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Other uses for ultrasonic cleaner


In reading the Orchid archives, I found discussions regarding various
operations that are enhanced when they are performed in a beaker
while the beaker is sitting inside an ultrasonic cleaner. One was
pickling and the other was plating (with appropriate precautions). I
started thinking of other uses and came up with possibly etching (?).
Anything else?


I started thinking of other uses and came up with possibly etching
(?). Anything else? 



And removing investment from castings. There are investment removers
intended specifically for use in ultrasonics.

And dissolveing setters cement or shellac is a LOT faster if your
container of denatured alcohol is in the ultrasonic rather than just
sedately soaking…

Do take note that ultrasonics are not an improvement in all cases of
any of the operations you mention. It’s important to remember that
ultrasonics cause a rather vigorous scrubbing action at the surface
of the metal. Those microscopic caviation bubbles are expanding and
collapsing at supersonic speeds, even though over only very tiny
distances. At the microscopic level, it’s really rather violent
action. With softer metals, or porous metals, this can actually
damage the metal sometimes. Try taking a sterling silver casting,
with a nice high polish, and leave it in a moderately powerful (any
of the types normally sold to professionals rather than for "home"
use.) ultrasonic. You’ll find the polish is quickly damaged,
especially where there is any porosity. (Denser rolled sheet or
drawn wire, or die struck pieces generally resist such damage, but
not always) Put a piece of aluminum foil in any decent ultrasonic and
let it run for a few minutes. Take it out and hold it up to the
light. You’ll find it full of holes. Aluminum foil is pretty fragile,
but nevertheless, when using an ultrasonic, keep in mind that it’s
not always a benign action. For plating, it can add agitation, but it
might also affect the finish of the plating with some metals,
perhaps making it worse. I can imagine a couple types of plating bath
where ultrasonic action might even be removing plated metal at the
same time as the plating action is putting it on… With etching, in
some cases, while it might speed up the etch, it might also increase
undercutting, and certainly might make it more likely that the
resist could lift off.

Experiment to your hearts content, of course. Just be aware that it
can also pose risks. And if using any sort of dangerous chemicals,
acids, caustic bases, or whatever, remember that an ultrasonic can
also sometimes generate an aerosol mist above the surface of the
liquid with some liquids. Use appropriate covers over those beakers.
Loose so that if it heats up, it doesn’t build up pressure and pop
open the lid.

Peter Rowe