Norland vs. Nail Polish

CigarPundit

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I have a Spy 007 Ultra on order as well as some tritium vial from Bart. I know that Norland Optical Adhesive No.61 is recommended for its strength, flow, and clarity. However, tritium does not last forever, and I anticipate having to replace the vials. In addition, I have ordered several colors and may want to switch them up as the mood moves me. Accordingly, my plan is to use clear nail polish because I know I can easily remove and replace vials installed this way using acetone. My question is: Is there a solvent that works with the Norland as well as acetone works with clear nail polish? I'd like to use the best adhesive possible, but the inability to remove/replace the vials without damage to the 007 or the vial is a deal breaker for me.

On a related note, from what I have gathered, it seems like people place the vial in the slot first, then flow the Norland/nail polish around it until it is flush with the top of the slot, which I assume submerges the vial. Would you follow the same method using nail polish? I assume clear nail polish is not as clear as the Norland, but you would still want to submerge the vial to provide as much protection against breakage of the vial as possible?

Thanks from a noob.
 

CigarPundit

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I see from the info on the Norland site that it does dissolve with acetone, but you are supposed to "soak it" overnight, which will not be possible in this application, obviously. Perhaps using a swab and spending a lot of time on it, the Norland adhesive could eventually be debonded, but I don't know. Has anyone done it? I know nail polish melts easily with acetone, though you would probably have to work at it a bit in this application.
 

datiLED

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To replace the tritium, simply heat the Norland with a hot air gun or hot air soldering station. It will soften the epoxy enough that it can be plucked out with a dental tool or needle. A bit of additional heat will allow you to pick out any remaining Norland and have the trit slot ready for a new vial.
 

CigarPundit

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Thanks. I do have a heat gun and dental picks in my tool collection, though I would be hesitant to use them on this light. I’m not sure what I will do, but I have some time to think about it.
 

badtziscool

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If you're not too concerned about the trit that's already encased in Norland, you should be able to pick it out of the trit slot of the Spy without needing heat. I've done it before and it came out in one piece. Maybe I got lucky. I dunno.

Are you sure you can use acetone to dissolve the adhesive? I didn't think Norland 61 would react to acetone. I had to use paint remover (must have methylene chloride) to soften the Norland. In any case, you would have to soak the entire assembly in it to get it to dissolve. It's a pretty involved process to disassemble a Spy. Let alone one that has a Vegas knob.
 

troutpool

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I have used clear nail polish to hold them in, and then nail polish remover to get them out again, both with good results. Most people do seem to prefer Norland though.
 

CigarPundit

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If you're not too concerned about the trit that's already encased in Norland, you should be able to pick it out of the trit slot of the Spy without needing heat. I've done it before and it came out in one piece. Maybe I got lucky. I dunno.

Are you sure you can use acetone to dissolve the adhesive? I didn't think Norland 61 would react to acetone. I had to use paint remover (must have methylene chloride) to soften the Norland. In any case, you would have to soak the entire assembly in it to get it to dissolve. It's a pretty involved process to disassemble a Spy. Let alone one that has a Vegas knob.

I’m just going off of the information on Norland’s site, which says parts can be debonded with acetone (with soaking). I have no desire to disassemble my Spy (which will have the Vegas knob) and soak it in acetone. Not happening. Good to hear you were able to pick it out. Still not sure what I am going to do, but @Data himself recommended clear nail polish to me and I have confidence I could get it out with acetone if I used that.

It it seems like the main advantage of the Norland is its optical clarity and working time, since it cures with UV? I’m not sure how important this is, since I am confident that using a syringe I will have plenty of working time with the nail polish, and there will be very little adhesive on top of the vial so I doubt that any incremental difference in optical clarity will be discernible.

Frankly, given the cost of the Norland, the need for a UV light to cure it (I know, you could put it in the sunlight instead), and the potential for increased difficulty when it comes time to remove and replace the vial, I’m not really seeing the advantage to using Norland, other than the ability to say that you have used the very best adhesive available to affix your tritium vials to your coveted Spy.

Am am I missing something here?
 

badtziscool

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I’m just going off of the information on Norland’s site, which says parts can be debonded with acetone (with soaking). I have no desire to disassemble my Spy (which will have the Vegas knob) and soak it in acetone. Not happening. Good to hear you were able to pick it out. Still not sure what I am going to do, but @Data himself recommended clear nail polish to me and I have confidence I could get it out with acetone if I used that.

It it seems like the main advantage of the Norland is its optical clarity and working time, since it cures with UV? I’m not sure how important this is, since I am confident that using a syringe I will have plenty of working time with the nail polish, and there will be very little adhesive on top of the vial so I doubt that any incremental difference in optical clarity will be discernible.

Frankly, given the cost of the Norland, the need for a UV light to cure it (I know, you could put it in the sunlight instead), and the potential for increased difficulty when it comes time to remove and replace the vial, I’m not really seeing the advantage to using Norland, other than the ability to say that you have used the very best adhesive available to affix your tritium vials to your coveted Spy.

Am am I missing something here?

I don't think you're missing anything. For installing trits in the Spy, since the slot is upright anyways, it's pretty simple to work. Nail polish will work just fine and would be easier to remove when desired. I think when it comes to installing the trits in drilled out holes, vertical slots, etc, having complete control over the curing time helps tremendously.

When installing, I would make sure you layer the polish. Fill it up about 1/3 of the way. Place trit and position. And fill up the cavity. This will help avoid any air bubbles.
 

Launch Mini

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Everyone of of my Spy's has trit tubes and all I ever used was simple white craft glue. It dries clear enough and if one ever need replacing I just use an eyedropper, one drop of water, let it sit an hour and then a toothpick to remove the old one.
I use them in the rain and have never had one fall out as the lights really don't get wet.
 

badtziscool

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Everyone of of my Spy's has trit tubes and all I ever used was simple white craft glue. It dries clear enough and if one ever need replacing I just use an eyedropper, one drop of water, let it sit an hour and then a toothpick to remove the old one.
I use them in the rain and have never had one fall out as the lights really don't get wet.

Interesting. I know automotive tint installers will sometimes use the blue Elmer's glue gel to get bubble free installation of tint film over the black dots on the edge of windshields, so I know those dry up pretty clear. But white craft glue? It really clears up that much?
 

Data

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There is one option that is super easy for anybody.

Put a thin layer of some clear silicone calk in the bottom of the slot. Slide in the trit. Tap it into position.

If for any reason you want to take it out, just stick a needle under one end and pop it out. Clean out the slot and repeat.

Cheers
Dave
 
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