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Using an Ultrasonic cleaning device
 

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henoch
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 1661

1/16/13 10:18 PM

Using an Ultrasonic cleaning device

I believe this was discussed here a few years back, does anyone use a digital cleaning device to clean a cassette?
Something like this
http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=CD-3800A&cpc=GFT

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4530
Location: Nashua, NH

1/17/13 6:10 AM

The one pictured...

...is probably too small to clean a cassette. I've been looking around for a larger one with a stainless tank, but haven't found a decent deal yet.

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henoch
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 1661

1/17/13 10:23 AM

Brookstone

Brookstone has a few I am not sure if they are big enough, they are also double the price.
http://www.brookstone.com/endeca/search_results.jsp?_dyncharset=UTF-8&Ntt=ultrasonic%20cleaning&_requestid=57905

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walter
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 4379
Location: metro-motown-area

1/17/13 12:57 PM

why?

a cassette is a jumble of fairly robust metal parts that will get filthy immediatly the first time you use them after cleaning -- just soak in some cleaner and brush vigorously!

ultrasonic cleaners are for delicate items: jewels, mechanical watch parts, etc.

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KerryIrons
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 3002
Location: Midland, MI

1/17/13 7:31 PM

Ultrasonic uses

I've never used an ultrasonic bath but it seems like the best use for it would be to clean things that can't be easily cleaned otherwise. For example it is hard to get at all the nooks and crannies of a rear deralleur. A cassette can be pretty easily cleaned with a rag, though maybe some of the pinned together triple cog sets would be more easily cleaned in a bath. But then I would think you could do a good job with just swishing it around in solvent.

I have read of many people who use ultrasonic baths to clean bike parts and they report good success.

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dddd
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3280
Location: NorCal

1/18/13 1:40 AM

I also only clean cassettes by pulling a rag through the spaces in the mounted cassette. I try not to wait until any thick buildup exists.

A derailer has precise innards within the two sprung tensioning pivots, fairly well sealed and lubricated with clean grease.
Having dirty solvent flow into the spring barrels wouldn't seem to be desireable, and I wouldn't expect the sonic waves to do much cleaning within those spaces.

Having done without an ultrasonic cleaner all these years, I would struggle to figure out what I would use it for. Would such a device be safe for precision sealed bearings, or would the intense agitation in the presence of suspended grit possibly be very bad for the precise rolling surfaces?
Similarly, would an ultrasound cleaner actually chase all the grit out of an immersed STI shifter? Might it have to be an especially energetic model to clean inside of bulky assemblies?

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BdaGhisallo
Joined: 23 Mar 2004
Posts: 87

1/18/13 4:40 AM

I use a Crest Ultrasonic cleaner with mineral spirits to clean chains and cassettes and they come out spotless. It might be overkill in some folks' view but they get super clean.

I would recommend you get a bigger unit than that though.

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henoch
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 1661

1/18/13 9:34 AM

I have no response to the "why" but if any of you can explain "why" any of you rides a bike that costs more then some cars then maybe I'll figure out why I need a $50 cleaning device :).
Jokes aside I think from what you guys are saying it might have some value as a chain cleaner, no?.

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

1/18/13 10:26 AM

I've never used a ultrasonic cleaner for bike parts. But memory of using it on other machinery pieces (before I started biking) tells me it's a whole lot faster than soaking or the old-rug method! Drop it in, turn the machine on for a few seconds, take it out, sparkling clean!!!

Not sure it's justified in the grand scheme of things though. Because it takes time to take all the pieces off the bike in the first place (and put it back on), we're talking about a time dedicated to bike (deep) cleaning. So the speed factor may not matter. I'm quite happy with the soak and wipe method so far.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4530
Location: Nashua, NH

1/19/13 9:40 AM

It's the most thorough method for chain cleaning

You can take a chain that's been cleaned on the bike and looks clean, drop it in an ultrasonic cleaner, turn it on and watch the internal crud gush out of it.

As for cleaning other parts, it can be faster with an ultrasonic cleaner, since you just pull off parts and drop them in. In many cases, you actually spend less time than you would wiping, brushing and whatever, AND it does a better job of getting into hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.

I do most of my bike cleaning on the bike, but with some parts, it's a good idea to occasionally do a more thorough job. A cleaning tank is also handy simply for keeping all the parts together so you don't misplace anything.

One thing I haven't tried is ultrasonic lubrication. Switching from solvent to lube would probably be ideal for chains, as it would ensure that lube got everywhere it needs to be. Is it any better than just tossing a chain in a pan or jar with lube and swishing it around? Who knows?

All this said, an ultrasonic tank is probably more useful for cleaning older, open-bearing parts than it is for most newer components. Obviously, you don't want to toss anything with sealed bearing into one. The same is probably true for modern "brifters", although if you're rebuilding one, you can clean the individual parts in the tank.

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KerryIrons
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 3002
Location: Midland, MI

1/19/13 8:07 PM

Ultrasonic lubrication


quote:
One thing I haven't tried is ultrasonic lubrication. Switching from solvent to lube would probably be ideal for chains, as it would ensure that lube got everywhere it needs to be.


If you're using ProLink or home brew your lube will easily penetrate to the most inner parts of the chain. Wherever the solvent goes, so too will the oil dissolved in the solvent. If you use a chain cleaner or solvent wash the chain then you could have a problem unless you get the solvent off the chain first but if the original lube or no lube at all is inside the bushings then the solvent will carry the oil in there, no problem. Ultrasonics would have no beneficial effect.

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