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Ultrasonic cleaning

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Latner, Apr 14, 2007.

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  1. Latner

    Latner Member

    Apr 14, 2007
    I have an ultrasonic cleaner that I'm going to try and use to clean a couple of SS revolvers with and was wondering if anyone has a "home brew" solution that they have found works well or am I stuck having to buy the high $ commercial stuff I've seen made for firearms?
  2. 1 old 0311

    1 old 0311 member

    Jun 26, 2005
    Planet Earth
    Do a search. There is some great info on here.
  3. Plink

    Plink Member

    Apr 5, 2006
    I use Ballistol and water in mine. It works fantastic for cleaning. Ballistol is known best as a lubricant, but it makes a great solvent for removing lead and copper fouling also. I use 2 parts water to 1 part Ballistol, but you can go richer or leaner and still get good results. If I was making a new batch, I think I'd go 4-5 parts water to 1 part Ballistol.

    You can use Simple Green and water if you need a degreaser.
  4. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    AS LONG as you take care about flammable fumes, I recommend cheap paint thinner.

    This works very well to degrease and clean, drys quickly, and and is "thin" enough to get into areas some thicker soap-based cleaners don't get to as well.

    For small parts, I put about one inch of plain water in the bottom of the tank, and put more volatile and flammable solvents like lacquer thinner in small glass, metal, or plastic bottles or jars.
    Put the jars of solvent in the tank, and the ultrasonic waves are transmitted through the water and into the jars.
    This allows the use of more flammable solvents by reducing the amount used.
    Lacquer thinner works VERY well to degrease and clean parts, and it also has a slight "brightening" effect when used on brass.

    The only reason I don't use it instead of the paint thinner is because of it's much more flammable nature.

    If you want to go with a water-based cleaner, most any liquid soap cleaner mixed with hot water is good, BUT..... Be SURE the cleaner is not harmful to some parts.
    As example, Simply Green will seriously damage aluminum.

    If you use a water-base cleaner, after cleaning flush the parts VERY THROUGHLY under a hot water faucet. The hot water will flush away the cleaner, and heat the parts so they will dry faster.

    In any case, after cleaning and rinsing, use compressed air (if you have it) to blow off the excess, then use a hair dryer to warm the parts until dry.
    NO HEAT GUNS, they can get parts TOO hot.

    After cleaning and drying you MUST be sure to get all parts and all hidden areas coated with a rust proofing lube, since ultrasonics remove ALL lube, including from tiny hidden holes and cracks where ordinary cleaning never gets to.
    Even stainless steel needs a thin coat of a good rust-proofing lube like CLP Breakfree.

    Some other pointers:
    Ultrasonics work better with warm solution.
    Either use hot water, or let the cleaner run until the solvent is warm before removing parts.

    Ultrasonics do little for leading, and nothing for copper fouling unless the solvent itself works on it.
    Usually, you still have to clean the bore and chambers with a rod and brush.

    Ultrasonics will remove painted sight and safety markings, and MAY damage Tritium sight inserts.

    Ultrasonics and bone marrow don't mix well. This is something that happens over time, not instantly.

    Lids or covers hold down the evaporation of solvents and reduces the risk of fire, as well as solvent smell in the house.

    You help cleaning along by pulling parts out of the tank and brushing with a solvent-proof toothbrush.

    Hang parts in the tank with wire, or use a basket.
    The cleaner works better if the parts are not laying on the bottom of the tank.
  5. JNewell

    JNewell Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    Land of the Bean & the Cod
    On stainless, you can use a dilute solution of Simple Green. MPro7 is even better but more money. DO NOT use Simple Green anywhere near aluminum. I have posted about the results before - you could ruin the gun.
  6. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    I just fill my tank with two quarts of good old Hoppe's No. 9, which I pour back into the bottles when I'm done. Two bottles last about a year.
  7. rbert0005

    rbert0005 Member

    Feb 9, 2003
    I use the water soluble stuff. Brownells sells it for 6 bucks a jar. Works just fine.

  8. fjlee

    fjlee Member

    Feb 13, 2007
    Denver Co
    Anyone ever try "Ed's Red" in their ultrasonic cleaner?

    It doesn't cost much to make up a couple of quarts of ER.

  9. Rinspeed

    Rinspeed Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    If it's working properly all you need is some Dawn soap in it. Good point about the sonics working better when the water is hot.

    Perfectly safe to put your fingers in the tank when it's running.
  10. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    "Perfectly safe to put your fingers in the tank when it's running."

    No it's not.

    Ultrasonics can do damage to bone marrow, BUT this isn't something that happens instantly. It's a cumulative thing that happens over time.

    This turned up in the early days of ultrasonic use by jewelers, who were in the habit of fishing jewelery out of the tank with their hands.
    Over time they started to have some problems.

    When I was in watchmaker's school back in the 1960's we got a visit by an L&R rep. They called a meeting of the jewelery and watchmaking students and he specifically warned us about sticking our hands in running units.

    Bottom line: Keep your hands out of the tank while it's running.
  11. gezzer

    gezzer Member

    Aug 15, 2004
    50/50 Super Green/water heated to 130% wash with hot water blow dry with air. Lube with Tri-flow and blow off with air.
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