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valcrow

Ultrasonic Bath for nozzle?

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Hey all,

Just wondering if anyone has tried tossing their Nozzle into an ultrasonic cleaner?

I just remembered I have one of these things floating around and might be perfect for cleaning up, but I'm afraid it might damage the tiny nozzle hole. Is it safe to do? will it have any effect on PLA residue?

What kind of cleaning solution besides water should I use?

For clarity, I'm just talking about the UM1 Brass tip.

 

 

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I don't think you can cause much harm with an ultrasonic cleaner on a nozzle. It would depend on the solvent you choose though. If the solvent doesn't harm brass you should be OK. Not aware of a solvent that's bad for brass. I'm not sure about acids and brass (this would include vinegar). Pick something that degrades PLA (or ABS in that case) but doesn't affect brass.

 

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Ok, so I got a pretty nasty clog so I tossed it into the ultrasonic cleaner. (with just hot water). The rusty bits around the threads (does brass even rust?) started bubbling off pretty quickly. I was suprised how much built up rust gunk there was on the threads.

However it didn't really seem to do much to the plastic stuck on the insides though, or even the outside of the nozzle.

Round 2, I torched the nozzle with a butane lighter (one of those creme brulé ones) to melt the PLA out, I was hoping to burn it off enough that they turn into that fine black stuff. (my silver PLA is kinda impure that way). Let it cool for a bit and tossed it in again. Didn't seem to do too much.

I tried to print something and it basically ceased up on the 20th layer of a small cylinder. :/ There was this nasty clog of black presumably burnt PLA.

sooo. back to the old way of heating it up, pushing some PLA through cooling and then yanking it out with all the gunk until you get a nice cone shape. That way still seems to work the best.

It did clean the threads really well though. Maybe I would have better luck had I used some solvent. I just didn't know what to use.

 

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Ok, so I got a pretty nasty clog so I tossed it into the ultrasonic cleaner. (with just hot water). The rusty bits around the threads (does brass even rust?) started bubbling off pretty quickly. I was suprised how much built up rust gunk there was on the threads.

 

IMHO that is not rust. I think it's something like copper grease.

Quote in some other thread by illuminarti:

 

The paste you see is copper grease. It is to prevent oxidization at the junction of the two metals, when heated.

 

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I had no real luck with the ultrasonic cleaner either. They dance around and fizz and maybe some surface crud flakes off, but that's about it. The plastic inside stays put.

What has worked for me is:

1. put the nozzles in a small round tub with an agitator and some acetone, and let it run in the rotary tumbler overnight. (only works for ABS clogs)

2. Propane torch. Works on any plastic -- I had a bunch of nozzles, with mixed clogs of PETE, HIPS, ABS, PLA, Nylon, etc. It works on anything if you get the nozzle hot enough that all the plastic burns away completely.

But option #2 can sometimes make the brass look black. I tried putting the clean-but-black nozzle in the tumbler with some brass polishing media. That mostly worked. But then the dust from the media clogged / contaminated the nozzle. So I put it in the ultrasonic cleaner, which worked to remove the tumbler media. Clean nozzles, but a lot of steps.... I think next time I may just let it stay black and see if it's purely cosmetic.

In either case, you would need to replace any lubricant / sealant that might have been there before.

I've also put nozzles in the toaster oven and run it through two 'dark' toasting cycles. That got them pretty hot -- enough to clear out some PLA clogs, but not ABS clogs.

 

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Hm, with the propane torch I'd fear to melt the metal. Bras (yellow) has a melting point of 930° and my lil' propane torch can go up to 1400°. I used it very carefully and only for a short time but that could have had the effect to not burn everything out.

 

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I've done it at least a dozen times now (used to have some pretty annoying issues with my printer) and never had any issues. It really takes like 5 seconds max to blast everything out of there, doubt that's enough time to even deform the brass, let alone melt it.

Mine is a little discolored from doing this but I could care less, works fine and makes cleaning a clog quick and painless. Shiny brass nozzle will dull from regular printer use anyways

 

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A few times, I held the nozzle in a vice grip, heated for a few seconds with propane torch, and then quickly blow out with compressed air. Only takes a few seconds of heat. You'd have to stay for much longer to melt the brass. Afterwards maybe soda blast clean. Havent had a clog in a long time though....

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I have tried cleaning my UM2 nozzle in acetone in ultrasonic bath and the ultrasonic did not really seem to help that much.

Based on my experience, ultrasonic cleaners are best at removing hard materials from hard materials.

Soft materials, like plastic, tends to stick to the surface and just absorb the ultrasonic waves.

However, taking apart the UM2 for cleaning the nozzle is completely unnecessary, here is how i unclog it now days:

1. Heat the nozzle to 250C and push a wire form a wire brush through it from below to push the dirt inside the nozzle.

2. Remove bowden and gently push some ABS filament through the nozzle by hand. If it clogs again, repeat step one.

3. Change to nylon filament and gently push filament by hand until pure nylon comes out.

4. Lower the temperature to 130C, wait a few minutes and then gently pull/twist the nylon filament to get it out.

(It is possible that you can skip the ABS and go directly on the nylon, however I had other reasons to start with ABS so I did not try that yet)

The problem with all other cleaning methods is that there is a seat inside the nozzle where the clogging particle tends to hide.

I have not managed to clean this space properly with any other method than using the nylon filament.

The nylon filament comes out like a nice casting of the internal space of the nozzle and often there is particles inside the filament where the arrow points:

2014 05 18 3518

Maybe I should also mention that I did not have any clogging with normal filament yet, all clogs was due to my home made experimental filament. When running normal filament you should not experience clogging very often.

 

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Yeah I normally torch it and then do a variation of the atomic thing. I have a UM1 so it's not too hard to remove the nozzle. I was just wondering if an ultrasonic cleaner would work, it would be nice to do a deep clean once in a while, but alas it's not that effective.

On a side note.. the ultrasonic is amazing for cleaning airbrush parts though!

 

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