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Thread: ultra sonic cleaners and solvents

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master

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    ultra sonic cleaners and solvents

    Im thinking about a ultra sonic cleaner more for in the shop than guns or cases. I have no experience with these units. I want it more for cleaning tooling and or parts. Any one use one . how big, what solvent, how good a job do they do ( if I have to go to a regular tank for final I may as well start there), rust issues, and last how long do they take.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master
    bangerjim's Avatar
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    Power. That's the key! And lots of it. Those garbage plies that Harbor freight sells are for cleaning rings ans jewelry....VERY low power. If you want to get into heavy shop cleaning like I do with large clock movements check out this site for a start:

    https://www.sharpertek.com/tale7to24.html

    I use custom ammoniated clock cleaning solutions for clocks. The high power unit I have gets into all the nooks and crannies of 100 year old oils and dirt. Water with green soap will clean most things but you need to rinse in ethanol to get rid of any water residue to prevent rusting. There are solutions that are non-water based also. Depends what you are cleaning.

    Most on here just care about cleaning dirty brass casings. I use very hot citric acid solution in a plain old bucket to to that, not an ultrasonic.

    The one I have is a few years old and sold for $900.00

    Modern US's should last many years as long as you do not abuse them or run dry.

    Shop around, read around!

    banger

  3. #3
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    I have the Lyman ultrasonic cleaner and as Jim mentioned, they aren't very powerful. Using the Lyman solutions (different ones for brass or metal) It does a passable job on brass casings getting the powder residue out but I much prefer S.S. wet tumbling. For small metal parts the ultrasonics work pretty well, I use them to clean bolt carriers, revolver cylinders and small parts. So, as to the OPs need for a small parts cleaner, I'd recommend one. Gp

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I learned last week not to use them to clean coated optics.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

    dragon813gt's Avatar
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    You get what you pay for. There’s a big step up from the ones marketed towards reloaders and the commercial no name units you can buy on eBay and Amazon. They are not industrial units. But they have heaters that work, multiple transducers that are decently powered and most of them have external drains. The few hundred they cost are worth it IMO. Anything w/ a reloading brand name or ones sold at Harbor Freight should be avoided. Been down that route and they were all disappointing.

  6. #6
    Boolit Man
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    So my dream of spending $80 and getting a cleaner that will make any and everything that I put in it spotless ain’t gonna happen? Shucks.

    Anyone have a specific make and model on what they consider the bare minimum for cleaning parts and tools?

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy Newboy's Avatar
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    $800 Branson is okay.

    But I rarely ever use it for pistols. It works best when you can disassemble the parts first. But if it is disassembled, it is easier to just wipe them off. If I put an assembled frame in, the action will feel gritty until I take it apart and clean it by hand.


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  8. #8
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    I bought a commercial Rockwell cleaner at auction of Fishing Tackle shop going under. It took 2 guys to lift it and it had rotating pots. It also had agitation as well as sonic. I used it for several years. Pots weren’t big enough for most handguns unless taken apart. It did a wonderful job of cleaning. I sold it when I went out of business because it was so big I decided to sell. Many times I wish I would have kept it.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    spent some time looking online and can find them from $70.00-$10,000 up. Many different features wattage's mghz capacities and timers. Im more confused now than before. LOL. Watched several y-tubes and such. The velvor 30l seems decent but reviews claim issues with heater and such. This is a 40 liter unit and heats to 175*. The big lyman looks good but is 1500.00. Then once I have the unit I need to figure out the solvent to use. the velvor does have a drain and hose so cleaning will be easier.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon813gt View Post
    You get what you pay for. There’s a big step up from the ones marketed towards reloaders and the commercial no name units you can buy on eBay and Amazon. They are not industrial units. But they have heaters that work, multiple transducers that are decently powered and most of them have external drains. The few hundred they cost are worth it IMO. Anything w/ a reloading brand name or ones sold at Harbor Freight should be avoided. Been down that route and they were all disappointing.
    My Harbor Freight U.S. is identical with Lyman's and just as good; i.e., it's not much for good brass. I bought mine for cleaning small engine carborators and other small parts. For that it's been quite helpful but for cases, IMHO, it's a waste of time, effort and money.

    My very old vib tumbler (on its thrit motor) and 40/20 grit media does all the case cleaning I need. For those who can't rest unless their cases are surgically clean inside and out, a wet tumbler and steel pins is the way to go. BUT besides being a wet, messy PITA to use in a loading room, the good ones are quite costly too!

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    can American made ultrasonics be repaired, if a transducer gives out?

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Somewhere on here I have a post about ultrasonics. I repair them for a living so here are some of the things to look out for. You do get what you pay for. the Chinese units are ok for the occasional user. The down side is that they don't last long and the cost of repair will be more than the unit was new, plus no parts available. Most US made units are worth the money. I do warranty repair for a German company. I think all companies use either Chinese made circuit boards or other parts. Welcome to the world economy. You want to find a unit that requires about 100 watts per gallon without counting the heater. The larger you go the more power per gallon it requires. Most solutions made for ultrasonics will do what you need, or for general purpose a good dishwashing soap and water will do. Stay away from any flammable solvents. The ultrasonic will create a cloud of flammable vapor and one spark and poof! There are ultrasonic machines out there that will let you use flammable solvents but they are expensive. Final work on power, there are seveal ways of expressing power. You have a choice of three units, all the same size. One says 400 W peak to peak, one says 200 watts peak the last says 140 Watts. Which one is better? Trick question, they are all the same power wise. Last comment, be careful when cleaning aluminum if not thickly anodized there can be etching of the aluminum. If you have further questions please feel free to PM me.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master
    bangerjim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c0wb0y84 View Post
    So my dream of spending $80 and getting a cleaner that will make any and everything that I put in it spotless ain’t gonna happen? Shucks.
    You got it my friend. Just like ever other thing in this world today invaded by Chi-Com garbage & junk, you get what you pay for. If you want something that will do more than just buzz and clean a wedding ring, you gotta get up in the thousand dollar range like I did. Those units have the ultrasonic power and heat to do a real job of cleaning of most industrial items.

    banger

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    The unit I had was north of $3k new when I bought it. A buddy of mine who worked for a small manufacturing company ordered me new screen baskets for in the pots. They were $20+ apiece.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Someone loaned me an ultrasonic cleaner.
    It did work o.k.

    The High pitched buzzy noise got in and really rung my ears and drove me insane.

    I thanked him for the loan
    Maybe they don’t all sound like that but I won’t be running out buying one.
    Just incase you suffer from that sort of thing.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
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    When I worked a few years at a NDT lab we had several units about the size of a laundry basin to clean various parts before and after testing all we every used was acetone .
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy beezapilot's Avatar
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    I have a Sharpertek unit. It had more than paid for itself cleaning carburetors, every hurricane on the news and my shop is full of generators with gummed up carbs/ every boating season kick off / lawn equipment... on and on... When I spoke with the Sharpertek rep ordering the unit, she told me that they had a "gun cleaning unit" that is a polycarbonate tank that you fill with light oil and it sits in a rack on top of water in the main tank- so that the energy is transferred to the light oil without the corrosive / potentially rusting fluid coming in contact with the handgun / receiver. (think of cleaning solution that gets in to the frame / barrel threads of a revolver). The oil is too thick to put into direct contact with the transducers in the main tank and would damage them. I've used it from time to time- does an excellent job on 100 plus year old S X S receivers and what not. I didn't like it for cleaning brass as a side note. A locksmith buddy stopped by for a while to use it for his trade, and ended up buying one as well.
    The essence of education is self reliance- T.H. White.

    Currently seeking wood carving tools, wood planes, froes, scorps, spokeshaves... etc....

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master

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    At Cambells we had a hot bath caustic soda cleaning tank with agitation. grease dirt paint oils sealer all came off in 2-4 hours. aluminum plastics disappeared though. This was used in machine parts during rebuilds. It was bigger than I have room for and way more dangerous and expensive than I want. We cleaned the stamping dies with a high pressure steam cleaner again more than I want.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check