Small Parts Washer ideas
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  1. #1
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    Default Small Parts Washer ideas

    Recently I have been thinking of ways to make cleaning parts easier. I use Kerosene to clean screw machine parts and as it gets dirty I just burn it in my oil burner. If I dont change the dirty kero out soon enough the parts can have a film left on them and not get as clean as I want. Its not too much of a pain in the ass but it can get messy.

    I feel like the nicer cleaning systems are expensive. Screw Machines and Parts Washers by Fourway Machinery Sales, Inc. These ones look nice but I am sure they arent cheap either.

    I was thinking of Ultrasonic but dont know if thats right for my situation or not. I want parts to be easily cleaned and dried without breaking the bank. Can I get an ultrasonic tank (small) and skim the oil off the top before pulling the basket out and put parts on a towel/table to dry off? Will it rust steel parts?

    I want something cleaner and less messy. Materials are mostly Steel, SS, Brass, Aluminum. I am not willing to spend much on this but would like to know what others do and the pros and cons of each setup.

    Thanks in advance.

    -Dan

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    On our Ultrasonic sinks for parts washing we had a continuous filtering process with cartridge filters. As for the oil we did not have a big problem with that. Just used a pig mat (small) to suck up the oil off the water. Worked great.

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    I was thinking of just getting a 10-15 gal tub with a drain at the bottom. The dirty kero/oil ends up settling down at the bottom. I could drain it every morning and I wouldnt stir up the crap at the bottom and have problems. I find that K-1 Kero smells strong as hell but will evap faster if its clean. The regular Kero I get is ok if it is clean. When it gets slightly dirty it can leave a bad film on parts.

    I have more and more stainless work and I feel like there should be a better way to clean them. I want them to dry faster. I have used ISO 91 and it works great on SS but expensive and not for bigger lots.

    I guess I want something thats better all around for steels and stainless. My steel work I like to leave a film as it protects from rust and my customers will have more assembly to do anyway. the parts get cleaned along the way anyhow.

    What would be best for both and for the long term without breaking the bank?

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    I have gone through two used dishwashers in the last thirty years. I usually just use hot soapy water and detergent but I have used a commercial water based de-greaser. Doesn't seem to tear up the washer much. I will say they leak a bit probably from abusing the gaskets. I have mine sitting in one of those tub/shields that are used under washing machines to keep the crud off the floor.

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    I don't think the oil and kero will settle out. The heavy dirt particles will settle out. You can have a fliter setup such as a whole house water filter with cartridges for filtering the particles. Skim the oil off the top.

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    We use Dawn dish washing liquid, but we use drawing oil in a very thin film.

    Just an idea.

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    What about a hot wash in washing soda (sodium carbonate) cheap and easily disposed of down the drain (though a skimming ladle is handy for when the oil builds up on the surface.

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    Alcojet in an old domestic dishwasher?

    Alcojet Low Foaming Powdered Detergent | Alconox, Inc.

    Available in small quantities on Amazon.

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    I use purple magic in my dishwasher. As I said ,it doesn't seem to hurt it. Gets nice and hot and does a good job.

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    Use a old dish washer, gut the controls and add switchs that turn the heat, run, and water, drain on and off, works grate, cheap and you can use any soap you want. I use the super purple from napa...Phil

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    Well I just realized at 34 years old I have never used a dishwasher before. I have seen a few in places I have stayed at but never used one.

    I am nervous about the water rusting the parts so I was thinking that heating them after wash to make sure its all burned off would be expensive and necessary. Dishwashers do all of this and it seems like a great idea. I am sure I can find a cheap one getting thrown out by someone.

    Do you guys have to stop the cycle and rotate the basket or flip the parts when doing this? Would I have a problem with small parts under 3" long 1" O.D.

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    The drying heater already is in the dishwasher...Phil

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    There used to be a Brit around named John Stevenson. He once posted to r.c.m.:

    "We're talking plain paraffin (kerosene to you Yanks) here so don't start whining
    about fire/ozone friendly/or growing tits use what you have to as long as it's
    not water soluble.

    "Standard model:-

    "Get a 25 gallon open top container and solder a drain bung HALFWAY up the side.
    Fit a grill plate on legs in it so that its about 8" from the top. Make this
    easy to remove. Fill with water to about 1" below the side drain bung then fill
    with paraffin (Kerosene) until just above the top of the grill tray.

    "Method of use:- Just put your parts in and brush clean. All the crap, rust and
    debris will sink to the bottom into the water leaving the kerosene clean. Every
    so often drain the kerosene out using the drain bung and save for reuse. Then
    tip the water / crap away. If yours neighbour's dog craps on your lawn then
    drain the water onto his one night - fair swap.

    "Deluxe Model:- As above but stand a tray or old sink unit top on the top of the
    drum and drop a pond pump onto the grill drain back into drum.

    "These are so simple but work. I have never seen a commercial unit like this
    don't know why. I just gave my last one away the other week. Big plastic Lin Bin
    for a tray old kitchen bin for the drum and an old pond pump that kept getting
    blocked by algae. Had this 3 years and only cleaned it once."

    I myself have a drum-mounted Graymills. I've been thinking about selling it and moving to a smaller unit, as it's about three feet wide.

    metalmagpie

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    I don't think there is any need to re-invent the wheel here.

    Plenty of screw machine shops for 50 years have used continuous (auger like) worshers, along with benchtop chip removers, Ox has written about these before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    I don't think there is any need to re-invent the wheel here.

    Plenty of screw machine shops for 50 years have used continuous (auger like) worshers, along with benchtop chip removers, Ox has written about these before.
    This is what I had in mind but they can be expensive units. Sold by the company I linked to in the first post.

    I like the way they work but cant justify spending that much. Looks cool if you have a shop full of multi spindles churning out hundreds of thousands of parts a month.

    The dishwasher idea sounds great as there are a few free ones on craigslist and it would dry the parts as well.

    Chip separation has never been a problem. We put a wire grate down with the biggest holes that wont let parts fall through over a wheel around chip bin. Shake the grate back on forth and chips fall away fine. Plastics were always a problem and we tend to stay away from it unless its a good customer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by metalmagpie View Post
    There used to be a Brit around named John Stevenson. He once posted to r.c.m.:

    "We're talking plain paraffin (kerosene to you Yanks) here so don't start whining
    about fire/ozone friendly/or growing tits use what you have to as long as it's
    not water soluble.

    "Standard model:-

    "Get a 25 gallon open top container and solder a drain bung HALFWAY up the side.
    Fit a grill plate on legs in it so that its about 8" from the top. Make this
    easy to remove. Fill with water to about 1" below the side drain bung then fill
    with paraffin (Kerosene) until just above the top of the grill tray.

    "Method of use:- Just put your parts in and brush clean. All the crap, rust and
    debris will sink to the bottom into the water leaving the kerosene clean. Every
    so often drain the kerosene out using the drain bung and save for reuse. Then
    tip the water / crap away. If yours neighbour's dog craps on your lawn then
    drain the water onto his one night - fair swap.

    "Deluxe Model:- As above but stand a tray or old sink unit top on the top of the
    drum and drop a pond pump onto the grill drain back into drum.

    "These are so simple but work. I have never seen a commercial unit like this
    don't know why. I just gave my last one away the other week. Big plastic Lin Bin
    for a tray old kitchen bin for the drum and an old pond pump that kept getting
    blocked by algae. Had this 3 years and only cleaned it once."

    I myself have a drum-mounted Graymills. I've been thinking about selling it and moving to a smaller unit, as it's about three feet wide.

    metalmagpie
    I like this idea but it is pretty damn close to what I do already.

    They have these set ups all over ebay. I think for around $400

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    I second the washing soda idea. In a crock pot.

    It is alkaline enough that rust wont form. Rinse while hot and the rinse water will dry rapidly too.

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    Have you tried filtration?

    I went to a place that has all the auto oil filters in one place. Then I found a giant box like it belongs on a medium duty truck, way bigger than all of the others, around $8-9. Then machined an adapter for it. It now filters the parts washer solvent.

    I haven't used it enough to know whether it makes a great difference but it seems directionally correct and cheap to try.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt_isserstedt View Post
    Have you tried filtration?

    I went to a place that has all the auto oil filters in one place. Then I found a giant box like it belongs on a medium duty truck, way bigger than all of the others, around $8-9. Then machined an adapter for it. It now filters the parts washer solvent.

    I haven't used it enough to know whether it makes a great difference but it seems directionally correct and cheap to try.
    I have tried to filter out some of this with cheesecloth and it wouldnt even work with gravity. Probably needs a pump to push it through.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jwearing View Post
    I second the washing soda idea. In a crock pot.

    It is alkaline enough that rust wont form. Rinse while hot and the rinse water will dry rapidly too.
    This might be an option. A crock pot could be big enough. I will have to look into the cost of the soda.


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