UltraSonic cleaner question

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by ScotSun, Jul 16, 2019.

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  1. ScotSun

    ScotSun Registered User

    Nov 28, 2017
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    I have a brand new, albeit smallish, ultrasonic cleaner that was gifted to me. I tried it for the first time yesterday with parts from a grandfather clock that I recently acquired. The water went black and the parts do look somewhat cleaner but not the sparkling brass that I see in everyone's posts after a sonic bath.

    Is this because the parts were extremely filthy?

    Would multiple baths eventually get them completely clean?

    Should I hit them with the old brasso before going into the bath to rid them of some of the years of grime?

    Thanks!
     
  2. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

    Apr 4, 2006
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    No on the Brasso, that would introduce abrasives that then have to be removed. The US won't polish the brass, just removes the grime. What cleaner are you using in the US? Some cleaners remove oxide and brighten the brass, some do not. How long are you leaving parts in the US? The solution turning black indicates that the US is doing its job, but you may benefit by doing a pre-cleaning in one of the automotive degreasers with a brush. 0000 steel wool can be helpful if plates are not actually polished as it may leave fine marks on the surface.

    RC
     
  3. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Sep 4, 2008
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    Did you use plain water? That will not remove greasy grime. There are many commercial or home made cleaning solutions available that will do a good job.

    Uhralt
     
  4. ScotSun

    ScotSun Registered User

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    Thanks! Currently, I only have the jewelry cleaner that came with the device. The timer on the US only runs to 20 minutes before shut off and it has a separate temperature dial that goes up to 176 degrees.

    Which US cleaner would you recommend?

    Any particular brand or type of automotive degreaser?

    Thanks!
     
  5. ScotSun

    ScotSun Registered User

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    BTW... I have seen ketchup recommended for brass cleaning... is that a viable alternative to brasso?
     
  6. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    I use a 6 minute cycle and no heat. What doesn't come clean in 6 minutes usually won't come clean but I usually try another 6 minutes anyway. Willie X
     
  7. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I use this as a pre-cleaner. Do not leave brass in it for a prolonger time as it will darken brass but with a brush will get off most of the grime and avoids contaminating your US cleaner;
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Super-Clean-Degreaser-1-Gallon/317691858

    I use this in the US after precleaning; POLYCHEM DEOX-007 Concentrate | Merritt's Clocks & Supplies

    Ketchup, probably not for this but I'm sure it will clean brass. Some years ago I worked for a tomato cannery. Most of the machinery was old, typically from the 1920s and 30s before stainless steel was common and a lot of the parts in contact with tomatoes were brass. Over the winter this brass would tarnish. There were always a few cans of tomatoes that "spoiled" over the winter and the owner of the plant saved a few of these. Come summer just before the plant started up he would pour the rotten tomato juice all over the brass machine parts to clean them. Worked pretty well. The acid in the tomatoes I believe did the job. I wouldn't recommend tomato juice or Ketchup for clocks but the chemistry is valid.

    The US you have sounds fine. If it is big enough to hold the largest part you plan to clean is most important. The rest is extra bells and whistles as you like.

    RC
     
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  8. ScotSun

    ScotSun Registered User

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    Thank you all!
     
  9. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    It does all depend upon the various descriptions of clean.
     
  10. R&A

    R&A Registered User

    Oct 21, 2008
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    Aluminum parts with ammonia based cleaners will turn brass dark. Plus use a stainless steel basket not aluminum it will act the same way.
     
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