Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Update on the UltraSonic

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!


  1. Anonymous11:50 a.m.

    I bought one of the Jim Smirsich bead releaser tools ($175 USD yikes!) and it's been well worth the expense. As long as the bead hole is nice and even I've had no problems - the only beads I broke were lentils with uneven holes - which was no big loss :)
    Here's the link to the store page http://www.toolsforglass.com/store/bead.html
    There is a video showing how it works as well.

  2. Jim Moore - I think you mean. I've been wondering about that one. It looks very cool. Does it still work if you have multiple beads on a mandrel?

  3. I was wondering if you could use the ultrasonic cleaner once your beads are off the mandrel to clean the bead release off? Anyone try this? We use an ultrasonic cleaner to debride all of our dental instruments in our dental practice. (I hate reaming beads). just a thought.

  4. I don't believe that would work. Essentially - what is inside the bead is a fired ceramic - and it's just not going to break down and dissolve easily. Mechanical action is pretty much the only way to get it out.