Aluminum build-up occurs on the bonding foot
of the wedge after a period of usage. Polishing the FR and BR, using a FMF
or changing styles of wedge can aide in reducing the quickness of this
Eventually, the aluminum deposits left on the
surfaces of the wedge will require the wedge to be cleaned or replaced.
This is a maxiguide wedge with aluminum buildup after 100,000 bonds.
This is a slightly deformed bond surface caused by using a wedge that either has aluminum
build-up or is worn.
Aluminum can be etched away from the bond foot of the wedge by using a 20% by weight
solution of sodium hydroxide. An ultrasonic cleaner should be used, if
available, to speed
up the etching process. With an ultrasonic cleaner, the cleaning process takes about 10
minutes. Without the use of an ultrasonic cleaner, the cleaning process can take up to two
hours. A plastic block with holes drilled to hold the wedges is necessary to keep the tool
tips from vibrating together in the ultrasonic cleaner as shown above.