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  • Recommendations for an Ultrasonic Cleaner

    I'm looking to buy a small bench top ultrasonic cleaner. Something in the neighborhood of 2 to 3 quart capacity, a heater would be nice but not absolutely necessary, a timer would also be nice but not absolutely necessary. It would be used primarily with non-water based cleaners.

    While I don't want to break the bank, I also don't want a piece of China junk.

    Does anyone have any personal experience with a unit like this that they can recommend.

  • #2
    I have the cheap china junk, works ok, if you wear eyeglasses, put them in with some dawn liquid(couple drops) and watch the filth come off.
    san jose, ca. usa

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    • #3
      A recent This Old Tony video shows the guts of a reasonably priced chinese heated ultrasonic unit:

      https://youtu.be/pFeek0a8s7Q

      Sent from my SM-G930W8 using Tapatalk

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      • #4
        I have a couple of Bransons I like. If you do the aluminum foil test that will show you the diff between a good machine and a bad one. I have a big 1000watt machine that you cant even put yer hand in (pain). JR

        PS: 1000 watts for the heater. The 220vac inducers took 1100 watts. Two inch inducers. I fixed a control circuit to make it happen,
        Last edited by JRouche; 04-01-2018, 03:45 AM.

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        • #5
          The one I got from China is still going strong after a lot of use and abuse.
          See my thread about them here: http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/thr...ght=ultrasonic
          Cheers Jon

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          • #6
            I bought one of the Horrible Fright ones and while it won't make the parts shinny it does get the dirt out.ll take a couple of cycles.
            The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

            Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

            Southwestern Ontario. Canada

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            • #7
              I have one of these:

              https://www.ebay.com/itm/6L-QT-380W-...8AAOSwcj5ZQ0jg

              4 years old and still going strong.
              Kevin

              More tools than sense.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Frank K View Post
                I'm looking to buy a small bench top ultrasonic cleaner. Something in the neighborhood of 2 to 3 quart capacity, a heater would be nice but not absolutely necessary, a timer would also be nice but not absolutely necessary. It would be used primarily with non-water based cleaners.

                While I don't want to break the bank, I also don't want a piece of China junk.

                Does anyone have any personal experience with a unit like this that they can recommend.
                Well, 2 to 3 quarts is hardly small. And as for the heater for what I use mine for the heater makes the cleaning at least twice as effective. So for general cleaning I would not say it's more than a "nice" option. And certainly any water based cleaning product will benefit from the heater.

                I read up a bit about using flammable solvents and rapidly decided not to use them at all other than as an extreme measure and then only outside. The agitation from the high frequency driver running apparently causes quite a mist of micro droplets to form over the bath with some solvents. And that cloud becomes super easy to ignite at some distance and mixture level with the air. With the right choice though it's not a super big deal. But the solvent smell alone would keep me from using it in a closed space.

                Good luck on finding a unit that is affordable that doesn't come out of China these days. They are out there but add an extra digit on the left hand side of the price for US made choice from what I've seen.

                My cheezy Chinese made 1 liter size with heater is still going strong and able about 10 years on since buying it.
                Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                • #9
                  I have a Horrible Freight ultrasonic cleaner that is about 4 years old and gets a lot of use.
                  The size is in oz and it reads 82 oz, which is large enough for the carbs that I use it on.
                  It has a heater and a timer.
                  It's never given me a moment of grief.
                  The only thing I don't like about it is the timer, you have to use it, but the highest setting is like 400 seconds. So you can't get too far away efore it needs to be reset.

                  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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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BCRider View Post
                    Well, 2 to 3 quarts is hardly small. And as for the heater for what I use mine for the heater makes the cleaning at least twice as effective. So for general cleaning I would not say it's more than a "nice" option. And certainly any water based cleaning product will benefit from the heater.

                    I read up a bit about using flammable solvents and rapidly decided not to use them at all other than as an extreme measure and then only outside. The agitation from the high frequency driver running apparently causes quite a mist of micro droplets to form over the bath with some solvents. And that cloud becomes super easy to ignite at some distance and mixture level with the air. With the right choice though it's not a super big deal. But the solvent smell alone would keep me from using it in a closed space.

                    Good luck on finding a unit that is affordable that doesn't come out of China these days. They are out there but add an extra digit on the left hand side of the price for US made choice from what I've seen.

                    My cheezy Chinese made 1 liter size with heater is still going strong and able about 10 years on since buying it.
                    I was busting up reading your post! All so true.

                    2-3q is not small.
                    The heater will use as much (or more) as the transducers. My 1000 watt tank uses 1000w for the heater and another 1000w for the large transducers. 220vac.

                    My advice is do what I did. Do an ebay buy for a branson. I have a couple HF type units. And they actually work very well. for jewelry.

                    I would never put my Wife's ring in the shop cleaner. JR

                    Oh, on a side: Vapor deposition cleaning is all about a lil agitation. Thats why you use a non flammable like .....

                    With vibratory cleaners its about reducing surface tension so the abrasive can do its work.

                    With ultrasonic cleaners the abrasive is the cavitation within the liquid. The solvent is water on up. When I want to clean small parts I will put them in a mason jar with the flammable solvent and dunk those into the main tank filled with tap water. Clean away. I have run parts (small) in jars always. And I reuse my small amount of solvent, For shop US cleaners I think you should always use a secondary container.

                    A plastic bag actually works for unheated cleaners. So you are only replacing a small amount of dish soap for every wash. Dish soap.

                    My go to solvent was and still is the purple liquid you can buy at yer big box store. I get mine at smart and final. Im sure its the same everywhere. I like it because it is low sudsing. Very aggressive towards oils and grease (specially when heated).

                    And yet still easy on the hands and not flammable.

                    Do the aluminum foil check. Its fun with a nice cleaner. Ooops, My Geek came out . Hey, I was an FT.. JR

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                    • #11
                      Pinesol works great, I use it at about 50% with water. Cleans gunked up carbs and parts well but will take off the shiney if you over do it.
                      The only downside is the smell, it stinks up the whole house...
                      Cheers,
                      Jon

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                      • #12
                        What Jon says in post #10.

                        I also use a Purple Cleaner, but specifically "Castrol Super Clean" at about 4:1. Not all "purple cleaners" are the same - look up the msds.

                        For "Flammable solvent" I use Coleman Lantern Fluid. Works well and does not make a vapor cloud in my smaller units. In my finger-hurting larger unit I use a very thin wall pyrex container for the lantern fluid and parts, and literally float them in the water-based bath. I found thick glass attenuated too much. YMMV.

                        Heaters? If you have a decent power unit the fluids get hot anyhow - all the energy is being dissipated into the solution. Heater will just speed up getting to temperature. If you are concerned, the small cheap "one-cup" immersion heaters work well.
                        Last edited by lakeside53; 03-31-2018, 10:44 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jon Heron View Post
                          The one I got from China is still going strong after a lot of use and abuse.
                          See my thread about them here: http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/thr...ght=ultrasonic
                          Cheers Jon
                          Jon, the link in that thread is dead.
                          Could you update which one you got?
                          Len

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                          • #14
                            I never thought about using solvent in a secondary container to hold in the fumes. I'm sure it's not a new idea but it's a great one. And it's certainly new to me.

                            I've got oodles of wide mouth Mango Salsa PETG "jars" that I'll try first with some regular cleaner and regular parts to see if the plastic blocks the cleaning energy or not.

                            And before anyone mentions Simple Green as a good solvent for items just a reminder that it eats into steel. It's a fairly slow meal but over time or enough repeated uses it will haze the surface of steel. And with enough single immersion time it'll pit the surface. I ruined a perfectly good bicycle chain one time when I forgot to remove it from some SG for a few days. When it said "deep cleaning" I didn't expect it to be THAT deep....

                            I'll look into that purple cleaner as a good alternative.
                            Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                            • #15
                              Remember that purple cleaners (the good types) contain sodium hydroxide that will eat aluminum and take the shine (or more) off paint. No big deal at all with care, but keep your concentration reasonable and don't leave in for hours :-)

                              "Simple green" is no longer a single product - it is a trade name covering a wide range of products. Some type are like purple cleaners but green, and others not. It was so much easier when it was "simple" if you are worried.. look at the MSDS before use.

                              Something not mentioned yet... if you have a rusty items use Evaporust in your cleaner. Degrease first. Great results and beautifully clean.


                              For those not understanding how Ultrasonics clean just think about it as the scrubbing bush. The water is the washing fluid.
                              Last edited by lakeside53; 03-31-2018, 01:02 PM.

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