View Full Version : What Coolant for Aluminium?

08-02-2003, 07:25 PM
Just wondering what you guys are using for coolant with aluminium? I was previously using WD-40 from a squirt bottle which worked fine. I grew tired of this and decided to go with a flood coolant system. A local machinist was using Esso Exxcool 2000:

He was nice enough to give me a sample of this but its not providing the lubrication that id like. The problem is evident when using a 2.5" diameter slitting saw. Any advice? Thanks in advance.


08-02-2003, 07:55 PM
I think you will find that kerosene is still the most preferred. For me it works the best on most of the grades of aluminum I use.

08-02-2003, 07:59 PM
Valenite has a coolant designed specifically for production milling of Aluminum. It provieds for longer tool life and superior metal removal rates wit a better finish.

08-02-2003, 09:34 PM
Thanks for the quick responses guys. To be honest I'm still not struck on the water based coolant idea and really think kerosene would be the best way to go (its similer to WD-40), but i'm using the mill in the basement of my home and am worried about the fire hazard. Esspesially with the large amount that would be needed for a flood setup. Can somebody comment on this? Is this a serious issue or is it safe?

I'll check into the Valenite. Any other suggestions? Thanks again.


08-02-2003, 11:46 PM
a oldtimer told me turpentine was a effective lubricant

08-03-2003, 01:37 AM
Aluminum rolling mills use a kerosene base coolent in the rolling mills. It is the best coolent there is for aluminum. Alcoa does use a water based coolent but it is propritary and requires a lot ore filtering to keep it clean.

A fire hazard does exist with the use of kerosene. Since your shop is in the basement to me the hazard is too high. The rolling mills have cardox (CO2) fire systems in place at the mill when fires start and they do start often.

I think that I would stick with the WD-40 and live with the problems you are having. I have also used Tap magic for aluinum but it is messy and stains if not cleaned up.

Hope this helps,


08-03-2003, 03:00 AM
I use that kerosene that the oil change places use to flush an engine out. It has a higher flash point (thats what I have been told) and it works as a good coolant/lube for aluminum.


08-03-2003, 01:47 PM
The Valenite lubes are less prone to rotting and are non-toxic. If you are going to flood - get the good stuff. I like their full synthetics as once mixed they are a light blue color and work well over all in the shop (saw, grinding, milling etc.).

The Aluminum coolant I mentioned is designed for Aluminum only - not for steel.

08-03-2003, 03:10 PM
Kerosene is very good, but has problems with flamability in rags after the fact if you are not careful, something that should be common sense, but I have seen "spontaneous combustion" more times than I would like in my years.

Another suggestion I always give is a product called "Edge Lube" from MSC, about $5.50 for a one pound tube. Very safe, solid form, works on many materials. In a slitting situation, you put a piece on a stick, or use the full bar and just quick apply to the cutter, and it works well. Gets hot and melted, and really helps clear out the chips from the saw, and lube the cut.

I user this stuff in turning, milling, whatever. I have to be careful with safety and coolants in a school shop setting.

Kerosene is still the best though, but if you are looking for a general cutting lube, use this stuff.

08-03-2003, 04:10 PM
Thanks to all who replied so far, I cant find much regarding this on the net so you guys are being very helpful.

Thrud, I went to Valenites website but all I could find was hazardous materials sheets, no usefull info at all. This will be used exclusively for milling aluminum, so being usefull all around the shop is not important. Can you tell me the name of the Aluminum only coolant and where it can be bought?

Its simply to big of a risk to use kerosene where the mill is in my basement. For now I'm still going to try to find a suitable water based coolant designed for aluminum. If it turns out that I have no other choice but to go with kerosene I'll consider moving the mill to the garage, willing to risk the garage burning down. hehe.

I've also found a product called Alusol XT from Castrol, anybody have any experiance with this? Its also supposed to be designed for aluminum.

What about this option... As I methioned before I was previosly using a custom made WD-40 dripper when using the slitting saw which worked ok before. There were other operations that the dripper wasnt suitable for so I went for a flood setup. If I continue to use the flood coolant most of the time and use the dripper (with WD-40 or kerosene) just for the slitting saw will it contaminate my coolant? Its only flowing at a slow rate, maybe 30 drips per minuite or so.

Any other advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

08-06-2003, 11:10 PM
The absolute best I have found is dirty mineral spirits from the parts washer,still flamible though,have had good luck with a product called Trimsol that is also general purpose.
For tapping Crisco shortening is good,but will go rancid,so what I did to get the best of both worlds is mix Crisco oil with pinesol cleaner,what you get works similar to Tapmagic but costs $4.00 a gallon instead of mega bucks,even smells nice http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

08-07-2003, 01:20 AM
I have a BiJur spraymist coolant unit UBA-2 OJ on my newly aquired mill. It had water and some kerosene in it when I checked it out. It had some problems with the pressure regulator but I have fixed that. The air and liquid lines are there, but the hardware at the end is missing and I have no idea how these work or what the original components look like. A machinist did tell me that this was a well liked method of cooling. Any comments or information on the system and hardware will be very much appreciated. I may have to fabricate the parts myself.


[This message has been edited by SJorgensen (edited 08-07-2003).]

08-07-2003, 02:31 PM
I can't find the article I read in MMS - misplaced my copy. You can just ask a Valenite dealer or ask the Valenite Engineers - that is what they are paid for! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

They can be most helpful if you have difficult cutting problems and no one to turn to. Kennametal, Sandvik, and other companies also have application Engineers. Don't pester them if you don't intend to buy - that is just plan bad manners.

Alistair Hosie
08-08-2003, 05:13 PM
I read somehwre that vaseline works on small lathe work for aluminum Alistair

08-08-2003, 10:30 PM
That's also helpful sometimes for tool insertion http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif
Oh man that was too easy. And I beat Thrud to it too!

[This message has been edited by SJorgensen (edited 08-08-2003).]

Alistair Hosie
08-09-2003, 09:21 AM
Yo duhrtee booger ah niver ment that http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif at least my spellings improving must be the new vaseline on the keys http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gifAlistair