Cleaning a dirty/oily lathe

G Jones

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What would be the best solution to cleaning a Taig mini lathe that looks like it's spent the last decade in a garage?
Something that's powerful but won't damage the lathe itself?

Clr?
Brake Cleaner?
WD-40?
Detergent?


Thanks!
 

DavidR8

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If purple isn't to your liking Simple Green works great for me.
 

darkzero

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I use WD-40 to clean my machines and cosmoline that is on new parts. But if it's built up grime you may need something stronger like a good degreaser.

I use Purple Power a lot too for other things but be careful when using it full strength on bare aluminum if there is any, it will discolor/darken it if it matters to you.
 

DavidR8

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+1 on discolouring aluminum for Simple Green
 

G Jones

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I just ran into a machinist, funnily enough, stopping into the local hobby shop to look around. He said to be careful with any cleaning/degreasing agent, especially something like brake cleaner, as it would seriously eat into the metal if any was left.
 

pontiac428

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Purple Power and Simple Green both use a butoxyethanol (cellosolv) derived surfactant that kicks greasy butt. I love the stuff. My favorite is the foaming oven cleaner in the BLUE can. Stuff will do wonders to caked dried-in junk. It does stain aluminum when warm because is weakly acidic. It can discolor some rubber materials (butyl rubber). But nothing short of a solvent wash can do what it does!
 

G Jones

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Thanks for the advice!
If I wash of the Purple power quickly and thuroughy, can I expect a stain? Or does it take some time sitting in it?
 

Winegrower

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There is a Simple Green Aviation version that is safe for aluminum. I’ve never been able to afford it.
 

pontiac428

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They say to test on an inconspicuous area first. Actually the aluminum staining is weak and can be scotchbrited back to bling bling. I have been bothered by the rubber staining, but even that fades eventually. Tires will stain with prolonged contact, but a bit of driving and the stain fades back to normal. If you pre-wet the parts with water before using the concentrate spray and scrub brush/sponge/whatever it tends to lessen the staining by dilution. I can upload some before and after pics if I look...
 

darkzero

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Thanks for the advice!
If I wash of the Purple power quickly and thuroughy, can I expect a stain? Or does it take some time sitting in it?
In my experience, by the time you finish scrubbing the part it will already have discolored. If you don't want the discoloring best to use something else.

Engine degreaser won't discolor alumnium but it works best when the parts are warm & it's expensive for what you get in an aerosol can.

Good ol mineral spirits works good too but don't use it on painted surfaces, some plastics & rubbers, etc. Here where I live mineral spirits is banned anyways, not sure about up there. I have to get it out of state.

Not sure what you're dealing with but just warm water & soap may actually work fine for you. Many dish soaps actually work well as a mild degreaser. I would try the dish soap or WD-40 first as you probably already have it. Then look for something stronger if needed. A firm bristle bush & fine scotchbrite used lightly will help a lot too.
 

benmychree

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My favorite product is OilEater, it can be used diluted, but I use it full strength. It sometimes tends to soften some paint finishes, but they re harden .
 

rzw0wr

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I use mineral spirits.
It does not bother anything and cuts oil and grease just fine.

Might want to wear nitrile gloves while using it.

It can dry out your hands some.

Dale
 

pontiac428

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Winner winner chicken dinner! That's my Euro spec 1990 CRX VTi factory Vtec car's undercarriage. The yellow galvy job cost less than the paint would have cost.
 

darkzero

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Nice! I worked on Hondas for like 10 yrs at my buddy's race shop. I had 2 GSRs. That's how I knew. ;)
 

pontiac428

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I love the little death boxes. That car did 150 mph on the autobahn in factory trim. I built a trans with Frankengearing (GSR final drive + LS 5th gear) to get it up to 170 mph, but imported it to the states before I could finish. At those speeds, aero is critical. Car weighs 1,997 lbs with a half tank of gas and a full interior, stereo, and soundproofing. And I still get it clean with good ol' butoxyethanol, because I'm always on topic!
 

Nogoingback

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I love the little death boxes. That car did 150 mph on the autobahn in factory trim. I built a trans with Frankengearing (GSR final drive + LS 5th gear) to get it up to 170 mph, but imported it to the states before I could finish. At those speeds, aero is critical. Car weighs 1,997 lbs with a half tank of gas and a full interior, stereo, and soundproofing. And I still get it clean with good ol' butoxyethanol, because I'm always on topic!
OK, where are the pictures?
 

tjb

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I couldn't find the pictures I was looking for, but I found this before and after. See? (Okay, I might have skipped a step)
OKay, I'm a little confused on your series of posts. The results in these photos is fantastic. But which product(s) did you use? In post #7 of this thread, you list three (I think). Purple Power, Simple Green, and the 'Foaming Oven Cleaner in the BLUE Can'. Also, what step did you 'skip'?

I can keep my mill pretty clean, but it's a real challenge to get into and under all the hard-to-reach places on my lathe.

Regards,
Terry
 

CluelessNewB

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I use mineral spirits. I haven't ever had any problem with it attacking paint. I can't say the same for purple cleaner. I do use the purple stuff for bigger projects when I plan to repaint anyway.
 

pontiac428

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Terry, all three products have the same ingredient (or derivative thereof) in them. I thought I had some before and after pics of a 25 year old fuel tank while cleaning it with oven cleaner (blue can good, yellow can bad), but I couldn't find what I was looking for. I did the undercarriage parts at the same time, but my before and after pics skipped the step where I loaded the parts into my trunk and dropped them off at my neighborhood plating shop. That part was meant to be funny. I know I can be a spaz, so here I am explaining the punch line, which makes me feel like I've failed miserably at humor.
 

tjb

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:butterfly::D:cocksure::courage::cheerful:
Terry, all three products have the same ingredient (or derivative thereof) in them. I thought I had some before and after pics of a 25 year old fuel tank while cleaning it with oven cleaner (blue can good, yellow can bad), but I couldn't find what I was looking for. I did the undercarriage parts at the same time, but my before and after pics skipped the step where I loaded the parts into my trunk and dropped them off at my neighborhood plating shop. That part was meant to be funny. I know I can be a spaz, so here I am explaining the punch line, which makes me feel like I've failed miserably at humor.
Well, it's funny now. :):chunky::cocksure::cheerful::eagerness: . You probably didn't need to explain the punch line to guys who understood the humor. I didn't get it, so who's the 'real' spaz here?

Thanks for the clarification. Heading to town in the morning, so I'll pick up one of the three and try it on my lathe.

Regards,
Terry
 

Laytonnz

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Last lathe 3 lathes i have cleaned up i steam cleaned them, after soaking in simple green then dismantled and gave them a soak in diesel, then wiped down with general purpose thinners, one of them got a hot caustic soda bath came out as bare cast... quite impressive but scary, if you use this method dont take this stuff for granted it is dangerous.
 

Cadillac STS

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I once put some aluminum stock in a dishwasher to degrease and they came out with a weird purple discoloration. May have been the detergent? Be careful with the dishwasher on aluminum and put through a non needed part first to be sure it will come out right.
 

hman

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Dishwasher detergent is pretty strongly alkaline, and thus not good for aluminum. I've had aluminum (cookware) items that got roughened/etched, some that came out dark grey, etc.

If you're cleaning aluminum in a shop dishwasher, try running the dishwasher without detergent. The hot water and agitation should do a decent initial cleanup. If the dishwasher gets greasy/cruddy from the parts, run it a second time without the parts and with some detergent.
 

Cadillac STS

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Something to consider with this clean up or other machine clean up is the local manual car wash. Can use the strong power wash wand to blast off debris and they have a degreaser that can be used to get off oil and grease then blasted off again with water.

Just need to be sure the parts are taken apart enough so you don't force water into places that you can't get to to dry out. If needed could bring some WD40 to go over just washed and dried metal parts to prevent flash rust.

Car wash is not always best but good to know it can be a powerful tool to use.
 

GoceKU

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I've used diesel fuel on the very grammy parts than petrol to remove the oil coat on parts that i needed to paint. That was the cheapest and most efficient way i've found.
 
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