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Old March 2, 2000, 11:12 AM   #1
JH
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Hi All:
I've been looking into ultrasonic gun cleaning systems made by a couple of companies, L&R and Crest. The only thing I can determine for sure is that they are super expensive! Does anyone have experience with such systems? If so, how well do they work. THanks.

Jeff
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Old March 2, 2000, 12:19 PM   #2
James K
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One shop where I worked had an ultrasonic cleaner. Take off the grips, drop the gun in, and it came out CLEAN. Save a lot of time in disassembly/reassembly.

We didn't trust it with plastic parts and of course not with wood. That was before all the polymer guns so I don't know if it would hurt them or not, though I doubt it.

As to cost, remember that stuff sold as gun related is often jacked up in price even though the same stuff is sold elsewhere. Try an industrial supply or auto supply catalog; a lot of auto shops have sonic cleaners.

Jim

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Old March 2, 2000, 12:40 PM   #3
Skorzeny
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So, once the gun is cleaned, how is it re-lubed? By hand or can the machine be used to lube as well?

I don't know about other guns, but H&K USP series (with polymer parts) is perfectly safe with ultrasonic cleaners.

Skorzeny

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For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

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Old March 2, 2000, 01:10 PM   #4
ds1973
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JH, you may want to look at scientific equipment suppliers too. They may also be over priced because they're scientific, but they shouldn't be much different from the ones sold for handguns. I clean everything from stainless steel parts to silicon wafers in an ultrasonic bath in my lab all the time and it works great. The problem with leaving plastic parts on the gun (like the grips) is a result of the chemicals present in the cleaning solution.

for scientific suppliers try (none of these places post prices so you'd have to call to find out.)
http://www.fishersci.com (type ultrasonic cleaners into the search field)
http://www.unisonics.com.au/
http://www.boekelsci.com/ultrasonic_baths.htm
http://www.bertech.com/product5/ultrasonic_cleaners.htm

Also try Yahoo's exact phrase match to search for ultrasonic cleaners.
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Old March 2, 2000, 01:13 PM   #5
Mal H
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Moving to Gear and Accessories forum...
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Old March 2, 2000, 01:38 PM   #6
4V50 Gary
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I spoke with the sales rep of the ultrasonic gun cleaning system. When questioned, he admitted that it was the same stuff your dentist used. That made me consider looking into a used unit.
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Old March 2, 2000, 09:14 PM   #7
hksigwalther
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I'm planning to get one myself through one of the lab supply places or MSC. I'm getting a quart size bath, not sure if I want it heated. Cheapest I've seen for this size is $300 - $350. They work great for eyeglasses too. Be sure to place whatever parts you put into it onto a non-abrasive surface in the bath to avoid scratching. One method is to place them in a glass or plastic bottle (filled with water and cleaning fluid) then place it into the bath.

- Ron V.
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Old March 2, 2000, 09:57 PM   #8
Rinspeed
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I work for one of the larger Ultrasonic
equipment companies. They really work great
for cleaning any hard material such as
metal or glass, but would be less effective
on polymer guns because the plastic will
absorb some of the ultrasonic energy. A used
bench top cleaner would probably be the best
way to go to save some money. Most companies
have demos or R&D equipment that they will
sell. Its fairly important to get one with
heat because the water must be hot for the
ultrasonics to work properly. Even though
they are fairly effective with just plain
water, a mild detergent helps accelerate
the cleaning action. If any of you have any
questions let me know or if you want to e-mail me thats fine also. jeffg
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Old March 3, 2000, 12:21 AM   #9
JH
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Hi All:

Thanks for so many helpful replies regarding ultrasonic cleaners. It would have taken forever to get such information before the net.

Jeff
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Old March 3, 2000, 12:38 AM   #10
JH
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Do the ultrasonic cleaners clean all the powder residue from the gun and the copper fouling from the barrel?

Jeff
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Old March 3, 2000, 10:39 AM   #11
Skorzeny
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I normally use MPro-7 to clean my guns and the company that makes it states that it is safe for ultrasonic or dipping applications.

So, is it safe to use solvents in all ultrasonic cleaners or do some ultrasonic cleaners require water?

Also, if one uses the tank to lube the gun, how does one get rid of the excess oil?

Skorzeny

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For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

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Old March 5, 2000, 04:51 AM   #12
fastforty
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Skorzeny: You can put water in the tank, and any solution in a smaller container. Most laboratories use beakers labeled for each agent, even capping them for storage and quick re-use. Hate to tell you guys, but besides the ones I use in my dental lab, I've got one out in the shop that's 1' by 2' and 1-1/2' deep. Rifle recievers go in it nicely, with just a little barrel sticking out. Really nasty machine though, if you don't turn it off before sticking your hand in the water, it feels like red hot chicken wire is passing through your flesh.
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Old March 5, 2000, 10:01 PM   #13
hksigwalther
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Ooooo...sticking your hand in the ultrasonic cleaner for a long time is not a good idea (in my opinion). UCs use cavitation to clean (please correct me if I'm wrong, jeffg). Basically, what happens is microscopic bubbles are produced by the ultrasound and then collapse very quickly. Usually, one side of the bubble collapses first and this produces a small jet of high speed fluid heading towards the uncollapsed side. If the bubble is near a solid object, that jet will fly into it. It will be enough to dislodge any dirt which is the cleaning action. If you have a very soft solid object, you could potentialy disintegrate it (by the water jet). I once threw a dead bug into an ultrasound and it tore it apart. This might not work on all UCs as they don't all work in the same frequency.

Now...seeing that humans are 'bags of mostly water', I'm sure that some fluids in the hand would cavitate against bone, tissue, etc. which are less solid than metal.

- Ron V.
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Old March 6, 2000, 10:37 AM   #14
Skorzeny
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This is really an interesting thread.

I still would like to know how one can drain the excess oil away after submerging a firearm in an oil bath.

I stopped using a CLP (I use MPro-7 cleaner and the Ultimate Gun Lubrication from the same company) after I found that the CLP would "stick around" in the internals of a gun and slowly ooze out into the magazine and the cartrdige!

Now I clean the internals with only patches and a brush, and oil only a handful of parts.

Any tips?

Skorzeny

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For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

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Old March 6, 2000, 11:26 AM   #15
buzunta
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I am also interested in an UC.But have not researched them.What would happen to MIM Parts on a Kimber or any other Gun.
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Old March 7, 2000, 04:35 PM   #16
fubsy
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Talk about timeing....Im not using ultra sonic but Im purchasing a counter top parts cleaner and will use mineral spirts for the solvent for cleaning the pistols....cost is $160 + tax, and its by Graymills and is 151/2" wide by 23 1/2" long by 6" deep with a soaking depth of 3 3/4" and function with as little as two gallons of solvent.....while I was at it I priced a pump to make a tube for my barreled actions...I plan on using 12" around pcv with end cap and using mineral spirits again and the submersible pump, Im considering using air through the bottom of the tube to help clean......the pump is $70 + tax....
Years ago I used a sonic cleaner on a 12ga sbs savage/fox and it stripped the blueing off because in my ignorance i left it in too long....lol..
I also use a low pressure air compressor one of those small ones to blow the stuff out of the mechanisms.....if any of yall choose to do that use low pressure...fubsy.

[This message has been edited by fubsy (edited March 07, 2000).]
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Old March 7, 2000, 08:07 PM   #17
Rinspeed
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hksigwalther,
That was a good explanation of the theory
behind Ultrasonic cavitation and I'm impressed. Most of the benchtop cleaners used for smaller industrial parts are using
the lower frequencies such as 25 or 40 KHz.
They are fairly harmless to place your hand
but will sting a little bit. When you move
up to the higher frequencies (70 120 170 KHz)
used by the optical and computer industry,
placing your hand in them can be down right
painful.
Skorz,
In my opinion it would be a bad idea to
use a lubricant/preservative a your cleaning
media. Not that it wouldn't work well, but
as you've surmised, what do you do with the
excess. I would think the best technique
seeing the gun is warm when you take it out
is to just blow off the water/solution with
compressed air. Then maybe a good coat of
Rem. Drilube or something similar. jeffg


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Old March 8, 2000, 12:58 AM   #18
JH
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After reviewing all of the helpful responses to this thread, I took the leap and ordered an ultrasonic cleaner. I looked at several makes and models and decided on a Branson B5510MTH unit. The unit has a heater, a mechanical timer and an internal 11.5" X 9.5" X 6" tank that is rated at 469 watts. Particularly helpful articles about ultrasonic cleaning can be found at: http://www.smtinspection.com/unisonicfaq.htm
and http://www.healthsonics.com/houke.htm

I'll let you know how it works.

Jeff
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Old March 13, 2000, 01:57 AM   #19
JH
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Well, I tried the new ultrasonic cleaning unit. I used Mpro7 in the tank because I haven't received my order for gun cleaning solution. I called Mpro7 and they said not to dilute the stuff as it doesn't mix with water. I think that MPro7 is pretty expensive to use as a cleaning medium. After about 10 minutes in the heated tank, I pulled the parts out and they were sqeeky clean. The Trijicon night sights were unharmed(as promised). A little lubing and that's it. Stubborn copper fouling might require Mpro7, dwell time and some brushing before ultrasonic cleaning. So far, I'm quite impressed.

Jeff
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Old March 14, 2000, 11:19 AM   #20
Skorzeny
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Jeff:

Lucky you! I wish I had an ultrasonic cleaner.

Can't you strain the MPro-7 through a cheese cloth or a stocking and then re-use (as the company that produces MPro-7 recommends)? That way, it wouldn't be so expensive to use.

After your pistol is squeaky clean, how do you re-lubricate it? What parts? How do you lubricate the internals w/o detail-stripping?

Skorzeny

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For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu
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Old March 14, 2000, 12:06 PM   #21
JH
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Hi Skorzeny:
Good question. I don't want oil dripping all over the gun but, since the cleaning process srips all lubricant from all part, there is a danger of rust. I'm going to try immersing the frame in lubricant and run the machine for about 1 minute. I'll lube the slide by hand to keep the firing pin channel dry.

Best,

Jeff

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Old March 15, 2000, 03:56 AM   #22
fastforty
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Birchwood Casey Sheath. Very good metal conditioner, spray on, drip dry.
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Old March 17, 2000, 11:27 PM   #23
Rinspeed
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Jeff,
If you wanted to add a pump and filter
to your cleaner, I possibly could hook you
up with a pump. I don't know about a filter
but you could use a regular water filter
available from your local hardware store.
I would assume you have a ball valve for your
drain, all you would have to do is add a
Tee before the valve and run some plastic
tubing to the pump and through the filter.
let me know. jeffg
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Old March 17, 2000, 11:40 PM   #24
JH
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Hi Jeffg:
Thanks for the idea of a pump. I hav tried another idea that seems fairly simply and economical. I fill the ultrasonic tank with water and put the parts to be cleaned in a ziploc with a small amount of cleaning, or lubing solution. This simplifies cleanup and minimizes the quantity of solution used. The only downside I can think of is that the ultrasound waves might be filtered a bit by the plastic. What do you think?

Jeff
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Old March 18, 2000, 01:56 PM   #25
Rinspeed
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Jeff,
I think your idea would work pretty good
except for what happens to all the residue.
I would think it might be better to use a
little more solution to get some space between it and the parts. One way to tell
how much the plastic it affecting the cavitation is to place a piece of aluminum
foil in the Zip lock with your solution
and run it for 45-60 seconds. Then put
another piece the same size directly in the
water and run it the same amount of time.
By comparing the two you can tell if the
plastic is hurting you. One of the standard
performance tests in the industry is a small
ceramic disk that you coat one side with
#2 pencil lead. After slowly agitating this
disk in the water for one minute you can
tell if the generator is properly tuned
and how well your solution/water is degased.
I hope your manual explained the importance
of degasing the water. If you send me your
address I will mail you a couple of the disks. Is your cleaner 40KHz, I would
think you could put your hand in the tank
without a lot of pain. They work pretty good
for cleaning your hands and its neat to
watch the ultrasonics pull the dirt right out from under your fingernails. take care Jeffg
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