Older Machine & Tools Cleanup and Recondition - Beginner
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  1. #1
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    Default Older Machine & Tools Cleanup and Recondition - Beginner

    Hello,

    I'm hoping this is in the correct forum location. I bought 1980's Era equipment and I want to start by cleaning up everything, degreasing, removing any surface rust, and then move to inspecting and reconditioning.

    So if I could get recommendations on cleaners/ chemicals, general procedures, how to avoid making things worse etc. I'm wanting to restore the original condition, so I'm not looking to repaint anything at this time, however that type of information could be useful in the future so I welcome that as well.

    Then I plan to do some measuring and hopefully everything is good enough I won't have to do much scraping, I'm hoping to just do some minor stoning and then reassembly.

    Thank you for your time.

    P.S. I should mention I live in Canada, so not all products are available readily (such as Purple Power, which In considering using). I've also heard Rust Evaporator is good to use?

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    I prefer to avoid water based cleaners around bare metal surfaces and joints between parts as the moister will seep between parts and rust. Mineral Spirits does great at removing oil, dirt, and even rust on individual parts or assemblies. Avoid using sandpaper and brillo-pads (scotch-bright) on precision surfaces. Abrasives will remove metal, which is best avoided, so think more along the lines of "mechanical" rust removal, like scraping it off with a razor or using wire bristle brushes.

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    In my 55 years of being in the rebuilding business I have cleaned up many machines. I have discovered the best way to clean up machine paint is Super Hot Water in a 5 gallon bucket and an industrial soap cleaner mixes usually 20 to 1. You need to wear rubber gloves, use rags, a hard scrub brush and lots of elbow grease. It's a lot like washing dishes. Wash and wipe dry. A photo of your machine would help so we are not guessing at what is rusty and dirty. Evaporust is good for loose parts that are rusty that you can put in a bucket and let it soak overnight, be sure to only let it stay there the time on the bottle or it will dull a shinny finish. I have discovered if you use brake cleaner and steel wool moving laterally on the ways, that work OK on ways. I would say the obvious not to let the water based soap on an area or it will rust or to use sand paper, but You sound like your sharp enough to know not to do that. Also don't use a air blaster... I did look up Industrial Supply stores in your area and this one has 5 out of 5 stars. They have all sorts of cleaners. Like I said ...it takes a lot of elbow grease.
    You can check out You Tube too, on Evaporust. Keith Rucker also has a good You Tube show. Rust Removal by Electrolysis: Use in the Restoration of Machinery - YouTube Canadian company
    https://catalogue.camindustrial.net/...nance/cleaners

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    Purple power is caustic based cleaner that cuts dried oil quickly, you can probably find something similar under another trade name, note that full strength it will soften/remove some paints if left on too long , spray small area, scrub and wipe asap, rinse with water. Evaporust is great stuff, its slow, but does wonders. Post up some pics of your machine.

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    Speaking about caustic cleaners that work fairly well, especially in hot weather, you might try some oven cleaner. Again, be careful with the paint.

    Paolo

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    I'm tentative to use wire brushes and razor blades also, any friction device will do damage, but I suppose one has to choose the lesser of all evils. I'm also tentative of using water, but I suppose if dried promptly there shouldn't be issue, we have been using soap and water for centuries for good reason.

    I'll pick up some mineral spirits and perhaps try that industrial SC Johnson Fantastic cleaner if I can stop by there during business hours. I'm hoping there isn't much rust if any, but I'll probably encounter some. I'm going to clean everything up first and then see what I have.

    As for images of my machine, it's sealed in an airtight aluminum shipping bag for the time being. Until I get my new shop built I'm doing my best to keep it in there protected from all of the elements until I know I can take care of it. Planning and timing of things didn't quite go so well...

    I have some rotary table, dividing head, tooling and components I'm wanting to putts around on for the time being to help scratch the itch.

    I truly appreciate all the assistance, suggestions, and time.

    P.S. I'll see about taking some pictures/ cataloging the process. I'm not certain how deep I want to go in that route. On one hand it might be cool to have a YouTube channel; on the other I'm not really an expert and not sure I have anything interesting that people want to watch... other than copy-cat others.
    I appreciate the support. I'll try to get a few images up for you though.

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    When reconditioning (as opposed to rebuilding), pay attention to what you are working on.

    If the area in question is the filthy ways of a lathe, that are terrifically dirty, but basically in good shape under the grime, yes, use solvents, or purple cleaner, but not much scraping and no abrasive. You have something to preserve.

    OK, the area is again lathe ways, but there is rust on them, more than just the "orange stain" that is true "surface rust" (that's truly a stupid term, but the "orange stain" is more like paint than real rust).

    In that case, the rust has already removed the surface, so the concern about "removing good surface" is a lot less important. Your concern ought to be in removing the rust, which is an abrasive (red rouge).

    I know many will cringe and squeal at this, but I see using oil and fine wet-or-dry sandpaper as no problem. One day you can try reducing a square inch of surface by a measurable amount, using 400 or 600 grit paper. It takes forever even for much smaller areas.

    So if you can remove the loose rust with such paper + light oil, I see no issue. You already lost the surface, so that is history, and on a large lathe bed you simply cannot do significant damage in any reasonable time by hand. But you sure can remove rust.

    Wash down after, using solvents as well as whatever your choice of other cleaner is. Water-based is not an issue if you dry the surface quickly. Materials such as Purple cleaner which are "basic" (as opposed to acidic) have a protective effect, reducing rusting, so that helps.

    Again, this is for "reconditioning", but not "rebuilding". Basically cleaning up and making usable, maybe painting. No re-grinding, no scraping for alignment, no attempt to return to factory specs, etc.

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    Thank you JST.

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    Using a water-based cleaner add some washing soda.
    With drying the soda leaves a fine powder and avoids rusting. Yes, it is still best to oil wipe when dry.
    At painting, a cleaner should be used to remove the oil.

    Many older machines are loaded with casting filler and so scraping down to bear can cause some problems.

    Good to wear a dust mask sanding or scraping old machines.

    *Don't wire brush number dials.

    *Oil mixed with thinner makes a good machine cleaner. it takes off years of grunge and is safe for getting into tight places.

    *Spray stuff drives grit and chips into the works, so a rag wipe is best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    Purple power is caustic based cleaner that cuts dried oil quickly, you can probably find something similar under another trade name, note that full strength it will soften/remove some paints if left on too long , spray small area, scrub and wipe asap, rinse with water. Evaporust is great stuff, its slow, but does wonders. Post up some pics of your machine.
    Purple Power is wonderful stuff. I like to submerge the parts in it for about 10mins when done they come out looking like raw machined casings, the paint, dirt and grime is all gone and the parts come out ready for a fresh coat of paint and primer.

    Now if not available in Canada do you have Home Depots up there. I can't recall the name right now but I believe I get a different brand of stuff there that's also purple and works just as well. Lowes if you have one of those nearby should have something too.

    Just make sure to wear rubber gloves, the stuff is nasty on the hands.

    Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk

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    For a whole machine or large pieces I like to spritz the machine all over with a degreaser at about 10:1 i.e. a fairly strong solution. Let it sit long enough for the degreaser to do its job and then take it out in the driveway and pressure wash it. I've started many restoration projects this way and have never rusted a machine. After the pressure washing, blow it as dry as you can get it and then spray with a water displacer like WD-40 or CRC-1.

    It's simply astonishing how much dirt you can get off a machine this way.

    Next step is usually to take everything apart and start cleaning the individual pieces. Parts covered with a thick layer of old paint I generally hit with a pneumatic needle gun. Rips the paint right off. After the needle gun and subsequent cleanup it's usually time for some kind of powered wire brush, often on an angle grinder.

    Also, of course, this is the time to fix broken bits or make missing parts or do needed electrical work.

    When it comes to painting, most of the work should be expended in preparation. Final wipedown with mineral spirits, masking, suspending the part in midair all are part of paint prep.

    To me, the way to really wreck a machine is to spray paint it fully assembled and just spray on the whole can covering everything in paint. I will never buy or work on a machine that has been brutalized in this fashion. The right way to paint a machine is disassembled, painting it piece by piece. Then put it back together right with fasteners in good condition (or new) and all wire colors clearly visible and the paint job will look great.

    Here's an example of a resto I did:
    https://nwnative.us/Grant/shop%20articles/camelback

    metalmagpie

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    Remember Forrest Addy? He had a claim that he could clean an entire machine with a half pint of mineral spirits.

    So, one time I tried it on a machine I was cleaning up to sell. Dirty machine, one I got cheap with the intent to clean and sell, as it was hobbyist sized. SB 9".

    So I did the cleaning, and using about a cup of mineral spirits. Forrest was right. Scraped off the thick gunk with a putty knife, then the mineral spirits and a rag. Got it darn clean, I was shocked. And I had mineral spirits left over when I was done. It did not take the entire cup.

    Power equipment is not always better..... And using no water at all, no worries about it getting in where it should not be.

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    I prefer to mix up a solution of a solvent (mineral spirits or paint thinner), some ATF, and sometimes Kroil. Exact mix is not critical. I usually end up 75 to 80% solvent, 20% ATF and 0-5% Kroil. The solvent portion will help remove old oil and grease. The ATF has detergents in it that will help the solution clean. The oil in the ATF will remain on the part after the solvent evaporates, helping to prevent rust. The Kroil will also leave a protective coating.

    I avoid abrasives. I like brass brushes, and bronze wool (like steel wool, but bronze).

    For very old grease or grease that is hard to get to, the best thing I have found is Berrymans Carb and Choke Cleaner. I do not know what is in in so it works better- but it does. It is well worth the higher price.

    Evaporust is a must for me. If the item is too big to submerge- or the area too small to be worth it- heat the work, then put a Evaporust saturated piece of paper towel on the area. You can also make a grease or wax circle and fill it. If you have a larger piece to submerge: Get a container large enough for the work with volume left over. Fill it with water as hot as you can get it to a depth higher than the part is tall. Put the part in a plastic trash bag and lower it into the water keeping the open end of the bag up. The water will push the plastic close to the part. Put in enough Evaporust into the bag to just over the part- but below the level of the water. This will use much less Evaporust than trying to fill the container with Evaporust.

    If I do use water, it will be hot, and with Dawn dishwashing detergent- which I also use to wash my hands.
    A surface warmer than ambient air temp will evaporate water faster- and is much less prone to rust in storage. Think about getting some block heaters and or IR lamps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iceking007 View Post
    I'm tentative to use wire brushes and razor blades
    Probably half my machines came to me rusty enough that the only option was razor blades and wire brushes, nothing you do in cleaning it off is worse than leaving it rusty. I can shave the rust off lathe ways, without gouging them, in less time than it will take to build a tank big enough to put it in. Now that evaporust is readily available I will use it for small parts, back in the "old days" a wire wheel is what was used, because its all we had.

    Adammil1
    Super Clean, its what I use, yes soak in it will remove most paints, if any rust the next bucket is evapo.

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    Okay, this is all very good information and I appreciate it. I think I'm going to keep it simple to begin with, no caustics or special procedures, I'll get some mineral spirits, maybe soap and water, and if I can find a way to that cleaning supply store, I'll pick up some of that industrial fantastic.

    I agree wholeheartedly with regards to the rust. My standpoint however is I'm hoping my "rust" isn't that bad; perhaps more just dirt and grime... slight surface rust. If I can't remove it simply and gently then of course I will have to step measures up. Although a razor blade and such is a good idea, I think a liquid/ chemical mediation would be more precise and thorough, as well as safer (less damage) if chosen and used appropriately. If using an abrasive it's far too easy to take off too much good material and leave some festering rust behind.

    Anyways, just my thoughts/ feelings.

    I do have a really dumb question however... and I'm hoping this will be a unanimous answer and not a flavour of the week preference:
    What type of oil do I buy to put on everything? After I clean and wipe on a light coat, is there something special?
    What is the waxy stuff that comes on new tools? There is usually a sticky oil (is this what I should buy), or just like a bees wax if it's sitting for some time?

    This might be getting off topic, so hopefully it won't drag on that tangent.

    Thank you.


    - Alright, I need to drag this posting on slightly longer, I apologize (as one that isn't fond of reading lots). A few things are on my mind, I'll keep it mostly point form for simplicity and expedience.
    》Is it necessary to own a surface plate in order to measure wear, or are there work-a-rounds? (ie If taking apart and cleaning up a rotary table, is it possible to get any idea of the condition without an outside surface)
    》Is there any specifics to know about buying a stone? (is it like sandpaper or a file, or are they basically all the same)
    》I guess if you're going as far as lapping/ scraping, you will need a surface plate for that?

    Okay I'll leave it at that for now.

    Much appreciated.

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    Mix solvent with whatever oil you have handy, 10 to 1 solvent to oil In a sprayer.

    Spray on and solvent evaporates and leaves oil film.

    Sent from my SM-G781V using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Tony Quiring; 10-26-2021 at 08:07 AM.

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    Your location shows up as Alberta Canada. I assume that the machines are in a heated area. How stable is the temperature and humidity? If they vary quickly you may get condensation on the metal. If that is going to happen look for something like boeshield or an oil intended for rust prevention like LPS-3. Better yet heat the machine with block heaters or heat lamps.

    If you get into scraping, you will need a surface plate. Starting out I think your money would be better used getting quality indicators, holders for the indicators, levels, and some parallels.

    Stones are like files- all different types, shapes and purposes. The quality can very a lot. What looks flat may not be flat. I assume you want something for removing burrs from surfaces. I cannot find on online example of what I prefer- so will post that later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iceking007 View Post
    Okay, this is all very good information and I appreciate it. I think I'm going to keep it simple to begin with, no caustics or special procedures, I'll get some mineral spirits, maybe soap and water, and if I can find a way to that cleaning supply store, I'll pick up some of that industrial fantastic.

    I agree wholeheartedly with regards to the rust. My standpoint however is I'm hoping my "rust" isn't that bad; perhaps more just dirt and grime... slight surface rust. If I can't remove it simply and gently then of course I will have to step measures up. Although a razor blade and such is a good idea, I think a liquid/ chemical mediation would be more precise and thorough, as well as safer (less damage) if chosen and used appropriately. If using an abrasive it's far too easy to take off too much good material and leave some festering rust behind.
    If you can find rust free machines, that is always best, but most of the time you will pay a premium for that. A machine with rust on it usually has a lower price, with experience you can tell the difference between an easy cleanup, and its too far gone. With a razor blade I can shave off nothing but the rust and leave the sound metal undisturbed.

    Is your goal to learn to use machines, or to learn to restore machines. If you just want to make parts for your projects, skip the whole hand scraping to perfection thing, there is a place for it in industry, but in a home shop you're just another wanker with OCD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    ......................
    Is your goal to learn to use machines, or to learn to restore machines. If you just want to make parts for your projects, skip the whole hand scraping to perfection thing, there is a place for it in industry, but in a home shop you're just another wanker with OCD.
    There is one advantage to cleaning up a machine to use. You learn a lot about it, much more than a button pusher or dial spinner does. That can be helpful, and per my very odd notions about stuff, you don't really own it unless you can fix it, and if you repaired it for use, you "earned it" you didn't just pull out the checkbook.

    For a business, a very different calculation is in order.....

    OCD? well, some things are worth it, some are not. The Rivett 608 which I am in the process of scraping the bed of, was a real mess, but will be worth the work.

    The old Benchmaster that I completely scraped-in was definitely NOT, but it was a mess, and also was a heck of a lot nicer to work on (and faster to finish) than a 49" table Bridgeport, or a big K&T . I got the experience and knowledge from doing an "entire mill" from the ground up, with less hassle. I knew better than to go for micron accuracy. Mr Benchmaster got done to appropriate tolerances.

    I will pull out the checkbook next time, most likely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JST View Post
    Remember Forrest Addy? He had a claim that he could clean an entire machine with a half pint of mineral spirits.

    So, one time I tried it on a machine I was cleaning up to sell. Dirty machine, one I got cheap with the intent to clean and sell, as it was hobbyist sized. SB 9".

    So I did the cleaning, and using about a cup of mineral spirits. Forrest was right. Scraped off the thick gunk with a putty knife, then the mineral spirits and a rag. Got it darn clean, I was shocked. And I had mineral spirits left over when I was done. It did not take the entire cup.

    Power equipment is not always better..... And using no water at all, no worries about it getting in where it should not be.

    This would make a good sticky.

    Hal


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