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Thread: Do ultrasonic cleaners work well?

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    Question Do ultrasonic cleaners work well?

    Hello,

    I'm considering getting an ultrasonic cleaner. But I've heard both pros and cons.

    Has anyone had experience/success with an ultrasonic cleaner?
    If it has worked for you what cleaning solution did you use?
    If it has not, what did you do to improve its performance?
    What type/brand of ultrasonic cleaner do you suggest?
    What do you use it for besides metal wheel sets?
    Where is the best source for an inexpensive ultrasonic cleaner that works well?
    Thanks

    See ya
    Ron
    Last edited by 69Z28; 21st Apr 2011 at 01:35 AM. Reason: verbage
    "Men go and come,
    but earth abides." Ecclesiastes 1:4

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    Not that I'm an expert have you maybe stopped by a local jewelery store to get some ideas from some pros in the business you should surely have some up there in Bama.

    Pete
    Eighty 1 Fourever

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    I have one but have not used it for any model railroad uses yet. One thing that is a slight danger I hear is that it can melt plastic. The micro bubbles produce heat and can actually cause issues for plastics. I use mine to clean my glasses and wifes jewelery. Thought about cleaning wheels, but have not tried it yet.
    Sean McC

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    who has friends." -- Clarence

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    I own a Branson ultrasonic cleaner, it's not a little jewelery cleaner but a real industral cleaner. It's works great and doesn't get hot. In fact they say a warm solution works better. I just use regular dish soap and water.

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    The heating warning was something I have not tested. It may be bad info. Sorry.
    Sean McC

    "No man is a failure ...

    who has friends." -- Clarence

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    They can get very hot. Just use some common sense when using them.
    I used to use an industrial ultrasonic cleaner, it was about 2.5' x 2.5' x 2.5' and it would get so hot that it have steam coming off it, but that was after it ran for several hours straight.

    Richard
    Richard looking at MP 242 while working for the FEC Rwy

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    I was only talking about the brand I own, (Branson ultrasonic cleaner), it does not get hot, I manufactured Aluminum HO slot car parts and use it to clean the cutting oil off the parts. I would run it for 30 minutes at a time and it never got hot.
    I would never say they all don't get hot because I have only owned and used Branson ultrasonic cleaners!
    If you want to be safe and not worry about the cleaner getting hot then buy a Branson ultrasonic cleaner!

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire5506 View Post
    They can get very hot. Just use some common sense when using them.
    I used to use an industrial ultrasonic cleaner, it was about 2.5' x 2.5' x 2.5' and it would get so hot that it have steam coming off it, but that was after it ran for several hours straight.

    Richard
    I would say after doing some research that the cleaner you seen was heated. I wonder why if they run so hot that companies making these cleaners would offer a heating option?

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    Back in my RC car racing days I used one for cleaning bearings. It worked great but the stuff you put in it could cause cancer if you were from California. lol

    Seriously though, the thing worked great if you had the part suspended in the middle of the tank.

    Craig

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    I use just regular old dish soap, it works great in my Branson ultrasonic cleaner! You had to use a basket to hold the parts in the middle, putting them in the bottom of the tank was not recommended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 69Z28 View Post
    Hello,

    I'm considering getting an ultrasonic cleaner. But I've heard both pros and cons.


    Has anyone had experience/success with an ultrasonic cleaner?
    If it has worked for you what cleaning solution did you use?
    If it has not, what did you do to improve its performance?
    What type/brand of ultrasonic cleaner do you suggest?
    What do you use it for besides metal wheel sets?
    Where is the best source for an inexpensive ultrasonic cleaner that works well?
    Thanks

    See ya
    Ron
    Hello 69Z28,

    I have a Kendal ultrasonic cleaner that I purchased on e-bay for $45, (price includes U.S. shipping), that I use to clean my fountain pens, (my other hobby). I use a 10:1 blend of CLEAR ammonia and distilled water, (favoring the water), to clean them. I use an ammonia blend because fountain pen inks are made with aniline dyes which are ammonia based; I'm not so sure whether or not that formula would successfully transfer to model railroading applications- you may just want to use a few drops of clear dish soap.

    My machine has worked very well for me- after a couple of 4 or 5 minute cycles, my pens are squeaky clean inside and out. If you like, I can check my feedback profile at e-bay and find out who I bought it from.

    All the best,

    Sean C.
    "C&NW"
    Last edited by C&NW; 18th May 2011 at 08:45 PM. Reason: fixed typo.

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    Thanks C&NW. I would appreciate that.
    See ya
    Ron
    "Men go and come,
    but earth abides." Ecclesiastes 1:4

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    Hello Ron,

    Here is a link to the very same dealer I got mine from AND for the exact same model I bought... with the exception that the price DROPPED $5! Good for you ... bad for me!

    http://cgi.ebay.com/NewModel-DIGITAL...item483f5f7e9b

    All the best,

    Sean C.
    "C&NW"
    Chicago & Northwestern; Northwest Corridor Route- Chicago, Des Plaines, Mt. Prospect, Arlington Hgts., Palatine, Fox River Grove, Crystal Lake; circa 1972 to 1977. All on a 3x6' layout!

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    Thanks Sean C.
    I'll checked it out. And it will clean a just about all types of Cd's. I believe these are made of a type of plastic.

    The ultrasonic cleaner has many uses, but my main use would be to clean N Scale Model train parts and and other detail parts before using them on the layout. Quite a few of these parts may be made of plastic.

    Will an ultrasonic cleaner safely handle plastic Model train parts?

    Does anyone use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean (other than metal wheel sets) Model Train parts?

    Thanks
    See ya
    Ron
    "Men go and come,
    but earth abides." Ecclesiastes 1:4

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    Will an ultrasonic cleaner safely handle plastic Model train parts?

    I don't know who started the stupid idea that ultrasonic cleaner will harm plastic parts. I have used one for years cleaning HO slot car parts, thousands of Aurora T-jet chassic, gears, armatures, ect., never harmed one yet! I owned and operated JW'S HO Speed Parts until I sold it this Jan.

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    Hello Ron, et al,

    Yes. An ultrasonic cleaner is SAFE FOR PLASTIC PARTS. My fountain pens are made of plastic, celluloid, (which is a very fragile type of plastic), and ebonite- none have been harmed using this machine... and I clean them on a regular basis- not just one time.

    Please remember, that ultrasonic cleaners come in many sizes and types. There are large commercial/industrial models that vibrate with great intensity, (which by simple mechanical friction can get the water to a boiling point), and many also have heating elements- these types of machines, improperly used, probably could melt plastic parts. However, the machine I recommended does not vibrate with that great of intensity and it DOES NOT have a heating element either- so it is perfectly safe for plastics. The water will get quite warm after a few 4 or 5 minute cycles- but not hot enough to melt plastic. (I've had some vintage pens that had decades of clogged, dried ink in them that required lots of cleaning cycles to flush out).

    If you're just trying to get the manufacturing oils and release chemicals off of plastic parts for painting and things of that nature; I would recommend the following formula:

    1. Run them on one 4 minute cycle with a 3 or 4 drops of CLEAR dish soap.
    2. Empty the machine; refill with fresh, clean water. (USE ONLY DISTILLED WATER IN ALL APPLICATIONS).
    3. Run the parts through on a 3 minute cycle to thoroughly rinse of the dish soap.
    4. Remove parts; allow to AIR DRY on a rack or lint free towel.
    5. Enjoy the fruits of your labors.

    If you, (or anyone else), have any other questions/concerns, please feel free to drop me a line.

    All the best,

    Sean C.
    "C&NW"
    Chicago & Northwestern; Northwest Corridor Route- Chicago, Des Plaines, Mt. Prospect, Arlington Hgts., Palatine, Fox River Grove, Crystal Lake; circa 1972 to 1977. All on a 3x6' layout!

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    Sean C
    All of my questions and concerns have been answered and resolved. The model you suggested is the one that appeals most to me. Its cost as well as its performance is just what I'm looking for. Since I'll finally be getting into Air Brushing I think it would be of help in keeping the parts clean and free of left over paint. And also to clean my detail parts. And the formula you gave will be used.
    Thanks everyone for your help.

    See ya
    Ron
    "Men go and come,
    but earth abides." Ecclesiastes 1:4

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    Quote Originally Posted by 69Z28 View Post
    Sean C
    All of my questions and concerns have been answered and resolved. The model you suggested is the one that appeals most to me. Its cost as well as its performance is just what I'm looking for. Since I'll finally be getting into Air Brushing I think it would be of help in keeping the parts clean and free of left over paint. And also to clean my detail parts. And the formula you gave will be used.
    Thanks everyone for your help.

    See ya
    Ron
    Hello Ron,

    Glad I could be of service to you. If you're going to use it to clean air-brush parts after painting; you may want to try a 20% solution. 20% acrylic paint thinner; 80% distilled water. As long as the parts were kept "wet" and the paint wasn't allowed to dry on anything, this formula should work great. Mind you, I haven't tried this myself; however, theoretically, it should work fine.

    I have a Paasche Model H airbrush and matching compressor but don't use them because I am disabled now and the prep work and subsequent clean-up work afterwards is more than I can handle. I would also like to chime in that I do get very good results using damp Red Sable brushes.

    I use FLAT #4s and #6s; after every few strokes, I wipe them off on a damp rag to prevent paint build-up on the bristles, then give the brush a couple of spritzes with distilled water; lightly dab in on a paper towel and re-dip it in the paint. I've found that by using FLAT Sable brushes and keeping them clean and moistened; I get finishes very close to what you get with an airbrush. (I just bought a new Canon digital camera; as soon as I figure out how to use it, I plan on posting some progressive photos of my layout- I'll also toss in a couple of my painting projects).

    BTW, don't let this dissuade you from using that airbrush- they're great- just too much work involved for a guy who has to build his layout 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Brush painting works great for me because I can do it in a recliner.

    All the best,

    Sean C.
    "C&NW"
    Chicago & Northwestern; Northwest Corridor Route- Chicago, Des Plaines, Mt. Prospect, Arlington Hgts., Palatine, Fox River Grove, Crystal Lake; circa 1972 to 1977. All on a 3x6' layout!

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