Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution
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Thread: Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution

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    Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution

    What do you use in your ultrasonic to clean brass?

    I'm specifically interested in hearing about home made cleaning solutions.
    Juris Naturalis

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    I use the hornady solution and also toss in a little liquid dish soap. I havent tried any of the home made solutions. I'm curious as well.

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    Re: Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution

    Thought about buying a sonic cleaner, and I still may. Consider this a tag for when someone actually has an answer
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    Re: Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution

    9:1 distilled water to lemon juice. It works amazingly, especially if you soak the brass for a couple hours before you run it.
    All of this brass was run that way:
    uploadfromtaptalk1357063901135.jpg

    I guess the lemon juice also passifies the brass, leaving it less susceptible to tarnishing. Just make sure you get it completely dry before storing.
    JDD: The "fun-sized" malcontent.

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    Re: Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution

    That's looks awesome JDD!

    May have to get me a sonic cleaner.

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    Re: Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution

    I love my Frankford Arsenal cleaner! I went with the "Extreme Sonic Cleaner" model. I think it's a 2 liter capacity, but the heater is the important part.
    There's another solution recipie that escapes me at the moment which uses vinegar, water, and laundry detergent. It works a little better on the powder residue, but requires a baking soda cycle to neutralze the tarnishing effect of the vinegar. You end up doing a total of 4 cycles, IIRC. Lemon juice works great on pistol brass, is cheaper, and way less hassle, IMO.
    Ideally, straight citric acid mixed 1:9 with your water is what you want. I just haven't found anywhere that sells it yet.

    For steel parts, you just have to scrub the tank out to get rid of the acid, powder residue, and particulate brass. Then you can use practically anything to clean with. Palmolive with "oxy booster" works great.

    DON'T FORGET: (it's common sense, but I screwed up) never, ever, EVER clean parkerized parts in the brass solution. Citric acid destroys the phosphate coating. It's pretty hard on any polished, painted, or coated surfaces too.
    JDD: The "fun-sized" malcontent.

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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by DTOM_308 View Post
    Thought about buying a sonic cleaner, and I still may. Consider this a tag for when someone actually has an answer
    If you're considering the Lyman (@ $130), Harbor Freight sells the exact same thing for $90:
    Search results for: 'Ultrasonic'
    Lyman Products Your Primary Source for Reloading Equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyDingDongs View Post
    9:1 distilled water to lemon juice. It works amazingly, especially if you soak the brass for a couple hours before you run it.
    All of this brass was run that way:
    uploadfromtaptalk1357063901135.jpg

    I guess the lemon juice also passifies the brass, leaving it less susceptible to tarnishing. Just make sure you get it completely dry before storing.
    Thanks JDD. I have some 308 brass in need of a dip. I'll give this a try.

    How did you come up with this?
    Juris Naturalis

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    Re: Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution

    I had heard about harbor freight selling them but I didn't know how good the quality was. Thanks for the heads up!
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    Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution

    In in the market for a sonic cleaner as well. Can someone tell me more about this harbor freight one (seems like the quality will be ok, though I'm very weary on buying from HF)? Like what is the largest thing you can put in it. Or capacity.

    I have used them for a long time (different jobs and stuff), but have never purchased one for myself. I will need it to do parts basically the size of full size pistols or lowers.




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    I've had a harbor freight for about 6 months, maybe longer. Its held up so far. They're all probably made by the same company, just rebadged for different companies - hornady, etc...

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    Re: Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution

    What are the advantages of the sonic cleaner on brass? How does it differ from a tumbler? I know that it'll get them shiny quick but a tumbler polishes as it goes.

    I'm still probably going to get a sonic cleaner, just wondering if it is worth the trouble to use it on brass or not.
    Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

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    Re: Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution

    Quote Originally Posted by VonMises View Post
    If you're considering the Lyman (@ $130), Harbor Freight sells the exact same thing for $90:
    Search results for: 'Ultrasonic'
    Lyman Products Your Primary Source for Reloading Equipment


    Thanks JDD. I have some 308 brass in need of a dip. I'll give this a try.

    How did you come up with this?
    I read it on the internet, so it must be true. :D
    I looked through so many forums, I have no idea where I finally came across this one. Some people suggested running "Ed's Red" or some variations of that homemade solvent. There's just something about ultrasonic pressure waves, mineral spirits, and enclosed spaces that didn't sit well with me...

    If you're running rifle brass, a sizeable benefit of ultrasonic cleaning is being able to clean the primer pocket out. This is where my dilemma lies, since I'm looking into a progressive press. I'll probably end up getting a separate decapping tool to take advantage of this.

    As far as the Harbor Freight units go, I've heard they're pretty good for the money. What won me over on my Frankford Arsenal was that Battenfield Technologies (the parent company) is U.S. based and at the time mine was on sale for $100. Unfortunately, a gov't length 1911 slide only fits diagonally in the tank. The important features to look for:
    -Heater. The solution heats up on its own, but having a heated tank makes a world of difference.
    -Timed cycles. Most units have timers now, but if you run it too long or do too many consecutive cycles, you can burn the transducer out.
    -Basket/tray. If your parts are vibrating against the tank, it will eventually get dented and will result in "dead zones" and poor overall performance.
    -Min/max capacity. If you want to run complete guns and brass in the same unit, you'll end up wasting a lot of water when you run small quantities of brass. Most tanks will have fill lines as a guide.

    I'm a novice at this, but that's what I've picked up on so far. I'll try to find my notes on other solution recipes later.
    JDD: The "fun-sized" malcontent.

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    Re: Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution

    As for the progressive press I've figured that out. My lock n load has the easy removable dies so my plan is to leave only the sizing/decapping die in and after I tumble them ill decap all of them. Then maybe a short dip in a sonic cleaner for the primer pocket.
    Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

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    Quote Originally Posted by DTOM_308 View Post
    What are the advantages of the sonic cleaner on brass? How does it differ from a tumbler? I know that it'll get them shiny quick but a tumbler polishes as it goes.

    I'm still probably going to get a sonic cleaner, just wondering if it is worth the trouble to use it on brass or not.
    I think it gets the insides better. Drying can sometimes be a pain in the ass.

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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by TAT View Post
    In in the market for a sonic cleaner as well. Can someone tell me more about this harbor freight one (seems like the quality will be ok, though I'm very weary on buying from HF)? Like what is the largest thing you can put in it. Or capacity.

    I have used them for a long time (different jobs and stuff), but have never purchased one for myself. I will need it to do parts basically the size of full size pistols or lowers.
    My H.F. unit is a couple years old. So far so good. The tank is generous at 2.5L, but I've never used the tanks. Instead, I set two beakers in the tank, and put the brass and solution in the beakers. By controlling the placement of the beakers, you can locate the brass to take full advantage of the resonant frequency. Since the unit is flat on top, my dad cut a new lid out of plexiglass that the beakers sit through.

    Works great. I’m just looking for a “Home Brew” solution that doesn’t cost an arm & leg.
    Juris Naturalis

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    Quote Originally Posted by VonMises View Post
    My H.F. unit is a couple years old. So far so good. The tank is generous at 2.5L, but I've never used the tanks. Instead, I set two beakers in the tank, and put the brass and solution in the beakers. By controlling the placement of the beakers, you can locate the brass to take full advantage of the resonant frequency. Since the unit is flat on top, my dad cut a new lid out of plexiglass that the beakers sit through.

    Works great. I’m just looking for a “Home Brew” solution that doesn’t cost an arm & leg.
    Pics or GTFO.

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    Re: Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith View Post
    I think it gets the insides better. Drying can sometimes be a pain in the ass.
    That's the only thing holding me up
    Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyDingDongs View Post
    If you're running rifle brass, a sizeable benefit of ultrasonic cleaning is being able to clean the primer pocket out. This is where my dilemma lies, since I'm looking into a progressive press. I'll probably end up getting a separate decapping tool to take advantage of this.
    We load my daughter’s SKS rounds on the Dillon, but we load all other rifle rounds single stage.

    For capping, my dad made a bracket to hold an air nozzle at the base of the presses. When you lower the handle after capping, the air blows the shell down a tube into a box. It doesn’t take much air at all.

    After cleaning we size, then all the brass is ran under a dial indicator set up on a surface plate. We mark the dial for the min – max range so it’s easy to spot the bad apples. Long cases are set aside and trimmed on the drill press. Once all the brass is processed and ready, we set up two or three priming stations, depending on how many we have to do, then we get busy.

    The bottleneck is powder. I’m hoping the RCBS Chargemaster will help out here.

    Single stage isn’t so bad if you can gather enough equipment to set up the entire operation so you don’t have to change anything out.

    As far as the Harbor Freight units go, I've heard they're pretty good for the money. What won me over on my Frankford Arsenal was that Battenfield Technologies (the parent company) is U.S. based and at the time mine was on sale for $100.
    I was looking at the Frankford too. If it was $100 when I was looking, that’s the one I’d have.

    I'm a novice at this, but that's what I've picked up on so far. I'll try to find my notes on other solution recipes later.
    Mucho-grassy-ass. I’m here to learn.
    Juris Naturalis

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    Re: Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution

    Quote Originally Posted by DTOM_308 View Post
    That's the only thing holding me up
    Toaster oven! FTW!!!
    No, seriously- I throw my brass in a countertop convection oven for about 5 minutes at 225 degrees. Dump them out onto a towel and let them cool down, then start sorting.


    If there's a lazy as $#@! way to do something, you bet your ass I'll find it.

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    JDD: The "fun-sized" malcontent.

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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by Keith View Post
    I think it gets the insides better. Drying can sometimes be a pain in the ass.
    Quote Originally Posted by DTOM_308 View Post
    That's the only thing holding me up
    Heat lamp, hair drier, air compressor.

    Take your pick. I prefer to use a heat lamp. Once the brass gets warm, they dry very well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith View Post
    Pics or GTFO.
    I'll be setting up to run 308 this weekend. I'll post a picture.
    Juris Naturalis

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyDingDongs View Post
    Toaster oven! FTW!!!
    No, seriously- I throw my brass in a countertop convection oven for about 5 minutes at 225 degrees. Dump them out onto a towel and let them cool down, then start sorting.

    If there's a lazy as $#@! way to do something, you bet your ass I'll find it.
    Never thought of that. I am simply not worthy. You ARE the master.
    Juris Naturalis

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    Re: Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution

    No toaster oven and I'm not buying one unless it comes cheap at a yard sale. ill steal the girlfriends spare hair dryer and try that. If it is even slightly tedious ill do something different.
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    Re: Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution

    I was gonna buy one from Profire for my brass. Asked Andrew id it was worth the money and he said not for brass, but awesome for gun parts. Saved me money I could use for other gun goodies.

    I swear by my pretty floral bonnet, I will end you
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    I think I'm leaning two rds the Lyman 6000

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    I'd probably get one for parts mostly. Maybe try it out on small batch brass.

    @Keith....you need to try JDD's homebrew.......I've never seen yours get that shiny with the stock solution.

    I have used the same corn cob media in my tumbler for almost 3 years now. Probably gone through about a gallon of truck wax though lol. Seriously though, I've probably tumbled 50k brass easily with the same cob :)
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