Heating your ultrasonic solution can dramatically improve
performance, depending on what grime you are trying to remove.
The heat will soften greasy deposits, for instance. (Had a job
tryout today who used his to remove flux; he had never been
acquainted with pickle!)
Fill your machine with unheated solution. Ultrasonics have
transducers glued to the bottom of the tank. These guys create
the waves, sort of like speakers. If you dump hot solution into
a cold tank, the thermal shock will often lead to premature
failure of the glue. If your machine isn’t performing like it
used to, you might open it up and check for unbonded transducers.
You can rebond them yourself; call the manufacturer for the
If you have an unheated machine, or just want to bring a heated
one up to temp faster, you can use one of those immersion heaters
used to make a single cup of tea. The aluminum ones found at the
local housewares store are cheap, but some solutions will attack
the aluminum and they are not built to last. If you can find a
stainless steel one it will give years of service (I got mine
from Brookstone Hard-to-Find-Tools in the distant past). Just
put the heater in for a few minutes, and then unplug and remove
it before you turn on the ultrasonic.
A lid covering your sonic will bring the temperature up much
faster and hold it there more effectively, no mater how you heat
the solution. A small baking sheet is an okay substitute.
Running your sonic to heat it is much less efficient than using
a heater, sort of like heating your house with lightbulbs.
Cheaper to pay for the heated version up front.
Oh–and if you want to clean those Rotring pens, John, forget
the heat. A really hot sonic will soften and warp the flexible
ink chamber, making it hard to reinstall. Correct choice of
solution is probably the key to dissolving pen ink.