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Ultrasonic Cleaners

Discussion in 'Vapor Related Equipment' started by t-dub, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. t-dub

    t-dub Vapor Sloth

    Messages:
    6,190
    Location:
    Oregon
    Since picking this up on ebay for $150 a while ago I have managed to collect a few random thoughts. So far I am very impressed with the cleaning capabilities, everything sparkles, in a relatively short period of time. :) The first thing to consider is the power you want. The lowest power units run at 42k cycles and are usually for cleaning eyeglasses and such. They may or may not have a heated tank. The next step up in power are units that run at 40K cycles like the one I purchased. These clean more aggressively and have more power and usually heated tanks and timers like you see pictured below. The 3rd level is 20k cycles, removes varnish and industrial finishes, and is too strong for our purposes.

    Choosing your fluid: This is one of the most important things to consider when you operate these, never operate them dry or it will break and you will be sad. But the fluid is critical because not only should it be designed for the cleaning task and material at hand, but it also transmits the cleaning energy for cavitation, and a mixed fluid does this much better than just plain water. Beware of thermal burns. The liquid will be hot (duh) but when the unit runs it increases in temperature quickly. I keep a dilute solution of Simple Green in mine. Cleans a lot of stuff quickly and seems to exist well in the tank. I have separate solutions for cleaning things like silver or pistol parts. If you want to clean with something flammable, like ISO, you have to put it in a small glass container with the item and "float" it in your other solution in the tank making sure you have tons of ventilation because flammable vapors will be created and can explode.

    I would assume this unit is not label safe. My PNWT was sandblasted so it comes out fine, but I think this thing would remove a lot of cheap labels fairly easily, depending on your cleaning fluid, but small glass parts are coming out immaculate.
    • When cleaning, consider your material carefully, especially jewelry. NEVER clean pearls or soft gemstones like emeralds or they will die and you will be sad :(
    • Watch for thermal burns, things are already hot, and can get hotter quickly after you begin :mad:
    • Avoid putting skin in the unit while in operation it can cause cavitation injuries :o
    • Always use the least amount of cleaning time to achieve desired results.
    • Never put flammable solvents in the main tank . . . :rip:
    • Don't run the unit dry or it will break and you will be sad :(
    • Always consider how the fluid AND the cavitation energy AND the heat will affect the item BEFORE you begin cleaning or you could ruin something and you will be be sad :(
    • These can be noisy while operating.
    • Choose the shape of the tank for what you wish to clean. I need to find a longer one of these that can do full size glass diffusers.
    • Always exercise common sense and best safety practices. Clean is no accident . . . :peace:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014
    white russian, Vicki, 215z and 11 others like this.
  2. Puffers

    Puffers Micro-Climate Mastermind

    Messages:
    1,133
    Location:
    Cali, Bay Area
    Good stuff as always T-dub, I always enjoy seeing your lab gear :tup: . I wonder how effective it would be to use ultrasonic cavitation for dry sieving trichome's, or purging solvents from oil.... :science:

    I seem to remember reading about using ultra sonic cavitation for canna-oil and soy lechitin binding. Lots of possibilities here I may need to invest in one of these when I have less projects on the burners :lol:
     
    farscaper, t-dub and SSVUN~YAH like this.
  3. GR

    GR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    632
    Have you done it with PBW solution?
     
    215z, Caligula, Shrike and 2 others like this.
  4. t-dub

    t-dub Vapor Sloth

    Messages:
    6,190
    Location:
    Oregon
    @Puffers - lots of possibilities exist, my only regret is i didn't get one that would fit an entire HydraTube.
    I have used PBW in a floating container, not the main tank. One thing to remember, the cavitation will make your cleaning fluids "off gas" in a way, which will mess with the oxyclean portion of PBW a little, but I had great results cleaning ELBs this way. But all cleaning fluids get "de gassed" by the cavitation to a degree.
     
    GR likes this.
  5. Enchantre

    Enchantre Grandma Dabs

    Messages:
    3,458
    Location:
    WA USA
    Hubby just got a "Chicago Electric Power Tools" brand Digital ultrasonic cleaner (2.6 qt tank capacity) from Harbor Freight Tools. He'd been wanting one, too.

    Is it gonna be a problem to run it with just plain water, and just use containers to hold items/cleaning solutions?
     
    t-dub likes this.
  6. t-dub

    t-dub Vapor Sloth

    Messages:
    6,190
    Location:
    Oregon
    No, not a problem using plain water. You just don't want to run them dry.
     
    Shrike and Enchantre like this.
  7. wolfJflywheel

    wolfJflywheel Active Member

    Messages:
    61
    Nice cleaner t-dub!

    I've been using a large consumer-grade ultrasonic cleaner for a few years now. It manages to clean even my largest items easily, generally with just plain water, though I occasionally mix in ISO, and plan to wash my collection with PBW soon since it's been a little while since I've cleaned things. My largest piece these days is just over a foot and a half, so I have to lay it on its side and pull water into it then plug the joint, but it always gets the job done. Plugs in the joints also allow me to keep the majority of the ISO/PBW inside the piece, so I can get away with using far less when I do use it.

    How large is the chamber on your cleaner t-dub? $150 seems like an amazing deal on an industrial grade ultrasonic cleaner. I think my cleaner maxes at 80C, might even be as low as 60C. Though I don't know if I'd want to run the water too hot anyway, I'm always paranoid about too much heat on my glass. Still, I like these large no-frills machines and the higher temps might be nice for stubborn stuff. If I could find one of these (for a reasonable price) that the FC-1000 could lay in comfortably I'd be on it in a second.

    Also, I'm very tempted to experiment with making bubble hash in 1 gallon bubble bags and a small bucket inside of one of these to agitate things better than I can just by stirring. Someone should try it and report back. :lol:
     
    t-dub likes this.
  8. t-dub

    t-dub Vapor Sloth

    Messages:
    6,190
    Location:
    Oregon
    Its about half the size of a shoe box I guess. If I had it to do over I would get a bigger one with more length. Its good for lab equipment, pistol parts, and hydratubes though.
     
  9. wolfJflywheel

    wolfJflywheel Active Member

    Messages:
    61
    Cool. Yeah, I feel you man. My old housemate got a little ultrasonic cleaner for a pendant he had and we gave it a go on a bowl. Realized how well it worked, so we got the largest size we could find/afford on amazon. He left me the big one when he moved to Co, but I might mail it out to him someday to use on his stuff. When I do I'll probably order a 30L model with a 20" wide chamber, so I can fit any piece I'd want (not investing in any more 2.5 footers, haha) with less risk of breakage, and would probably be able to knock out half my collection in one load. That's probably a long way off though, since a 30L is gonna run me $550+ and take up even more space.
     
    t-dub likes this.

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