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Ultrasonic cleaners and gun parts

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by FW, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. FW

    FW Well-Known Member

    Will an ultrasonic clean cause any harm to gun parts?

    Will it clean them very well?
  2. rayra

    rayra member

    To my understanding, should work great.
    But consideirng hteir small size or great price if larger, seems hardly worth the hassle to me to use on trigger / action parts.
  3. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Well-Known Member

    If it does there was something seriously wrong with the part to begin with.
    Should clean them as well as you can. I don't know how well it will work on metal fouling in the bore though...
  4. ddc

    ddc Well-Known Member

    Are there any available with a reasonable price tag?

    What's reasonable? Well how about less than $100?
  5. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    It might be worth your while to verify the cleaning solutions you intend to use are not injurious to plastic if you're cleaning a plastic gun or one with plastic parts.
  6. >SHOCK<^>WAVE<

    >SHOCK<^>WAVE< Well-Known Member

    We use them a lot in the semiconductor industry. There mostly for cleaning things you can't physically touch with out damaging it. That's why they use them a lot for cleaning crevices on delicate jewelry.

    I think it would do an excellent job on gun parts but it's slightly over kill, most things you use them for require a special holder cause you don't want the pieces being cleaned, scraping and bouncing on the bottom of the metal tank needed to deliver the waves.
  7. Dbl0Kevin

    Dbl0Kevin Well-Known Member

    Well I'll say this about that. I was at the county police range last year or so and they had just got a new ultrasonic gun cleaning machine. I watched as they put the first batch of Glocks through the cleaning process and when they came out half of the slide was WHITE as the finish had just been taken off. My eyes almost bugged outta my head and since then have sworn to never put one of my guns through an ultrasonic cleaning.
  8. >SHOCK<^>WAVE<

    >SHOCK<^>WAVE< Well-Known Member

    If you were doing tons of guns it would probably be worth it, with the exception of polymer and plastic parts. :p
  9. entropy

    entropy Well-Known Member

    They work great for cleaning guns. I have yet to see any plastic parts harmed by one. They are not cheap, however. :( I also have tried a "steam cleaning" unit the Army was testing in the late 80's. Worked fine, but so did the old-fashioned "stick the M16 upper up to the shower nozzle". (Use very hot water for this.)And a towel to hold it with, they get hot!:eek:
  10. Trebor

    Trebor Well-Known Member

    There are some guys over on www.parkcitiestactical.com in the Cult of the P7 forum who use ultrasonic cleaners to clean P7's. Ask over there and you'll get some good advice.

    Personally, I looked into it, and decided against because of the cost.
  11. Chipperman

    Chipperman Well-Known Member

    It's not the Ultrasonic that potentially will cause damage, it's the solvent. If you use something inappropriate, you just may get a white Glock when you're done. :what:
  12. >SHOCK<^>WAVE<

    >SHOCK<^>WAVE< Well-Known Member

    My thoughts exactly :uhoh: And it may affect the polymers properties also like making it brittle.
  13. Mk VII

    Mk VII Well-Known Member

    it is vital to put the parts in a basket; if they impact directly on the vessel during the process it causes stress cracking of the vessel and premature failure.
  14. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    We cleaned hundreds of guns, glock, AR, Garand, M60,mausers, mosins, beretta, etc., in a Crest ultrasonic cleaner in Knoxville and Knob Creek and had only 2 problems. Wood will "fuzz up" if put in and paint will bubble. Other than that the systems cleaned built up carbon and fouling very very well. It took an average gun 3 minutes and a truely filthy on in 7.

    If any damage to polymer or finishes occured in other systems or locations it had to be due to the cleaning liquid being used. The Crest systems use a water based surfactant followed by a very light oil. The cleaning solution is blown off with air and then the oil bath. The oil tank is put in contact with the cleaning solution and the weapon parts are put in the oil tank. The power is turned on for about 2 minutes and all the liquid pops off the metal and the parts are dewatered and protected. My old M1 carbine looked like new after and has stayed that way for almost a year without being touched.

    You won't find a usable ultrasonic tank for $100 unless you get a used/surplus from a lab/machine shop/pd. The folks that ruined the glocks would probably sell theirs and you could use the Crest chemicals.:D
  15. Sydwaiz

    Sydwaiz Well-Known Member

    Check for machinery auctions in your area. I missed out on two of them that would've held a whole rifle for like $100 each. They were just too big for me. The only problem is auctioners like to seperate the baskets from the ultrasonic cleaners and sell them in different lots. The baskets go for double the money that the cleaners do.:confused:
  16. Sindawe

    Sindawe Well-Known Member

    Also look for pharmacuetical/biotech company auctions. Ultrasonic cleaners get used ALOT in that industry and companies in dire straights/going under will sell of equipment to raise capital.
  17. TRLaye

    TRLaye Well-Known Member

    Ultrasonic Cleaners

    One caveat regarding the use of commercial ultrasonic cleaners is their frequency rate and power.

    Those designed for firearms are generally safe for night sights but a commercial unit is not. Get a letter from the manufacturer stating that their cleaning unit is safe with the materials you intend to clean.

    I clean all my firearms, steel, aluminum, polymer, with an L&R ultrasonic cleaner using their solvent and have never had a problem. They also make a cleaner for cleaning handcuffs used in detention facilities and another cleaner for other medical uses. These cleaners are not the same as the one they supply for firearms.

    I simply field strip the firearm and put it in the stainless steel basket supplied and run the cleaner solution/water displacement solution for ten minutes for each cycle.

    Ultrasonic cleaning will not remove the lead fouling but it loosens it's bond with the metal and a jag and patch will push an amazing amount of lead granules out of the bore.

    A note of caution. The oil bath is not a lubricating bath but a water displacement oil bath. After taking the gun out and letting it dry properly lubricate the gun IAW it's manufacturer's specifications.

    Not having ever done it I can't tell you that if you don't lubricate after the oil bath that the gun will rust rapidly.

    Also not having done it I can't tell you that trying to use the water displacement oil bath past it's service life leads to the water not being displaced and the gun rusting even more rapidly.
  18. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    There are some guns, like the Winchester 94 and the Browning Auto 5 that are just bears to really clean. Pistols like the Model 1903 Colt (either one) are in the same category. For such guns, the sonic cleaner is ideal for a gunsmith. We always took off the wood, field stripped the gun, and just dunked the parts.

    (Dirty little secret: We charged the customer the same as if we had disassembled the gun and cleaned each part with a loving touch.)

  19. >SHOCK<^>WAVE<

    >SHOCK<^>WAVE< Well-Known Member

    Airbrushes for painting use to cost a lot but now
    there cheap like $10.00 they work excellent when
    running solvents like acetone through them instead
    of paint. You'll need an air source but a little tank or
    a spare tire with filter will work you don't need a
    large compressor.


    Since you don't need electricity it can go to the range.

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