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tell me about ultrasonic cleaners

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  • tell me about ultrasonic cleaners

    So what can/cant they do? I see a lot of them have stainless steel components; does this mean I can't clean stainless parts in them?
    Does "clean" mean polished, too? OR do I need to get something different for that?

  • #2
    Not an expert on Ultrasonic cleaners but have used a few.

    "Clean" does not mean polish. They are used with different types of liquid solvents/cleaners depending what you are cleaning. The advantage is their ability to clean in tight areas, think watch movement or dial indicator.

    The will clean any type of material you just need to match the liquid to what you are cleaning so as not to damage the item.
    Example you would not want to use Lacquer thinner if the part was or contained any plastics or you were around an open flame.

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    • #3
      It is my understanding that ultrasonic tanks should preferably be used with water-based cleaners. None of these are flammable. The US action will rapidly vaporize any solvent, and the flammable ones are an accident in progress.
      If you MUST use a flammable, (or other "unhealthy" solvent,) it is recommended to put them in a smaller, sealed container, with the parts, and put THAT in the water-filled tank. It will work just fine.
      In general terms, the bigger the unit, the more it will cost, and the more it will do. Bells and whistles like heaters and timers run up the cost with doubtful benefit, at least for a hobby. Anyone can add hot water, and MOST of us have a watch!
      Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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      • #4
        You can certainly clean SS parts in US cleaners. All they do is help solvents remove gunk from your parts. Think of it as microvibrations transmitted through the liquid. You can clean there any type of material (as long as the solvent allows it), but I certaily wouldn't put there anything like a watch or dial indicator: they will be destroyed by the UC action. You can clean separate parts of those, but not such a delicate assembly.
        Last edited by MichaelP; 03-04-2013, 10:16 PM.

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        • #5
          Keep your fingers out of it
          "...do you not think you have enough machines?"

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          • #6
            Jewelers use them to clean rings and other jewelery with small hard to get at places. I don't believe you could damage anything you put in there. The one I used at a factory I onced worked at used an amonia and water type cleaning soloution. Depends on what you want to clean.

            JL.................

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            • #7
              U S cleaners are great , doesnt mater what you put in to it it will clean . you can not polish with them and you should keep away from breathing above it , since it tends to atomize or give off vapors realy bad into the air around .
              make sure that the cleaner you use is not going to damage the metal . also aluminum will get eaten up after a while .
              heat makes a big differance .

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              • #8
                They have SS tanks for the same reason that kitchen sinks are made of SS. It resists corrosion and with most of the cleaning in US cleaners being done with water solutions, you do not want something that would rust. So, yes you can clean SS parts in them.

                Do get one with a basket as you do not want the parts vibrating against the bottom of the tank. Some things can be suspended on string or wires.

                With the last one I used, I had an electronic cleaning solution and a general purpose one. Both were water solutions. I made good use of both of them. I have also used other solvents in the past. For a bit of trivia: FreonTF worked well for electronics, but it is no longer available without an act of Congress. I once saw an ad that showed an oscilloscope that was fully powered and operating while completely submerged in a FreonTF bath. It had a trace on the screen.
                Last edited by Paul Alciatore; 03-04-2013, 08:43 PM.
                Paul A.

                Make it fit.
                You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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                • #9
                  I use one all the time to clean clock parts with an amoniated solvent. Cleans brass to bright in a hurry. Don't leave brass in too long though, it it thought to make brass brittle, not good for clock teeth. There is a test for US cleaners, suspend a strip of Al foil into the cleaning solution for about a minute, if the cleaner Isworking properly, the foil should be full of dents. Bob.

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                  • #10
                    I used US cleaners for years where I used to work. We cleaned lots of high vacuum parts and electrostatic optical components. The detergent we used most frequently was a product called Micro which is some kind of laboratory grade detergent. Don't use that stuff with aluminum parts though as it will pit and corrode them. NEVER ultrasonic ball bearings as the US action causes the balls to bounce against the races and brinel them. We cleaned LOTS of brass and bronze parts and never had any issues with them becoming brittle. I still use US cleaners in my home shop and have found that Simple Green is a pretty good detergent. Mr. Clean is also pretty good as it rinses off easily without leaving a residue. Also, US cleaners will generate their own heat just by the US action - no need for a heater really.

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                    • #11
                      We use one for circuit board cleaning.

                      One day I was trying to clean years of gunk off of a tension/compression tapping head... tried solvents, etc. Finally dunked in the UC for 10 minutes, and shazaam, it's sparkling! Cleaned out all of the stuff inside the mechanism, etc. Wish I could dunk the whole milling machine

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                      • #12
                        I use one on small engine carbs, many of them have sat for years with gas in them. Without US cleaning they were, sometimes, impossible to repair, since the US cleaner I have not found any I can't fix. Some of the passages are very small and you don't want to try clearing with any sort of small wire, tip cleaners, ect!!!
                        Like gazz said the best solution I've found is Simple Green, I buy it by the gallon at big box stores.
                        The US cleaner I use now came from HF and on sale with a 20% off it was around $50/60, worth every penny.

                        THANX RICH
                        People say I'm getting crankier as I get older. That's not it. I just find I enjoy annoying people a lot more now. Especially younger people!!!

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                        • #13
                          Don't know if this is common knowledge or not. If not ... When using an ultrasonic cleaner put a metal or other container such as a glass beaker in the tank and fill it with your solvent or cleaner of choice (we use acetone). Into this container put your parts. Then fill the tank with plain old water. The "sound" propagates through the water to the internal vessel and into the cleaning medium. This saves having to fill the tank with cleaning solution thus saving the expense of the cleaner and mess of cleaning the tank.

                          We use this method of cleaning along with a distilled water rinse routinely to clean stainless steel components which are to be tig welded to withstand ultra-hig vacuums (10^-10 torr) so that surface contaminants will not be trapped in the weld and leach out under vacuum.

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                          • #14
                            Make absolutely sure the object you are cleaning does not come in contact with the walls or bottom of the cleaner. It's a quick way to put a hole in the tank. I know.

                            Ed P

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