Tools n' Tricks Thread!

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 24th, 2018, 5:17 am #1

Swiping an idea yet again from another Guilder and claiming it as my own, here's a thread for you ladies and gents to post about your little shop and tool bits, even if you only have a little anecdote and don't think it worth of its own thread.

Starting off, a couple days ago I had a need for some stainless steel fittings for this compressor project. I have several boxes full, one of which is mostly Swagelok/A-Lok and similar instrumentation type stuff. It's used a lot in local industry, and can be regularly found on the secondhand market. I dug through my box and found the pieces I needed, but lamented at how dirty they'd all gotten, as I've been shuffling this box around for many years.



Most of the grunge is just shop-dirt and dust, although many of the pieces, having been found in garage sales and the like, were grungy to start with.



While my normal go-to for something like this might have been to unearth the parts washer, or even get out a pan, an old toothbrush and a dollop of Stoddard (or even gasoline, if time and supplies are short) I figured this was an ideal opportunity to try out my ultrasonic cleaner.

I'd picked it up used earlier this summer, and would have posted about it then, but it was immediately overshadowed by my discovery of the belt grinder, which as you might recall went on to occupy a great deal of my time for the next week or two. 😁

Anyway, I dumped in four cups of hot tap water, a half-cup of Purple Power, and dropped in a basketful of sample parts to see how well this thing would do. I set the timer for 30 minutes and turned on the heater, and let 'er run.



Makes a peculiar cyclic buzzing noise that I'm assuming is normal for this kind of thing, and the purple-tinted water quickly turned crap-brown.

After the 30 minutes were up, I removed the basket, rinsed it all off under the sink, and had a look.



I was of course suitably impressed. It worked remarkably well, with all the pieces coming out bright and shiny and practically looking like new. Keeping in mind I did nothing to this piece, which looked like the one above, save for drop it in the bath, rinse it off right in the basket under faucet, and then snap this picture. Even under the threads were clean and shiny.



I was suitably impressed enough I ran a second batch, since the water was already hot. 😁 Those came out nearly as good, the only thing being that some of this batch still had traces of teflon tape on threads, and others had bits of paint, neither of which was completely removed by the bath.

Yep, I'm sold. I've wanted a UC for a while, but they virtually never come up for sale locally, and usually when they did, they'd cost more than I could afford. This one I was able to do a little horse-trading for, and I think we both made out well on the deal.

I'll need to do a little research to find a nice workable cleaner or solution for doing paintball gun parts, of course, as Purple Power, Simple Green and other cleaners tend to have sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide as a primary ingredient, and that will strip anodizing or etch bare aluminum if left in too long. Brass, steel, stainless and others, of course, will all do fine with a PP/SG solution, which is cheap and effective.

I'd also be interested to hear if anyone has other tips for using one of these. Mine's not big enough to do something like an 4-barrel carburetor, but it can sure fit most common paintball gun parts. 😁

Doc.
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Joined: June 2nd, 2015, 3:34 am

August 24th, 2018, 6:49 am #2

Mine came from a local horse-semen distribution company.

...basically if you need genetic material for horse-engineering you get it from this company because apparently they are the de-facto monopoly in the horse-semen industry.   They have a local facility that I've 3D printed quite a bit of custom lab-racking and bits and pieces for.  

Anyway now that we have lodged that delightful piece of information in your brain,  to be pondered over and never to be removed... the cleaner they gave me (yes gave me) is big enough that I can put an 12 x 12 sheet of glass in it with room to spare.   Not much,  but enough.    I built custom racking for it and use it to clean glass sheets from my printers and other workshop tools.    I use hot water and a couple of squirts of regular DAWN dish-washing soap.   It never occurred to me to put something as strong as Purple Power in it.   I shall have to try that as the wife has dragged home a small rather poorly maintained 1984 Corvette to disencrapulate over the winter.   This will be the third 1984 Corvette she has disencrapulated,   she's becoming something of a Corvette-flipper which is not something I anticipated when I picked up that hot-chick at the bar all those years ago.   Who knew right?

Anyway the cleaner itself as I mentioned is monstrously large and was used for cleaning lab-ware in batches.    They gave it to me one day out of the blue when I dropped some fabricated parts off for their amusement -- in the name of profit of course.    Basically my contact was "We have an assortment of equipment we've surplussed you want to take a poke through it before the scrap-wagon arrives?"     I was "do fish piss in the ocean" which is a hilarious way of saying yes.    Funny how it took them a half hour to figure it out -- I figured being a bunch of genetic scientists they would have known the answer but we are digressing.      The surplus pile consisted of a broken microscope,  an autoclave that ran off of live steam,  several devices that had no discernible function to me even after they explained it to me,   a broken centrifuge,  a centrifuge that worked but was far too small for anything I could think of and the ultra-sonic cleaner.    I dragged it home,  steam cleaned it at the wife's insistence because her first reaction upon telling her where it came from was "NASTY."    I then immediately put it to use collecting dust and taking up space until I realized I could use it to ultra-sonowhateverize dried hair-spray and glue off of glass plates.   Now I run it at least twice a week catching up on glass bed sheets for my print farm.

Overall a sound investment and the price was right... and the best part is it comes with an excellent story that just squicks people out when I tell them!    I mean right there it was worth lugging down to the workshop for that alone.
It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.
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Joined: January 11th, 2016, 8:57 pm

August 24th, 2018, 7:15 am #3

Ultrasonic cleaners? Tip 1:NEVER run it empty - the ultrasonic shaky transducer thingy apparently shakes itself apart real quick if there's no damping from the liquid in the container. If your silver shaky box has a companion blue and beige box with a light and a timer knob on it, I have one, and it is an excellent way to completely disassemble a wristwatch mechanism with no human input in under 30 minutes! (Ask me how I know, go on!) That's probably Tip 2 - it CAN shake delicate mechanisms apart very quickly.

I used to have an instruction booklet with it, which stressed the hazard of dry operating it, but with only one knob on it, I figured operating it wasn't rocket science, and the booklet was probably sacrificed to start a fire or clean up a Dew spill or something similar.

And women go "ICK" at the funniest thing. Mine was shopping at a country town arts n crafts fair, and picked up a  reddish-brown, apple sized bag,  that was labelled as a small change purse. It had no seams, just a drawstring at the top, was attractively tanned, and she thought it was a neat - until the "ICK" moment when the vendor told her it was a kangaroo's scrotum.....
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 24th, 2018, 8:01 am #4

Yeah, this one has a tag that says it must always be operated with the tub filled at least to the line, which is actually a shallow step pressed into the bowl. That one I did know. 😁

Mine came with a sort of secondary tub, though, the purpose of which I'm unsure. The basket fits down into the main tub just fine, and there's a stainless lid that goes over the whole thing, presumably to reduce evaporation when it's hot. But I also have a secondary tub that has tabs that sit down partway into the main tub, and sticks up several inches.

It seems to me that it wouldn't transmit the ultrasonic vibrations as well, being essentially detached from the transducers. I'd thought it was just a rinse tub, you leave it aside, and when you pull the basket out, you dip it in that to rinse. But it has tabs on the ends clearly intended to make it 'nest' partway into the main tub.

Only thing I can think of is it's for a heating bath, where you're simply using the heater of the unit, not the, er, vibrator. 😁 But even that seems like an inefficient and roundabout way to use it. Anyone know?

Doc.
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Joined: January 11th, 2016, 8:57 pm

August 24th, 2018, 8:14 am #5

Mine came with the mesh basket and lid, but no inner tub - and it doesn't have a heater as such. Must be the cheap version. The juice in mine gets hot, because (i presume) it's getting 25 watts of mechanical energy pumped into it, and if you use a volatile liquid, there's a pretty good evaporation rate which the lid limits. But direct heating? No.,
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Joined: June 2nd, 2015, 3:34 am

August 24th, 2018, 8:30 am #6

We used to put really small parts in a secondary container to keep them from scattering or getting caught in the mesh.   Perhaps a similar arrangement? 

Can you get us a picture?
It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.
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Joined: January 11th, 2016, 8:57 pm

August 24th, 2018, 8:45 am #7

According to the Wikipedia article on UCs, the inner tank can be used to collect the volatiles that have evaporated and condensed on the lid, and instead of falling back into the lake of dirty juice, will collect in the secondary tank, ready to be re-used! Looking at the lid of mine, it slopes gently down towards a bulge below the strap handle on the lid, so that certainly seems possible. Maybe the inner tank is only provided if you have a heated wash tank, which would explain why you got one and I didn't!
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Joined: November 17th, 2014, 11:09 am

August 24th, 2018, 11:18 am #8

I also have an industrial type UC, but slightly smaller than yours. 
I once dropped in the the black metal clips that locks the injectors to the HP reservoir in my car, and gave them a what for of about 15 minutes in nice, hot water with just a bit of soap... 
There was no longer any paint on them. 

If you have small parts that won't be caught by the basket, put them in a cloth tea bag/strainer.   

Rule of tools: 
Those who have only one breaker bar has never swapped shocks on an old car...  
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Joined: June 28th, 2017, 11:03 pm

August 24th, 2018, 12:02 pm #9

Years ago, when we had a contract to rebuild some acre counters for a small ag electronics company, one step was to remove the old membrane switch from the cover and install an updated one that could be soldered directly to the board (instead of the older failure-prone edge connector - dust and humidity, y'know). I found that a soak in a UC filled with 99% isopropanol was a fast way to get the adhesive and backings from the old membrane switches off the covers.
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Joined: August 3rd, 2015, 8:49 am

August 29th, 2018, 12:43 am #10

I think Mustie1 over on youtube did a video or two on different solutions he's used for his semi-recently acquired (gifted?) UC and he's used it for a lot of carburetors, so some of them would probably be applicable to paintball parts! (though you could test solutions and durations with scrap/broken bits too)
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