Jump to content
Andyfish2000

Ultrasonic cleaner - worth getting?

Recommended Posts

I really have become obsessed with getting old Tamiyas and restoring, and last night stripped the first of many which was an old Monster Beetle chassis.  To clean, I was simply going to use a bowl of washing up water and a brush and scrub (and make a mess across the kitchen) until all was clean.  However, I have heard of ultrasonic cleaners mentioned, and wondered if it was worth getting one.  I have some spare nectar points so thinking of one of these.....

Ultrasonic cleaner

Anyone have any thoughts?  Do they speed things up and / or give better results?  What detergent do I need?

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have used one and I am never sure if the ultrasonic does anything besides the good soke it the detergent.

 

Wife away and the dishwasher is by far the best cleaner I have found with pure alcohol being the best precast for grease

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Andyfish2000 said:

I really have become obsessed with getting old Tamiyas and restoring, and last night stripped the first of many which was an old Monster Beetle chassis.  To clean, I was simply going to use a bowl of washing up water and a brush and scrub (and make a mess across the kitchen) until all was clean.  However, I have heard of ultrasonic cleaners mentioned, and wondered if it was worth getting one.  I have some spare nectar points so thinking of one of these.....

Ultrasonic cleaner

Anyone have any thoughts?  Do they speed things up and / or give better results?  What detergent do I need?

Thanks

I have that same cleaner, had it for 3-4 years but in all honesty it didn't get used much at all after the initial excitement.

Its first outings were on metal biased restorations like the SRB chassis and  a few Kyoshos - at first I was quite impressed, but i think the result had more to do with the quality of the parts under the film of dirt than the cleaner itself.  I was impressed when i rebuilt an original Egress, these were the parts after a couple of 2 minute cleans in fairy liquid solutions. The first run the solution got quite mucky, hence the second run..

IMG_0014.jpg

IMG_0015.jpg

Impressive yes, but those parts had barely seen any use bare a couple of runs and some dust from storage in the attic.  

Cleaning plastic parts ? - never thought it did a lot, tried dirty wishbones and knuckles with very little effect, probably little more than just soaking.  Metal parts should be batched into similar metals for each cleaning - mixing brass, bronze, alloy and steel parts will lead to strange tarnishings.

 

So, whilst my words sound negative I think it really boils down to your expectations - if you have to scrub parts with an old toothbrush at the kitchen sink they are not miraculously going to come clean with a few minutes of non contact ultrasonic cleaning.  See it as a cleaner with some additional cleaning power beyond just soaking parts, useful for hard to reach areas.

 

Of course the overall effectiveness is dependent upon the solutions used - its pretty good with engine degreaser on old gearbox parts and axles for instance. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a pretty cheap ultrasonic cleaner (50 Euro) and my experience is as described here already; it doesn't seem to do significantly more than the soaking itself. 

Furthermore, I borrowed a rather expensive (roughly 1.200 Euro)  "professional" ultrasonic cleaner some years ago, and the results weren't noticeably better. 

I've tried with many different cleaning agents, including white spirit, window cleaner, many different "soaps", WD40, CRC5-56 and the one I had the best results with was citric acid. Citric acid is however not suitable for cleaning steel, brass and aluminium (and probably many other metals/alloys too) as it speeds up corrosion, especially when the temperature rises in the bath due to the ultrasonic waves. Also, I'm not confident that the citric acid works better in combination with the ultrasonic cleaner than it does on its own.

I've also tried cleaning RC-parts in washing machines used for automotive parts and had about the same results as when using the dishwasher at home.

My overall experience is that nothing beats "oldfashioned" tedious manual cleaning. As most things in life, doing it the hard way provides the best results.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to add a contrary view, I love mine!

You can watch the dirt lift off as it runs. It doesn't do a better job than a toothbrush and some fairy liquid, but it does get into all the difficult places and you can just chuck stuff in and let it run. I use a diluted de-greaser in it ("gunk" is the brandname).

I also love my barrel polisher which is something also well worth having if you're restoring older "more metal" vehicles. Some parts can take several days to polish up (using green cone media) but they come out looking amazing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PS - the ultrasonics are very wife-friendly too. Mine uses it for her jewellery and says it does an excellent job of cleaning it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As to bring in another point here: i can imagine that an ultrasonic cleaner is a good thing when it comes to cleaning of ball bearings after a run on the beach or similar. But i haven't tried myself. I was thinking of getting me one of these one day, but when i have to clean parts for restaurations, i was always fine with the toothbrush / dishwasher or dremel yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, the Ultrasonic cleaner is neat because I can do other things while the device is cleaning some parts.

As already said in another older thread, it doesn't do miracles and needs several rounds before its done, but mine does its job well enough for my liking.

For cleaning ball bearings, I'd disassemble them first, which is easy with rubber seals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ok, so I have my old Thundershot and started work on it today. To say its gunked up is an understatement. In the roofspace it has been subject to a fine layer of sawdust from the woodshed next door and this has stuck to ALL surfaces.

So will an ultrasonic cleaner help and if so which one (UK based) for value for money. Biggest item I need to get in is a gearbox.

9dccdabc-ae98-4713-a496-358c497b6ed6.jpg

9e7c3eab-2e54-4d67-b9df-5c446bddf48a.jpg

32d97cab-8e99-447e-a693-5bcbb729a21f.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Baddon said:

ok, so I have my old Thundershot and started work on it today. To say its gunked up is an understatement. In the roofspace it has been subject to a fine layer of sawdust from the woodshed next door and this has stuck to ALL surfaces.

So will an ultrasonic cleaner help and if so which one (UK based) for value for money. Biggest item I need to get in is a gearbox.

9dccdabc-ae98-4713-a496-358c497b6ed6.jpg

Ultrasonic don't work much better than a toothbrush... you'd be better off with a high pressure jet sprayer for that mess :P

The RC equivalent is... go outside with a can (or 3) of MotorSpray aka Electrical Contact Cleaner, hang it up & hose it down.

Collect the drippings in a pan, store in a glass jar to let the sediments settle and you can further use the solvent as a grease shifter. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a cheap silvercrest one that came from Lidl I think. I find it amazing when used in conjunction with concentrated multi surface cleaner such as Flash/Mr Clean etc. I find it most impressive at getting gunked up grease off of stuff, you can see it melt away before your eyes.

HVrzXnM.jpg
LmmpwE2.jpg
Gp5DOjF.jpg

It's also good for rust when used in conjunction with white vinegar.

Gs1gjNt.jpg
Jp7Ao5n.jpg

I believe it's the combination of the cleaner AND flash that makes it so effective. It's great for gears and bearings etc but also general dirt and mud just seems to melt away before your eyes.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a public safety warning - do not be tempted to pour alcohol or spirit solvents directly into the uS tub. Only water or aquaeous cleaning solutions.

Spirits get excited and will vapourise faster than an open tub left to evaporate; a closed room full of alcohol vapour is highly flammable will catch the next available spark.

If you do need to use solvents, put it & parts in a covered plastic container and dip that in the uS tub half filled with water. Takeaway food tubs & plastic cups are just right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My ultrasonic cleaner has been used for many years now. It is amazing to see what comes out of your airbushes when cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner. I use a small ultrasonic cleaner but most RC parts etc. fit. Also very good to clean your (sun)glasses but as WillyChang said: use the right cleaner. Suitable cleaner is sold by shops that sell airbrushes. I even cleaned bicycle and car parts in my ultrasonic cleaner. My cleaner works on 40 kHz, has a timer to prevent over heating, tank is 0.6 liter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Different industries have their own custom cleaning fluids for their uS machines ;) 

 

Anybody use a "parts washer" like in a motor garage? Tub with cleaning fluid recirculating thru a little jet... 

For RC sized Google "waterpik" :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use mine quite a bit find it really good, I just use plain old fairy liquid and water seems to work very well.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read this thread few days ago... Only today I realized that I have one too.  I was not very impressed with what I've got, I had even forgotten about it.  

Nowinaminute's photos are impressive indeed.  Maybe I should try to find where it is, and try to find ways to use it with a non-flammable cleaning solution.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Juggular said:

I read this thread few days ago... Only today I realized that I have one too.  I was not very impressed with what I've got, I had even forgotten about it.  

Nowinaminute's photos are impressive indeed.  Maybe I should try to find where it is, and try to find ways to use it with a non-flammable cleaning solution.  

I just realised I left one of the "after" shots out too! I've amended the post now!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to admit I had gone cold on the idea of buying one of these since starting this thread.  However, I'm back on the case, so any recommendation on specific models or shops would be great.  At moment I am thinking of the JPL £40 version at Maplins, but happy to consider others.

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Andyfish2000 said:

I have to admit I had gone cold on the idea of buying one of these since starting this thread.  However, I'm back on the case, so any recommendation on specific models or shops would be great.  At moment I am thinking of the JPL £40 version at Maplins, but happy to consider others.

Thanks

That’s the one I have. I find a long soak in degreaser followed by a dip in the UsC  bath leaves me with very clean parts for zero effect from me. Beats all the scrubbing I used to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Snakehands said:

That’s the one I have. I find a long soak in degreaser followed by a dip in the UsC  bath leaves me with very clean parts for zero effect from me. Beats all the scrubbing I used to do.

This has almost sold the idea to me aswell now, I have atleast 2 cars I need to strip and clean for rebuilds and the idea of dumping all the bits in a mini bath like this is tempting!

I might visit Maplins tomorrow, thanks Andy and Snake.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've found results to be a bit hit & miss when using my ultrasonic cleaner, but have found it to one of those things I'll use as 'it can't do any harm'. If you're using a proper industrial type cleaner the results are definitely a lot more noticeable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...