptha (similar to light fluid, not leaving "fatty" surface as some of naptha do) to rinse with good results (it doesn mix with water, so it push water away).

 

btw. small question for cdjswiss - do you have problem with particles/parts of fibre glass brush when you use it (Im not sure if Ive got bad quality brush or its just like that, but I dont like this kind of contamination as its difficult to spot and can get inside skin)? I stopped to use it because of that, and swapped to brass brush and pegwood (brass also dont scratch steel parts). 

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I'm also interested in the fiberglass brush issue. The Bergeon small brush that I use does break small particles of the stuff that get everywhere. I'd like to know a "best way" to use the tool...I, myself, use gloves and all sort of protection and use it well away from my watch workbench, then blow clean the parts...still I wonder if it contaminates the cleaning fluids, etc with "the invisible" remnants, when I wash/manipulate those parts...seems like the brass brush and even a nylon one when applicable, would be a cleaner solution to the problem? )

 

Very interested in your pros and cons oppinions! Also, how to proceed with the fluids once the parts have been "brushed".

 

Cheers,

 

Bob

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Yes the glass fibre brushes need to be used with care. I have a no-name brush that sheds very little and would not know how to replace it.  Brass brushes are probably better for resistant muck and then the microfibre mops for light cleaning. These are remarkably good for removing surface grime and can be rinsed in detergent to prolong their life.

https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/microfibre-head-cleaning-swabs

 

Do not use brass brushes on gold-plated bridges and plates. Here the microfibre swab is essential.

 

Regarding the use of water in the US bath. My baths both have stainless steel tanks and plastic baskets, so no rust. The watch parts are in glass jars with the appropriate cleaning solution. Rinse is always distilled water, compressed air blower, and then fast warm air drying - never any rust.

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That's what I thought, Colin, fiberglass is a pain to use! :) And the tip about the swabs, I didn't know about how useful that product was, so now I will be looking for them and since I have something in my basket in cousinsUK....

 

Anyway, I believe there is an invaluable tip in your post: "Incidentally, this can sometimes be the best way of removing screws with damaged heads or even broken-off pivots left in staking punches." I didn't think of it but now that you mention this I will keep it in mind for next time...I had this problem and screwed up big time with a Seiko main plate, if I had only thought of this! Also, I wonder if that will work on certain case back that refuse to unscrew...after the movement has been extracted through the front.

 

Another thing I've always wonder is how to blow dry the tiny parts? I suppose they are kept in their wire baskets but still, will the drying might not be as thorough as desired? Will the drinking -- distilled -- water from bottles be fine to use in the rinsing process?

 

I think I read about soapy water to clean parts somewhere, is this really acceptable? I've been following a very simple method and I'm ready to improve. My system is L&R ultra fine cleaning and L&R rinsing, 2 of the first *correction: ONE of the FIRST and TWO of the SECOND -- the "dirty bath" and the "clean bath" -- in 3 to 9 min cycles the first depending on dirt and *correction: TWICE the rinse in 3 min cycles later, plus 3 min, once the dirty bath and second time the clean bath, all in a regular jewelry ultrasonic machine...the same way you were saying: water in the ultrasonic, beakers in the water, fluid in the beakers and the baskets with the parts in the fluid...Yep, I'm ready for an upgrade in the way I do things, I guess.  :)

 

What would be a good approach to clean jewels real good? I never use the ultrasonic on them...

 

Cheers,

 

Bob

 

PS. Apologies for the mixed up cycles. That is, for clarification, one clean and two rinses.

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Originally I had a small ultrasonic cleaning machine that came with the beaker in the picture and the beaker just fit into the tank and then you poured water around it. So the water is used to transmit the energy of the ultrasonic into the cleaning fluid in the beaker. After 20 or so years the little tank failed so I went to something bigger that someone gave me. On the bigger tanks you never want to place anything solid on the bottom you need to have a spacing otherwise it will reflect the energy back into the transducer and bad things happen. Some of the tanks like this will come with lid that the beakers will fit into so there suspended. So the white thing with squares is used to lift the beaker off the bottom.

 

A better way than the beaker would be to have dedicated jars for each of the fluids. I just got used to using the beaker and pouring the fluid back into the storage jars. Then everything small goes in the symbol baskets the really tiny stuff go into the brass colored basket because it seals tighter. Then all the larger parts are held by the wire.

 

Then for cleaning Fluid I'm using the commercial L&R specifically designed for cleaning watches. Then even though the cost of commercial fluids seems expensive it's amazing how long a gallon of cleaner and rinse will last.

post-673-0-11322600-1452852362_thumb.jpg

post-673-0-06982800-1452852425.jpg

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Sorry fellows, I mixed up my cleaning cycles, as Stephen pointed out, it is ONE clean and TWO rinses, the first rinse fluid gets dirtier than the second rinse fluid so rotation after a while becomes standard: "throw away" first rinse fluid when dirty and use second rinse fluid for first rinse then refill with new for the second rinse.

 

I'm editing my previous post to reflect this correction.

 

Cheers,

 

Bob

 

PS. Thank you Stephen for catching it! :)

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Hi:

Got one of these in today, straight outa' China for a whopping $9 delivered....

 

post-1813-0-13764500-1457144326.jpg

Runs on a pair of AAs...keeps me from doing something funky with my wife's jewelry cleaner...

I'm figuring as long as it vibrates and makes bubbles, it will probably be an improvement over going at things with a dental pick and a Q-Tip...if I am wrong, please tell me why...

I know there are vendors out there that will sell you a gallon or three of specially made oh-so-fine detergent or solvent for some large sum of money, but I am not "there" at this point (obviously, because I didn't purchase a proper ultrasonic watch cleaner...) but for my purposes as a rank amateur, what can I use as a improvised/field-expedient/over-the-counter solution to this problem? Detergent or solvent? 

I am sure it would be better to disassemble the watch before dropping it in this thing, as A) it would be cleaned more thoroughly, B) you don't ultrasonically vibrate the crap out of everything in situ and have tiny pieces banging into each other at high frequencies and C) you have to have it apart to lube it properly anyway, you moron! 

But, can I get away with doing them assembled at least *sometimes*? Some of the junk I am working on would be barely worth the trouble of busting apart....

BTW, I know a perennial question is about proper lubes...I gather that professionals tend to have an assortment of lubricants of different weights and they often have a prefered lubricant for each bearing surface in the movement...and I certainly get that...in my gunsmithing days, I had an entire shelf over my workbench filled with everything from RemOil (very light, probably not a bad watch lube, used it for Remington 700 triggers) all the way to Cosmoline (a thick preservative grease) and everything in-between...but, over time I found that I could mix up lithium axl grease, automatic transmission fluid and STP, and solve about 90% of my lube problems with just different proportions of those three...

On the watch front, for now, I have decided to keep my life simple...I bought a 1oz bottle of a synthetic watch lube off of eBay and intend to use that for pretty much everything...

But if anybody feels like throwing me a suggestion of how to do better, have at it. 

Thanks, as always...

>>>BULLET>>>
AKA -Tom

 

 

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I really don't want to burst your bubble Tom, but you haven't purchased an ultrasonic cleaner. You have purchased an "Ultra Sonic" cleaner that operates at 96.6 Hz and not the 45kHz of an ultrasonic cleaner. It will give the parts a bit of agitation, but they certainly won't be ultrasonically cleaned.

Ultra Sonic Cleaner for Jewellery (TRA436)

post-124-0-97190300-1457148253_thumb.png

Incredible Ultra Sonic Jewellery Cleaner

Do you have a lot of jewellery? If you wish to keep them clean and nice all the time you probably know that cleaning them can be quite the hassle. With this amazing product your life will get a lot easier. Gemstones and other jewellery will over time be covered with a dark layer, which isn’t nice and dramatically reduces their loveliness. This ultra sonic cleaner will sort that out for you in an instant and return all your jewellery to its former glory. This clever product will also remove any tarnish from your beautiful gemstones. Don’t let your jewellery get any dirtier – get this amazing cleaner now and make sure that you only wear shining, clean and lovely jewellery at all times!

Specifications:

Ultra Sonic Jewellery Cleaner

Removable container

Sonic Vibration: Up to 5800 waves/minute

Power: 2 x AA-batteries

Colour: White

On/Off switch

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Regarding cleaning an assembled movement. I cannot recommend it. Although some people still do it. It is impossible to inspect the parts, impossible to ascertain if hairs, fibres or dirt it trapped in the pinion leaves or wheel teeth. Impossible to see if hardened muck is choking up the pivot holes. And loads of other reasons.

But. If you are tempted then at least take the barrel bridge out, the barrel and remove the barrel cap, take off the balance, remove the pallets, then fit the balance back for safety. Remove the motion work and the canon pinion because this will need to be properly lubricated.

Again, I don't recommend this route in the least. But some people do do it.

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I clean these complete in the ultrasonic cleaner, remove any useful dials, day wheels etc first, then they are almost clean enough to work on and pull down and clean properly :D

 

And somebody posted about Russians being serial abusers :pulling-hair-out:

 

 

post-1709-0-70994300-1457160042_thumb.jp

 

 

Max

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I clean these complete in the ultrasonic cleaner, remove any useful dials, day wheels etc first, then they are almost clean enough to work on and pull down and clean properly :D

And somebody posted about Russians being serial abusers :pulling-hair-out:

attachicon.gifWatches.jpg

Max

Where DOES Ramon get them from? !?

Bottom of the sea?

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