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Old 08-27-08, 09:06 PM
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Staggerwing
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Yep, I use our lab ultrasonic cleaner frequently for bike parts, chains included.

An easy trick, keep the direct bath, water only. Put items to clean in an extra soda bottle, or "glad" reusable container (useful because they come in square and rectangular shapes that fit common lab units) and fill will mineral spirits, Pedro's, Simple Green, or whatever other concoction that makes you feel good. Put parts filled container into sonicator bath and hit the button that makes it go BBBZZZZZZ.

If you are the eyeglass wearing sort, and I am, a sonicator is your friend.

FWIW, Alconox is a good powdered lab cleaner that works great in a sonicator. Non-sudsing and pretty powerful. I've never tried, but I imagine almost any quality automatic dishwasher powder would be as good. In reality, the ultrasonic energy does most of the work, the detergent just keeps all of the soil in suspension.
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