Ultrasonic Cleaner


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Jay81

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Apr 26, 2015
2,705
3,752
Roseville MI
#1
I recently saw in another thread that another caber had an ultrasonic cleaner, and had excellent results cleaning bike parts with it so I decided to get one myself for cleaning hub parts. I thought I'd write up a review after giving it a try.
Previously I was using a plastic tub with paint thinner to soak the parts in, usually for about a week. Then I would take them out and use my air gun to remove any loose grease/dirt and dry the parts. I would still have to take a small screwdriver and chip away old hard grease in some places.

So the ultrasonic cleaner arrived the other day and I decided to give it a try. They make many different sizes, mine is 3.2 liter and rectangular. I have also seen square and round.
Here it is
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The good thing is, it's wide enough to do the axles. However I could not fit all the parts from both hubs at one time. The manual says to leave space around the parts.

Here's the New Departure hub guts before going in.
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I put the parts in the basket and filled with enough Simple Green to cover the parts.
Manual says water, soap and water or a cleaning solution may be used. I may try the next one with Dawn dish soap and water just too see, but I doubt just water will work on a hub. I had the parts in there for one hour at 60 degrees Celsius, as it does not have a farenheight reading. I looked it up and if I remember correctly that's about 140 degrees. Dinner was ready at the same time as the parts, so I shut it off and left it for a couple hours until the kids went to bed, and went out to check on it.
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I was surprised when I took the lid off, it was still pretty warm even though it's cold outside. Must be decently insulated. Although it did seem to take a while to get up to temp. As for the parts, I was surprised. Very clean, except one hub bearing. It was clean on the outside but still full of crud inside. I was amazed with the rest. I would not recommend putting any copper brake disks in there, as some of the parts were turned copper color. But otherwise, I'm impressed.
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Took the basket out and one by one used the air gun to dry the parts and did a quick wipe down with a blue "shop towel on a roll"
For the disks, just dried them with one of the blue towels. Planning on putting the rest of the parts in tomorrow.

So far I really like it. It was affordable, plus it cleans quick and easy.
The bad, it's generic/no brand name and made in China. But we'll see how it holds up.
The Simple Green should be good for several uses, so I'll reuse what's in there for the other parts and report back.
 

fordmike65

Riding a '37 Colson Imperial
Mar 4, 2012
17,035
25,923
East Los
#2
I used to use the ultrasonic tank here at the shop, but noticed I would loose some plating. Now I use the heated water-based solvent tank with great results.
 

Talewinds

I live for the CABE
Sep 13, 2010
1,897
178
Newton, WI, United States
#3
We had the same one at a bike shop I worked at. Very effective. Probably the best thing about it is the "set it and forget it" element, just dump the grimey parts in there and go back to working on the rest of the bike while they cook.
 
Likes: Jay81

Kato

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Dec 10, 2011
699
833
52
Cincinnati, OH
#4
Super looking job !!!! I've gotta get me one of those. I've used them before and they kicked butt.
I had a old snowmobile carb and didn't want to do a full tear down and rebuild so I took just the needed stuff apart and did a 20% Simple Green / 80% hot-hot water cleaning for 20 mins. The carb looked almost new when it came out. It cleaned so good I had to retune the carb a bit because of all the gunk / varnish it got out.
 

ABC Services

Finally riding a big boys bike
Feb 14, 2011
358
107
Racine, WI
#5
I dont think I would use a dish soap as it may cause too many bubbles. I bought one that looks very similar to yours and after a couple of uses I noticed it wasn't working as good as it did, took it apart and found one of the motors came loose, reattached it and haven't had a problem since. My solution is water, purple power degreaser, and sometimes a little vinegar. To remove heavy grease I will add in a very little bit of "Super Washing Soda". You need to be careful with the vinegar and the washing soda as it strips plating and will discolor parts very quickly. when using those I will check it every 10 minutes.
 

Talewinds

I live for the CABE
Sep 13, 2010
1,897
178
Newton, WI, United States
#6
ABC's recipe sounds good. We washed parts on a daily basis and went through a LOT of solution, especially in winter. We found that the powder mix would have very negative effect on a lot of finishes, especially anodizing. For a cost effective, material-sympathetic solution we settled on a mix of 3/4 water 1/4 Simple Green.
 
Likes: Jay81

Jay81

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Apr 26, 2015
2,705
3,752
Roseville MI
#7
Round two. Cleaned the rest of the parts in the same simple green as yesterday. These parts came out nice and clean as well.
There were no copper brake disks today, but the parts still had a copper color when I took them out. I dumped out the liquid and the tank was all copper colored. Some of it wiped off, some didn't. I'd imagine it'll come off with more use.
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Before and after wiping down the tank
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Likes: bricycle

RustySprockets

Look Ma, No Hands!
Aug 15, 2013
55
62
Glen Burnie, United States
#11
They're great devices. I've seen it discussed elsewhere that Simple Green and cuprous metals don't get along. One must keep the solution weak when dealing with copper, brass, and bronze. It has nothing to do with the ultrasonic cleaning action itself.
 

Muleman121

Finally riding a big boys bike
Nov 28, 2012
311
289
Murrieta, United States
#12
They're great devices. I've seen it discussed elsewhere that Simple Green and cuprous metals don't get along. One must keep the solution weak when dealing with copper, brass, and bronze. It has nothing to do with the ultrason ic cleaning action itself.
Well written article. I'm sold on the idea. Recently read another article about using a tumbler with different media such as walnut shells or baking soda to do the cleaning. Anyone else try these?




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Mr.RED

Look Ma, No Hands!
Dec 17, 2017
96
120
35
Massachusetts
#14
I had a sonic cleaner for a year or so it worked great on cleaning up parts really a must have for full restorations. I am looking to get another one now I use to run mine with grease lighting cut with a cup of water. As f the tumblers with crushed walnut shells I've used them before they work good for cleaning and polishing up bolts .
 

GiovanniLiCalsi

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 29, 2012
3,008
748
Alameda, California
#15
I had a sonic cleaner for a year or so it worked great on cleaning up parts really a must have for full restorations. I am looking to get another one now I use to run mine with grease lighting cut with a cup of water. As f the tumblers with crushed walnut shells I've used them before they work good for cleaning and polishing up bolts .
I use ultrasonic cleaners for cleaning custom made cast jewelry, then use a tumbler
 

PCHiggin

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jan 22, 2008
3,168
915
Ryderwood, United States
#16
I used the one @ work with a roughly 70/30 Simple Green mix,it worked great,just takes s little time. OK with me,beats getting laquer thinner or mineral spirits soaked into my hands,not mention the crud.I have XX large hands and cant keep a pair of gloves on them while working
 

Kato

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Dec 10, 2011
699
833
52
Cincinnati, OH
#18
Can you tell me where you bought yours.........make / model etc?
I think I saw one on Amazon that looks like yours but thought I'd check..
Appreciate any info
Kato
 

Barto

I live for the CABE
Mar 13, 2015
1,360
1,158
Somers, United States
#19
Hmmm, sounds like a lot easier then leaning over my parts cleaner trying not to splash it on my daughter Bug. The best part - my brother bought one to help clean parts when his Son was riding Motocross.. I'm sure I could borrow it for the next several years:)
 

Dave Stromberger

I'm Afraid I Can't Let You Do That
Staff member
System Administrator
May 20, 2006
1,874
2,550
49
Cheney, WA
#20

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