ultrasonic, compressor, parts cleaner ? if you could only have one?

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KingAether

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Over the winter the shed roof took a beating and at one point it took a week to notice one of the panels had blown away. While things in there aren't at all as bad as you might imagine, its not pretty, so i decided this spring and summer i want to undertake a full restoration overhaul project and go one by one through everything including the machinery and bring it all back as close to new (or better) as i possibly can.

Im considering finding a used 15-30l ultrasonic cleaner for hand tools and disassembled machinery parts up to and inc. motors, spindles, drivewheels, etc but im curious if anyone has opinions or advice to might make me reconsider ? ('m also wondering if i could just bung up the exit pipe on a spare ultrasonic humidifier and throw parts in?)

A compressor is another option but i'm honestly not sure about blasting any softerparts, machined parts, cast iron beds and moving parts and i'm not practised in spraying expensive enamel paints

A parts cleaner is another option but i just can't find a good reason why i would manually do what the ultrasonic will do passively other than possibly its more eco friendly due to having a filter and being emptied out less ? 🤷‍♂️

I know none of these are exactly a replacement for one another but if you had to have one and only one to keep your workshop in ship-shape, which would it be ?
 

Lorenzl

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One money saving trick for ultrasonic cleaners is to put parts in a glass container with the cleaning fluid. You can then fill the tank with tap water then add the glass container so you save on the cleaning fluid.
 

Lorenzl

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I have just remembered a friend put his wife's rings into clean them. They came out nice and clean but some of the jewels fell out :rolleyes:
 

kinverkid

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I use a smaller ultrasonic cleaner mainly for airbrushes but they are very useful for all sorts of things including jewellery. Lorenzi offered good advice to put the items in a glass jar although I prefer a nylon seal bag and suspend it in the water taking the cage out. As for stones falling out of jewellery - and they may. You might find that they fell out because they were only held in by crud or the skin of their teeth and the cleaner just shook them out. Nice thing is when they fall out in the cleaner you haven't lost the gems that were going to fall out soon anyway. I would have to move a piece of machinery out before I could move a 15 to 30ltr tank in.

Gary
 

Fergie 307

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Jewels are held in either by the edge of the setting being peened over to hold them, typical for round or cabuchon stones, or by claws. They do tend to work loose over time, claw settings being worse for this. If you can find a proper jeweller then it shouldn't be too costly to have them reset, providing the claws haven't actually broken off. Helps of you keep the temperature down to about 20-25°c. Some jewellery has semi precious stones set on top of foil to enhance their appearance. You don't want to put these in an ultrasonic cleaner, the fluid can get in between the stone and the foil and ruin the appearance.
 

Ollie78

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I bought a 15L ultrasonic machine. Works great on my spray gun and stuff.
Went with 15L as the 10L only has 4 transducers but 15L has 6 for a tenner more.
I got the cheapest one (amazon or ebay, I forget) with rotary controls, they all appear very similar in construction and materials unless you spend 3 times more.

Ollie
 

Fergie 307

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Oh and I use the glass jar idea for watch parts. A Good tip is to get some stainless mesh, smaller than anything you will put in them. Cut a disc and put it in the bottom of the jar over some small stainless nuts or washers to hold it slightly off the bottom. This way any dirt collects at the bottom, under the mesh, and your parts stay nice and clean, rather than swilling about in the dirt that has been removed from them. You can buy various sizes of mesh ball containers which can also be useful for keeping parts separate whilst washing them. You can also recycle your dirty cleaning fluid by passing it through a paper coffee filter.
 

Fergie 307

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For big stuff that is really minging you can't beat a good soak. I have an old galvanised water tank full of the cheap thinners you get for spray gun cleaning. Lives outside in the garden as a bit of a fire hazard! Big enough to accommodate a cylinder head or small engine block. Just leave in in there for a few days and it removes oil, varnish deposits, carbon and paint. Quite disgusting stuff comes out looking like new.
 

KingAether

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Thank you for all the tips to using the cleaner. Seems like that will be the way to go currently.. Dissassemble a machine, parts in pots and then in the cleaner while i start peeling paint
 

BiffoBear

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Allendale Ultrasonics have a good range of sizes of cleaners. I've got their 3L version which I use mainly for printed circuit boards but they do machines up to 27L.
They've got some useful info on their website including this article about cleaning jewellery.....
 

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