non abrasive cleaning

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Hardwicke
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non abrasive cleaning

Postby Hardwicke » Fri May 14, 2021 3:29 pm

I've just tried using some scraps of cork underlay to clean an etching. How successful it was is open to interpretation but it certainly cleaned some parts. I get a bit fed up of glass fibres in my fingers. Any thoughts ?

20210514_143154.jpg
cleaned part shines


20210514_143221.jpg


20210514_143619.jpg


20210514_143632.jpg
Builder of Forge Mill Sidings, Kirkcliffe Coking Plant, Swanage and Heaby. Still trying to "Keep the Balance".

bobwallison
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby bobwallison » Fri May 14, 2021 5:44 pm

My skin starts to itch furiously if I so much as look at a glass fibre pen, so I nearly always use a Garryflex abrasive block (grey, medium). It isn't non-abrasive but it is fairly soft and can easily be cut to get into awkward corners.
Where non-abrasive is of prime importance, I have used neat, concentrated Flash scrubbed in with a stiff brush, with reasonable success.

Bob

bobwallison
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby bobwallison » Fri May 14, 2021 5:53 pm

PS - I see that the jewellery suppliers Cookson Gold list Garryflex as a "polisher" so I guess they don't remove much metal.

Philip Hall
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby Philip Hall » Fri May 14, 2021 6:30 pm

I haven't used a fibreglass eraser for years, dreadful things. I have a variety of 'block' erasers, Garryflex is one. I also like the EMGS track rubber or one I got once from the Double 0 Gauge Association. All of these can be cut into handy shapes.

Philip

Daddyman
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby Daddyman » Fri May 14, 2021 6:42 pm

Heretical, maybe, but why would you want to scrub things anyway? Doesn't flux clean things adequately? That's certainly the suggestion in one of David Brandreth's recent videos, and Mike Edge said recently he never bothers with scrubbing, but lets the flux do all the work. Personally, I only scrub something if it is really grotty.

nigelcliffe
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby nigelcliffe » Fri May 14, 2021 8:30 pm

Another vote for Garryflex blocks. I tend to use the brown (fine) grade ones for cleaning etches. The others are kept for things which are much tougher to clean.

And, no I don't expect flux to clean things.

Only thing to watch with them is direction of rubbing when dealing with very small parts: all too easy to ripple something, bend it, or remove it from a fret. Sensible choice of direction solves that, plus can use the corners/sides of a block.

Smaller option is a nail polishing stick, as sold by numerous high street chemist shops. (I imagine the model trade also sells them at higher prices for those who don't know where in a chemist shop such things might be kept).
Or DIY sticks made by gluing fine wet&dry paper to coffee stirring sticks and lolly sticks.

I have a fibreglass pencil, but its the last-resort tool. If used, ideally I'd work on a bit of paper, so all debris can be cleaned immediately.


- Nigel

David Knight
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby David Knight » Fri May 14, 2021 11:49 pm

A number of years back, thanks to a tip from a fellow club member, I started using a piece of a wine bottle cork that had been cut longitudinally to a "D" profile for cleaning track. It is now my got-to method except in cases (solder, dried paint) where extreme methods are called for in which case I resort to an abrasive impregnated block of rubber. The natural cork has the advantages of holding up well and of coming with a restorative bottle of wine. :D

Cheers,

David

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Jol Wilkinson
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Sat May 15, 2021 7:39 am

Daddyman wrote:Heretical, maybe, but why would you want to scrub things anyway? Doesn't flux clean things adequately? That's certainly the suggestion in one of David Brandreth's recent videos, and Mike Edge said recently he never bothers with scrubbing, but lets the flux do all the work. Personally, I only scrub something if it is really grotty.


I think your last sentence sums it up. Etches that have been stored for some time/bought pre-owned sometimes have tarnishing that needs physical abrasion to remove it, especially if they have been removed from the original packaging and handled. It can also be more of a problem where the etchers haven't cleaned the etches thoroughly before despatch but that is very rare nowadays. Mike Edge's builds are also usually from "fresh" etches so there should be no need for anything but a suitable, good flux.

Jeremy Suter
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby Jeremy Suter » Sat May 15, 2021 8:21 am

Not sure why you are cleaning uncut etches unless they have been handled allot and its the finger grease etc. to be removed. Why not just dip it in Citric Acid and wash off with water.

I have got some very old Brass Etches from the society stocks for the SPMR160 and the Rocking W Irons. They look like they have gone rusty in places due to not being cleaned properly by the etchers in fact they arrived from the etchers discoloured and got worse over time. To clean them I would run them over on 1200 emery paper on a flat surface before use although no rived detail to be removed.

I use flux to clean the parts to be soldered together. Neutralize flux with Methylated Spirit clean the model for painting first in a Sonic bath of Citric Acid or Cilit bang then and soap and water to remove the Acid and water to remove the soap.

Only use abrasives, Squawker, Brass Chisel or Glass Fibre for removing excess solder. Glass fibres get into all the nooks and crannies and I have stripped a model before now when finding them court in corners. The best way to remove excess solder is not put it on the front of the model in the first place. I always solder from behind and tin anything that has to be soldered on the front and then run the squawker round the edge to clean any excess solder and to make sure the solder has flowed properly.

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David B
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby David B » Sat May 15, 2021 8:24 am

There is agreement where etches are old and have built up layers of 'dirt' over time, be it oxidation, finger grease, inadequate cleaning in production or any combination, that something more aggressive is required. A mild liquid cleaner, for example dilute caustic soda, on the face is useful so as not to damage detail, but on the back, which is where soldering usually takes place, I see no problem with using something more abrasive. I have washed etches in caustic soda/sodium hydroxide which has cleaned a lot of 'dirt' off. It is certainly useful for cleaning before painting and definitely not abrasive. A mild acid can also work - I have heard of citric acid (Vitamin C) being used but not tried it myself.

On the abrasive front I use foam sticks of micro-mesh which I presume are not dissimilar to Garriflex which I have not used. A downside if that they will round off corners, edges and detail.

On newer etches, the usual problem which can affect soldering is from handling and as I showed in the video David Addyman refers to, a flux can help remove this 'dirt'. When a kit is opened, the etched parts do look good - I was tempted once not to make a kit but to frame the etches! - and it is very tempting to pick them up which is perhaps not good practice. One ought, ideally, to handle parts as little as possible before construction and consider using either (nitrile/latex) gloves, which may not be particularly practical with small bits, or tweezers/similar where one can.

Another point of general agreement seems to be to avoid using things like washing up liquid or toothpaste because of various ingredients which can be counter-productive. They might clean the etch but also deposit other substances on the surface.

Regarding glass fibre brushes - I consider these to be a tool of last resort.

bécasse
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby bécasse » Sat May 15, 2021 8:46 am

Inspired by French modellers' habitual use of wine corks for track cleaning, I thought that I would try one on an almost antique but so far unbuilt set of etchings and the answer is that they work quite well. The only downside being that, like any other cleaning method that involves rubbing, their use may dispose small components.

As an aside, the prime use of toothpaste in modelling, to my mind at least, is in polishing transparent plastic, whether flat (windows, etc) or shaped (lamp globes, etc).

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Will L
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby Will L » Sat May 15, 2021 11:45 am

bécasse wrote:Inspired by French modellers' habitual use of wine corks for track cleaning....
It would have to be the French as they are they only ones who've failed to accept that a screw cap is better, for the wine at least.

Why is everybody so negative about the good old glass fibre brush? I am rarely troubled by the bits in my finger these days. Like any tool using it right will minimise the amount of long loose fibre you get, i.e. you need the exposed fibre at the end of the brush needs to be as short as possible. Having long fibre exposed on the brush, so you can get into prominent detail can case a significant fibre fall, but may also be the only solution! If your getting significant fibre fall when track cleaning then you are definitely doing it wrong. On a model, the little bits do tend to cling on its true, as big blow ups tend to show, but a trip through the ultrasonic bath will cure that. That said Jeremy's guide above, on how to avoid the need in the first place, is very true.

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David Thorpe
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby David Thorpe » Sat May 15, 2021 3:57 pm

Not everyone, Will - I'm a keen exponent of the fibre glass brush. It's handy, capable of precise control, gets into all sorts of corners and awkward places, and does the job it's meant for quickly and simply. OK the fibres do sometimes irritate the fingers but not for long as they are removed fairly easily. A good toothbrush scrub down or, as Will says, a dunk in the ultrasonic bath seems to work well in removing any errant fibres from the model prior to painting.

DT

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Hardwicke
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby Hardwicke » Sat May 15, 2021 6:37 pm

Jeremy Suter wrote:Not sure why you are cleaning uncut etches unless they have been handled allot and its the finger grease etc. to be removed. Why not just dip it in Citric Acid and wash off with water.

ooh, my lemon plant has another use !
(yes it has grown lemons)
Builder of Forge Mill Sidings, Kirkcliffe Coking Plant, Swanage and Heaby. Still trying to "Keep the Balance".

Terry Bendall
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby Terry Bendall » Sun May 16, 2021 8:22 am

Will L wrote:Why is everybody so negative about the good old glass fibre brush?


And there was me feeling left out because I also use a glass fibre brush! :D

Terry Bendall

PhilipT
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby PhilipT » Sun May 16, 2021 11:33 am

Sorry if I've mentioned this before but do be extremely careful not to allow the fibreglass bits get anywhere near your eyes - so never blow away the residue. Fifty-odd years ago I was hospitalised with the stuff in my eyes and removal of the fibres was done with cocktail sticks. I never want to go through that again.

Phil

Enigma
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby Enigma » Sun May 16, 2021 3:52 pm

Terry Bendall wrote:
Will L wrote:Why is everybody so negative about the good old glass fibre brush?


And there was me feeling left out because I also use a glass fibre brush! :D

Terry Bendall

You are not alone. I use mine quite a lot - but I do use the 'bound' variety NOT the 'propelling pencil' style which, to my mind, are a waste of space. They wear out at quite an alarming rate whereas my 'bound' ones are now years old with still a lot of life left in them. I also use a Garryflex block for larger areas of 'unused' kit etches prior to detaching parts for soldering. I don't tend to use acid fluxes so the lack of cleansing effect needs to be addressed in some other way. Works for me!

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David Thorpe
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby David Thorpe » Sun May 16, 2021 4:27 pm

What is a "bound one"? I've only ever used the propelling pencil variety and, as you say, they wear out very quickly.

DT

ralphrobertson
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Re: non abrasive cleaning

Postby ralphrobertson » Sun May 16, 2021 5:25 pm

The bound one is one of these.
20210516_181648.jpg

It is essentially a set of fibres tightly bound together and so long as the end stays tightly bound it doesn't wear out. I have had mine for donkeys years and it will see me out, I have re-wrapped it with duck tape as can be seen here. I use it when necessary for cleaning etch sheets but it can be awkward trying to use it on a loco body for example which is when it, as a last resort, is necessary to use the propelling pencil type. These days if I have to use one of those I put a clean sheet of A4 on the bench and put on some rubber gloves, I am fed up with trying to pull bits out with tweezers.

Ralph


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