Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ultrasonic goodness. Or is it?

So, the health issues have flared back up. Notably a brief blackout last week on my way to the post office. I at least steered into a curb as it started- dunno if that was deliberate or blind luck, but it kept me from running through an intersection and possibly hurting someone.

This means no new tallarnish goodness. But- the post is not without nerdgasmic merit.

Now, after reading the description of Ultrasonic cleaners- I had these visions in my head of a dream machine I could throw a bucket of figs into and 15 minutes later whip out some cleaner than new shiny toys. Thats a bunch of crap.

Supposedly working with jsut water and/or special cleaner stuff(which I will admit I havent tried yet)- water did nothing. Made some bubbles. but thats about it.

But- lose not hope! The unit I bought has a stainless steel pan. So I thought- why not put my regular stripping solution- Superclean- in there? So, in went some super clean. A test run showed that it didnt foam up and cause a diasaster. So in went some figs. A variety of metal tallarns I got from several sources that had a menagerie of hideous paint on them. I also threw in a space marine and some drop pod pieces I got in a trade. And I topped it off with a chimera (the cleanr I bought will fit a land raider).

I flipped the timer to 6 minutes(the longest cycle it will run) and turned on the warmer. Now the warmer is a feature I hadnt thought about much- but it only heats the fluid to like 145 F, so no where near hot enough to melt plastics. But, then I rmember I used to heat up simplegreen on the stove to strip metal figs super fast.

Within a few minutes the figs were getting little clouds around them- and by the end of the 6 minute ultrasonic cycle- I couldnt see the bottom figs. I let it sit for about an hour then came to check, I pulled a metal fig out- one of my old ones that was based with krylon black and had a ton of dry brushing- and the paint wiped right off- no traces in the creases- nothing. It didnt have that silvery new look- but it just looked a bit aged(as Im sure many of us have noticed minis get darker with some handling and time in general). So, it doesnt look out of the blister- but it looked like it had never been touched by paint. The same was true for the rest of the metals- the paint came off with ease- a couple needed a brush or two. And of 10 random paint jobs- all came off spakly except for a blob of black that may be some sort of oil based paint- even with brushing it didnt budge out of the creases. No biggie really.

On the plastics- the chimera was based in krylon brown(from the camo line) and had a speckled camo on it- topped with a layer of krylon clear to seal it, and a coat of flat clear. I was thinkin it would take some work. But- alot of the paint just sloughed off and the rest came off with a light rinse in the sink. totally bare plastic O.o I will add at this point- chimeras really ARE AMPHIBIOUS. It floated for over a week(upside down) so theres a definitive line right where all the track hubs are where the paint didnt come off- but all the submerged stuff- gone- every bit without brushing.

The marine did ok. Its an AOBR guy and whatever it was based with seems to have stained the plastic a darker grey and needed some brushing- end result is it looks like its had some ink slobbed on- so will look fine once painted- no loss of details.

The drop pod parts. I was hoping the soak would kill the glue bonds(super clean NOMS NOMS superglue!) but sadly it seems to have been a solvent based plastic glue that was used with a low skill level- end result- a drop pod thats very likely conversion parts. But- the paint came off! It took some brushing, and seemed a bit oily since it stained the brush I was using. It came with the batch teh MS above did, and didnt seem stained but fine detail parts look like theyve had some black ink applied.

Im happy with the results- but was just hoping they would happen faster ;) Im running a test now to see if its the ultrasonic part that does the super stripping- or the heating of the solution and keeping it warm as often as possible( it only warms for about 30 minutes then shuts off- and the fluid stays warm for about 6 hours) If I hit the warmer button once a day I'll be doing good. And hopefully will have some results before next week. Im strippin a chimera identical to the first- so its sort of my 'control'.


  1. What unit did you get and where did you get it? Been wondering about this as a stripping option myself for some time so I am glad to hear it seems to be working for you. Hope your health issues get worked out. Thanks.

  2. I got one off ebay, I'll get a link up for it.

    But- after doing some research- I think the difference in the quality of the metal stripping- and the plastic stripping- might be simple physics.


    The less dense plastics vibrate less as they move with hte fluid- whereas the denserr metal stuff has the mass to stay still so the vibrations get to do more scrubbin with the lil bubbles.

  3. I have been looking for something to strip plastic models and this sounds like the answer. Did you use straight SuperClean or did you dilute it with water? Thanks for the info.... definitely will be buying some.

  4. I've been toying with the idea of using ultrasonic cleaners too! They can also be used to revive old paint pots, i hear. Nice post!

  5. I have just installed iStripper, and now I enjoy having the best virtual strippers on my desktop.