(Topic ID: 61421)

Ultrasonic cleaner advice?


By NJGecko

6 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 41 posts
  • 13 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 years ago by Shredso
  • Topic is favorited by 5 Pinsiders

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    #1 6 years ago

    I've seen this discussed a few times, but wanted to just ask my all-in-one silly stupid questions together.
    I use a vibratory tumbler now which works well for little stuff, but I think the slightly larger stuff would be best done in an ultrasonic. My questions:
    Are ultrasonics better for bigger stuff (brackets, etc)?
    Can you put plastic items in them (eject saucers, etc)?
    What solution do you put in them?
    How long do they take?

    I think those are my questions for now!

    #2 6 years ago

    Tons of research already done on Youtube. The heated units seem to be the better working ones and Simple Green seems to be safe for anything you can soak in liquid. I watched a lot of them, watchers choice.

    #3 6 years ago

    Thanks. Any other feedback?

    #4 6 years ago

    I have a small one from harbor freight and a large one from ebay. Both are heated. Once you get one you won't know why you didn't get one earlier - I put EVERYTHING in them, even screws before I tumble them. I just use a bit of mean green and water and they run for 3 - 4 minutes - presto! done!

    Scott

    #5 6 years ago

    I have the Chicago tool one from HF. Does it heat the mix or just help in keep it hot. I can't tell if mine actually works or not. Any info appreciated.

    #6 6 years ago

    I use the small harbor freight one and have liked it a lot.

    #7 6 years ago
    Quoted from TaylorVA:

    I have the Chicago tool one from HF. Does it heat the mix or just help in keep it hot. I can't tell if mine actually works or not. Any info appreciated.

    mine gets it quite hot...

    i clean everything that will fit in it (other than hot stamped stuff) in a half and half mix of mean green and water... then tumble the stuff that needs to be tumbled...

    #8 6 years ago

    It heats it, just takes a while. But if I let it run for the full cycle, my HF gets so hot I can't reach in and get the pieces out for a while.

    #9 6 years ago

    Here is my big mamma..

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    #10 6 years ago
    Quoted from Strohz:

    It heats it, just takes a while. But if I let it run for the full cycle, my HF gets so hot I can't reach in and get the pieces out for a while.

    mine must not be working right then. Time for a return.

    #11 6 years ago
    Quoted from TaylorVA:

    mine must not be working right then. Time for a return.

    yup... after a few cycles, mine gets hot enough that i have to use a slotted spoon to retrieve the parts,otherwise i'll burn my hands...

    @weirpinball... ooooooo... serious tool envy here...

    #12 6 years ago

    So can you put plastic items in there as well?

    #13 6 years ago
    Quoted from NJGecko:

    So can you put plastic items in there as well?

    i do, as long as they are not hot-stamped (as noted, mean green took the ink off a set of bumper bodies)... it doesn't so hot that it would melt plastics... i put pf posts, rollover guides, plastic parts from mechanisms, etc. through mine...

    "what you can put in" is really a question of what solvent you are using, not the cleaner itself...

    #14 6 years ago

    I always put all the star posts, etc in - they look like new when done.

    #15 6 years ago

    Thanks. Star posts are always things I've just replaced. Never thought you could easily clean them.

    For metal items, does the ultrasonic replace tumbling? When I tumble, its in my basement and my family winds up listening to the thing for the better part of a week each time I tear down a machine.

    #16 6 years ago
    Quoted from NJGecko:

    Thanks. Star posts are always things I've just replaced. Never thought you could easily clean them.
    For metal items, does the ultrasonic replace tumbling? When I tumble, its in my basement and my family winds up listening to the thing for the better part of a week each time I tear down a machine.

    a lot of the times, just getting the grunge off in the cleaner results in a nice shiny surface... i just ran some really grungy metal parts from a 1967 machine through the cleaner, and a goodly portion of them came out looking brand new...

    and whatever you have left that still needs to be tumbled will take considerably less time, because the cleaner has already done the lion's share of the job...

    ot... the 4 square is still going strong...

    #17 6 years ago
    Quoted from ccotenj:

    a lot of the times, just getting the grunge off in the cleaner results in a nice shiny surface... i just ran some really grungy metal parts from a 1967 machine through the cleaner, and a goodly portion of them came out looking brand new...
    and whatever you have left that still needs to be tumbled will take considerably less time, because the cleaner has already done the lion's share of the job...
    ot... the 4 square is still going strong...

    May be worth me playing with. Do you use heat or just the ultrasonic? How long do you run it, just one cycle?

    And glad to hear it...I'm kicking myself for parting with it!

    #18 6 years ago
    Quoted from NJGecko:

    May be worth me playing with. Do you use heat or just the ultrasonic? How long do you run it, just one cycle?
    And glad to hear it...I'm kicking myself for parting with it!

    yea, it's worth it... plus you can use it for many other things around the house...

    i use the heat... i run it through as many cycles as it takes... most times, once is plenty, but for really nasty stuff (caked on grease/dirt mixtures, etc.), it can take a few times...

    i look at it this way... the cleaner is for "cleaning"... the tumbler is for "polishing"...

    fwiw, i also "pre-treat" stuff before putting it in by spraying it with mean green and rinsing it with water (be careful with screws!)... that will take most of the surface stuff off and make your cleaning solution last a little longer (although i change mine often anyway)...

    next time you are driving down the turnpike, stop by and play... it has a few friends now as well...

    #19 6 years ago

    my ultrasonic is one of my best pinball tools!!!

    ccotenj has a similar process to what I have used.

    Pretreat with mean green for anything grummy. Drop in ultrasonicator for a cycle or 2, tumble anything that needs polishing, use air compressor to blow out anything electronic or boards and leave to dry for a bit before reinstall. Also love my buffing wheel for bigger parts that I want shiny.

    I like mean green/water mixture with a few drops of dawn dish soap. Works like a champ.

    #20 6 years ago
    Quoted from Strohz:

    It heats it, just takes a while. But if I let it run for the full cycle, my HF gets so hot I can't reach in and get the pieces out for a while.

    Swapped mine out yesterday, heater is working like a champ. Thanks again for the suggestion to get one. Game changer.

    #21 6 years ago

    You guys pretty much have me convinced on this! I just spent 2 days tumbling under-playfield fasteners. Thinking that I could have cleaned them in just a few ultrasonic cycles and a bit of finish tumbling is a game changed for my relationship with the family!

    #22 6 years ago

    You know my answer. I even throw coils in mine and then wrap with be wrappers. Feel free to stop by sometime and ask all the questions you want and throw a few games up on Metallica.

    -Jim

    #23 6 years ago

    You guys pretty much have me convinced on this! I just spent 2 days tumbling under-playfield fasteners. Thinking that I could have cleaned them in just a few ultrasonic cycles and a bit of finish tumbling is a game changed for my relationship with the family!

    I'm cleaning everything I can in it, I run a tumbler to polish stuff as well but most stuff just needs a good cleaning.

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    #24 6 years ago
    Quoted from Whridlsoncestood:

    You know my answer. I even throw coils in mine and then wrap with be wrappers. Feel free to stop by sometime and ask all the questions you want and throw a few games up on Metallica.
    -Jim

    Jim what do you use in yours for solution?
    Would love to do coils and brackets in mine!

    Do you need to do anything to the brackets or larger pieces once you run them through as far as tumbling, or are they good to go after the ultrasonic bath?
    And yea, I will probably take you up on that offer...I've hopefully got some cash freeing up and I see a Metallica in my future....

    #25 6 years ago

    I personay use distilled water and simple green. For coils I blow them with compressed air and give them an alcohol bath.

    Anything I want polished will go in the tumbler after cleaning in the ultrasonic cleaner.

    #26 6 years ago

    Silly question...how often do you change out the solution?

    #27 6 years ago

    I do when I can't see the parts in the solution anymore.

    #28 6 years ago
    Quoted from NJGecko:

    Silly question...how often do you change out the solution?

    Quoted from TaylorVA:

    I do when I can't see the parts in the solution anymore.

    ^^^

    this is what i do... depends on the grunge level on the parts that go in..

    i never thought to do coils in it...

    #29 6 years ago

    I hear mention of mean green and simple green. I looked up simple green on amazon, and I see MANY different solutions available. Can anyone make sense of this?

    thanks!
    -mof

    #30 6 years ago

    "mean green" and "simple green" are 2 different products... i use mean green for this stuff, although i use simple green for other stuff around the house...

    #31 6 years ago

    I still need to get more time on this, but went to harbor freight, picked up this fella, worked with 50% mean green and 50% distilled water.

    Tried with some old plastic parts first.

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    #32 6 years ago

    Some more

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    #33 6 years ago

    And lastly, it's been a while since I've seen slingshot kickers turn out white!

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    #34 6 years ago

    aintcha glad we talked you into it?

    #35 6 years ago

    Yep, same one I have. Does yours heat properly. My first one didn't hear at all.
    Ultrasonic cleaning is like crack.

    #36 6 years ago

    I think I may jump on this wagon after seeing Gecko's pics. Was that just the ultrasonic cleaner?

    #37 6 years ago
    Quoted from NJGecko:

    but went to harbor freight, picked up this fella

    I bought the same one two days ago. Looking forward to giving it a try after seeing your results.

    #38 6 years ago
    Quoted from ccotenj:

    aintcha glad we talked you into it?

    Absolutely!

    #39 6 years ago
    Quoted from TaylorVA:

    Yep, same one I have. Does yours heat properly. My first one didn't hear at all.
    Ultrasonic cleaning is like crack.

    Mine heats properly, but it took me a bit to realize it takes a long time to heat. The first few runs it was just lukewarm, but after just leaving it with the heat on for a good 15 minutes or so, it got super warm. Actually, the last batch I almost needed tongs to take things out.

    #40 6 years ago
    Quoted from loren3233:

    I think I may jump on this wagon after seeing Gecko's pics. Was that just the ultrasonic cleaner?

    Yup, that's it! Some things I needed to wipe with a paper towel to get everything squeaky clean, but no tumbling or anything!

    Based on Jim's advice, I may try coils today!

    #41 6 years ago

    I've had an Ultrasonic for awhile and had decent results, especially with stuff like star posts. I wasn't using nearly a half and half mixture but I tried today (Mean Green) and the results were fantastic. I think the tumbler may be sitting out this restoration. I typically buff the screw heads anyway. I'll definitely be picking less walnuts out of holes this time around if any. Great thread.

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