My first use of an ultrasound cleaner has me wondering if I wasted my money. I tried it on these valve spring seats and castle nuts. The nuts were especially dirty with caked-on dirt/grease/oil/rust.
As you can see here, the crud stayed.
The liquid I used was WD-40 Rust Remover (not the lubricant spray). I ran the cleaner ten minutes at a time for a total of 30 minutes. Do I need a different liquid? More time? More heat? The lack of any results so far is disappointing.
Ultrasonic cleaning is useless on those parts. We use them in our facility and I've found after twenty years of using them they are only good for removing oil/coolant from components. The tanks we use are heated and use a special cleaner make for ultrasonic cleaning.
For the parts you show in the picture above I would use a rotary grit blast machine, they work very well.
An ultrasonic is for molecular level cleaning and nothing more. It's meant to remove the remaining traces left on the surface.. essentially, when it looks clean, that means it's ready for the ultrasonic.
I think a dry vibration type cleaner with media would be better. There are some interesting hand made examples on you tube. The solution type ultrasonic cleaner is good for gummy carburetors ... but with any solution type ultra sonic cleaner the object must be suspended in the solution. If it's resting on the bottom it will fry the machine.
Uncle Stan has some comments about ultrasonic cleaning in these threads:
I wonder if a rock tumbler would work for nuts and bolts to get the heavy stuff off? Would it damage them?
The late Gary Hoonsbeen had a nice home made set up for tumbling parts.
It was plastic tank the size of cream can strapped to a horizontal plywood disc that was rotated by an electric motor via chain drive (perhaps a barbecue rotisserie motor). The whole unit was mounted to a wall in his workshop.
He put media and soapy water in the tank and then tumbled the parts. I think he may have written about it in the HCCA Gazette. I think he also dry tumbled reproduction cast iron parts.
He would also strap gas tanks to the disk and tumble clean the insides with soapy water and media. He tumble cleaned the interior of the gas tanks of my dad's touring and my roadster.
(Message edited by Erik_johnson on March 07, 2018)
Build yourself one of those electrolysis tanks. Will take care of that ring of hardware.
I have not tried the ultrasonic cleaner for that application.I use it with Mean Green degreaser or something similar to clean gum and such from carburetors.
Mark - look at this tumbler made from PVC plumbing and a treadmill - clever and funny.
All kinds of good ideas on YouTube:
We used a rotary grit blaster to remove casting scale and it worked very well. I don't remember the name of the machine off hand but it was table top size with a perforated drum. Set the timer for twenty minutes and you're done. Drum rotated pretty slow as not to damage parts.
Erik: I remember one in the HCCA magazine that used bicycle chain and sprocket mounted to the wall. I think the plywood disk had a PVC pipe with one end sealed, and the other with a screw cap for loading and unloading. The pipe was held on with straps and the whole think revolved slowly. Not sure if I could ever find that article, but will try.
Steve: I am a big believer in the electrolysis method to get rid of rust, as well as Evapo Rust. See you in Chickasha. Tim
Tim - that's the article that Gary Hoonsbeen wrote about the setup he had in his basement. Like I mentioned, he also strapped gas tanks to the disk to tumble clean the interiors.
Gary passed away unexpectedly two years ago so it's been a few years since the last time I was at his house.
Ultrasonic cleaning works fantastic if you have high quality equipment and use the proper cleaning supplies for what you are doing.
The inexpensive, generic, no-name units that are available for a few hundred bucks or less often do look and sound like an ultrasonic cleaner, but donít even come close to the same performance. A good 5 gallon machine will cost around $2k new. Used machines are often a poor investment due to the cost of repairing electronic or mechanical issues due to prior misuse.
There are specific soaps / solutions / chemicals formulated for oil and heavy dried greasy dirt, another for carbon, another for rust, and another for non-ferrous metals. There isnít one soap that works well for everything.
The 1/2Ē of caked on dried greasy dirt on an old front cover is a great example. You can soak one of these in a solvent parts washer for a week, then scrape & brush it for twenty minutes to get it really clean. Or I can toss it in the basket of my 5 gallon heated ultrasonic cleaner with all the rest of the engine parts, set the timer for 40 minutes, pull it out, hose it off with hot water, and its perfectly clean. My machine even takes most paint off.