Introduction: Parts Washer

About: Teaching and making electronics since - well I don't even know

The other name of the project is: the poor man's ultrasonic cleaner. (it costs less than $3) Of course, without the ultrasonic part.

US cleaners are cheap, but you can overload it (poor little thing) and need a replacement FAST, or you have a REALLY dirty-greasy part and you want to give it a good prewash. Dipping in chemicals is not the best option, a small force - in this case, a constant stream of cleaning juice - can improve the process.

You can get the pump and the tube from the same store, and find a good reason to eat a box of ice-cream!


  • waterproof plastic box
  • submersible pump, preferably USB-powered
  • silicone tube

Step 1: Drilling

We will mount the silicone tube on one side of the box - prepare 4-5 3-4mm holes on that side and one extra for the pump.

Mark the 3mm holes on the tube before drilling, these need more precision.

If you love suprises, just drill the box in random locations. If you are lucky, no tip tie will cover any hole on the tube!

Step 2: Assembly

Because that's what will keep the tube in place! A bunch of zip ties.

But before that, we need to fix some "errors". The tube has 2 open ends - find/make a plug! Luckily, I found a capacitor with the right size! (and someone said old capacitors are useless)

Also, if you haven't cut the tube to its final size, do it now!

Grab some zip ties, and mount the tube. The holes should face horizontally - don't choke the tube with the ties, not before testing the water jets' direction!

When everything seems fine, glue the pump. I used some double sided tape and hope for the best. Alcohol, gasoline and other agressive fluids used for degreasing may dissolve the glue, and the seals! Choose your chemicals wisely!

Also, do you remember that extra hole? That's where you let the electricity in! What, the USB plug is too big? Cut and solder the wires together!

Step 3: That's All!

Let's do a test run! I drilled perpendicularly as possible, still, those pesky jets have a noticable angle! Physics...

Wait, the water/alcohol level is too high! You have to put your stuff on a tray! I designed some in tinkercad:





Or just put something solid under the part.

That's it! You have a nice closed parts washer, the few things to keep in mind:

  • choose your fluids wisely
  • dirty cleaning fluid will make things worse
  • the system doesn't have a filter, small particles, debris can get in the pump

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