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Thread: Ultrasonic Cleaning

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Ultrasonic Cleaning

    Would you guys school me on ultrasonic cleaning?

    One of my Sons was gifted a small ultrasonic cleaner and was asking me about it. It looks like it would be useful for cleaning gun parts. Bolts, trigger assemblies, ect. I know some loaders use one to clean brass.

    So, what liquid do you use for what?

    I don't know what machine that this is. It was from a Dentist friend that used it to clean his instruments in so it may be a nice one? Or not?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    Hot water, Dove dish detergent and a little lemi-shine . So far only used it for brass, but it gets it clean.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    I used one for cleaning brass, but it was too small to do a lot. So I moved to wet tumbling. So now I use it when I'm deep cleaning my pistols. Or smaller rifle parts. Works very well. I do use Frog Lubes degreaser. Bought a gallon of their concentrated solution and mix accordingly.

    Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I used one for the first time this past week, cleaned some older reloading dies with hornady ultrasonic gun cleaner and they came out great.

    Just google the brand and model number, but my guess is that the dentist had a pretty nice one.

    One rule, don’t put anything on the bottom, everything goes in a basket that rests on feet near the corners or is suspended from the top frame.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy Phlier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimB.. View Post
    I used one for the first time this past week, cleaned some older reloading dies with hornady ultrasonic gun cleaner and they came out great.

    Just google the brand and model number, but my guess is that the dentist had a pretty nice one.

    One rule, don’t put anything on the bottom, everything goes in a basket that rests on feet near the corners or is suspended from the top frame.
    That's a very important rule. Not only will the part be damaged where it contacts the bottom, but the surface of the cleaner tub itself can get damaged from doing this.
    "Things sure are a lot more like the way they are now than they used to be." --Yogi Berra

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Petander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phlier View Post
    That's a very important rule. Not only will the part be damaged where it contacts the bottom, but the surface of the cleaner tub itself can get damaged from doing this.
    I got a semi-pro (dentist) cleaner from a friend some years ago. I thought the basket was unnecessary. Put some brass in the bottom, everything heated up more than I thought was right and the cleaner never worked after that. I completely toasted it.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    Electronics produce super-high vibrations in whatever you put in the liquid-filled basket in your ultrasonic cleaner, and these vibrations get under/beneath the crud, oxidation, et cetera on that which you wish to clean -- removing it.
    Several "hints" using one include using distilled water, with a dedicated ultrasonic cleaning agent mixed in. I use both Hornady's and Lyman's product. Friends use a bit of Lem'n Shine. Some users run their ultrasonic cleaner with nothing in it for 10 to 15 minutes before adding the materials (e.g., brass) they wish to clean. This "de-gasses" the solution, enabling quicker and better cleaning. Interestingly, with mine the temperature of the solution increases in proportion with cleaning time; some fellow I know start with warm solution, but, I do not.
    As previous posters pointed out, you do NOT want anything directly in contact with the unit itself -- just use the basket!
    Lastly, while I've never tried this, I've been told that if you question if it's working, just drop a small -- postage stamp size -- piece of aluminum foil in it, and after a bit tiny holes will be made in the foil.
    I hope I helped a bit -- there are lots and lots of info on the Internet -- at the least, type in a popular model's name, and click on/read their instructions. While makes and models differ a tad, operation is indeed similar.
    BEST!
    geo

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Thanks for the replys everyone. Especially for the warning about using the basket. My Son is a Duck Hunter and gets his shotguns extremely dirty. I'm thinking this cleaner would be great on his bolts and trigger assemblies.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy sparkyv's Avatar
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    If you clean gun parts, be absolutely sure you rinse the parts out thoroughly, dry them thoroughly, and lubricate. It works great for this. I suggest not sonicating aluminum parts as they may develop surface pitting. Also completely disassemble whatever you sonicate. I never sonicate sights.

    I sonicate all my brass, works great. A little citric acid and Dawn.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


    georgerkahn's Avatar
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    sparkyv (post #9) made a GREAT observation I should have included. To wit, ferrous items removed from the ultrasonic cleaner immediately (if not sooner ) will be subject to RUSTING! It is real important to spray some oil, or otherwise put a zero permeable layer over the now oil-free steel to prevent this. (A good friend ultrasonically cleaned a Model 41 Smith in my unit; left it in the box he brought to my house in, overnight, and awoke to have all non-blued steel coated with rust!)
    geo

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Lightman, you have some good advice here. For cleaning greasy parts do a bulk scrub to remove any big globs of grease. Use a cleaner that has ammonia compounds in it. You can use non-sudsing ammonia but you will get ammonia gas coming out of solution, use it outside or under a fume hood. Any good detergent, about 2 tablespoons per gallon, will work for general purpose cleaning. The main thing is to keep the tank clean. If the water is really dirty dump it and start fresh, soap and water is cheap. Also if the unit has a drain use it, if not, be careful about dumping it over the side. Make sure no water gets on the inside of the unit, water and electronics don't mix. I see this a lot on the units I work on. As the temp rise when running. You're putting energy into the solution, sound waves, so the temp will rise also the heat from the electronics. I've seen a 40*C temp rise after about a 2 or 3 hour run. Just like a gun, take good care of it and it will rarely let you down. They will eventually break down and the tank will hole, cost of doing business just like shooting out a barrel. The only thing we can do is try to prolong things a long as possible.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master dikman's Avatar
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    "sonicate" - new word for the day!

  13. #13
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    Don’t put aluminum in there. Certain gemstones that are porous will deteriorate as well. Diamonds and gold are good.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by osteodoc08 View Post
    Don’t put aluminum in there. Certain gemstones that are porous will deteriorate as well. Diamonds and gold are good.
    I wouldn't wash diamonds with brass. Diamonds may get logged inside the brass and eventually scratch a barrel.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petander View Post
    I wouldn't wash diamonds with brass. Diamonds may get logged inside the brass and eventually scratch a barrel.
    hehehe

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