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Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:07 pm
I am curious to know what modellers find to be useful solvents (apart from water) and any particular uses they put them to.
I use three: IPA, white spirit and surgical spirit. I use the IPA for degreasing and cleaning sticky bits, white spirit for thinning enamels and cleaning sticky stuff the IPA does not and, as a last resort, the surgical spirit to degrease and clean sticky bits the other two don't touch.
There are others used rarely and in extremis, but for general use, what do people find useful? I am interested in case I am missing something better than those I already have.
Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:13 pm
I use lighter fluid to clean off sticky residues (remnants of sticky labels etc. - the proprietary stuff in hardware shops is nowhere near as effective. Brilliant for taking labels off CD cases. I always keep a bottle of acetone handy and use it for degreasing a metal surface prior to using cyano glue. I also use it to clean paint off wheel treads after painting and before polishing the treads with a rubber wheel in the mini drill. I have a spray can of computer solvent for cleaning wheels (spray some into the lid and use a cotton bud). Mine says Maplins, now no more of course, but any electrical cleaning fluid will do. My favourite used to come from Radiospares and cleaned tyres brilliantly with no risk of melting the plastic centres, but you can’t get that anymore because folk have either been drinking the stuff or sniffing it.
The most important thing in my workshop, for cleaning off things which are just mucky or lightly greasy, are baby wipes, which are pretty much some kind of solvent in a tissue. The basic kind are quite adequate, and the best value at the moment are Waitrose Essentials. All the supermarkets do their own brand and I just buy the cheapest at the time. They are great for general cleaning, wiping down tools and surfaces, and cleaning finger marks off a model or just cleaning your hands. When I’m dismantling a RTR engine and wading my way through the vast quantities of grease and oil that seem to get everywhere, I use them for wiping off almost every component. Be aware though that there is water as well as the alcohol and other stuff in them, and some brands are ‘wetter’ than others, so using them on steel wheels requires careful drying with a tissue to avoid corrosion. I go through huge quantities.
The first two are pretty strong stuff, so I always keep a window or the workshop door open when using them. Of course acetone will melt most plastics and paint, a bit like cellulose thinners. I keep that as well for very occasional use in washing out a brush.
Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:21 pm
Also meths (the violet coloured variety) which, besides being a very gentle solvent, also contains pyridine. I was told many years ago by an adhesives researcher that pyridine acts as a catalyst for the polymerisation (ie setting) of cyano.
Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:29 pm
Many years ago someone cleaned out the drum brakes of a car of mine with meths, and the result was not good. I was later told that meths actually had something of a lubricant in it, which caused the brake shoes to slip and bind. After that, I’ve used it for Methfix transfers and thinning shellac varnish but that’s all. I’ll have to revisit it now for cyano.
Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:01 am
There is also 'Evo-Stik' adhesive cleaner which I find useful as a general 'sticky stuff', contact adhesive and grease remover.
Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:19 am
I sometimes use Tamiya thinners, which contain butanol, to clean out paintbrushes if the acrylic paint is starting to set in the brush.
There is also the "Liquid Reamer" product for cleaning airbrushes, which is a righteous solution to unwanted paint, even for cured acrylics.
Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:44 pm
PhilipT wrote: I was told many years ago by an adhesives researcher that pyridine acts as a catalyst for the polymerisation (ie setting) of cyano
The easiest available solvent that catalyses cyano is water. For absorbent materials dampen them a little, for brass and plastic just blowing on it will do the job. Don't think anything in Meths will improve on that.Edited to remove a predictive textisum
Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:50 pm
Thank you, all. Some interesting posts.
The mention of moisture and cyano reminds me that for smaller bits, holding them with fingers and putting them in your mouth (no, not eating them) and gently breathing out supplies both warmth and moisture. I have done this and it is quite successful. I don't think breath qualifies as a solvent, but it is a useful technique.
Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:19 pm
I have a can of cellulose thinners which I use for cleaning out old brushes that 'someone' (Mr Nobody allegedly) has allowed paint to dry on. This includes acrylic as well as enamel in my experience. I too regularly use lighter fuel for all sorts of jobs involving degreasing and cleaning.