Author Topic: Ultrasonic cleaners  (Read 2919 times)

Ultrasonic cleaners
« on: May 29, 2012, 02:14:23 pm »
Does anyone have experience of using ultrasonic cleaners for general parts washing such as chains and transmission components.
Are they as efficient as the adds claim?
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Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2012, 02:40:37 pm »
I was looking at  one myself... interested in any answer

TheLurker

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Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2012, 03:14:14 pm »
I believe you've got to spend $lots$ to get a cleaner that'll deal properly with chains and cassettes.

The ones retailing in the low tens of quid are typically only suitable for cleaning jewellery and small odds and ends.

Having said that...

... I use a cheapo "jewellery class" ultrasonic cleaner as the last stage of a traditional "shoogle several times in paraffin" cleaning process for chains.  It gets the residual filth out from inside the rollers.  Takes a good quarter of an hour though and three or four changes of water.
Τα πιο όμορφα ταξίδια γίνονται με τις δικές μας δυνάμεις - Φίλοι του Ποδήλατου

Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2012, 03:22:00 pm »
I've got a £35 one and it's close to useless, it does almost nothing.

Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2012, 03:50:47 pm »
I have a great big one in the lab and it's great for cleaning up bike/ motorbike / car parts once you've worked out which solvent is best for your application. I know this because a couple of colleagues like restoring motorbikes and cars.

I have used it to clean bike parts but unfortunately I have work to do at work so I clean bike bits at home with some degreaser and a rag, followed by sponge and soapy water. It's less bother.

When the last ultrasonic bath in the lab was getting a bit cranky it was replaced. I think it ended up in someones garage.

Jaded

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Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2012, 04:06:00 pm »
A mate has a £400 one that he uses to clean bike carburettors etc. says it is magic. Very magic.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Woofage

  • Ain't no hooves on my bike.
Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2012, 04:29:54 pm »
UCs are indeed magic. Mine is an essential tool of my trade (it *only* cost about £250 and was worth every penny).

The cheaper ones will work but you have to persevere. Use warm water and a strong detergent in the cleaner's bath.
Pen Pusher

Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2012, 07:34:01 pm »
I have a ~£130.00 one and even after a 40 minute session, I'm still having to wash off oily residue with Fairy liquid, hot water and elbow grease.
I bought it to avoid exactly this  >:(.

I've tried a variety of solvents:
Gunk - Messy and ineffective.
Elma Clean 75 - Essentially industrial strength ammonia used by jewellers to clean up their trinkets - wholly ineffective. There's also the issue of what to do with the stuff afterwards...
Halfords Citrus Degreaser -  the most effective so far, but still demands an unimpressive amount of hand finishing  :(

I have access to plentiful supplies of Isopropyl alcohol (as recommended by TimO, I think) but TBH I fear for my wooden shed and it's resistance to Fire.
Isopropyl has a stupidly low flashpoint, something like 13°C, and the US cleaner runs up to 65°C - Or am I totally misunderstanding The Physics Of Stuff?

I'd welcome any suggestions as to what solvent is best.

Having said all of the above, I did manage to get ~10,000 miles of service from the original chain and sprockets on the Van Nic.
Before they failed.
Catastrophically.

EDIT: I still like it in as much as when it does it's (feeble) thing, I can be getting on with other anally retentive bike cleaning procedures....

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2012, 09:18:56 pm »
Ammonia's not going to be any good. It's for getting rid of surface tarnish, not for proper grease. I have found Halfords citrus degreaser rubbish, it's too soapy. I prefer Finish Line citrus.
What I've done in the past is give a first pass with the Finish Line and then stick stuff in the bath with hot water for a while.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2012, 10:12:33 pm »
The austerity answer clearly is GUNK.
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Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2012, 10:21:26 pm »
I was hoping that an ultrasonic cleaner would be a greener option than my current parts washer in which I use white spirit as a solvent.
It appears, from other's experience here, that it may be better to employ both systems. Get the worst of the grease off in the parts washer and then remove the final residue with an ultrasonic clean.
The unit I am considering is the Sonic 3000 from bestultrasonic.co this has a built in heater.
I will contact the supplier tomorrow and see what they have to say.
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Wombat

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Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2012, 08:01:14 am »
I'd never thought of ultrasonic cleaners as being suited to removing grease or oil.  if you shake a liquid about , its still liquid... very unscientific analogy, but I'd always considered them as suitable for removing crud, i.e. hard lumpy stuff, rather than soft squishy stuff. Debris in carburettor or gas jets, dried ink in fountain pens, that sort of thing. 

I believe it would be useful in my hobby of messing about with steam engines, and will probably get one, one day.
Wombat

Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2012, 08:04:47 am »
For those paying £10 for a small bottle from places like Halfrauds, I offer you...

http://www.screwfix.com/p/swarfega-oil-grease-remover-5ltr/20817


Woofage

  • Ain't no hooves on my bike.
Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2012, 08:21:24 am »
For those paying £10 for a small bottle from places like Halfrauds, I offer you...

http://www.screwfix.com/p/swarfega-oil-grease-remover-5ltr/20817

good stuff :thumbsup:. It looks like Screwfix has changed the catalogue reference. I'll see if I can still edit my original post.
Pen Pusher

Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2012, 02:01:44 pm »
I was told recently that Swarfega contains an ingredient banned in most of Europe and the USA because it's carcinogenic by absorption through the skin. However, presumably that is more relevant to the hand-cleaner than the parts-cleaner, and I don't know how accurate my source is.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2012, 10:20:14 pm »
I have bitten the bullet and a sonic 3000 should arrive tomorrow.
I will supply an in depth review in due course.
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Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2012, 11:55:18 am »
It is fizzing away with a chain in. TIME WILL TELL!
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valkyrie

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Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2012, 04:19:34 pm »
Well it's been in a few days now, how's it looking?
World Class Excuses for Piss-Poor Performances

Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2012, 04:44:56 pm »
We use ours in the lab to degrease mechanical components before assembly, however the majority of this comes from handling, and isn't visible, so not really comparable to the amount of gunk you get on bike components!

I've tried it a couple of times, when dismantling smallish bike bits in the lab (it's only got relatively small beakers, probably 400mL or 500mL), such as the parts of a brake.  They did come out lovely and clean, but we use Ethyl Alcohol (aka Ethanol), not Isopropyl Alcohol, as a solvent.  That doesn't make a lot of difference for the flash point, which is only a couple of degree higher.  I think that so long as the quantities involved are relatively small, the area is well ventilated, and obviously you don't have any ignition source (ie have a quick fag whilst working), it should be relatively safe.

I've only ever used our second hand solvent, because we use 99.995% pure solvent, which is relatively expensive (although still cheaper than a half decent bottle of booze iirc!)
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2012, 04:20:54 pm »
It seems to work best if the worst of the external crud is removed in the parts washer with white spirit first. Then pop it in the cleaner with water with a good squeeze of washing up liquid. Temperature at about 50c for 15 minutes.
It definitely gets all the dirt out from inside the rollers, the chain comes out spotless.
I have yet to try it with any kind of spirit solvent, just have to watch the flashpoint!!
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Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2012, 09:51:29 pm »
I've been doing it the opposite way round to this - Ultrasonic first, then hand finish any inadequacies - with, frankly, underwhelming results...

I'll try it the other way round....

Watch this space...

Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2012, 08:33:52 pm »
Having had time to experiment a little further, the best method seems to be, wash off external crud in parts washer and then fifteen minutes in the ultrasonic using white spirit.
This gets the chain totally clean. I normally then blow out any excess spirit with the airline before re-lubing and re-fitting.
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Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2019, 07:14:01 pm »
I didn't get one seven years ago, but I think I'm going to now, any updates, recommendations?

Mind you, I haven't actually missed not having one.

Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2019, 07:17:32 pm »
I didn't get one seven years ago, but I think I'm going to now, any updates, recommendations?

Mind you, I haven't actually missed not having one.
Do you want my one?
It has lain unused since forever.

Gattopardo

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Re: Ultrasonic cleaners
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2019, 08:55:55 pm »
I didn't get one seven years ago, but I think I'm going to now, any updates, recommendations?

Mind you, I haven't actually missed not having one.
Do you want my one?
It has lain unused since forever.

What one is it?