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Tim125
12-26-2005, 03:20 PM
Hi all, have been reading the post for a few weeks, Ford tech by trade for the last 20 years, getting into metal work as a hobby. Anyway my problem, Was not able to finish the insulation and heating of my shop before winter so for now I'm using one of the torpedo type heaters, heats the shop up nice but I'm sure by now you can see my problem. Going from below freezing to approx 70*F causes some condensation problems on some of my bigger tools, particularly the lathe, it's a smithy granite 1340 series (I know, whish I would have found this forum when I was looking for a machine but for a newbie just learning, ti seems to serve its purpose). I've been thinking of ways to reduce or eliminate the condensation on the lathe, I have one of those magnetic block heaters and was wondering if I went out and attached it to the lathe bed a few hrs before I was going to use the shop, would that work? Or would the localized temp on the bed cause a problem, I know the machine would warm slowly but the heater itself reaches 300*F. Would that maybe cause twisting or warpage of the bed? Sory for the long post.

BillH
12-26-2005, 03:47 PM
The problem is that you going from freezing to 70 deg F. Perhaps if you heat up your shop in a much slower pace. Anyhow, your lathe should be covered in way oil anyhow. Perhaps set the heat to 40 something when your not in there.

nheng
12-26-2005, 03:51 PM
Tim, You might want to google for "dew point chart". These show the temperature and humidity at which humidity will condense on a surface.

I think you have two solutions, one being to pump some watts into heating the machine. The second is to spray it with a water displacing product that ALSO protects (WD-40 does not). Starrett M1 is one and LPS#2 is another. The Starrett is nice because is leaves a film behind that is so fine you can just go to work without doing anything. LPS#2 is a bit heavier and LPS#3 leaves a waxy film for heavy duty protection.

To prevent the condensation with a block or other heater in/on the lathe bed, you need to bring up the lathe temperature BEFORE bringing up the air temp. Back to the dew chart http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif Den

Tim125
12-26-2005, 04:15 PM
That was my idea, to bring up the tempurature of the lathe before I heated the shop. I was just wondering if the localized temp at the block heater(300*F) would cause any harm to the lathe. I wish I could keep the temp up a bit but don't really like letting the torpedo type heater run for long periods of time unattended and with kerosene at almost 3.00 a gal. it's not feasible.
I do keep everyhting well oiled (3-in-1) but it doesn't make much of a difference.

ammcoman2
12-26-2005, 05:57 PM
Another possible solution is to get some evestrough heater/de-icer cable.

A friend did this on his Harrison lathe that is in his garage workshop. He attached the cable to the bed at the back of the lathe just below the the ways.

The other bonus, he says, is that his hands don't freeze up when he adjusts the settings!

Geoff

Your Old Dog
12-26-2005, 05:59 PM
I'm in the Buffalo New York area and never had the problem you describe. I did have a severe condensation problem when we hit a few days of warm moist Southern airflow get into the barn and hit the unprotected cast iron wood working and metal tools. It looked like someone hit it all with a hose. I fixed the problem by not allowing the free flow of air in the shop area. The barn had large voids near the wall/roof lines and of course the big barn doors themselves. I partitioned off a section and put another door and that door to the equipment is never left open. I can go out there at 0 degrees, fire up the wood stove and get it up to 75 degrees and absolutly no condensation. This is no exageration. It think part of your problem might be the type of heater you are using. If you don't vent outside you introduce moisture to the air while you're heating it. My suggestion would be to dump the torpedo type heater and get one that needs a chimney. My friend has a propane ventless type heater in his great room and I find it very moist, to the point of being uncomfortable.

darryl
12-26-2005, 07:10 PM
The real problem is not how to prevent that, but how to most appropriately heat the machine. You don't want local hot spots, so some means of spreading the heat evenly would be close to ideal. A couple light bulbs somewhere below the machine, in a housing of some kind which will let heated air rise and envelope the machine might be a decent answer. You could pick the size of bulb to set the temperature which the machine comes to and settles at.

Heat tape for water pipes is something that could work, though it's not meant to be 'free air'. It must be in contact with the surface to be kept warm so it doesn't burn out or get too hot. Wrapping it on a pipe is easy, but keeping it in contact with a lathe bed for instance might pose a challenge. You might be able to take that heat tape and coil it, then let the coil expand inside a section of pipe- the pipe then becomes your heat source and is placed under the machine.

If the lathe sits on a stand that has drawers for tooling, it might be a good idea to heat the entire thing from below.

speedy
12-26-2005, 07:28 PM
Don`t forget to keep the air moving in your shop; it has a bigger effect on preventing condensation than you might imagine.

Ken ( from where it hardly ever gets below 4 c or above 30 c, but the humidity can strangle ya at times )

[This message has been edited by speedy (edited 12-26-2005).]

3 Phase Lightbulb
12-26-2005, 08:42 PM
If it bothers you, I would just wipe it off with a towel.. I have much more fun with my tools by just using them and not worrying about stuff like that.. Hey, if it starts to rust, or actually cause a problem then address it..

-Adrian

Tim125
12-26-2005, 09:08 PM
Hi. It does rust, this last time I spent about 3hrs cleaning it up. Since no one has said using a block heater will cause a problem, I think I'll give it a try this week. I figure that if I plug it in a few hours before I need to use the shop it should be warm enough that alot of moisture won't collect on it when I heat the air. Thanks for all your suggestions. I meant to mention that I'll use the heater on the stand so there's no localized heat on the lathe itself and I have started to keep it covered after this last time.

[This message has been edited by Tim125 (edited 12-26-2005).]

FastlaneCycles
12-26-2005, 09:48 PM
I've got about the same probelm you have with the heated, or should I say, lack of heat, in my shop. I hardly go in there in the winter months and when I do heat it up. Everything gets soaked.
Two years ago I bought a new Shoptask 3in1 Bridgemill and had the same thing happen. I decided to hose it down with a product called fluid film and it keeps all the bare parts protected. But the most important and what seems to be the biggest factor in keeping it from collecting condensation, was get a heavy duty BBQ grill cover that fit right over the whole machine and I have a 60 watt bulb burning under it. It maintains a somewhat controlled enviroment for the unit.
I haven't had any rust form on it since I covered it.

PaulA
12-26-2005, 10:51 PM
I had that problem with a propane torpedo heater. That was the worst; things would rust immediately. I spent more time cleaning rust off than using the machines. I finally solved the problem by putting in a direct vent wall heater and keep the shop about 40 or so until I want to use it. Haven't had to clean any rust off since.

BillH
12-26-2005, 11:34 PM
whats the byproducts of burning propane? co2, h20?

nheng
12-27-2005, 12:25 AM
Tim, You should probably ditch the 3-in-1 oil. A water displacing product is needed to get below any moisture. Also, way oil has rust inhibitors to assist with controlling rust as it lies on machined surfaces.

BillH brings up another good point, the by-products of combustion. I was going to install a ventless natural gas heater a few years back until I discovered this and went with a vented, closed combustion system heater. It also gives a little more piece of mind when using flammable solvents ... although the hot water tank and furnace are nearby http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

Den

IOWOLF
12-27-2005, 05:35 AM
Heat the shop.

------------------
The tame Wolf !

jkilroy
12-27-2005, 07:40 AM
You have got to dump the heater you are using. The exhaust is full of acidic moisture. If thats all you have got for heat I would suggest getting rid of it and investing in goose down undergarments.

Paul Gauthier
12-27-2005, 07:58 AM
I would suggest a pellet stove. Completely safe, uses outside air for combustion and adjustable for heat output.

------------------
Paul G.

Duct Taper
12-27-2005, 08:45 AM
Getting rid of the humidity as much as you can will help a lot. Seal off the shop as much as you can. Keep a lot of wood or sawdust around to absorb the humidity. The shroud over the lathe with a light bulb burning under it helps a lot. The light bulb burning will also keep the infernal nocturnal mice away.

And for summer get an air conditioner to keep that humid Wisconsin air dehumidified. It doesn't have to be a big one to dehumidify if you keep it running. That summer humidity is the killer !!!

BudB
12-27-2005, 08:56 AM
You might check out "control box heaters" from Grainger. (4BA54 & 4BA55) These little self regulating heaters are on my south bend lathe and shaper as well as outdoor lift station control panels. With the heaters and a heavy canvas tarp there is no sign of rust.

ahidley
12-27-2005, 10:36 PM
I have EXACTLY the same problem here in NE PA and I use a torpedo (kerosene) fired heater. I only use it when I need the garage for "awhile" . Like stated above the byproduct of kerosene, and or propane, natural gas is H2O. So either get an externally vented heater or soak everything down with oil like I do. And like stated above it only happens at the "dew point" temperture.
I can bring in my tractor with snowblower after cleaning the driveway and park it and the snow melts off and there is a puddle right infront of tghe lathe. But it does not rust. It only rusts when the "metal" is at the dew point. That is what causes condensation.

Jpfalt
12-27-2005, 10:54 PM
We used to put a 60 watt light bulb inside the base of the machines. It raises the temperature and prevents condensation on the machine. That propane heater is cranking moisture into the air unless the exhaust is ducted outside the shop.

Tim125
12-28-2005, 07:01 AM
Well, this is what I did, I stuck the block heater to the bench for the lathe before I left for work and covered the lathe with a tarp. After work I heated the shop and no condensation on the lathe, so it seemed to work. Will have to wait 'til summer to install a real heater, I'll be piping natural gas out from the house. So for now I'll just make do. Thanks for all your ideas.

Michael Moore
12-28-2005, 02:13 PM
I'm three blocks from the ocean, so (salty) humidty is a problem even though the climate is pretty temperate.

I keep a spray bottle of LPS3 next to the lathe and mill, along with a spray bottle of Vactra #2. Before use the machine ways/tables get wiped down and the ways given a spray of Vactra, and after use all the exposed metal gets a quick spray of LPS after the swarf is wiped off. The machines do have automatic way lube, so there is certainly plenty of oil put out on them. But the protective fluids aren't very expensive, and fighting rust is a constant battle.

cheers,
Michael

madman
01-03-2006, 10:30 AM
I use a contractor electric 220 volt heater. It has a built in thermostat. Also a King fan mounted on the wall which is on all the time. I dont have too much rust trouble. On my tap collection i spray them with LPS 2 or 3 whatevers around. WD 40 i use to start the neighbours old junk when the wires get wet thats all. Hydraulic oil tonna 32 i use on everything that sits still or even moves. Seems to be working in my old shack of a garage and ive had my equipment in there for 14 years or so.

Dawai
01-03-2006, 10:39 AM
Well.. My shop is sheetmetal, no insulation. I have to throw heat in to make it workable, no way I can afford to heat it full time.

I have not been to the shop much, My new Rohm 4 jaw chuck is red.. just on one side thou.. the top side.. I oiled the heck out of it and will have to steel wool it w/oil.

That, and after I started my distributed control system up, it would not communicate, I worked on it for a hour yesterday before I figured out I was running a old version of the software I wrote.. who should know best? the author with the bad memory. I deleted previous versions off the pc.

phil burman
01-03-2006, 01:52 PM
Hi Tim,

The effectiveness of a bit of background heat depends on the dewpoint of the air coming in contact with the machine. Heating the lathe to 50 F degrees will not help much if the air is saturated at 80 degree F. The condition of the air that contacts the lathe depends on the heater output, size of shop, location of lathe, location of heater and degree of ventilation. At least point the heater away from the lathe and allow some ventilation/air mixing. To big, to small, to fast and you will always be in trouble.

In your case the only sure way to reduce/eliminate the condensation is to ditch the torpedo heater. Its pumping water saturated air into you working space with a dew point of around 80 to 90 degree C or higher. A torpedo heater, or any heater that discharges the products of combustion into the workspace is totally inappropriate for your kind of on/off use and high/low temperature conditions.

Your temperature range is quite large so even relatively dry warm air could be a problem.

For a start you probably need some form of background heating for the big lumps of steel/iron to avoid ambient air condensation. I put a portable 1 KW. oil filled heater under my lathe, set on low and running continuously, with a blanket thrown over the lathe to help keep the heat in and the damp out. This type of heater will avoid the risk of high, localized temperatures. Then I use a 3.5 KW electric fan heater to get the shop upto a reasonable temperature quickly. No added water as they say. My lathe chuck and ways are still bright and shiny after 2 years at this current, unsuitable location. I used to have a 1,000 sq.ft of heated basement. How did I get talked into that move!!! Must have blinked.

The trouble with condensation problems is that every case is different. So what works for one situation does not necessarily work for another. So the best way to solve the problem is to study the physics a bit, or get somebody that understands the physic to look in detail at your problem. The solution depends on a large number of factors including:

Ambient dewpoint
Ambient temperature range
Average ambient outside temperature
Average ambient inside temperature
Shop size
Rate of heating/cooling (heat capacity) of the equipment (size)
Insulated/ventilated workspace
Method of heating
Possible use of a dehumidifier

Area of free liquid water surfaces in the shop.
(Even ) Frequency/duration of opening the outside door.

Each is interrelated to the other.

Best Regards
Phil


<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Tim125:
now I'm using one of the torpedo type heaters, ...... Going from below freezing to approx 70*F causes some condensation problems on some of my bigger tools....... I've been thinking of ways to reduce or eliminate the condensation on the lathe, I have one of those magnetic block heaters and was wondering if I went out and attached it to the lathe bed a few hrs before I was going to use the shop, would that work? Or would the localized temp on the bed cause a problem, I know the machine would warm slowly but the heater itself reaches 300*F. Would that maybe cause twisting or warpage of the bed? Sory for the long post.</font>

debequem
01-03-2006, 03:48 PM
Ditch the torpedo heater. Combustion with those heaters generates water as a by-product.

Best solution is to keep the inside sir at a constant temperature and humidty. At leat keep the temperature constant.

This will improve the repeatability of the machines if everything is at a constant temperature and makes working more confortable. Consider insulation the place heavily and investing in a heating system. You will spend less time maintaining and more time working!

aboard_epsilon
01-03-2006, 04:39 PM
"Ditch the torpedo heater. Combustion with those heaters generates water as a by-product."
I have one of those 120,000 BTU
I've put it on a thermostat
workshop now heated 24/7 ..to 15 degree c
put small vents at the top of the workshop apex...bleeds a little bit of the hottest air out that contains the most moisture
no condensation on the machines .just a bit on the windows now and again.
workshop size 26 by 26 feet with insulated roof
fuel consumption.........about 30 litres a week at outside ambient of 10 degrees.
the secret is ..one constant temperature 24/7
all the best.mark

phil burman
01-04-2006, 10:21 AM
Hi Mark,
I would fully agree with the constant temperature. As long as you keep the humidity down to 80% or less. If you use heating that doesn’t produce combustion products into the room then you don't need to worry about humidity. If you use a torpedo then you need ventilation to get rid of the produced water vapor and to replace the lost oxygen. But I got the impression that until the guy gets his workshop insulated constant temperature was not an option.

By the way a high output torpedo heater in a small relatively well insulated workshop will also not be a very good option. You have to replace the burnt oxygen which means you need to let outside air in. Get the balance wrong and you could find yourself getting headaches, falling asleep or worst still getting carbon monoxide poisoning. Torpedo heaters are intended for heating large well ventilated spaces.

Regards
Phil Burman



<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by aboard_epsilon:
"Ditch the torpedo heater. Combustion with those heaters generates water as a by-product."
I have one of those 120,000 BTU
I've put it on a thermostat
workshop now heated 24/7 ..to 15 degree c
put small vents at the top of the workshop apex...bleeds a little bit of the hottest air out that contains the most moisture
no condensation on the machines .just a bit on the windows now and again.
workshop size 26 by 26 feet with insulated roof
fuel consumption.........about 30 litres a week at outside ambient of 10 degrees.
the secret is ..one constant temperature 24/7
all the best.mark</font>

aboard_epsilon
01-04-2006, 10:47 AM
"By the way a high output torpedo heater in a small relatively well insulated workshop will also not be a very good option. You have to replace the burnt oxygen which means you need to let outside air in. Get the balance wrong and you could find yourself getting headaches, falling asleep or worst still getting carbon monoxide poisoning. Torpedo heaters are intended for heating large well ventilated spaces.

Regards
Phil Burman"

It only comes on for eight Min's every 2 hours...at 10 degrees average ambient outside.
any lower outside .....yes I find myself opening windows.
but usually when its at below 5 degree c outside I'm in bed. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif
the most I've seen it run was eight Min's in every 45 MIN'S and that was when it was minus 2 and below outside

sometimes I wish I didn't live in a town,
would love it if I could harness energy from elsewhere for nothing .sun,wind and water.........which would mean living in the country.

all the best.......mark

lynnl
01-04-2006, 11:42 AM
As several have pointed out, the real problem is the extra moisture that is being dumped into the air.

That statement "... Going from below freezing to approx 70*F causes some condensation problems ..." is not really correct.

If you could bring the air temp up from 32F up to 70F WITHOUT adding more H2O, you would actually decrease condensation problems. (Warm air has more water holding capacity than cold air, so would be at a lower humidity. ..That's why you get static electricity discharges in the dry heated air in winter, and chapped lips, etc.)

Another factor to consider: All objects radiate heat. Some more than others, and metallic objects radiate it very well. So the lathe and mill are losing heat and in turn cooling the thin layer of air in contact with the metal, down to the saturation point. ...just like a cold glass of your favorite beverage on a hot summer day. And just like on the beverage glass, condensation forms. Simply keeping the machines covered with a tarp or heavy cloth will help a lot.

Also, if this is an attached garage or similar arrangement, unless there's a good vapor barrier on the warm side of the walls adjoining the living area, you'll get a lot of moisture migrating thru the walls from the living area.

But as others have said, replacing that unvented, combustion heater should be the first step.