Home Ultrasonic Cleaner

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by hhsTrumpet, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. motteatoj

    motteatoj Mezzo Forte User

    Feb 23, 2013
    Tuckahoe, NY
    Yes, they work... as long as the gunk is not too caked/baked on.
    I use mine mostly to clean mouthpieces though, toss it in on a weekly basis keeps them nice and clean.

    In general, I don't use them for slides/valves for a couple reasons....
    1. the one I bought is too small for the larger slides.
    2. the metal to metal contact in the bath can make some scratches on 'soft' metals .... hmmm, brass is soft....
    3. if you use the plastic basket insert you get about 30% of the cleaning power and then you are really doing a lot of nothing.
    4. since you can't throw the horn in there...what is the sense of having uber clean slides and a dirtier horn?

    I do throw valves in there occasionally for horns I am donating or using as project horns or just messing with.
  2. hhsTrumpet

    hhsTrumpet Piano User

    Dec 3, 2011
    May I ask why? If I remember correctly, you play a Monette and Mr. Monette does ultrasonic cleaning.
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Last time I was in Portland, my horn went into a chemical bath, not an ultrasonic one.

    I do not trust ultrasound with things metal soldered together. Instrument techs using them only have the limited DIY experience that they have, and those in the REAL know (outside of the musical instrument industry) have even screwed up many big things. VW and Mercedes wasted fuel injection nozzles big time years ago and I know enough first hand instances of tools not meeting spec in the industry that I work in after ultrasound. Even my wifes glasses got screwed up after an optician put them just a "little" too long in the bath.

    In the right trained hands maybe there is no issue, but why should I take a chance? There is nothing on any of my or my students horns that needs ultrasound. We clean regularly with soapy water and the right brushes.

    Instruments are the way that they are because of resonance affected by many things miniscule. Forged braces pass sound differently than stamped or bent metal. Even small amounts of tension on the bottom valve caps change the response of a horn. The vibrations during playing do change the characteristics of the metal at various places on the horn. The soft soldering between pipes is also vulnerable.

    That is why I am not interested in letting the tech have less work when he gets the "privilege" of working on my horns. They go in clean. There is no work for him to clean anything.

    I am also not a big fan of cryogenics either - or even leaving my horn in a hot trunk on a summer day.
  4. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    I have to disagree with you on the reasoning that we use ultrasonic cleaning. We use it because it does a more thorough job, not because it is faster. That is a bonus. But, to properly clean a horn, it should be cleaned prior to putting it in the US because US cleaning isn't great at removing large deposits.
    I don't have US at my shop, but I do wish that I had that option.
  5. Culbe

    Culbe Forte User

    Jul 25, 2014
    So from what people are saying this ultrasonic cleaner isn't a good purchase, and cleaning with ultrasonic cleaners is under debate. :dontknow:
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    No, we have a situation with no objective data. I have not seen any studies on the effects of ultrasound on resonant metal structures. We have an industry that uses ultrasound in a very DIY way-put the parts in a bath for a "while".

    I am not interested and do see potential trouble.
  7. musicalmason

    musicalmason Forte User

    Dec 14, 2003
    While I don't currently own a ultrasonic, I do know of many great uses for them, along with potential risks if used improperly. They can also be instrument killers, but usually only if the metal is already weak or rotted. There are plenty of techs out there that have been using ultrasonics effectively for years, cleaning thousands of instruments. While they may not have published anything, they do talk to each other. I don't see how that cumulative experience could be described as anything but "objective data".

    Regardless, nobody is going to make you use an ultrasonic, unless they did and didn't tell you. If you sent your horn to monette insisting on a chem bath only, he could easily uc it and never tell you. How would you ever know? Just saying....
  8. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    Unfortunately it is probably too late to reject ultrasonics. Ultrasonic cleaning is one of the processes used during the manufacture (assembly) of virtually all new trumpets, cleaning them in preparation for plating or lacquering. Factories typically have a line of them in which the instruments are cleaned sequentially. The previous alternative, vapor degreasing, used volatile (and highly carcinogenic) solvents, and has been discontinued, presumably due to pressure from OSHA.

    My ultrasonic tank is one of the tools I consider using as part of my work.
  9. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    And/but Ivan, you are a professional! :D Those reading and posting on this thread have probably seen the videos with the dirt floating away on the Holton trumpet. If you delve deeper, a light acidic solution has to be used to achieve those results. The manufacturer describes it's use as light cleaning. If warm, soapy water was all that was needed to get rid of the green crud, that would be great, but that doesn't seem to be the case as several tech's have commented. I can think of a scenario where a DIY'er puts his valves in his US cleaner, starts texting while waiting for the magic, forgets the valves are being cleaned, remembers and returns to find parts have rubbed against each other. Not a good ending for sure. I would think the time to prep the valve to be dunked could have been spent doing the job the old fashioned way (and no felts get harmed!).
  10. Kevin Whiting

    Kevin Whiting Piano User

    Apr 13, 2013
    Greendale, WI.
    I just had my recently purchase 1946 Olds Super (Original lacquer in pristine condition) serverviced at Charlie Melk's. Valve alignment, ultrasonic cleaning, remove a large solder ball from tuning slide (apparently there from birth). I have to say, the horn is whistle clean and sounds fantastic! Charlie does nice work.

    If I had read some of these comments on ultrasonic cleaning prior, and may well have insisted on no ultrasonic. All's well that ends well.

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