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Bino Thoughts #4 (1 Viewer)

WJC

Well-known member
Today, while working in the optics lab aka ... the garage ... a stranger came up and started a conversation—a guy looking through one side of a binocular...on a stand...through an auxiliary telescope...at a large refracting telescope...backwards—can draw people to ask questions. He was wearing a COVID-19 mask, so I decided to let him live. We were having a good conversation until I finished the collimation and started to clean the objectives. When: “What’s that he said?”

When I told him it as acetone, he took it upon himself to save me from myself. You can imagine where the conversation went after that.

The fellow said his was a birdwatcher, although I had never seen him at one of the local club meetings. Although I have spoken about this a bazillion times in as many places, I thought it might be good to do it one more time.

1) I have used enough acetone to fill a large bathtub to overflowing. And I’m still normal ... normal ... normal ...

2) Dr. Gerald Bernstein of Seattle is a cancer specialist who was a pioneer of the Mohs (Frederic E. Mohs-1910-2002) method of surgery in the Seattle area. In querying him, I found that acetone IS NOT a carcinogen and that it is produced in the body. We diabetics produce more of it than the rest of you. NEENER, NEENER!

3) Yes, I know Tele Vue Optics founder and engineer AL Nagler has WRITTEN against using it on optics. That has been to protect the armchair optician from him or herself. Acetone, (CH3)2CO,
molecules are smaller the H2O and it can creep in places where water won’t. Thus, without the knowledge to use it properly, it can seep past the seals around objective lenses and eyepieces on binoculars and can be a very harsh and expensive teacher around telephoto lenses. Considering the constraints he was under, I would offer the same warning.

4) It has been used safely by those cleaning optics (IT IS VERY FLAMMABLE) by tens of thousand of experienced technicians for over 100 years and it is still used today.

5) I have spoken to Al and his son David—now taking a larger role in the business—and when they are speaking to a REAL player DO recommend using acetone. Although at Tele Vue they use the reagent grade chemical, they will tell anyone they feel has the smarts to take it in that the hardware store quality product is absolutely fine!

6) Caveat: Acetone is HYGROSCOPIC and RAPIDLY absorbs moisture from the air. So, if you’re cleaning optics, get a TOUCH on a clean cotton swab (with a wooden applicator), flick off the excess, and swirl gently—starting at the center for no more than 5 to 7 seconds—3 to 5 seconds would be better, discard that swab, and never to use it again. If you use it again, you may grow old trying to clean the mess you just made.

You may use a linear motion if working on prisms.

I rarely tell people about cleaning optics without a few coming out of the woodwork to point out the error of my ways and talk about what a great job that B&L THIS does, Kodak THAT does, or Zeiss SOMETHING ELSE does. And that is fine. I don’t have a dog in the show; a person wanting to clean his optics with clinical-grade horse dung has my blessings.

We have seen many times on this forum that some people profess to know more about optics, binoculars, the human eye, and physiology than any of the available texts. And I believe they absolutely have a right to their opinion. Most of the liquids above will do the job handsomely! A small bottle of most of those cleaners will cost about several times as much as a pint of acetone from the hardware store. :cat:
 

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wllmspd

Well-known member
A wee correction 3)Acetone is a larger molecule (6.16Angstrom) got plenty more atoms than water (2.75Angstrom), what you describe is the lower surface tension (water 72.8mN/m, acetone 25.5mN/m), so it wicks into cracks via capillary action? It’s also got a third the viscosity too which probably helps too.
6) definitely!
5) David N is a top guy, a few of us have had some great discussions around Night Vision Astronomy with him at the U.K. Astrofest.

Peter

I prefer IPA (propan-2-ol?!) to Acetone as it’s less aggressive on the fingers, less inebriation than reagent grade ethanol ;-)
 

ZeNiTh-PbArM

Active member
Hi

I'm no chemist but I've experienced multiple times how acetone successfully removes grease which alcohol only seems to smear around.
Therefore I like acetone a lot for cleaning glass, it's a bit harsh on the fingers but I'm not doing it all day long. When acetones leaves streaks on an otherwise degreased surface, I usually finish the job using windex.

Regards
 

WJC

Well-known member
Hi

I'm no chemist but I've experienced multiple times how acetone successfully removes grease which alcohol only seems to smear around.
Therefore I like acetone a lot for cleaning glass, it's a bit harsh on the fingers but I'm not doing it all day long. When acetones leaves streaks on an otherwise degreased surface, I usually finish the job using windex.

Regards

200918

WINDEX! Oh, you demon! “Don’t you know ...”

Oh, how I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been subjected to that opto-garbage. See attached from my first bino book.

By the way, if you use acetone for no more the 5 seconds per charge you probably won’t have streaks. Please read 6) in my first post. :t: :cat:

Bill
 

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WJC

Well-known member
A wee correction 3)Acetone is a larger molecule (6.16Angstrom) got plenty more atoms than water (2.75Angstrom), what you describe is the lower surface tension (water 72.8mN/m, acetone 25.5mN/m), so it wicks into cracks via capillary action? It’s also got a third the viscosity too which probably helps too.
6) definitely!
5) David N is a top guy, a few of us have had some great discussions around Night Vision Astronomy with him at the U.K. Astrofest.

Peter

I prefer IPA (propan-2-ol?!) to Acetone as it’s less aggressive on the fingers, less inebriation than reagent grade ethanol ;-)

So, I guess you poo pooed my idea of clinical-grade horse dung! Coward! Almost all of the formulae proffered by everyone who has ever cleaned a piece of glass will work just fine. (see attached) What gets my goat is when people, starved for attention, start acting like they’re the one who invented optical glass and that THEIR special glass cleaning formula or technique is better than everyone else’s special formula or technique!

Lens cleaner, De-solvit, and Acetone have served my professional lens cleaning needs well for decades. Yet, at no time did I indicate they were the beat-all-end-all of glass cleaning solutions and techniques. It “ain’t the rocket science” some people make it out to be.

Your comment was very valuable to me! Of course, with you being a super geek, I could expect no less. I had overlooked surface tension, altogether—an important thing to be overlooked. Thanks Peter. :t: :cat:

Bill
 

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Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
...Lens cleaner, De-solvit, and Acetone have served my professional lens cleaning needs well for decades. Yet, at no time did I indicate they were the beat-all-end-all of glass cleaning solutions and techniques. It “ain’t the rocket science” some people make it out to be...

Bill,

I'd be interested in your assessment of ROR (from V-vax). I generally use ethanol or a fluid (similar to Windex) which contains ammonia, but I've kept a bottle of ROR or two around for many years and use it on rare occasion. I find it tricky to use but that it works very well when used properly and that it can be successful when others are not.

--AP
 

WJC

Well-known member
Bill,

I'd be interested in your assessment of ROR (from V-vax). I generally use ethanol or a fluid (similar to Windex) which contains ammonia, but I've kept a bottle of ROR or two around for many years and use it on rare occasion. I find it tricky to use but that it works very well when used properly and that it can be successful when others are not.

--AP

Hi, Alexis,

There ya go again, tryin’ to get me to screw up my curmudgeonly, know-it-all mystique!

Truth being what it is ... I guess I’ll have to. And I also guess you know that, from me, you are going to get it straight. Sorry ‘bout that!

To start with:

“We’re sorry, the number you have reached is no longer in service.” That Santa Rosa number was 707-921-2044 and I got it directly from their website. That goes a long way to explaining why their website hadn’t been updated or modified since 2017.

— They say their product is used by: the military, NASA, hospitals, universities, etc. Since I have worked for those organizations—many times—I have to wonder why your mention of the product is the ONLY ONE to ever come to my attention.

— Another V-Vax number—also from Santa Rosa, CA is 707-921-0300. This time, they’re selling “ESSENTIAL OIL.” I have not seen a case in which “essential oil” was essential to a rationally thinking person. I know some people will swear by them. But some people will swear by Auto-Focus binoculars, ZOOM binoculars, and don’t know the difference between a “Night Glass” and a night-vision binocular. Good advertising need not be accurate, or even meaningful; it has only to be believed. And some people are making a fortune off nice people who have bubbles in their think tank.

To me, essential oils are 5W-30 for my Chevy and OE-5W-20 for my Subaru.

— Finally, in looking at the attached, you will see that ROR is $8.49 per ounce and that the tried-and-true Acetone that has been used successfully by the word’s most experienced optical technicians ... for over 100 years is just under $.25 an ounce. Which means that ROR is 33.96 times as expensive!

Of course, binocular forums are overflowing with people who are hell-bent on wasting money.

There you have it. I don’t pull the heads off baby chicks at Easter. But I’m not much into Blarney, either. I've done my homework for you. I hope you aren't mad at me. :cat:

Cheers,

Bill
 

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Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
Hi, Alexis,

There ya go again, tryin’ to get me to screw up my curmudgeonly, know-it-all mystique!

Truth being what it is ... I guess I’ll have to. And I also guess you know that, from me, you are going to get it straight. Sorry ‘bout that!

To start with:

“We’re sorry, the number you have reached is no longer in service.” That Santa Rosa number was 707-921-2044 and I got it directly from their website. That goes a long way to explaining why their website hadn’t been updated or modified since 2017.

— They say their product is used by: the military, NASA, hospitals, universities, etc. Since I have worked for those organizations—many times—I have to wonder why your mention of the product is the ONLY ONE to ever come to my attention.

— Another V-Vax number—also from Santa Rosa, CA is 707-921-0300. This time, they’re selling “ESSENTIAL OIL.” I have not seen a case in which “essential oil” was essential to a rationally thinking person. I know some people will swear by them. But some people will swear by Auto-Focus binoculars, ZOOM binoculars, and don’t know the difference between a “Night Glass” and a night-vision binocular. Good advertising need not be accurate, or even meaningful; it has only to be believed. And some people are making a fortune off nice people who have bubbles in their think tank.

To me, essential oils are 5W-30 for my Chevy and OE-5W-20 for my Subaru.

— Finally, in looking at the attached, you will see that ROR is $8.49 per ounce and that the tried-and-true Acetone that has been used successfully by the word’s most experienced optical technicians ... for over 100 years is just under $.25 an ounce. Which means that ROR is 33.96 times as expensive!

Of course, binocular forums are overflowing with people who are hell-bent on wasting money.

There you have it. I don’t pull the heads off baby chicks at Easter. But I’m not much into Blarney, either. I've done my homework for you. I hope you aren't mad at me. :cat:

Cheers,

Bill

Ha! I agree that the company doesn't have a good website, but I assume they don't do significant sales that way and they existed before the internet, so I don't consider it something to be concerned about. Same is true of many companies.

I also share a skepticism about essential oils, and I think it is bizarre that V-vax sells those kind of oils for people as well as oil remover for lenses! It really is the same company, by the way.

But, the fact is that ROR is a reasonably popular product. The price at B&H is similar to other overpriced cleaning fluids. I think the prices on Amazon are higher.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/64495-REG/ROR_RO212D_Residual_Oil_Remover.html/qa

I think the key to its success is the mix of ammonia, alcohol, and soap (see ingrediants in the attached MSDS). Oils get emulsified and wipe away cleanly. I wonder why it contains salt. Incidentally, I say success because it is much better (and not subtly so when it comes to propensity to leave residues) than fluid from Kodak, Zeiss, and many others that I've used over the years.

No anger, no worries. Appreciate you looking into it.

--AP
 

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42za

Well-known member
Nothing wrong with using Acetone on glass at all.

But keep it off the plastics , some plastics are completely destroyed by Acetone.

o:D o:D

Cheers.
 

wllmspd

Well-known member
A company selling oils needs a good way to get them off things, sounds very reasonable. The salt probably helps keep the bugs away as the alcohol levels aren’t high. Sure it works as advertised. All around the place I hear “perfect” used too often as if there is only one solution to every situation or need. Loads of things will do just fine, some “perfect” are only perfect in limited situations and searching for perfection leads to gross wastage of the “perfectly adequate” and “pretty good”. Heck I just breathe on some lenses and rub them with my shirt and it improves the view (pound shop reading glasses mainly).

Peter
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Nothing wrong with using Acetone on glass at all.

But keep it off the plastics , some plastics are completely destroyed by Acetone.

o:D o:D

Cheers.

Same applies to rubbers. Never let it get on rubber.

Lee
 

Xlr8n

Well-known member
Same applies to rubbers. Never let it get on rubber.

Lee

Or paint..or decals...or emblems...or straps...or cases...or leather covers. Basically it has the ability to ruin every part of your binocular except the glass and metal under the painted finish. Of course nobody plans on getting acetone on other parts...until they accidentally get it on other parts. lol

Using a highly flammable, volatile organic solvent seems a pretty risky practice when many other suitable options are available. Good ol' huffing your breath on the glass seems to work well for most general cleaning after a lense brush. Human enzymes are some of the best cleaners out there with zero risk. :t:

This should surely rile up Bill for a couple good paragraphs of entertainment.8-P
 
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WJC

Well-known member
Or paint..or decals...or emblems...or straps...or cases...or leather covers. Basically it has the ability to ruin every part of your binocular except the glass and metal under the painted finish. Of course nobody plans on getting acetone on other parts...until they accidentally get it on other parts. lol

Using a highly flammable, volatile organic solvent seems a pretty risky practice when many other suitable options are available. Good ol' huffing your breath on the glass seems to work well for most general cleaning after a lense brush. Human enzymes are some of the best cleaners out there with zero risk. :t:

This should surely rile up Bill for a couple good paragraphs of entertainment.8-P

Slow down your Xlr8n. I want people to use whatever they want. That can be a great teaching tool; it separates the professionals from the kitchen table technicians. :cat:

Bill
 

WJC

Well-known member
A company selling oils needs a good way to get them off things, sounds very reasonable. The salt probably helps keep the bugs away as the alcohol levels aren’t high. Sure it works as advertised. All around the place I hear “perfect” used too often as if there is only one solution to every situation or need. Loads of things will do just fine, some “perfect” are only perfect in limited situations and searching for perfection leads to gross wastage of the “perfectly adequate” and “pretty good”. Heck I just breathe on some lenses and rub them with my shirt and it improves the view (pound shop reading glasses mainly).

Peter

And speaking of "perfection" VS the "perfect for all PRACTICAL purposes." :cat:

Bill
 

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eronald

Well-known member
I don't wanna teach my grandmother to suck eggs, but there is a situational aspect to cleaning tools, just as cutting tools. An obsidian blade may be historically appropriate and even have its uses in surgery, but at the dinner table a halfway blunt knife is appropriate for my kid's hamburger. And ethanol rather than hydrofluoric acid seems perfectly fine for most routine cleaning of MOUNTED external lenses, without too much damage to rubber and plastics or fingers, with widely known toxicity data.

My ethanol comes from the pharmacy, and it's the drinkable, non-denatured sort. Even if my 9 year old gets his hands on the 50cc or so which I have in a pipette bottle, I don't expect too much havoc to ensue.

https://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/02/health/surgery-scalpels-obsidian/index.html


Edmund
 
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