(Topic ID: 82557)

Ultrasonic cleaner questions


By Bobster44

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 41 posts
  • 25 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by NM
  • Topic is favorited by 8 Pinsiders

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    #1 5 years ago

    Does anyone have any experience using these ultrasonic cleaners from harbor freight. I was thinking of buying one for cleaning pinball parts.I also have a jukebox and valley cougar dart game I am cleaning up for my game room.Is it good for cleaning small plastic parts also? What solutions are good for the plastics? And what are good for the metal parts? I guess is it worth the money? Thanks

    #2 5 years ago

    No idea on plastics.

    Anything you try, try on scrap first. They can clean good. They can also etch metal and strip paint.

    LTG : )™

    #3 5 years ago

    I bought a 2.5 liter ultrasonic cleaner from harbor freight in 2009. It was the larger of the 2 models available at the time and cost $60.00. The price may be slightly higher now. It still works well after 4 years of use. The newer units may have had some design changes since then. Mine has a built in heating unit and a stainless steel tank liner. It has a digital timer with a range of 90-480 seconds. There are specially formulated cleaning solutions for ultrasonic cleaners, but I usually use dish soap for most cleaning jobs. You could experiment with some stronger soaps on some junk plastic parts to see what works best. Avoid any solutions that are volatile or potentially flammable. I have cleaned clock parts, metal watch bands and my metal framed glasses and it works very well for that.

    #4 5 years ago

    I just finished my first playfield swap on an AFM and the HF ultrasonic from Chicago Electric played a huge part in this job! I used a 50/50 mixture of Purple Power and water. I have read others using 50/50 Simple Green and water. Anything and everything that would fit went into it. Pop caps, posts, screws, flipper bats, pop switch spoons, metal brackets, Saucer flasher covers, Green Aliens, etc. I used the heat function on most everything. Usually used the 3 minute cycle, and for extremely dirty parts I ran them a second time. I was going to buy a tumbler but I went with this instead. I used Extreme Metal Polish for larger metal items. This thing really works well!

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    #5 5 years ago

    I second what LOTR said . I have the same model you're looking at and use it to clean just about anything that doesn't have screened or heat stamped artwork. I use 50/50 Mean Green and warm water. The 180 second cycle gets most parts looking great.

    Once you start using it you'll wonder how you ever lived without it!

    #6 5 years ago

    I asked the the local pinball restorer Joe Donahue of Tennessee and he doesn't recommend using the ultrasonic at all.

    #7 5 years ago

    I bought one today at local harbor freight .I cleaned all the target pieces on my valley cougar dart board and it worked good.I even put my wife's diamond ring in for a few minutes and it made it sparkle like new!

    #8 5 years ago
    Quoted from t2:

    I asked the the local pinball restorer Joe Donahue of Tennessee and he doesn't recommend using the ultrasonic at all.

    LOL!

    This is what the ultrasonic can do in a matter of minutes.

    Before

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    After

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    #9 5 years ago

    I guess everyone is using the mean green?

    #10 5 years ago

    T2 what did Joe say about the ultrasonic cleaner that was negative?

    #11 5 years ago

    So who wants to buy my tumbler? LOL

    #12 5 years ago
    Quoted from centerflank:

    LOL!
    This is what the ultrasonic can do in a matter of minutes.

    Did you take the coil and plunger apart before you threw it in the ultrasonic or did you just toss the whole thing in?

    -Jay

    #13 5 years ago
    Quoted from centerflank:

    LOL!
    What cleaners are you using this looks great! I assume you can use different cleaners for plastic and metals

    This is what the ultrasonic can do in a matter of minutes.
    Before

    After

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    #14 5 years ago

    Just keep in mind, ultrasonics just clean. They don't polish. Tumblers clean (although I don't use mine for that) AND polish.

    If a metal piece is dirty and tarnished, I'll put it in the ultrasonic to clean then the tumbler to polish and make it look really nice.

    #15 5 years ago
    Quoted from jrobinso99:

    Did you take the coil and plunger apart before you threw it in the ultrasonic or did you just toss the whole thing in?
    -Jay

    I did not put the coil in the ultra, but I left the plunger all together and blew it out with my air compressor really well afterwards.

    #16 5 years ago
    Quoted from jeffc:

    So who wants to buy my tumbler? LOL

    you still need both...

    #17 5 years ago

    i use about a litre of standard engine degreaser in a 27L unit.. the rest just tap water..
    It was a random guess that seemed to work well so I just kept doing it.

    it will take screen printing off in no time so no printed plastics or playfield aprons go in there ... its great for cleaning up posts and anything dirty but as said above .. it does not polish, it just scrubs.

    #18 5 years ago

    I've been wanting to pickup one of these too, and those pics Centerflank put up just pushed me over the edge. I think this is the one tool I've been needing to complete my refurbs.

    #19 5 years ago

    I think they are no brainers for metal parts....

    For anything softer- I'd test sparingly!

    I've been using them for years for firearms parts until recently making the switch to stainless steel pin tumbling (now that REALLY cleans!).

    Drop your wife's jewelry in too - maybe get some brownie points while you're working on your pinball

    #20 5 years ago

    It's no substitute for a tumbler but it is a really useful tool to have in your repertoire as it saves you a lot of time cleaning things. My favorite uses are for star posts, coil brackets, and leaf switches. I also use it to clean small metal parts both before and after tumbling them.

    #21 5 years ago

    It is the BEST tool bang for the buck. Everything that can fit goes in and like Dr. Kelly said also great for pre and post tumble.

    It only cleans but sure makes polishing so much easier and both media and buffing wheels stay cleaner longer and take less grunt work.

    #22 5 years ago

    +1 on the 50/50 Simple Green and water. Add heater function and material comes out sparkling clean.

    #23 5 years ago

    Heater function is a requirement!

    #24 5 years ago

    Just not getting the desired results out of mine - I might need to get another unit.

    Do you need to completly submerge all parts under the fluid mixture?

    #25 5 years ago
    Quoted from Methos:

    Do you need to completly submerge all parts under the fluid mixture?

    Works best that way.

    #26 5 years ago
    Quoted from Methos:

    Just not getting the desired results out of mine - I might need to get another unit.

    I'm considering this one. Pricey but good for the long haul cleaning all kinds of stuff.

    amazon.com link »

    Ken

    #27 5 years ago
    Quoted from Methos:

    Do you need to completly submerge all parts under the fluid mixture?

    Um, yeah.

    #28 5 years ago

    Been singing the praises of ultrasonics for years. Glad people are finally listening

    #29 5 years ago

    For the record - that is what I was doing. Just felt that I had to ask.

    I think it's the level of heat my unit gets - which is not too great.

    #30 5 years ago
    Quoted from johnwartjr:

    Been singing the praises of ultrasonics for years. Glad people are finally listening

    Back in the day when televisions had a "rotary" tuner, we always gave then a bath in an ultrasonic before we serviced them. Definitely cleans the grime and caked on dust.

    #31 5 years ago

    Same one on ebay $50 cheaper from a bunch of sellers....free ship

    ebay.com link » 300 Watt 6 Liters Digital Ultrasonic Cleaner W Timer Heater Glasses Jewelry Lab

    Was just looking at that one this morning.

    Quoted from EM-PINMAN:

    I'm considering this one. Pricey but good for the log haul cleaning all kinds of stuff.
    amazon.com link »
    Ken

    #32 5 years ago

    If someone grabs that one please report back with how it works. It looks like a nice upgrade form the smaller one I currently have?

    #33 5 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    If someone grabs that one please report back with how it works. It looks like a nice upgrade form the smaller one I currently have?

    yes, someone please report on this, because a bigger one than the hf one would be nice to have...

    #34 5 years ago

    I just picked up one of the Harbor Freight ones and gave it a whirl today. Not as effective as I had hoped. I can't tell if my parts are that far gone or if I just got a bunk one. I am going to experiment with some plastic posts in a bit.

    #35 5 years ago
    Quoted from Monster_Bash:

    Same one on ebay $50 cheaper from a bunch of sellers....free ship

    ebay.com link » 300 Watt 6 Liters Digital Ultrasonic Cleaner W Timer Heater Glasses Jewelry Lab

    For $20 more you could get a commercial grade unit with drain feature.

    amazon.com link »

    #36 5 years ago

    If you really want to do it right, you might as well get one of these and do everything at once :

    ebay.com link » Sharpertek 450 Gallon Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaner

    #37 5 years ago
    Quoted from Half_Life:

    For $20 more you could get a commercial grade unit with drain feature.

    amazon.com link »

    The one you found seems to be more deep than it is long. The one I found will hold a part that is 13.4" in length which is more important to me. It also has a Drain Feature.

    Ken

    #38 5 years ago

    I'm always skeptical about anything that Harbor Freight sells that isn't a socket wrench, but I have been very pleasantly surprised by my 2.5 liter US cleaner. It cleans very nicely with a 30% solution of simple green. I use the heat function and run parts through twice on the 480 second setting. Probably overkill, but I have the time. I then wash everything off with cool water and dry thoroughly.

    Do not put anything with paint in the cleaner, or it will come out naked.....learned this the hard way with some coin door inserts and a spinner. This does a great job cleaning without the noise of a tumbler, in a short period of time. But if you want your post screws shiny, you'll still need a tumbler.

    #39 5 years ago
    Quoted from t2:

    I asked the the local pinball restorer Joe Donahue of Tennessee and he doesn't recommend using the ultrasonic at all.

    Here is a picture of Joe Donahue image-172.jpg

    #40 5 years ago
    Quoted from jrobinso99:

    If you really want to do it right, you might as well get one of these and do everything at once :
    ebay.com link » Sharpertek 450 Gallon Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaner

    I think I could just about fit my entire assembled cabinet with playfield in there! This simplifies EVERYTHING!

    #41 5 years ago
    Quoted from ottothebent:

    I bought a 2.5 liter ultrasonic cleaner from harbor freight in 2009. It was the larger of the 2 models available at the time and cost $60.00. The price may be slightly higher now. It still works well after 4 years of use. The newer units may have had some design changes since then. Mine has a built in heating unit and a stainless steel tank liner. It has a digital timer with a range of 90-480 seconds. There are specially formulated cleaning solutions for ultrasonic cleaners, but I usually use dish soap for most cleaning jobs. You could experiment with some stronger soaps on some junk plastic parts to see what works best. Avoid any solutions that are volatile or potentially flammable. I have cleaned clock parts, metal watch bands and my metal framed glasses and it works very well for that.

    Here's the latest HF 2.5L--now listed at $75:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/25-liter-ultrasonic-cleaner-95563.html

    But with one of those 20% coupons, it's back to being a $60 investment again.

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