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Steam Cleaner Vs. Ultrasonic


#1

I posted a couple weeks ago to ask about a steam clean that was
under $50, I got 2 yes’s and 2 no’s. Would you recommend an
Ultrasonic instead? I don’t mean do be whiny and complainy but
cleaning the polishing compounds in the small areas with a tooth
brush gets a bit tedious. Please everyone give me your ideas

Suzanne Angell


#2
I posted a couple weeks ago to ask about a steam clean that was
under $50, I got 2 yes's and 2 no's. Would you recommend an
Ultrasonic instead? I don't mean do be whiny and complainy but
cleaning the polishing compounds in the small areas with a tooth
brush gets a bit tedious. Please everyone give me your ideas 

I work in a one-man production shop & I don’t have time to be
messin’ with toothbrushes and stuff. I have to have one piece cleaning
in the ultra-sonic, while another is pickling, while I’m setting
stones in a third and trying to take a bite or two from my lunch at
thesame time! Buy a small, new ultrasonic and a small, new
steamcleaner. You’ll be very happy with your now professional looking
results and you’ll begin your lifelong addiction to newer and fancier
tools! ;~)


#3

Either one is far better than a tooth brush for sure. Each has it
pros and cons so pick what set of characteristics best suits the way
you work and what you are working on

Pros

Steam…Fast, deep penetration behind impacted stones, one step
process usually Sonic…dunk it and go do something else, cleans
multiple items at one time. Not as hot so sensitive materials may be
safer, generally cost much less to step into, like around $200 for a
small one. Get a heated one or else there’s little point.

Cons

Steam…pricey, decent units start at $500 or so. Noisey. Require
periodic maintenance, some require distilled water. Potential safety
hazard, some limitations on where one may be legal to operate. You do
one item at a time. Tends to dislodge loose stones with a vengence.
Warmup time required is longer than a sonic. With heavy use you may
have to wait for pressure to regenerate. Sonic…slower and not as
thorough. Requires continueing purchase of cleaning solutions( the
better ones can smell). Will not remove really hard packed crud.

Ideally have both. If only one unit is feasable I’d suggest the
sonic. Step up to the steam when its necessary. Depends on what one’s
budget is though. Whichever way its always advisable to get the best
unit you can afford.

Ah! I’m late for work again.


#4

I haven’t been following the thread on this subject closely, but has
anyone suggested a Waterpik? A hyper friend of mine lost patience
with the toothbrush scrubbing on a rush job one day and tried her
Waterpik. She liked it so much better than scrubbing that she uses it
all the time now. If you don’t have one go to Goodwill or St. Vinnies
and pick one up cheap just to give it a try. Fill it with hot water
and maybe a dash of Dawn dish soap. I use an ultrasonic myself, but
I’m going to get a Waterpik to complement it. A brush can’t get into
those areas that a pik does.

Speaking of dental equipment…One item I find valuable is the
dental floss with a stiff threader and slightly abrasive section made
for people with braces. The spongy abrasive section holds polishing
compound pretty well, and also cleans it out of those little spaces.
Another item is the thin abrasive tapes that the dentist uses to get
between your teeth. They fit into a saw frame nicely and get into
some amazingly tiny spaces. Find a store with a good selection of
dental aids for orthodontic needs, they have all sorts of tiny
brushes and interesting things useful for what we do. Some of them
even fit into your flex-shaft. Or, just make friends with your
dentist or dental hygienist. They might be willing to let you try
some of their supplies.

Terri


#5
I posted a couple weeks ago to ask about a steam clean that was
under $50, I got 2 yes's and 2 no's. Would you recommend an
Ultrasonic instead? I don't mean do be whiny and complainy but
cleaning the polishing compounds in the small areas with a tooth
brush gets a bit tedious. Please everyone give me your ideas 

If your talking about the steam cleaners that are for household use,
for $50 I would give it a shot. They dont give the pressure
commercial jewelry steam cleaners have, and dont have huge capacity,
but in a pinch would work im sure, but I dont think it will be a
complete solution

Ultrasonics are what they are and work amazingly well.

The key to cleaning any polishing compound is heat. Back in the day
before my jump into an ultrasonic. I used a small crock pot set on
low with polishing removal compound (before that it was ammonia) and
a tooth brush. The heat breaks down the wax base found in polishing
compound making it easier to remove.

My previoius post using a sonicare tooth brush might be the ticket
for people to get away from a manual tooth brush. Grab some long
tweezers and submerse the piece in the heated crock pot solution and
blast away with the sonicare. www.sonicare.com - it fears no
plaque…and polishing compound either…$50 at any wal-mart these
days.

Good Luck,
P@
www.patpruitt.com


#6
Would you recommend an Ultrasonic instead? 

Generally, in the trade, it’s not either/or, it’s both. Ultrasonic
knocks the crud loose, and then steam blows it away. IF you had to
choose just one, though, I’d opt for the ultrasonic.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#7

small machine with heater very helpful.Not very cheap but well worth
the expense. However you must remember that some stones ect must not
be cleaned in one of these!All depends on your needs as to what to
have.

Chris Mead


#8

A couple of years ago I put myself through a process of time studies
which helped me identify areas of production that could be sped up
with the purchase of new tools. Cleaning polishing compound off
finished pieces was one of those areas and the money I spent on a
heating ultrasonic as well as a steam cleaner easily pays for
itself. I used to spend lots of time scrubing with a tooth brush
with amonia water then steam cleaning now the ultrasonic does all
the work of the tooth brush allowing me to do other things, then a
quick blast with the steam cleaner to blast off the rest of the
compound and dry off the piece and I’m done. I vote for both pieces
of equipment.

Sam Patania, Tucson
www.bahti.com


#9
I posted a couple weeks ago to ask about a steam clean that was
under $50, I got 2 yes's and 2 no's. Would you recommend an
Ultrasonic instead? I don't mean do be whiny and complainy but
cleaning the polishing compounds in the small areas with a tooth
brush gets a bit tedious. Please everyone give me your ideas 

I have had a chance to use one of these $50 steamers and the $800
steamers. You know what they say about you get what you pay for. I
personally think the $50 is a POS. I have a small steamer ( Steam
Shine) in my home shop but I don’t use it much because of the time it
takes to heat up so if you only use it occasionally, save your money
and buy the ultrasonic with heat. I do have that and it will get all
of the compound out of the holes. You will still have to give it some
help with a toothbrush. As for what brand to buy I have a old L&R.
Like twenty year old surplus from a machine shop. I have also use the
Gemoro which I think is a good unit. The one thing I do know is make
sure the ultrasonic has the same style on knob you would have on
your stove with the flat sides. The timer is always hard to turn and
your hands will be wet from time to time. It is hard to turn the knob
when it’s a round knob and your hand wet hands.

Rodney


#10

The bottom line is that an ultrasonic loosens the dirt and cleans the
jewelry. The steam machine will just blast off Whatever it can but if
the dirt is old crud it tends to stay put. I worked for years using
only an ultrasonic and rinsing with hot water… It is nice to have
both but there is no comparison in cleaning ability of a good
ultrasonic. Both have there place.

For under 300.00 you can pick up a good ultrasonic with heat.
Steamers are more expensive…I use a steammaster. The important
thing with the steamer is get one with an auto shut off when it runs
out of water or you’ll burn up the coil.

Also, someone else posted the steam takes time to come up to
pressure which is why I didn’t use mine for years. The ultrasonic you
can fill with hot water and cleaning solution and are ready to go.
(Dawn works well…Ultra CR from stuller works great!)

Mark


#11

I have some samples of the ultra -cr. If interested please supply
name, address and phone number… have a busy season

Andy " The Tool Guy" Kroungold
Tool Sales / Technical
Stuller Inc
Phone 800-877-7777 ext. 94194
Fax 337-262-7791


#12

Steamers are useful, ultra sonics even more so. What nobody (I think)
has mentioned is that having one without heating is not meaningless.

The nonheated unit will become warm while being used. Not as warm as
the heated units but warm enough not to put your fingers in. Which
you shoudn’t do anyway!

michaela