I was intrigued by my experience with using an ultrasonic for seriously stuck-on-the-mandrel beads. So I thought I would try it with just regular beads - not particularly stuck ones. I was hoping that they would slide off "jess like budd-ah."
So I rounded up a triple handful of bead-laden mandrels - that I was seriously NOT looking forward to pulling - and trotted off to the "friend with an ultrasonic." I let them soak for a 15 minute cycle, and they did seem to be easing off - but I thought they warranted another soak. So I gave them another 15 minutes, while I sorted said friend's glass. (Heaven forbid I should sort my own someday, however!)
After a good 30 minute run in the ultrasonic - they weren't exactly falling off - but they were significantly easier to remove - most of them just twisted off. I had a nice mix of relatively unused mandrels and seriously used mandrels. Naturally enough, the ones with the least use, certainly removed more easily - but the others were not bad. Easier on the hands, for sure.
Does using one make economic sense? In specialized situations - for sure. If you already own one, for instance - it will make pulling beads easier, and in a production environment where time and labour are critical - I think it might. (It won't be faster from start to finish, but it will be a shorter amount of labour) And, I'm sure you will find other uses for it too.
If you are pulling your own beads, and carpal tunnel syndrome is making it very painful - you might find this to be worthwhile too. I was using one that was probably at the top end, price-wise, for an ultrasonic - due to it's size. But the smaller ones would probably do the job just as well. (You can see what is available at Lacy's.)
So, anyway, I did get all those beads I wasn't looking forward to pulling, off the mandrels - and just in time, as I had pretty much run out of mandrels.
Now, I can just not look forward to cleaning 'em!