Paint thinner for cleaning movements?

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by clc, Mar 12, 2018.

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  1. clc

    clc Registered User

    May 30, 2017
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    Hi all.
    I have read over 15 posts on cleaning solutions.
    Are there any benefits or contraindications to using paint thinner as a cleaning solution? , Be it for pre-soaking, ultrasonic or for rinsing?
    Thanks,

    Carlos
     
  2. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    It's good but slower, when compaired to say, Coleman Lantern Fuel. With PT you will need to do a short soak, followed by a little more brushing action, and the drying will take longer, if you need the movement to be dry.

    On the plus side, PT is much less flammable, has less noctious fumes, and is kinder to your skin; I would still use nitril gloves though. You never know what's in this stuff and your skin is a fairly permeable membrane.

    Willie X
     
  3. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Paint thinner is flammable and a fire hazard. "Paint thinner" can be lots of different stuff. I've even seen acetone labeled as paint thinner (which is can be - a very fast drying thinner) and its about as explosive as gasoline! Around here "paint thinner" is generally equated with mineral spirits - real mineral spirits, not the environmental safe crap that isn't much good for anything. I still would not use it in an ultrasonic or in a large container inside. Kerosene will work just about as well but has a stronger smell. These are petroleum solvents and require proper disposal, can't just flush down the toilet or pitch out in the back yard.

    RC
     
  4. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    I agree with RC, Kerosene can really cut through the crud. A small jar and an old toothbrush can be kept on hand for stubborn deposits but I wouldn't use it wholesale for the reasons RC has already outlined.

    If you don't want to use commercial clock cleaning solutions, try some of the "industrial" degreasers carried at stores like Lowes. Purple Power and Zep Fast 505 are not too expensive and have garnered good reviews by some members here. Used full strength in a heated Ultrasonic you should be able to get some pretty good results. You still should wear gloves and eye protection against splashes but at least you won't have to worry about setting your house on fire or blowing something up. And as I mentioned, an old toothbrush dipped in a little Kerosene for really stubborn gunk can safely go a long way.
     
  5. clc

    clc Registered User

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    #5 clc, Mar 13, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
    Thanks for the replies.
    The paint thinner I have is the real thing, mineral spirits.
    I was getting rust on the arbors after the ultrasonic cleaner and rinsing I was putting them in alcohol. To avoid the rust I was placing the parts in mineral spirits, PT, and seemed to help. I noticed all the water would sink to the bottom of the container, so I figured the PT was displacing the water from the surface of the arbors thus preventing the rust.
    I read a post of someone here using Zep fast 505.
    I will try the Zet fast 505 in the ultrasonic after pre-soaking in PTand the PT after ultrasonic cleaner and rinsing.
    Thanks,

    Carlos
     
  6. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    You might try using distilled water to mix your cleaner and for the final rinse. Alcohol mixes with water but the water is still in the alcohol and dilutes the alcohol with each part rinsed. PT (several kinds) can displace water as you have found (except acetone which, like alcohol mixes with water). Speed - the time to dry - I find most important. I rinse 3 or 4 parts at a time in water, blot with paper towel, blow with compressed air, and quickly into the drying oven at about 180 F. There is no perfect answer that I know of.

    RC
     
  7. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    PT (mineral spirits) is flamable, about the same as kerosene. It has a high flash point and will not explode or burn if you put a torch to it at normal temperatures. However, it's a bad idea to use it indoors in the amount necessary to fill an US machine. This is because of what could happen with a spill or malfunction of the US heater, not to mention the inevitable dripping of PT around the machine over time. Most fires don't start big, they start small and get big quickly because of accelerants like paper, cardboard boxes, petroleum products, etc.
    Play it safe, I have used about a pint of PT in a bowl, outside, thousands of times with no problems.

    Anyone with a diesel engine can dispose of it for you. Motor oil disposal places will take it also. For me, I filter it through a large coffee filter after every use for around 40 times. Then I use it to burn brush piles (summer) or start up my wood heater (winter).

    Willie X
     
  8. bkerr

    bkerr Registered User
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    I have used mineral spirits for years. I was instructed to clean in clock cleaning solution, rinse in water, blow dry with compressed air, rinse again in mineral spirits and then oven bake. May seem like a lot of steps to some but it has worked for me.
     
  9. clc

    clc Registered User

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    Would there be a greasy residue after the evaporation of the paint thinner?
    Thanks,

    Carlos
     
  10. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Carlos,

    Certainly not "greasy" but maybe a slight film.

    bk has an excellent plan and I don't think anyone should try to shorten up his plan.

    Willie X
     
  11. clc

    clc Registered User

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    Thanks for all your input!

    Carlos
     
  12. bangster

    bangster Super Moderator
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    I use mineral spirits as my general solvent for pre-cleaning, scrubbing down mainsprings, etc. Less flammable (and less smelly) than the alternatives. I use it in my parts shaker, never in an ultrasonic. It's never the final rinse, so I don't worry about film (but I doubt there is any. It has no additives that would fail to evaporate.) Cuts grease well, not likely to explode on me. I like it
     
  13. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    If all else fails, read the manufacturer's instructions and warnings. I believe that Ultrasonic manufacturers will specifically warn you against using any combustible, much less flammable liquids in their equipment if it is not rated for that type of use. Some cleaners are, some aren't. There are less dangerous cleaning materials which are still very effective in any Ultrasonic Cleaner.
     
    Fitzclan likes this.
  14. clc

    clc Registered User

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    Bangster, what do you use as your final rinse?
    Thanks,

    Carlos
     
  15. bangster

    bangster Super Moderator
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    #15 bangster, Mar 13, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
    After ultrasonic, running hot water rinse followed by hot air dry. No alcohol any more.

    If you're looking for an exotic rinse, check this post.
     
  16. Firegriff

    Firegriff Registered User
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    If you use water to rinse use distilled water it will not leave mineral deposits like regular tap water will which are a pain to clean off.
     
  17. bangster

    bangster Super Moderator
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    More precisely: running hot water rinse, followed by canned compressed air to blow most of the water off, followed by hot air dry. Seldom leaves water spots.
     
  18. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    This is basically the method I've started using over the last couple of months. I'm pretty happy with it. As bangster says, it's very effective and I haven't noted any problems with rust or water spots. I use an air compressor.

    Before this, I used to rinse (again in hot tap water), shake and allow to drain briefly before a dip in denatured alcohol followed by forced hot air dry. This method worked fine (some water/liquid spotting as the alcohol gained too much water and needed to be replaced) . I'm glad to be rid of the fire hazard and added expense of an open gallon of alcohol.
     
  19. clc

    clc Registered User

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    Thank you all for your replies.
    I was away for a while.

    Carlos
     
  20. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    I use undiluted Zep Fast 505 in the ultrasonic cleaner, generally with the heater, for thirty minutes plus however long it takes me to remember that it's still soaking in there. One of these days I will completely dissolve a clock movement.

    It seems to me that the instructions on the Zep bottle have changed: I think that they used to give dilution instructions, but now the assumption is that it will be used without dilution. It's pretty caustic, so I keep a rag in a glass jar into which I have poured some white vinegar and then screwed the lid on. When I get Zep on my hands I wipe them off with the vinegar-soaked rag, which instantly neutralizes the Zep.

    The procedure after that consists of a vigorous hot-water rinse in the basement sink and thence a dunk in alcohol for the smaller parts and/or a spray of 91% rubbing alcohol on big plates with a $1.00 horologically-approved laundry spray bottle from Walmart. Then comes a noisy session with my trusty Revlon hair dryer, which I apply until the brass parts become a bit too hot to hold comfortably.

    But just lately I have grown suspicious of the alcohol treatment: it does seem to eliminate the flash rust I was getting before I adopted it, but I'm not entirely satisfied with its drying ability. Thus I've taken to baking everything under my 100W piano lamp for an hour or so.

    I suppose I will hie myself over to the local thrift store and see if I can find a war-surplus toaster oven to use as a parts-baking oven.

    Mark Kinsler
     
  21. Allan Wolff

    Allan Wolff Moderator
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    I guess I am the oddball. I use water-based ammoniated clock cleaning solution:rolleyes:. Whatever brand the suppliers have at the Regionals. Saves on shipping.
     
  22. bangster

    bangster Super Moderator
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    Instead of a toaster oven, look for an Air Popcorn Popper.
     
  23. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    If you happen to have a sunny day just put the parts in a mesh basket and sit it on a kitchen size towel on the dash, or rear deck, of your car pointed into the sun.

    The drying is free and just the right temperature. From 100F to 150F where I live. Willie X
     
  24. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Allan, I do the same thing, make an order of things I need to have the supplier at our regional bring to save on shipping. But my cleaner of choice is Deox 007, non ammoniated cleaner.
     
  25. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Often it's difficult to find the parts under the snow.
     
  26. helldan211

    helldan211 Registered User

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    I use a cheap food dehydrator. I cut window screen mesh to sit on the plastic grating so that the parts don't fall through. It works very well. You might even find one at a Goodwill store for a steal.
     

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