Questions about UltraSonic Cleaners

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  • #49385
    stevefitzwater
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    • Topics Started: 48
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    Ok, I have done a couple of searches of the forum for Ultrasonic cleaners and while it is discussed in a general terms, I did not see my question answered….

    I am looking to replace my old Ultrasonic cleaner, it left a lot to desire, and I want to get a good one that will meet my needs over the foreseeable future. So I am looking for suggestions, brands, freq, power, heated/non heated, etc…

    Price is a concern, but if it is a good one, I am willing to spend for it.

    Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge

    #61187
    randy
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 39
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    Many to chose from at various price points..so I’ll leave that to others, and the amount of work you want to turn out, and at what rate.
    Small cleaners could limit what your output needs are.
    I will say that I talked to the L&R folks, and they do not recommend heating their solutions. ( if you uses them..or plan to ).
    Not sure what others manufacturers say for their solutions
    Best Steve,

    Randy

    #61188
    stevefitzwater
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 48
    • Total Posts: 385

    I have been using the Zep cleaner for the last few months, it works as good if not better then some of the other US solutions I was previously using, while I am interested in watches, to be honest, at some point I would like to pick up a L&R for watches, so this would mostly be for clocks, so the USC must allow for a clock to be full submerged while cleaning. To be honest, there are so many variables, it was getting a bit confusing. Is there an ideal frequency for cleaning clocks? minimum power? I read in the forums where some of you placed aluminum foil in your UCS and some destroyed it, while others did not, to me that is a direct collation to frequency as well as power, which translates to cleaning power.

    Am I over thinking this?

    #61189
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    Steve,

    As Randy correctly states, there are many to choose from, at the end of the day, it depends on your expectations and the results you desire.

    I will say this, avoid the cheap models and pay a little extra for a better one.

    Yes, get one that offers a heater, variable frequency, the higher the better, if it,svariable,you can test it and discover your own level, and a large enough reservoir to hold what you will be cleaning. Too small is…. Too small, and too large will result in you using more cleaning solution, = more money.

    Whereas the are many home remedies and concoctions available, a proper solution ( wetting agent) that is designed for ultrasonic use AND for the specific material being cleaned, will give better results.
    Proper cleaning solutions are expensive hence the many cheaper home remedies that you will find.
    But there is a reason that the correct solutions are expensive.

    Ill also emphasize my personal opinion on cleaning and automatic cleaners.
    My needs are to have everything mirror like, screws, gears, all must gleam.
    For my personal standards, a cleaner did not achieve this.
    I use a cleaner, sometimes, as the final stage of hand polishing, to remove any trapped debris.

    It’s like this…. When you take your dirty car to a car wash, the kind that has the high pressure wand, it never truly cleans your vehicle, there is always a film left over.
    If you take it to a car wash that has a brush, it will be cleaner. But in the end, the best results come from a detailed hand clean.
    The same principle holds true for auto, none contact cleaners.

    I did a study, using two different models of USC, one was medium priced, the other cost more..
    I also tried various concoctions, but I was never happy with the results. It’s not that I didn’t want to be, I was truly hoping for a machine clean that was satisfactory for me, because it takes me many hours to hand clean every part.

    During the last stage of my tests, I used a specially designed for USC agent. I was fair, I took a watch that wasn’t so bad, but it was dirty with age, patina and oil vapors, so a good mix..

    Once I ran the cycle per directions of the cleaners, I gave it a wipe with my own hand solution, basically a none abrasive, none acidic, ammonia free metal cleaner.

    Whereas it did clean the gold jewel setting, it did not remove the film of greasy patina very well, although it did remove dirt particles and the jewel holes were very clean.

    In the photos below, you can see where I cleaned AFTER using the USC and the difference between clean, and shiny clean.

    The other thing you have to remember when using USC is that your steel parts can rust, very quickly, unless you immediately heat dry them or place them into an oxidation inhibiting solution then dry them

    I’m not trying to put you off USCs, but there are things that you have to be aware of before you start and you have to know your expectations, or is that just me ;-)

    #61190
    stevefitzwater
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    • Topics Started: 48
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    Thanks Chris

    I completely agree with you on the USC not being the end all, but I like to use it is to remove the mud and dirt on my “cars”, then the hand cleaning and polishing begins, my current US does not do a very good job of getting anything off.

    I look at the USC as the first step in a multiple step process that may take 3 or even up to 7 steps for a satisfactory result.

    As far as cleaner, here is my personal view point on how effective it is- the viscosity is the key factor, one that allows for the movement of energy freely that does not dissipate it because it is too thick, or reduce the energy impact because the liquid is too thin, the inert chemicals are more effective as a soaking agent. Like I said, my personal view point. Also while working on several lines at 3M, the best cleaner for everything was a citrus oil based cleaner, to some the smell was offensive, but some of the stuff I was able to clean off with that stuff was amazing. We had access to any chemical cleaner, but the citrus cleaner did a better job and was less corrosive or explosive then the other options. If this stuff did not clean it, the only thing that would was a Salt Tank boil out.

    And yes, straight from the USC to the DNA or Naptha, then air dry, then into dry storage.

    #61191
    bernie weishapl
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 58
    • Total Posts: 1218

    Steve if I understood you right the US will be mostly for clocks. That being the case I would get as large as you can afford. I found early on when I bought a mid sized US that when working on the larger plate clocks that the plates won’t fit. I have a L & R US. This is the one I have but a older model of it and no heater.

    http://www.merritts.com/clock_parts/public/product.aspx?ProductID=82672&SearchText=ultrasonic%20cleaner

    It holds 3 gallon of liquid and I also use Zep Citrus Industrial cleaner. It works as good if not better than the clock cleaners sold. This one will hold all those big plate clocks like the Hermle 1161, 1171, 1181, and movements like the 9 tube Herschede movements. I triple rinse and the last rinse is in DNA and then into dryer. Never in 30 yrs have I had a problem

    I have the older model of this one I use for watches.

    http://www.merritts.com/clock_parts/public/product.aspx?ProductID=82667&SearchText=ultrasonic%20cleaner

    #61192
    stevefitzwater
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 48
    • Total Posts: 385

    Thanks Bernie!

    Yeah, while doing a variety of searches on US, I came across the thread where everyone talk about what they use, you said you used it, and remembering the Citrus based cleaner we used on resins, epoxy, alkaline, etc. and how effective it was, I picked up a gallon and have been using it since, so I thank you for that!

    Normally the first thing I do when I have a question is a search of the forums, if I feel my question is answered, I will move on, if not, well here you have this thread.

    #61193
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    Steve,

    Before you decide to use the USC as the first step, you may want to read the study done by deCarle in his practical watch adjusting book, on the effects of film residue and its relation to oil, it may or should change your mind about using the USC as the final stage prior to lubricating.

    #61194
    stevefitzwater
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 48
    • Total Posts: 385

    Actually after doing some searches for models like was suggested here and the ones Bernie suggested, I decided (after a rather strong influence by my wife), that I was going to pass on a USC cleaner for now, I will under take the true apprentice method of hand cleaning and using my old US.

    The reason is, as I have said before, I am on disability and while I am comfortable living off that and my savings, I have a list of tools I want to acquire, and I can not go without some of those items if I wish to further my knowledge, the ultrasonic can wait…

    Thanks for the suggestions, at some point down the line it will be put to good use.

    And Chris, I will check out that book you mentioned, while I have a small collection of 15 books, I do not believe I have it, but I will add it to my list.

    #61195
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    Sounds good Steve. I did everything by hand for eons before I picked up my first USC, and as I mentioned, sometimes I use it, most times I don’t. I suppose it’s what a person gets used to.

    The publication on the other hand, you will find useful, possibly like me, when I’m stuck and cursing like an old miner :D

    If you need anything, just holler.

    #61196
    maitai11
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 62
    • Total Posts: 428

    Chris?

    Can you please spill the beans on what kind of cleaning solution to get for that final finishing? I know it’s a trade secret, but I don’t wanna mess anything up :(

    I’m crossing my fingers :)

    Tim

    #61197
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    Tim I don’t really use anything special in the USC, most of the time just dish soap. I do everything by hand and ill occasionally use the machine to remove any particles left over..
    No huge secret really..

    #61198
    randy
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 39
    • Total Posts: 594

    @Chris Mabbott wrote:

    Steve,

    Before you decide to use the USC as the first step, you may want to read the study done by deCarle in his practical watch adjusting book, on the effects of film residue and its relation to oil, it may or should change your mind about using the USC as the final stage prior to lubricating.

    Guys,
    This is why I use the Zenith rinse

    “Zenith’s chemists developed a new rinsing solution called Drizebrite also know as “The Ultimate Final Rinse”. Drizebrite is designed to leave watch and clock parts spotless without any oily film when dried at room temperature or in a heating chamber. It restores delicate movements to their original luster after being cleaned with Zenith Formula 67 or any solvent based cleaner. As an added feature – Drizebrite is odorless. It works in both old and modern cleaning machines including ultrasonic machines and Vibrograf cleaning machines.”

    Maybe this stuff wasn’t around when Don wrote the book.??
    Anyhow..I’ve used it for a good 5 years..never had an issue that I know of .

    Randy

    #61199
    bernie weishapl
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 58
    • Total Posts: 1218

    When Chris curses like a miner he makes a sailor blush. 😆 😯

    #61200
    stevefitzwater
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 48
    • Total Posts: 385

    Randy, I will check that stuff out, I am curious what is in that mix, to be orderless and still evaporate clean..

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stevefitzwaterQuestions about UltraSonic Cleaners