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Old 02-20-2008, 10:21 PM
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Default Ultrasound cleaning of brass

There has been some reviews and articles written about ultrasonic cleaning of brass. A small used ultrasonic unit found its way to me, so the time seemed right to give it a try. The ultrasonic review over on Browell's website used MPro7 cleaner and a commercial ultrasound cleaner http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/Gun...?p=0&t=1&i=793. I had neither. An article over at 6mmBR http://www.6mmbr.com/ultrasonic.html used various solutions including vinegar. I figured that the carbon that I got on my hands came off with soap and water, so why not give it a try. I needed a liquid soap and the only one I had was the old Wisk laundry soap. A tablespoon of Wisk liquid soap in 16 oz. of tap water was able to clean about 20 223 brass cases in the small ultrasonic cleaner tank. After about 30 min. the brass cleaned up ok. I cut an uncleaned case

and a cleaned case for comparison:

with the uncleaned on the left and ultrasonic on the right.
In the picture below, the uncleaned is on the top and the cleaned is on the bottom:

No matter how long I left them in the tank, there was always just a little carbon inside the flash hole.

The primer pocket cleaned up ok, but not the flash hole.
In conventional tumbling, the inside of the case just doesn't get any cleaning while with the ultrasonic there was some cleaning.

A second bath using the Wisk cleaned the inside of the brass a little better.
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Last edited by Builder; 02-20-2008 at 10:57 PM..
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Old 02-20-2008, 10:34 PM
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The uncleaned brass is on the left and the ultrasonic cleaned is on the right:

The outsides looked about the same:

So I put a tablespoon of Lyman's Turbo Case Cleaner in the water with one tablespoon of the Wisk along with about 20 previously cleaned brass. This really improved the carbon cleaning:

Uncleaned lower and Ultrasonic cleaned with the Lyman Turbo Case Cleaner with Wisk in the upper.
The following picture shows the difference between ultrasonic Wisk cleaned brass and the Lyman Turbo Case Cleaner and Wisk. The extra cleaning took about 5 min. while the Wisk only cleaning was for about 30 min.


Ultrasonic Cleaned brass from left to right: Turbo & Wisk cleaned, Wisk only, Turbo & Wisk cleaned, Wisk only, Turbo & Wisk cleaned. The insides are as clean as the outside and notice in the middle picture above that the flash hole is now clean.
This just might be a cheap, easy, and effective way to clean brass for reloading. Since there aren't any acids in this method, I'm hoping there won't be any corrosion of the brass.
Thanks,
Builder
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Last edited by Builder; 02-20-2008 at 10:45 PM..
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Old 02-20-2008, 11:38 PM
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Much better report than mine from two years ago, especially the pics:
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...sonic+cleaning

BTW, I presently use Harbor freight cleaner with a little vinegar. Will have to give your formula a try.
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Old 02-21-2008, 11:03 AM
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I've used my cleaner filled with Slip2000 Carbon Killer for brass. Works great. I use this to clean my AR bolt, and anything that will fit in my cleaner, after shooting sessions.

Most of the time I would still use my tumbler because of capacity, and because the tumbler can keep running without intervention. With the ultrasonic, I would have to keep an eye on it to see progress, and dial for more time if needed. The results are great however.


Attachment 8135

Last edited by pklin1297; 12-11-2008 at 11:31 PM..
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Old 02-21-2008, 1:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pklin1297 View Post
I've used my cleaner filled with Slip2000 Carbon Killer for brass. Works great. I use this to clean my AR bolt, and anything that will fit in my cleaner, after shooting sessions.
At $15 for 16 oz, can you reuse it? Dilute it?
Quote:
Most of the time I would still use my tumbler because of capacity, and because the tumbler can keep running without intervention. With the ultrasonic, I would have to keep an eye on it to see progress, and dial for more time if needed. The results are great however.
So far, I've run the ultrasonic during appointments and checked in between. The part I like about the ultrasonic is that it cleans the inside of the case.
Thanks,
Builder
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Old 02-21-2008, 4:11 PM
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So like any red blooded American male; if a little's good, more must be better!
2 tablespoons of Wisk detergent, 1 teaspoon of Lyman Turbo Case Cleaner, 16 oz. of water, and 25 rounds of uncleaned brass went into the ultrasonic cleaner. After 30 minutes and water rinsing, this is the result:

Although there is still some carbon around the necks of a few of the case, they turned out pretty nice. The inside are at least as clean as the external neck areas.

There's still a little carbon on a few of the primer pockets (like the lower left), but that might have been because they were sitting on end, under other brass, and didn't get stirred around for good ultrasound bombardment.
Still, all in all, not too bad for almost no work.

If I wanted perfectly cleaned brass, I think I would use the Wisk with water twice and then do a final cleaning with just the Lyman Turbo Case Cleaner. But this should be good enough for my plinking reloads.
I wonder how a teaspoon of the Carbon Killer in 16 oz. of water would work with or without the detergent.
At present, using the Case Cleaner seems wise as it is intended for brass.
Thanks,
Builder
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Last edited by Builder; 02-22-2008 at 6:44 PM..
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Old 02-21-2008, 4:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Builder View Post
At $15 for 16 oz, can you reuse it? Dilute it?
So far, I've run the ultrasonic during appointments and checked in between. The part I like about the ultrasonic is that it cleans the inside of the case.
Thanks,
Builder
I use, and reuse (leave it in the cleaner) it straight from the bottle... The price is one of the main reasons I will only use the Slip2000 on brass that has been fired many times, or gun parts with stubborn messes.

Having the inside of the cases cleaned is definitely a plus.
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Old 04-08-2008, 8:11 PM
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This is a stupid question. How do you guys usually dump out the water? Just taking the whole unit and dump out somewhere or pumping the water out? I'm just curious if I were to have the bigger ultrasonic cleaner unit and would probably be a hassle to drag it around.
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Old 04-08-2008, 8:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Builder View Post
I think you ran those cases too long.
Seems that one of the Fiocchi cases turned into an HSM case and another one turned into a Winchester.
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Old 04-08-2008, 9:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
I think you ran those cases too long.
Seems that one of the Fiocchi cases turned into an HSM case and another one turned into a Winchester.
That's actually caused by a recessive gene. It would have happened eventually anyway, the ultrasonic simply accelerated the transformation. It is a little understood process, I wish someone would do doctorial dissertation on it.

Actually, some good US cleaning info.
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Old 04-09-2008, 8:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razgrizo View Post
How do you guys usually dump out the water? Just taking the whole unit and dump out somewhere or pumping the water out? I'm just curious if I were to have the bigger ultrasonic cleaner unit and would probably be a hassle to drag it around.
On the old small 16 oz. UC device, I used a 5 oz. Monojet syringe (think turkey baster size) to remove the dirty liquid. I tried dumping it in the sink which spilled all over. The old one has since produced a puff of black smoke (water short of resistor). The newer used one is a Branson 5210 that has a drain. The 5210 is 2.5 gal. $120 ebay incl. s&h that looks similar to this or look in the Buy> Business & Industrial> Healthcare, Lab & Life Science> Lab Equipment> Cleaning Equipment listings. An eBay search using "ultrasonic cleaner" hits on jewlery and industrial units.
Thanks,
Builder
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Old 04-10-2008, 8:39 AM
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Thanks Builder!

I'm using the 1.5quart Chicago Electric Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaner (from Harbor Freight). It doesn't have the drain so it becomes a hassle when the dirty water spills on the floor. I should of thought about using a monoject syringe in the first place! Thanks again
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Old 04-10-2008, 8:58 AM
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Ultrasonic cleaners, monoject syringes...you guys sound like a dental office.

I think my assistants would get a little upset if I threw brass in with all the instruments.
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Old 04-10-2008, 4:47 PM
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Heh, yeah my wife works at a large Biotech in the Bay Area. Whenever I'm tumbling cases I threaten to steal her card key and go up to her lab on the weekends to use their cleaners.
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Old 04-10-2008, 8:32 PM
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To get the solution out of the tank, you should try one of those oil bottle pumps they sell at the DIY auto parts stores.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:29 PM
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does anybody know if i use more than 50 percent vinegar, would cleaning time be reduced? i tried it with only 25% vinegar cause i read that too much vinegar can eat away at the brass. but i used my ultrasonic cleaning for 48 minutes and i must say my brass are very clean!
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:54 PM
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Way to resurrect a necro.
48 minutes sounds way too long to me. I usually run 480 cycle up to three times and that does it. I use about 25% vinegar, a little bit of the Harbor Freight ultrasonic cleaner and water (although I have used up to 50% vinegar only in the past). Vinegar is only slightly acidic, just make sure you rinse well in clean water afterwords.
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Builder View Post
The uncleaned brass is on the left and the ultrasonic cleaned is on the right:

The outsides looked about the same:

So I put a tablespoon of Lyman's Turbo Case Cleaner in the water with one tablespoon of the Wisk along with about 20 previously cleaned brass. This really improved the carbon cleaning:

Uncleaned lower and Ultrasonic cleaned with the Lyman Turbo Case Cleaner with Wisk in the upper.
The following picture shows the difference between ultrasonic Wisk cleaned brass and the Lyman Turbo Case Cleaner and Wisk. The extra cleaning took about 5 min. while the Wisk only cleaning was for about 30 min.


Ultrasonic Cleaned brass from left to right: Turbo & Wisk cleaned, Wisk only, Turbo & Wisk cleaned, Wisk only, Turbo & Wisk cleaned. The insides are as clean as the outside and notice in the middle picture above that the flash hole is now clean.
This just might be a cheap, easy, and effective way to clean brass for reloading. Since there aren't any acids in this method, I'm hoping there won't be any corrosion of the brass.
Thanks,
Builder

Great report!
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Old 09-03-2010, 9:08 AM
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It works on small batches well, not so much if you got a truck load. I clean 5 9mm at a time, for about a cycle of 45 seconds. They come out generally clean. I just sit there and do 5 at a time.
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Old 09-05-2010, 7:25 PM
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nice
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