Versatile/inexpensive grinding/cutting fluid?
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  1. #1
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    Default Versatile/inexpensive grinding/cutting fluid?

    I donít have space in my small garage or money to buy lots of different coolants/cutting fluids specific to machining types and metal types (aluminum, steels including stainless, brass).
    Iíd like to find some water soluble oil that:
    -can be used for surface grinding, milling and lathe work
    -doesnít rust/corrode machines or my skin
    -can be used via mister, brush on, flood

    I realize this might be a lot to hope for...

    Any recommendations?

    Opinions on:
    TRIM SC520? Or other TRIM products?
    Rustlick Vytron N? or other Rustlick fluids?
    ...

    Iíve read of people using thinned/cut bacon grease.
    Iíve also read of various solutions cut with kerosene.

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    "Lard oil (or machine oil) should be used when cutting screw threads in steel in order to produce a smooth thread."

    -- direct quote from "How to Run a Lathe" by The South Bend Lathe Works

    Lard Oil $21.56 per gallon

    -- direct quote from McMaster-Carr

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  4. #3
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    This is a subject more for the homeshopmachinist.com forum.

    I'll vote for prestone....100 straight, not diluted.

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    I used misters for a while, but the shop filled up with a fog bank, and I had to wear a respirator, so I gave up on that.

    What I use for anything requiring a flood is Rustlick WS-5050 soluble oil (10% dilution). This works very well, but this coolant is water-thin and so tends to be flung off the spinning workpiece in the lathe, and so I have a collection of rubber curtains and plastic shields to contain the mess.

    For things not requiring flood, I use brushed MobilMet cutting oil.

    MobilMet and WS-5050 can be bought in gallon containers, which is plenty for my needs. Shop around. Zoro seems to have good prices on fluids. MSC, not so much.


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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    This is a subject more for the homeshopmachinist.com forum.
    Maybe, but Iíd argue there are a LOT of small shops out there.


    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    I'll vote for prestone....100 straight, not diluted.
    I ordered a gallon of TRIM
    I donít like the smell of antifreeze.
    Have you used Prestone? What were your results like?

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    You have a Hardinge HLV-H lathe or two, according to this post:

    Authentic Hardinge HLV-H Manuals?

    To quote the Hardinge operator manual, including the caps, "OIL BASE CUTTING FLUIDS ARE RECOMMENDED FOR MAXIMUM MACHINE LIFE."

    Mist is very unpleasant and messy to use.

    Leaded brass and gray iron need no coolant.

    I have never felt a pressing need for coolant on my B&S surface grinder, which has no provision for it. I do admit it is a good thing for some grinding jobs.

    Larry

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    I may be wrong, but I also have a small, garage shop and I have tried various cutting fluids. My impressions are:

    I tried using a highly recommended, water based fluid, diluting it as recommended. I found that if I did not completely clean it up after a machining session and it sat for a few days, the water evaporated leaving a sticky mess. This gummed up things like a vise on the milling table and had to be cleaned up after just a few sessions. My conclusion is that water based cutting fluids are for professional shops where the machines are in much more continuous use than they are in a small shop and where they will be cleaned up much more often. For a small shop, they are more trouble than they are worth.

    I use an inexpensive, light oil for cutting most metals. I brush it on to control the amount being used. Any that gets into the workings of anything, like the milling vise, does no harm and, in fact, provides lubrication. So it does not have to be cleaned up as often as a water based fluid would.

    For aluminum I use WD-40. It provides a good finish on aluminum and is great for washing the chips away from the cutter. This lessens the tendency for the gummy aluminum to build up on the cutting edges.

    For tapping I use Tap Magic. Regular for most metals and the aluminum variety for aluminum. Both of these are very good for cutting threads. If I am having trouble getting a nice finish while single point thread cutting, I will use them there too.

    Oh, I tried some of the "kitchen" type fluids. They also had to be cleaned up after every use or they would harden in place and be very difficult to get rid of. And if they got into the workings of things like a vise, then you had to disassemble it to clean them out. I don't like any of the "kitchen" type fluids. But I will admit that I did not try all of them.

    As I said, I brush the cutting OILS on to control the amount being used. I do not hose them on like you see in the internet videos. I do not try to recover them after use. But the volume that I use is low enough so that I do not find the price to be too excessive. I buy the light oil and the WD in gallon containers: I can find space for them under my bench. Others, like the Tap Magic I buy in quarts of other smaller sizes which are also easy to find storage space for.

    The only real advantage that I see for water based cutting fluids is price. I can see where a shop that is constantly cutting can save a lot by using it. But, as far as I can tell, oil based fluids are not just as good, they are flat out better in terms of the machining operation.

    My impressions only. I do not have real, scientific evidence. YMMV.

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    Ive used washing soda ,sodium carbonate solution in grinders with some satisfaction.......cheap,but hard on the skin tho............but I did get pneumonia for some bug or other living in black soluble oil coolant(Dromus B),despite the strong phenol smell.......grinders make a fair bit of mist.....A friend would use nothing but expensive oil ,and he had lots of burned surfaces.Nothing beats water in a grinder.

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    I use Rigid Dark Sulfur cutting oil mixed with 10% Tap Magic, brushed on for most steel. WD-40 for aluminum, and bacon grease for really tough cutting steel. Small US Gov R&D shop we have tried various water based coolants, but the sticky clean up if not used all the time is a pain. We still use the Lenox saw coolant on the horizontal band saw, but that gets used enough to keep it from becoming a sticky mess. We were using Rustlick 225-R in our rifle barrel chambering pressure flush system, but that has a catch pan to recycle the coolant, we will need to find a replacement for that as it has been discontinued.

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