How to Keep Your Tools and Machines Rust-Free
Rust occurs when iron, or an alloy containing iron, is exposed to oxygen and moisture for a long period of time. If your shop is located in a particularly humid area, you’re likely to be familiar with the issue and you’ve probably already found yourself in the painful situation of finding your tools covered in rust.
Luckily, you don’t need to move your shop to a drier climate to avoid the problem. There are several different solutions and products that will help prevent your tools from rusting. Let’s take a look at them.
Keep the air in your shop dry
Controlling the internal conditions of a machine shop is the first thing you should do to prevent rust from forming on tools and machines. Since rust is related to humidity, the goal is to keep the air as dry as possible.
The best way to control humidity and temperature is by installing an AC system. However, this solution might be expensive and is not always practical. If you are looking for a less expensive option, we recommend keeping the doors of your shop closed as much as possible and running a fan to keep the air moving. Another solution is to get a good dehumidifier like this.
Move your tools to a more dry area
Placing sensitive machine tools near an open door that’s exposed to outside elements is not recommended if want to keep them safe from rust. When possible, try to place machines and tools in areas that are less exposed to humidity and that are away from doors.
Treat your tools with rust preventive products
Using rust preventive products on your tools is the easiest and most affordable way to keep them rust-free. Here are our favorite picks:
The LPS 3 is one of the best and most commonly used rust inhibitors in machine shops. It’s fairly cheap and will protect your clamps, vises, tables, etc. for up to two years. All you need to do is spray a light coating on your tool and then spread it around with a clean paper towel.
Specifically created for firearms, this solution creates a thin film around metal surfaces that protects them from moisture and other contaminants. It’s perfect for cleaning, lubricating and protecting your tools from rust.
All the solutions listed above are a great way to avoid the threat of rust, but what if your tools are already rusted? Luckily, there are ways to remove it. The best solution is Evapo-Rust. Available in liquid or gel form, this product is specifically formulated to remove rust and requires no special equipment. All you have to do is soak your parts in the liquid formula or cover them in the gel and let them sit for a few hours. Take a look at how Adam Booth (aka Abom79) used it to clean rusted tap wrenches and C-clamps.
Cleaning rust from tools is a pretty simple process and you can achieve good results, but our recommendation is to always try to prevent your machines and tools from rusting in the first place. With just a few easy methods and the right product, you’ll be able to keep your tools and machines rust-free and ready for action.
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