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  #1  
Old 05-28-2012, 9:05 AM
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Default Is Hornady ultrasonic gun parts cleaner for suckers?

Has anyone else tried Hornady ultrasonic gun parts cleaner? I am wondering if this stuff is just repackaged Pine-sol.
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Old 05-28-2012, 9:45 AM
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All you need in a sonic cleaner is a high alkaline base cleaner. Warm water and a small amount of TSP on the extreme end or some simple green.

In reality you could use plain old Dawn soap as it's the Ultrasonic action that is doing the cleaning.

We had a 50 gallong sonic cleaner in the tool room i worked in. Let a part soak for an hour and it was like brand new. Paint, grease dirt , grim won't stay on for long. and it does nothing to rust
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:34 AM
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You do only want to leave parts in for so long, if it you leave them in the tank excessively anything with a painted or applied coating may start to become effected.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:38 AM
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Are you talking about ultrasonic cleaners in general or just this one? If I remember the Hornady branded one was a little pricey. Harbor Freight has cheaper ones out there.

Ultrasonics definitely work for cleaning almost anything.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Kodemonkey View Post
Are you talking about ultrasonic cleaners in general or just this one? If I remember the Hornady branded one was a little pricey. Harbor Freight has cheaper ones out there.

Ultrasonics definitely work for cleaning almost anything.
Any brand machine...
I like the idea of using something more gun friendly than tsp, an oil based cleaner would be nice.
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:56 AM
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You could use odorless mineral spirits.

TSP is fine you just can't use too much. I'm talking a half teaspoon per gallon or less.
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:59 PM
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Default Mineral spirits

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Originally Posted by kcstott View Post
You could use odorless mineral spirits.

TSP is fine you just can't use too much. I'm talking a half teaspoon per gallon or less.
Thanks for the replies...it's always nice to hear from other members that I recognize from knowledgable posts in the past...

Mineral Spirits, that's a good idea, I just wasn't sure about heating mineral spirits, maybe the heat would not be necessary with m.s. have you seen anything damaged by m.s. like bluing, or plastics?
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Old 05-28-2012, 1:03 PM
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I do own a ultrasonic cleaner and it works great.
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Old 05-28-2012, 2:04 PM
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Default Why?

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I do own a ultrasonic cleaner and it works great.
Wait...What?
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Old 05-28-2012, 4:56 PM
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I used a HF model, filled with simple green 1:4 with water. Worked great, but you need some compressed air after to get all the water out, and be sure to re oil soon after.
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Old 05-28-2012, 8:18 PM
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Wait...What?
see o.p.
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  #12  
Old 05-28-2012, 10:01 PM
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Mineral spirits is a pretty benign solvent. Heating it will not make it any more flammable then it already is. You would have to get it very hot for it to be a danger. It will evaporate faster though.
But you sould be able to used mineral spirits cold with the sonic function on and get good results.

Heat should be reserved for very dirty parts and or using a water based cleaner.

As for damage to bluing or plastic. Mineral spirits again will not hurt either it's not that bad of a solvent. TSP in high concentrations will etch the bluing. So like i said half teaspoon per gallon max I think i would use 1/4 teaspoon.

But simple green, Crud kutter from Home Depot works great too.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:06 PM
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All depends on what your are doing ......


While the ultrasonic cleaner does most of the work it does not do ALL of the work ... the type of cleaner you use is very critical to how well, and how fast, it cleans.

Basically a ultrasonic cleaner vibrates anywhere between 20,000 to 40,000 times per second depending on the model (some really high end models are dual frequency meaning they alternate between 2 speeds). The cleaning action is actually caused by cavitation (microscopic vacuum bubbles) of the solution around whatever is in the tank. SO basically think of the bubbles as tiny vacuum cleaners (a vacuum that on the Oreak commercials where he lifts a bowling ball, except in this case it would be a semi truck with a dust buster) that breaks off and suck away the contaminates off of the part you are cleaning.

Most parts should not take more than 10 minutes in a ultrasonic cleaner designed to clean larger parts. If you cannot get parts clean even after 30 minutes here is a few tips that will make your ultrasonic cleaner work wonders:

1) Never let parts touch the bottom of the tank, either use a basket (make sure it is plastic) or suspend them into the tank with string (do not use bare metal wires).

2) Never let parts touch each other for 2 reasons, one being that at 20,000 to 40,000 vibrations a second you could damage finishes or etch parts. The second being as the parts touch they change the vibration of the solution and can cancel out the ultrasonic vibrations causing the bubbles to be reduced. It is very important that any parts that are tensioned with springs or could hit each other must be disassembled to prevent damage.

3) Always heat the solution up to about 110 degrees F., this greatly enhances the solution ability to form the bubbles.

4) Always keep the amount of parts in the cleaner to 50% or less of the tank size. In other words leave plenty of room for the parts and the solution around the parts.

5) Always use solutions specifically made for Ultrasonic cleaners as they have special additives to help promote bubble formation and bubble adhesion to parts. While you can use many other types of cleaning solutions they will not work as well as the ones made for the Ultrasonic cleaners. Make absolutely sure you NEVER use acid type cleaners, or cleaners made to brighten jewlery, when cleaning blued/parkerized firearms as they can take off many types of bluing/parkerizing. You also should only use distilled water for any solution in concentrate form as minerals in tap/bottled water can reduce bubble formation.

Last but not least:

NEVER EVER USE ANY TYPE OF FLAMMABLE CHEMICALS IN A ULTRASONIC CLEANER!!!!!!!

(the reason is the ultrasonic transducers , the parts that vibrate, get extremely hot and any fumes from flammable liquids could ignite)

If cleaning gun parts get the water displacing oil made for gun parts in Ultrasonic cleaners. There will be no need to blow off parts or worry about rusting and the oils penatrate into the metal without a oily residue.

If you are reloading the best way to clean brass to a almost mirror polish is in citric acid at about 10% using distilled water (no I am not taking about lemon juice but pure citric acid) heated to about 110 degrees F. Put the brass into the plastic basket primer hole side toward the bottom and placing as much brass as can fit being slightly loose (this is the only time parts can touch since they are all rounded parts with no edges contacting each other). Pour the solution into the ultrasonic, cleaner making sure all the cases have solution in them (it is important to shake them to get air bubbles out), so at least 1/2 inch of solution covers the top of the cases. After 10 to 15 minutes rinse in distilled water then dump them into 91% alcohol (find it in any pharmacy) swirl for a bit so the water gets out of the cases then place the cases neck down to dry (best way is a hard foam block with toothpicks stuck into it). The citric acid "passivates" the brass so you will notice they will not tarnish as fast and the alcohol displaces the water so your brass will not tarnish or spot when drying. I have brass I cleaned almost 2 years ago in a zip lock bag and they still look like they were just polished on a buffing machine.


So hope this all helps and yes Ultrasonic cleaners work extremely well if used correctly.

Last edited by Gunsmith Dan; 05-29-2012 at 9:58 AM..
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Old 05-30-2012, 1:17 PM
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Thanks Dan. I just got an ultrasonic cleaner for brass. Great tips!
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Old 05-30-2012, 1:23 PM
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I have a commercial grade ultrasonic cleaner (basically a dentists ultrasonic). It heats and is great for a few things. It has done wonders on my revolver cylinders. But for brass I have gone back to just using my vibratory tumbler. Too much of a process with the US, but gun parts come out purdy.... take the above advice as well all sound. Although I have good results with just clean water changed regularly.
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Old 06-05-2012, 2:45 PM
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anyone have the sonic cleaner from HF?? is that a decent machine for the money or which is a good machine for the price, is probably a better question ......
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Old 06-05-2012, 3:27 PM
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Default Yes, I do...

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anyone have the sonic cleaner from HF?? is that a decent machine for the money or which is a good machine for the price, is probably a better question ......
Is this what they mean by "threadjack"?
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Old 06-05-2012, 4:26 PM
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To answer your question: Yes they are for suckers.

Works okay for cleaning muzzle brakes though, but almost as slow as cleaning brass.

I haven't found any practical advantage to sonic cleaning brass, except to waste time and resources rinsing and drying the brass. A cheap vibratory tumbler is all anyone needs.

Same thing with electronic scales and powder dispensers, too slow, too finicky and too prone to problems.

P.S. They haven't been able to improve the toilet seat either in nearly 200 years.
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Old 06-07-2012, 7:27 PM
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Have to disagree there John .....

If used CORRECTLY like I posted above Ultrasonic Cleaners work extremely well for all metal parts and brass. I use it professionally and the only thing that might clean a gun better is spending a hour or more brushing and brushing to get all the deposits off.

Brass used in tumblers have to have all the media cleaned out before reloading (otherwise the media will change the the pressure inside the case when fired). The inside of the case and the primer pockets are not cleaned by the tumbler ... in fact you have to use a primer pocket cleaning tool for that.

There is so many extra steps to using tumblers that Ultrasonic saves time as well.

Try cleaning your brass as I stated above and you will see how clean they get.
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