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View Full Version : Teeny, TINY needles produced while milling



hwingo
12-19-2009, 08:24 AM
Hi guys,

Several months ago I fabricated a piece on my mill. I was cutting 4140 and taking very small cuts using the side of the carbide cutter. When finished, "metal powder" covered the part, my indexing head, and my table. Using my Shop Vac I did my best to remove all the "powder-like cuttings".

To make a long story short, the "powder" was tiny needles. These needles are so small that to see them requires the use of surgical lopes. I spent hours, over the next several days, locating and removing tiny slivers of metal from my hands and finger-tips.

Having a need to fabricate another part using the indexer, I grabbed the indexer and placed it on the table. Though I *thought* I had brushed and vacuumed my indexing head clean, I found MORE needles last night as I am still digging those things from my fingers this morning.

QUESTION: What is the best way to remove tiny dangerous particulate from surfaces that will be touched from time to time? I considered using a magnet but feared that I would perhaps magnetize areas on the table, or indexer, or vise causing a "trap" for other pieces of metal to attach. I wouldn't dare use compressed air!

Suggestions for eradicating needles from machine surfaces would be greatly appreciated.

Harold

HSS
12-19-2009, 08:31 AM
How about spraying the surface down with something like lps or wd40 and wiping down good with paper towels. the lps will make the metal pieces clump together and be easier to remove.

Uncle O
12-19-2009, 08:38 AM
Best way to NOT make those tiny little needles is to make them big needles....
take bigger cuts. If you are side milling, depending on material, you are going to make needles, really no way around it. Don't be so afraid of using compressed air, just be careful to direct it and don't use real high psi.

Carld
12-19-2009, 08:49 AM
yep, tiny cuts make tiny needles. Many times I use a magnet to remove most the swarf on the mill and then blow the rest of it off. I have a piece of heavy plastic drop cloth on the wall behind the mill to keep the wall clean. Every shop I worked in had extremely dirty walls behind the mills and I didn't want that in my shop.

hwingo
12-19-2009, 09:11 AM
Best way to NOT make those tiny little needles is to make them big needles....
take bigger cuts. If you are side milling, depending on material, you are going to make needles, really no way around it. Don't be so afraid of using compressed air, just be careful to direct it and don't use real high psi.

Knowing how to prevent making needles is of no help at this time. It's already done. Now clean-up needs to be addressed.

http://i234.photobucket.com/albums/ee38/hwingo_2007/Needles.jpg

Thought I would show just how small these "needles" really are. The reason I have been fearful of using compressed air is fear of getting these things in my eyes. Yes I wear safety glasses but even glasses would not ensure particles this size from getting in, under, and around these protective devices.;)

Harold:)

hornluv
12-19-2009, 09:30 AM
You can try duct tape. Put it on your finger, let it sit for about 10 seconds and pull off. It doesn't work well for big splinters and slivers, but for those little guys, they're probably not dug in that deep and they'll probably come out with the tape. You might have to try pulling the tape off from a couple of different angles in case one sliver goes in one way and another is pointing in the opposite.

As far as getting them off your tools, put a magnet in a Ziploc bag that has been turned inside out, go over everything and you'll pick up all the bits, then turn the bag back the right way, zip it up, remove the magnet, and toss the bag in the trash.

mochinist
12-19-2009, 09:44 AM
Knowing how to prevent making needles is of no help at this time. It's already done. Now clean-up needs to be addressed.

with a response like that, figure out how to get rid of them yourself


Mo :)

hwingo
12-19-2009, 10:33 AM
LPS and WD 40 is a plausible option. Although I have used WD40 several time (which may require even more applications), I haven't yet given LPS a go.

The plastic bag trick is also a good idea. However, is it possible that areas on the table or indexer (where the magnet is used), might become magnetized serving as a means of attracting more particles at a later date? I really don't know what it takes to create magnetism.

Harold

websterz
12-19-2009, 10:35 AM
LPS and WD 40 is a plausible option. Although I have used WD40 several time (which may require even more applications), I haven't yet given LPS a go.

The plastic bag trick is also a good idea. However, is it possible that areas on the table or indexer (where the magnet is used), might become magnetized serving as a means of attracting more particles at a later date? I really don't know what it takes to create magnetism.

Harold

If you are only using the magnet for cleaning up and not leaving it stuck to the table 24/7 then residual magnetism won't become a problem.

hwingo
12-19-2009, 10:38 AM
If you are only using the magnet for cleaning up and not leaving it stuck to the table 24/7 then residual magnetism won't become a problem.


That's the answer I was needing! I will give this a go along with another good cleaning.

Thanks,
Harold

GKman
12-19-2009, 11:11 AM
I've taped a really powerful small magnet on my finger overnight more than once on splinters I couldn't find or get out. I think it pulls them out sometimes. Feels like I'm doing something besides suffering anyway.

Uncle O
12-19-2009, 12:01 PM
Knowing how to prevent making needles is of no help at this time. It's already done. Now clean-up needs to be addressed.

http://i234.photobucket.com/albums/ee38/hwingo_2007/Needles.jpg

Thought I would show just how small these "needles" really are. The reason I have been fearful of using compressed air is fear of getting these things in my eyes. Yes I wear safety glasses but even glasses would not ensure particles this size from getting in, under, and around these protective devices.;)

Harold:)


Well then, A pair of pointy tweezers will work, just grab enough of the skin to assure getting the needle too, or the old standby, a pointy needle.....hmm
the irony of it all. :D

oldtiffie
12-19-2009, 12:27 PM
Harold.

Use a surgical scalpel with a number 23 blade.

Keep the blade upright and scrape it sideways over the splinter as you would a razor when shaving.

You will soon feel when the blade intercepts the splinter.

Scrape the skin so that it goes "under" the splinter and not "over" it and you will feel the blade "snag" on the splinter. Then use the blade and/or a set of surgical tweezers to "winkle" or pull the splinter out.

Scishopguy
12-19-2009, 03:09 PM
Every machinist that I have known had a loupe and a really good pair of tweezers that he had fine tuned by filing the jaws to mesh at a sharp point. That is the first line of defense. For getting the fine stuff out of your hide I start with my magnetic base (125LB pull) in a lunch baggie. Any that won't come out with that I try the duct tape. When I worked in T and D we often used die grinders with carbide burrs to make small mods to flange horns and such. These produced slivers the size of a hair that went everywhere. THey were miserable and hard to remove once they were pressed into the skin. Thats the best advise I can give.

Stu
12-19-2009, 03:13 PM
I second the scalpel scraping. I've used it often with excellent results.

Bill

Black_Moons
12-19-2009, 04:04 PM
I perfer paper towls myself. when combined with all the oil that leaks from my spindle they pick up MASSES of little metal bits.

That is, after hiting it with my trusty vacuum. You can also greatly improve your vacuum!
TIP: make a reducer for it, down to about 1/2" or less (don't run the vacuum for long times like this or it can overheat, best to allow a small secondary inlet port), this lets you get into tighter areas (like your T slots, and inside your vise), a 'brush' style head works wonders too, but might wanna make a smaller one (or maybe get a parts washer brush and modify that) as the brush fibers will get caked with metal and oil, you don't wanna use that on other surfaces afterwards :)

Magnets can also work but sometimes you end up with stuff thats more attracted to the large iron then your magnet (Being in proximity to a magnet makes the iron temporaly magnetic). Id recommend more a giant old ceramic horseshoe then one of the newer neo magnets, as the newer neo magnets have a super field yes, they only have it for a an inch or less due to the magnets small size. older ceramic magnets are typicaly bigger and hence have a bigger field. (At least, as I understand it..), even if it is typicaly a less 'dense' field, your only trying to pick up milligrams, and having a neo magnet snap onto your vise could leave a dent/scratch, especialy if its covered in swaff at the time.

Compressed air is warned against because it can blow that swaff into your ways/leadscrews easly. However taking stuff outside and blowing it off is often a good idea. Maybe needles outside is dangerious, but I kinda suspect they will become part of the dirt in short order.

As for removal of really nasty things.. after other methods fail, I try these:
http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/attachments/remotes-cables-accessories-tweaks/9387d1221665816-how-solder-illustrated-diy-guide-making-your-own-cables-xcelite-170m-shearcutter.jpg
I have a pair I only use for well, Me. they come ground to FULLY flush cut on one side, and are pointy enough and sharp enough to the tip that they can be used to cut right into your flesh without having to go deep enough to hit the nerves. IE you can use them to remove flesh from around the spinter so that other methods have something to grab onto. And if you go deep enough to make yourself bleed, it seems to improve the time it takes to heal as a scab can then form.
(recommend steralising them with isoproponal or a flame first)
They also make really good fingernail and hangnail cutters.. And good to clean dead flesh off wounds without tugging on it..

Orrin
12-19-2009, 05:23 PM
I've used all the methods mentioned, so far. No single one will work every time. There's one trick I've not seen mentioned, however. It is this: Take a fresh piece of medium grit (say, 100) emery cloth and drag it across your skin. If you do this soon after picking up the needle the chances of success is greatly increased.

That said, I usually use duct tape, first. I always drag it across the skin, first. If you press the tape onto the skin there's a chance of pushing the needles in even deeper.

In my experience, as the skin replaces itself the needles are brought to the surface and slough off. That isn't always the case, though. I have a stainless wire brush bristle embedded alongside my knee. It's been there for years and will probably be the last thing to rot away after I'm gone.

I have compressed air in the shop, but I'm paranoid about using it to blow swarf around. I use a vacuum, instead. Vacuuming gets rid of it. Blowing it merely spreads it all over the place.

Orrin

darryl
12-19-2009, 05:42 PM
This all reminds me of having the same problems. I use air, sparingly and carefully directed- also wipe things down with sacrificial cloths, and vacuum. Once I greatly improve my vacuum system so it can handle everything (swarf, oil, water, metal bits, etc) it will be the premiere 'first cleanup' system, followed by lightly oiled cloths.

As far as getting slivers out, sounds like it has been pretty well covered. Sticky tape works pretty good, super magnets sometimes, and common sense all the time :). You might want to consider having an 'antidote' on hand for cutting fluids, oils and greases, etc- one that worked for me was vodka :)

Might make sense to have a leather glove on hand to wear while wiping down with the sacrificial cloth.

Bill McLeod
12-19-2009, 06:54 PM
If you ever need to go for a MRI make sure they know about the little slivers, they will probably xray your eyes checking for metal. It is a normal part of the procedure as long as they understand you have been working with metal and be clear on the size they are looking for.

doctor demo
12-19-2009, 06:54 PM
What I realy hate is when one of those slivers gets in the side of a finger and goes un noticed untill You are no place near a decent light source or the proper tooling to remove it. Wiggling the fingers only makes it rub itself deeper and of course that is all the hand wants to do and some times it can be hours befor I can get to it. It is a wonder that I'm still sane.

Wear gloves while doing the clean up, but do not wear gloves when running machinery.
If magnets were a bad idea around machines there wouldn't be so many mag. bases for indicators.
I agree with most every other post... but I never use compressed air, never for clean up. I don't even like leaf blowers.

Steve

jatt
12-19-2009, 07:17 PM
we often used die grinders with carbide burrs to make small mods to flange horns and such. These produced slivers the size of a hair that went everywhere. THey were miserable and hard to remove once they were pressed into the skin.

Arent die grinders great. Forget later you have left a heap of em on the floor, not thinking about it, put your hand down on em... or is that just me

For the bigger ones have those plastic thingos with the sharp stainless tips (similar point to a syringe) handy in the pocket. Have a little cover that goes over the pointy end.

franco
12-19-2009, 07:55 PM
I read a suggestion some time ago to use the tips of a good set of vernier callipers to grip the small splinters. So far this has worked every time I've tried it.

franco

boslab
12-19-2009, 08:19 PM
I read a suggestion some time ago to use the tips of a good set of vernier callipers to grip the small splinters. So far this has worked every time I've tried it.

franco
stick the magnet in a plastic bag
mark

hwingo
12-19-2009, 11:13 PM
..............or the old standby, a pointy needle.....hmm
the irony of it all. :D

It is ironic when when one stops to give it thought.:D

Harold

Dawai
12-20-2009, 12:21 AM
Harbor fright magnet with bail handle.. it has a aluminum over the magnet, pick up the swarf, hold it over the 5 gallon bucket, pull handle..
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93950
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/photos/93900-93999/93950.gif

I keep the lil one I bought from them stuck to a shelf close by the mill. I do not see it on a quick search of the HF site.. it is about a foot tall or so.. not the huge one this is with a long handle.

NOW.. you did not address the fact that my fingers are "NUMB".. Not that I am tough, I just have no feeling left lately in them. I have always been able to reach into a skillet full of frying bacon and get me a bite out. OR..... Pehaps it has been the years of vibration and shaking of a HD handlebars??

Dawai
12-20-2009, 12:24 AM
www.Northerntool.com still has the ones like mine.
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_16284_16284

http://www.northerntool.com/images/product/images/150152_lg.gif

Black_Moons
12-20-2009, 03:10 AM
From an early age my father taught me to wear welding gloves . "Its not to protect your hands son, its to put out the fire when u set yourself alight".
I consider welding gloves not for welding, they are for the stupid things you do 15 seconds AFTER welding... Like grabing the metal that was red hot 15 seconds ago.. or touching the end of your welding torch as its scalding hot.. or the ground clamp..

spkrman15
12-20-2009, 07:35 AM
Hey Harold,

Some great ideas, i like the scalpel one. As for me, i have learned to keep a pair of gloves near. When i am done machining, i vaccuum off the part as much as i can then i put my gloves on to handle it and any hold down clamps. This had cut down my splinter misshaps by 80%. I don't keep them on when i am machining as i am afraid they might get caught on something.

Rob :)

Carld
12-20-2009, 09:55 AM
When I get them small splinters in my fingers I dig them out with a #11 hobby knife. I use a headband magnifier and a very bright light.

J Tiers
12-20-2009, 10:42 AM
Those HF magnets DO NOT WORK.

Supposedly, as you retract the magnet, the pieces fall off.

What actually happens as you retract the magnet is that the chips run around the corner and up the side. press the magnet down and they run down the side to the corner and stop. You can;'t remove them except by hand.

if you buy one, put a bead of RTV around the outside, at or just barely above the edge of the base.

You can also put it in a plastic bag, but that is just a pain when it is already supposed to work.



with a response like that, figure out how to get rid of them yourself
*Someone* has a bad hangover and attitude today?

daryl bane
12-20-2009, 12:21 PM
Said to me by a newly retired tool and die maker," Retirement's OK, after about 2 months, my hands were finally clear of splinters".

Dawai
12-20-2009, 02:36 PM
J:

I been using mine for more than 5 years. When you are dealing with buckets of shavings.. they pick up a LOT.. the paintbrush, and the T-slot cleaner works for the rest of it.

NOW the aluminum, UHMW, it "DON't WORK"... otherwise, I'll keep on using it as I have. If you have long steel curls embedded in them, it picks them up too tho. (sign of not cleaning up between jobs)

Perhaps I am holding my mouth right for it to work.. or Georgia is on a different magnetic plane of orientation with the true north pole? OR? I got a good one? with most HF stuff.. well I got a pile somewhere of stuff I should have returned.. junk..

And my HF tool grinder keeps on trucking.. it is making a bearing-dying noise.. Run it till it breaks, then complain like the dickens.. only got ten or so years use out of it..

hwingo
12-21-2009, 02:08 AM
Hey Harold,

Some great ideas, i like the scalpel one. As for me, i have learned to keep a pair of gloves near. When i am done machining, i vaccuum off the part as much as i can then i put my gloves on to handle it and any hold down clamps. This had cut down my splinter misshaps by 80%. I don't keep them on when i am machining as i am afraid they might get caught on something.

Rob :)

Hey Rob,

I agree. There are several great ideas. I've spent most of the day trying most. The plastic bag trick didn't work too well when using a single plastic bag. In only one pass, holes developed in the single plastic bag. My magnet may be too strong. Two bags worked better but small holes still developed after several passes. Three bags worked with no noticeable holes. I didn't try four bags. After using the three bag trick, I used WD40 and gave several wipes. I removed the indexing head from the table without incident. Perhaps luck or perhaps a cured problem. Time will tell.;)

Harold

darryl
12-21-2009, 04:03 AM
Now the trick is to remove aluminum slivers. Since aluminum magnets are so expensive, maybe the next best thing is an induction heater- vaporize the suckers-

I'm getting a lot of these steel slivers at work. I'm cleaning out geartrains in mixmasters. These gears are not deburred before being installed, so that job is done by 'running it in'. The grease gets contaminated with tiny slivers of steel and has to be cleaned out and replaced. Comes down to using my finger to scoop out the old grease. I should have pretty good immunity to grease flu by now :)

Don Young
12-21-2009, 09:51 PM
I haven't tried it but a "tack rag" used by auto painters for removing dust might work for getting those real fine slivers cleaned off. If you want something real sticky to pull the splinters out of your fingers, you might try the adhesive used on the small USPS Flat Rate boxes. That stuff could peel the skin off, it seems to me!

darryl
12-21-2009, 10:04 PM
If you don't mind peeling a bit of skin off, some crazy glue could work for stubborn slivers. Haven't tried it, but it should work. You won't necessarily peel skin removing a small blob of it, and probably a tiny drop is all you should apply anyway. Maybe apply a tad with a toothpick, then stretch the skin surrounding the sliver a bit- might help get the glue around the sliver. Wait for it to cure of course before picking it off.