My Ultrasonic Cleaner

Writing about my tools the other day led me to think about my ultrasonic cleaner. I bought it about ten years ago, a mid-range model made by JPL. From the very first it was unimpressive. In fact most of the time it didn’t seem to make any difference. I could do better with cotton buds and brushes. It has two practical uses: it sits in my work area filled with water and I flush sections in it – obviously a bowl of water would work equally well! And secondly I use it with an anti-oxidant solution but that would work just as well shaken up in a jar.

The only other ultrasonic cleaners I’m familiar with are the big ones for cleaning carburettors and they are very different. Greasy, clogged carburettors come out of them gleaming.

Those of you who use ultrasonic cleaners, do they do a good job? Are they indispensable in your work routine? Should I get a different one or should I forget about ultrasonic cleaners?

12 thoughts on “My Ultrasonic Cleaner

  1. Hi, my ultrasonic cleaner is indispensable for deep cleaning most parts of the pens i repair and service. I spent time investigating options and styles before buying 2 years ago, and decided a 700ml Digital Pro stainless steel model fitted my purpose, my logic being, why put a cheap motor in an expensive to make SS unit. I only ever clean using cold water with salt free detergent, i found that warm water can discolour some plastic pens. I even use it to clean some inside-out ink-sacs to keep the original parts for discerning collectors. I find it very good at freeing the dried ink in caps, which helps to remove the clip and screw parts on pens like CS, and helping clear old dry sac bits from barrels. Now i cannot do without it.
    Great blog, cheers, Tristam.

  2. I use mine mainly for removing tarnish and brightening up metal components and it is very effective. Whether or not this is compatible with a conservative approach to pen restoring, I’m not sure. What do you think?

  3. This post and the comments have been great! I’ve been thinking about an ultrasonic cleaner for ages, and this was really informative. Thank you everyone!

  4. When people buy from an auction (or discover) a Montblanc and find that it has a stuck piston then sometimes the turning knob is forced frequently resulting in a snapped helix, or they panic/play safe and send it off to MB for a service. Frequently all that is required is a good long soak (overnight or for a day or so). Alternatively 5 minutes in the ultrasonic bath might very well loosen the piston (it’s not guaranteed but it has worked for me several times). Once loose I then draw clean water into the pen and return it to the bath to help clear the dried ink .

      1. Yes, you’re right, but sometimes the problem can be getting the water in if the pen is really gunged up . The beauty of using an ultrasonic bath is that the sound waves quickly penetrate where water may work only after a couple of days of soaking.
        Another time that the bath earned its keep was when I bought at an auction a 1900’s safety Kaweco with a gold overlay. It was catalogued as missing its cap, but even I could see that the cap was posted. When I got it home I tried and tried to remove it using gentle heat and persuaion but would it budge???? A 10 minute ultrasonic bath and it just slipped off.
        I can recell just how sceptical I was about their usefulness … how wrong I was.

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