What Do You Use in Your Ultrasonic Machine?

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  • #49271
    maitai11
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    • Topics Started: 62
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    Hey Guys,

    Just want to get a feel for what everyone uses in their ultrasonic machines…I’m slowly getting to the point where I’ll be cleaning the parts from my 11 Jewel Illinois, so I’m just getting prepared for that. Thanks!

    #59881
    bernie weishapl
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 58
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    I use Zep Commercial “Heavy Duty Citrus Degreaser”. 128 fluid oz makes 16 gallons. If the movement has had WD 40 or some other lubed sprayed on I will soak it in Naphtha. I have had some use graphite grease on mainsprings and it is a mess to deal with so again naphtha then into the US. I run my US about 20 to 25 minutes with this, rinse in hot water and then into denatured alcohol for the final rinse. Then into the dryer.

    #59882
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
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    Are you cleaning watches or clocks? I am assuming watches, I dont use a US for watches I use the L&R cleaning machine with the L&R cleaning solution and L&R rinse, does a good job and is safe for all your parts! I think they make a ultrasonic watch cleaning solution. My advice…..put the money into solutions made for watches……watch :D out for adverse effects on different parts of a watch, ie. schellac melting, lettering being removed, ect…..from using untested cleaning solutions…..Just my humble and lowly opinion. William

    #59883
    tukat44
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 8
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    @willofiam wrote:

    Are you cleaning watches or clocks? I am assuming watches, I dont use a US for watches I use the L&R cleaning machine with the L&R cleaning solution and L&R rinse, does a good job and is safe for all your parts! I think they make a ultrasonic watch cleaning solution. My advice…..put the money into solutions made for watches……watch :D out for adverse effects on different parts of a watch, ie. schellac melting, lettering being removed, ect…..from using untested cleaning solutions…..Just my humble and lowly opinion. William

    Wow! William. I Quoted this because you bring up a number of critical points- Adverse effects on the watch parts- I had not even thought about it as a possibility :oops:. Thanks for sharing- you helped me.

    Bernie- Denatured alcohol- great solvent, and it makes sense because it leaves behind no residue. Great advice- Thanks Joseph “Tukat”

    #59884
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
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    @tukat44 wrote:

    Denatured alcohol- great solvent, and it makes sense because it leaves behind no residue. Great advice- Thanks Joseph “Tukat”

    Joseph,

    one important thing to remember if you’re going to use alcohol, DO NOT use it around shellac i.e. pallet stones or roller jewels.
    Alcohol dissolves the shellac and your jewels will fall out, then you have a huge problem 😮

    #59885
    maitai11
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 62
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    Guys – All great information, and thank you. Chris, what do you use? Thanks Bernie, I may take a look at using Zep initially…and, have you had any trouble with the kinds of things William spoke of? I’ll take a look at L & R, William, thanks for that tip…can I use it in a standard US?

    Best,

    Tim

    #59886
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    Tim,

    it really depends on what type of material you’re cleaning, I use my USC only occasionally, if needed, mostly as the final stage after manual detailing to clean out the blind holes. I just use dish soap and hot water..

    Like has been mentioned, select a solution that has been designed specifically for USC’s, some liquids don’t function well as they don’t have the required wetting agents that make the USC efficient.
    These machines are not a miracle solution to cleaning, it’s like taking a dirty car to a manual car wash, the pressure hose leaves a dirt residue, as opposed to hand cleaning your vehicle then drying it..

    Now, if you want a PROPER cleaning machine that will leave your parts absolutely spotless but will leave you in debt for a few years…

    check out this baby ULTIMATE USC

    #59887
    tukat44
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 8
    • Total Posts: 76

    Chris, thanks for that information- That would not have been good and you saved me a lot of trouble by pointing that out to me. I recently read a post that said Ammonia pulls the Zinc out of brass, I am cleaning a modern clock movement (Ridgeway) , so no ammonia. I have not taken it down yet, going to check end shake and end play before I start and will be hand cleaning likely using naptha and/or Denatured alcohol. Should I be using dish soap, warm water and a soft brush instead? Thanks for your input, and I am glad denatured alcohol has not made it into a container I put watch parts into- also, no more dials in the solutions- Printing came off a painted dial in the past so now I know not to do that. Thanks. Also, I would love to quit my job and do this full time but cant afford the super duper Ultra mega sonic cleaning robot. When this job goes okay I think I will still keep my daytime full time job for now and just do this until word gets out and jobs start coming to me. Does this generally sound right? Tukat

    #59888
    bernie weishapl
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 58
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    Tukat if you don’t have a US no big deal. When I first started I used warm water, dawn dishwashing liquid, murphys saddle soap and a toothbrush. If it was really bad it went into naphtha first then got washed. I hand cleaned everything for about a year and then bought a big US cleaner. I use it for both watches and clocks. I never check the end shake or check if it needs bushing until after it is cleaned. You can’t tell much especially if the oil is dried or sticky. I also polish my pivots with the lathe before cleaning. I want it clean before I install bushings or check like end shake or do any repairs. If it needs to be washed down again before final reassembly then so be it. A important step before assembly is pegging the holes to make sure they are clean. Has worked for 30 yrs or so.

    #59889
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    Joseph, you’re welcome..

    Like Bernie say’s a USC or cleaning unit is no biggie when you’re learning, in fact, in an environment where you would be apprenticing to someone, the journeyman would have you cleaning endless parts BY HAND just to build character and temperance 😆 Which ain’t a bad thing as you become, over time, intimately acquainted with each and every part.
    It took me a long time to build up my arsenal of tools and a cleaning machine was almost dead last on my list. #2 being a lathe.

    The ultimate cleaning machine on the video demonstrates how it is developed for a potentially explosive mixture, i.e. naphtha or some equivalent, because only strong, yet neutral liquids, neutral as in fluids that won’t react adversely with various metals/alloys, can eliminate grease, sticky tarnish, and leave parts brilliantly sparkling.
    This is the problem with our combined parts. We have both brass and steel in the same pot, something that can brighten brass can turn steel black and vice versa. Naphtha, as far as I know, doesn’t react adversely with any watch materials, even dials (NOT PAPER) go into the bath.

    That being said, I would not put naphtha in a “regular” USC unit, unless I had the 45k ultimate machine :?

    #59890
    maitai11
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 62
    • Total Posts: 428

    Thanks Chris…I think we’re going to need to postpone purchasing a $10+ machine until we all move to the same location and open up a collective :)

    Also, I have a hard time getting used to the idea of cleaning screws I can barely see…even the jewels might end up down the drain or lost in the suds/on the floor. I can see you’re REALLY old-school, haha. Awesome info, and thanks a bunch.

    Tim

    #59891
    tukat44
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 8
    • Total Posts: 76

    Bernie and Chris, thanks again to you both- Toothbrush and warm water, or into the Naptha first. It does not seem like a huge task if I am organized and pay attention and take my time. It looks like I can use a variable speed drill in place of a lathe for some things (think rotary tool or Dremel) like cleaning pivots. “Which ain’t a bad thing as you become, over time, intimately acquainted with each and every part.” This is a great point. I have learned the value of spending a stupid amount of time on a focused activity and this is exactly what happens. Thanks for pointing this out.

    #59892
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    You’ll get used to it after a couple of cleans. I put the small stuff straight in naphtha, I clean the plates in hot soapy water, with a toothbrush first then a naphtha bath, the the hand detailing begins to the sound of trumpets 😆

    #59893
    maitai11
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 62
    • Total Posts: 428

    Hi Bernie!

    I’m just getting down to my first cleaning, and I’m utilizing your method as a jumping-off point. Since I don’t have an L&R machine (Sorry, William:), nor $10,000+ like that turbocharged one Chris showed us (Chris…STEP AWAY FROM THE POCKET WATCH!!!), I decided to utilize the Bernie Method!

    Bernie, do you re-use your US solution and denatured alcohol, or is it one-time use only? Also, do you use the heated cycle (I did, today)?

    Of course, I’m open to others’ opinions!

    Back to my US…My first cycle is done – 24 min total.

    Thanks to my brother, Joe, for talking me through the aisles when I purchased the naphtha and alcohol…as well as reminding me about not using denatured alcohol on pallet/roller jewels. He also connected the very loose group of dots that were floating around my mind related to how the balance, hairspring, roller jewel, and pallet fork all work together to keep the watch running. I seem to remember him doing the same when I asked about how internal combustion engines worked – 25 years ago! I’m still teaching others, Joe! My girlfriend can’t get me to shut up, and now she has to listen to me explain every little detail about clocks and pocket watches – and carp about the one’s I don’t yet understand!

    Best,

    Tim :)

    #59894
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    I use the heater when I use the USC machine, because warm water will help to cut the grease. On a scientific level, the particles of the fluids are pre excited, kinda like just before going on a first date :D so this helps them while being bombarded at you articles… Hey I used articles and particles in the same sentence gruuvie 8-)

    The cycle time depends on the resonance of your unit, how dirty the parts are, the type of medium used.

    Ok, relationship advice is extra $$$ but to get your GF kinda on that track, just offer to clean some of her jewelry, chains, glasses etc. make sure it’s USC friendly first though or it can backfire 😆

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maitai11What Do You Use in Your Ultrasonic Machine?