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Catch-22

Ultrasonic cleaners - recommendations

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Right - I’m just about fed up of using the dry walnut media for tumbling. Takes too long and I just don’t like all the fine material in the air...especially when it’s been mixed with all the hazardous particles left over from firing. And the fine dust left on the cases...just hate it.

So Im thinking of buying a U/S cleaner. I’m a cheapskate and I’m not looking to buy a Lyman or RCBS unit.

Has anyone bought/used a cheapo unit off Amazon? Thoughts and recommendations welcomed!

Will be used for anything from .223ai to .338Norma Mag. 

Thanks!

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I’ve used one of these for a few years now.... it’s been very good, the de-gas function is a useful addition. I bought a 6l one in order to be able to clean up bits off the bike...carbs, brake cylinders etc etc.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Professional-Ultrasonic-Cleaner-6L-DIGITAL-SMART-DEGAS-heating-SS-Basket-cover/282994398090?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

To keep the main water clean, I use 2 Asda pickled onion jars for the cleaning solution with 20cases in each at a time... 8-10mins at 30c. We’ve got hard water from the tap so I just use rainwater from the butt.... level teaspoon of catering citric acid and a dab of Fairy/dishwasher rinse-aid in each jar.

 

 

Rinse the cases, rinse again in hot water with a couple of teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda to neutralise the citric, rinse in cold water... then I blow them through with an air-line and into a Lakeland desiccating unit to dry them off ( no airing cupboard)

et voila....

 

969CD6DD-772A-4738-86E0-8F252470CA8E.jpeg

93ADF962-BAF3-451B-BB25-E6AC2DD2C858.jpeg

(That’s before I took the label off! )

Fizz

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I have an industrial rated US cleaner. It's a table top model with temp controller and timer. The last two 'cheap' ones I bought cost me about $250 US combined. They lasted about a year, each. This unit was closer to $500 but has done hundreds of loads of brass over the last 7 years. It's fast and efficient. At the time it pinched the wallet but it has been money well spent.~Andrew

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Many thanks to all who replied.

I’ve gone ahead and got a mid-priced unit off Amazon. My goal was to keep the budget lower than the Lyman and Hornady types. It was one of the few that had a 1yr warranty (many of the ‘industrial’ types off Amazon and EBay don’t list having any warranty). If the unit packs in after a year, I’ll send it back and shell out for a more expensive unit. 

Thanks also for the tips regarding home made solution. I like the glass jars to preserve the unit itself. Especially useful if intending to use the US for cleaning other items that you don’t want carbon and the more toxic remnants to be on.

In addition to water and citric acid with wash liquid, I’ve read a few people use cheap supermarket lemonade (has high citric acid content) and wash liquid to do the job. I’ll try a few things to see.

And a great tip regarding the dehydrator. Another purchase made.

Now I’ve read that applying some graphite or HbN to the inside of the necks prior to bullet seating is necessary as the US cleaned necks are ‘grabby’, not having any carbon on them. A few articles suggest having some lube there helps with neck tension and ES/SD values. I use HbN on my bullets, so i think I’ll give the inside of the necks a quick swab with HbN on a q-tip prior to seating too.

Thanks again!

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Apart from being sticky....I’d have thought you’d need to let lemonade stand for more than a while to get rid of the bubbles? I let the water stand for a day or so to get rid of the bubbles that naturally form on the sides of the container.. less work for the de-gas function.

 If you don’t de-aerate the water, the bubbles will cavitate on the surface of whatever you’re trying to clean thereby reducing the effect as they act as a cushion.  

Catering citric acid is dirt cheap on fleabay....

https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=cotric+acid&_sacat=0

Cheers

 

Fizz

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2 hours ago, fizzbangwhallop said:

Apart from being sticky....I’d have thought you’d need to let lemonade stand for more than a while to get rid of the bubbles? I let the water stand for a day or so to get rid of the bubbles that naturally form on the sides of the container.. less work for the de-gas function.

 If you don’t de-aerate the water, the bubbles will cavitate on the surface of whatever you’re trying to clean thereby reducing the effect as they act as a cushion.  

Catering citric acid is dirt cheap on fleabay....

https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=cotric+acid&_sacat=0

Cheers

 

Fizz

Superb - many thanks for the insight and help! 👍

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2 hours ago, fizzbangwhallop said:

Apart from being sticky....I’d have thought you’d need to let lemonade stand for more than a while to get rid of the bubbles? I let the water stand for a day or so to get rid of the bubbles that naturally form on the sides of the container.. less work for the de-gas function.

 If you don’t de-aerate the water, the bubbles will cavitate on the surface of whatever you’re trying to clean thereby reducing the effect as they act as a cushion.  

Catering citric acid is dirt cheap on fleabay....

https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=cotric+acid&_sacat=0

Cheers

 

Fizz

what sort of mix do you use ?

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21 hours ago, Dellboy said:

what sort of mix do you use ?

Up in my first post...

“To keep the main water clean, I use 2 Asda pickled onion jars for the cleaning solution with 20cases in each at a time... 8-10mins at 30c. We’ve got hard water from the tap so I just use rainwater from the butt.... level teaspoon of catering citric acid and a dab of Fairy/dishwasher rinse-aid in each jar.”

Strangely I found that that a heaped teaspoon wasn’t as effective... haven’t a clue as to why?

When I was looking into it, Seaclean was recommended, bought some but I’ve never used it as the citric works well enough.

cheers

 

fizz

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33 minutes ago, fizzbangwhallop said:

Up in my first post...

“To keep the main water clean, I use 2 Asda pickled onion jars for the cleaning solution with 20cases in each at a time... 8-10mins at 30c. We’ve got hard water from the tap so I just use rainwater from the butt.... level teaspoon of catering citric acid and a dab of Fairy/dishwasher rinse-aid in each jar.”

Strangely I found that that a heaped teaspoon wasn’t as effective... haven’t a clue as to why?

When I was looking into it, Seaclean was recommended, bought some but I’ve never used it as the citric works well enough.

cheers

 

fizz

whats the capacity or how much water do you use ?

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23 hours ago, Dellboy said:

whats the capacity or how much water do you use ?

The tank itself has a 6litre capacity and I fill it to the line you can see in the photo above.....ie about level with the top of the basket without it being hooked over the ends to keep the feet off the base of the tank.  Same level in the jars, I only chuck the mix once I’ve done the batch...usually just over the 100 cases mark.  I used to use a single jar which did the 100. It’ll be well black by the time you finish.

I can be rinsing, bi-carbing and rinsing the first load whilst the second load are running. I mix up the bi-carb in a 2l jug and use that for the whole batch and just use a second jug and an old sieve to save the liquor etc etc

 

cheers

fizz

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15 hours ago, fizzbangwhallop said:

The tank itself has a 6litre capacity and I fill it to the line you can see in the photo above.....ie about level with the top of the basket without it being hooked over the ends to keep the feet off the base of the tank.  Same level in the jars, I only chuck the mix once I’ve done the batch...usually just over the 100 cases mark.  I used to use a single jar which did the 100. It’ll be well black by the time you finish.

I can be rinsing, bi-carbing and rinsing the first load whilst the second load are running. I mix up the bi-carb in a 2l jug and use that for the whole batch and just use a second jug and an old sieve to save the liquor etc etc

 

cheers

fizz

 

 cheers 

im using mine for gun parts with parafin  seems to work well (especially on seized up moderators )  with no damage to plastic ally etc  but thinking of getting a clean one for cases or as a clean parts cleaner (if you get my drift)

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For cases I'd recommend something like this  https://cpc.farnell.com/james-products/ultra-8060/ultrasonic-cleaner-ultra-8060/dp/SA02613

A lot of the cheapo small volume jobs won't last five minutes.

Pete

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Thanks again for all the advice.

Managed to clean up around 100 .338NM cases and two muzzle brakes. Some primer pockets were squeaky, some still a bit dirty but cleaner than with walnut media. Inside of necks were nice, very fine film of carbon left, so will definitely use some HbN before bullet seating.

The brakes came out nicely too. Couldn’t have done that in dry media, and saved me getting the old toothbrush out and scrubbing with Hoppes #9.

Everything dried off nicely in a cheap food dehydrator. Very handy, waaaaay less mess & faff than tumbling. And none of that horrid fine dust going everywhere. Really annoyed me having to wipe each piece of brass down in a towel to remove the fine walnut powder before sizing. Drove me nuts and my hands were always filthy. 

Happy days! 👍

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On 9/17/2019 at 6:11 PM, Catch-22 said:

Thanks again for all the advice.

Managed to clean up around 100 .338NM cases and two muzzle brakes. Some primer pockets were squeaky, some still a bit dirty but cleaner than with walnut media. Inside of necks were nice, very fine film of carbon left, so will definitely use some HbN before bullet seating.

The brakes came out nicely too. Couldn’t have done that in dry media, and saved me getting the old toothbrush out and scrubbing with Hoppes #9.

Everything dried off nicely in a cheap food dehydrator. Very handy, waaaaay less mess & faff than tumbling. And none of that horrid fine dust going everywhere. Really annoyed me having to wipe each piece of brass down in a towel to remove the fine walnut powder before sizing. Drove me nuts and my hands were always filthy. 

Happy days! 👍

Hi Catch, been following this thread with interest,as I too have become disenchanted with tumbling media and am looking to make life a bit simpler as I reload 5 calibres in all. So, which of the above recommendations did you go with in the end?

I like the thought of cleaning my moderators that way too!!

M (all excited in sunny monmouthshire)

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I  bought my ultrasonic cleaner from barber DTS of Sheffield if you look at the models the really big strong industrial ones are the same as one of the badged RCBS I believe  but for less money .

 I'm always intrigued when people say that the cases are to clean on the inside of the necks  given that I find very often the most accurate load in a calibre can be with new brass this seems counterintuitive please do comment .

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50 minutes ago, Miseryguts said:

Hi Catch, been following this thread with interest,as I too have become disenchanted with tumbling media and am looking to make life a bit simpler as I reload 5 calibres in all. So, which of the above recommendations did you go with in the end?

I like the thought of cleaning my moderators that way too!!

M (all excited in sunny monmouthshire)

Alright Misery,

Yeah all the dry tumbling - just a real PITA. And it just takes sooooo long to actually get a half decent clean, at least 1/2 day rattling around in there.

So a key goal of mine was to keep it cheap. Looking around on Amazon and EBay, there are super cheap (and small) and also more expensive models. Many of them all appear to come out of the same factories somewhere in China. The ‘industrial’ units suggested above also appear on EBay, just under different names. Looking at the control panels and the specs you can see they’re the same.

My issue with many of the EBay units were a lack of any guarantee.

In the end I went with a unit off Amazon. Cost £63 and I think it’s exactly the same as the Lyman but half the price. Slightly different control panel and name badge, but everything else appears to be the same. Has a 2.5L tank and is small enough to pack away in a draw when not in use (another consideration for me). It was one of the few units that came with a 1 year warranty and had a few reviews, so I thought I’d chance it and can always return if it goes kaput.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B07PZVK5P1?psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_mob_b_asin_title

I also bought a cheap food dehydrator:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B01N8OWBLQ?psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_mob_b_asin_title

Works well and dried the cases and muzzle brakes nice and quickly.

Based on the advice from Fizz, I got some Bicarbonate Soda and Citric Acid. Cheap off eBay and using only a teaspoon or two of each, will last a while! 

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F161958572264

 

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F401647051460

 

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Hi Catch, thanks for the info - much appreciated

ATB M (still excited and off to Amazon in sunny Monmouthshire)

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