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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Chem Cleaning and Ultrasonic Cleaning in the General forums; I'm looking to buy an ultrasonic cleaning system for my horns, but until I can afford one, does anyone know ...
  1. #1
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    Chem Cleaning and Ultrasonic Cleaning

    I'm looking to buy an ultrasonic cleaning system for my horns, but until I can afford one, does anyone know what products are used for a typical chem clean? I've got a few silver horns and a few lacquer and one raw brass. I'll be starting with some old junk horns so harm done if I ruin them. Do you use different chemicals for each finish or the same batch for all three finishes?

    If anyone has an ultrasonic cleaning system, where did you get it and is it worth it? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Fortissimo User veery715's Avatar
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    Re: Chem Cleaning and Ultrasonic Cleaning

    I have a Branson Ultrasonic cleaner with a 1/2 gal capacity. This means I can do valve pistons and parts, slides, and mouthpieces, and for those it does a great job. It cost between 2 and 3 hundred bucks.

    For me, a collector and player, it serves the purpose fine. I have found that I can clean the rest of a horn with conventional brushes and snakes and soapy water. I do have a light with a long skinny probe so I can examine the insides using a dentist's mirror.

    A device large enough for a whole instrument would be much more expensive.

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    Forte User trumpetsplus's Avatar
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    Re: Chem Cleaning and Ultrasonic Cleaning

    I suggest that you liaise with a friendly repair shop in your area about this - there are a lot of traps for the novice in Chem Cleaning and Ultrasonic Cleaning. I know, I do both of these procedures.

    Are you in Wilmington, Delaware? There is a pretty good guy around there, "A Minor Tuneup". Speak with him.
    Ivan Hunter
    www.JaegerBrass.com
    Performance and Tuition - Design, Modification and Repair
    Jaeger Trumpets and Mouthpieces
    Custom series includes:
    Jaeger 37 Bb
    Jaeger Baumann Bb
    Jaeger Quarter Tone Bb and C
    Jaeger C 4 Franquin ascending valve (C/D) model
    Skype lessons

    Please do not attempt any repairs unless you have appropriate technical proficiency


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    Re: Chem Cleaning and Ultrasonic Cleaning

    Looking for globs of solder left in manufacture or repair ... ultrasonic shouldn't be powerful enough to dissolve these ... if it were powerful enough ... it would "attack" the connecting solder. Thus, the only perfect remedy against these globs is small chipping tool heads on the end of a bore scope ... and operator / tech skill.

  5. #5
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Re: Chem Cleaning and Ultrasonic Cleaning

    I still question the sense of ultrasonic too often. If we are in agree ment that just about everything makes SOME difference, the ultrasonics could change the temper of the horn/braces/bell and thus change something. I have a friend that works for VW. They trashed a lot of fuel injector nozzles a couple of years back by cleaning them this way.

    My point is not to "damn" the process, but rather underline that this cleaning process may have other issues that make it only sensible for professional servicing by professionals. My take is that a trumpet has various parts with various "hardness". Some of the braces are designed to transmit vibrations, others to dampen them. The secret formula for trumpet sound is the bell and its bracing. Any alteration of that is potentially significant.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

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    Re: Chem Cleaning and Ultrasonic Cleaning

    Rowuk, do you mean that you often question the process of ultrasonic cleaning, or do you mean that you question the idea of getting a horn cleaned often by ultrasonic means? Just trying to clarify.

    But I think your second paragraph is right on. I had not considered it those terms before. Thanks for the input.

  7. #7
    Fortissimo User Brekelefuw's Avatar
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    Re: Chem Cleaning and Ultrasonic Cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by rowuk View Post
    I still question the sense of ultrasonic too often. If we are in agree ment that just about everything makes SOME difference, the ultrasonics could change the temper of the horn/braces/bell and thus change something. I have a friend that works for VW. They trashed a lot of fuel injector nozzles a couple of years back by cleaning them this way.

    My point is not to "damn" the process, but rather underline that this cleaning process may have other issues that make it only sensible for professional servicing by professionals. My take is that a trumpet has various parts with various "hardness". Some of the braces are designed to transmit vibrations, others to dampen them. The secret formula for trumpet sound is the bell and its bracing. Any alteration of that is potentially significant.
    The professional US machines that repair techs and horn builders use are set up specifically for instruments. The frequencies they work at are less harsh than those used to do industrial cleaners.

    The 2-4 minutes if time in the tank isn't nearly enough to cause damage to a horn, unless it is already falling apart with rot.
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    Forte User trumpetsplus's Avatar
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    Re: Chem Cleaning and Ultrasonic Cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by Brekelefuw View Post
    The professional US machines that repair techs and horn builders use are set up specifically for instruments. The frequencies they work at are less harsh than those used to do industrial cleaners.

    The 2-4 minutes if time in the tank isn't nearly enough to cause damage to a horn, unless it is already falling apart with rot.
    My gut feeling is to side with rowuk on this one. I also have misgivings about the overuse of ultrasonics, and tend to use mine as the second rather than first choice.

    Also, in responding to a PM from tobylou, I was inspired to write a little blog on the subject.

    My blog can be accessed from the link near the top of the home page of my website.
    Ivan Hunter
    www.JaegerBrass.com
    Performance and Tuition - Design, Modification and Repair
    Jaeger Trumpets and Mouthpieces
    Custom series includes:
    Jaeger 37 Bb
    Jaeger Baumann Bb
    Jaeger Quarter Tone Bb and C
    Jaeger C 4 Franquin ascending valve (C/D) model
    Skype lessons

    Please do not attempt any repairs unless you have appropriate technical proficiency


  9. #9
    Fortissimo User gzent's Avatar
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    Re: Chem Cleaning and Ultrasonic Cleaning

    I know Harrelson has a "full" size US machine for cleaning trumpets but I don't
    remember where Jason said he bought it - second hand I believe.

    One could contact them - Jason has been helpful letting me know where he
    buys certain supplies.

    Greg
    Stop acting like someone shot your dog.

  10. #10
    Fortissimo User TrentAustin's Avatar
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    Re: Chem Cleaning and Ultrasonic Cleaning

    I just bought a full size Ultrasonic cleaning machine for my shop. It's not Cheap (a few thousand bucks!).

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