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View Full Version : What should I use in my parts washer?



T.Hoffman
10-09-2011, 11:10 PM
Wondering what others are using in their parts washers?

I've heard people using all sorts of degreasers, some rather flamable....

Setting this up for the first time, so I'm starting from scratch and haven't purchased anything yet.

bob ward
10-09-2011, 11:37 PM
Parts washer instructions tend to tell you to use water based cleaners that don't really work to avoid fire risk and legal complications therefrom.

Personally I use deodourised kerosine.

lakeside53
10-10-2011, 12:30 AM
I use generic "naptha" solvent. You can buy it in the 5 gallon buckets from NAPA for parts washers. The main advantage is that it has a low evaporation rate, and is relatively cheap. YOU can use and reuse it for years. Water based cleaners need regular changing.

I'm using mine less and less now. Purple cleaner in a spray bottle or garbage can works great

becksmachine
10-10-2011, 12:31 AM
Mineral spirits in mine.

Adds a little pep to the friends waste oil furnace when I add the used solvent to his barrel of fuel. Haven't had any complaints so far about plugging it up.

Dave

madmec
10-10-2011, 02:54 AM
This ist not an AD, i`ve seen this at work(not tried ist yet): Biologic parts washing (http://www.biocircle.com/en-ca/)

You would need to modify your parts washer, but it may be worth a try...

DATo
10-10-2011, 05:38 AM
I used to wash small qualities of aluminum parts in a utility sink with .... are you ready for this ??? ... Palmolive Dishwashing Liquid. When done the parts would fairly gleam and would, of course, be totally devoid of grease - squeaky clean. I dried them off with compressed air.

I have often wondered if a dedicated dishwasher (with a built-in drier) would be a good investment for a small shop. I know it sounds nuts but nuttier ideas have often paid off in the long run. What would be the objections please? Seriously interested in opinions.

T.Hoffman
10-10-2011, 08:39 AM
I have often wondered if a dedicated dishwasher (with a built-in drier) would be a good investment for a small shop. I know it sounds nuts but nuttier ideas have often paid off in the long run. What would be the objections please? Seriously interested in opinions.

I've heard of other people doing this as well.

Carld
10-10-2011, 08:50 AM
I use mineral spirits or heating kerosene depending on price and availability.

T.Hoffman
10-10-2011, 08:52 AM
Does the mineral spirits or naptha have a strong odor?

This is now in my basement, and trying not to have something that stinks up the place....

vpt
10-10-2011, 08:56 AM
I just pulled a somewhat working dish washer out of my parents house. I have been wanting to build a dishwasher/partswasher for some time now. I may do it. I plan to use a 110v water pump and small container to hold/reuse the fluid on top of the diashwasher. Everyone says use simple green in them.

gary350
10-10-2011, 09:20 AM
Kerosene and Diesel fuel both have a very high flash point so you don't have to worry much about accidently starting a fire and they both work great for cleaning parts and they cheap only about $3 per gallon. When it gets too dirty to use I pour it along the house and shop foundation it keeps ants and termites away.

Shuswap Pat
10-10-2011, 10:59 AM
Just remember everything has an 'environmental price'. The old dishwasher sounds like a good idea, as long as you are not dumping hydrocarbon soultions into your septic system or your wastewater treatment plant. Using used solvents and oil for dust and pest control is not politcally correct anymore, although it works, so be carefull. Eventually these things can get back into the aquafir - so just watch where the waste ends up going - you don't want it back in your drinking water.

Patrick

lakeside53
10-10-2011, 11:06 AM
Does the mineral spirits or naptha have a strong odor?

This is now in my basement, and trying not to have something that stinks up the place....

I would never put a solvent based parts washer in a basement... Mine is small and has 12 gallons of solvent. Over the years gets full of other nasty disolved stuff.

Oh, if it falls over or the pump hose squirts over the side....

vincemulhollon
10-10-2011, 11:16 AM
Just remember everything has an 'environmental price'. The old dishwasher sounds like a good idea, as long as you are not dumping hydrocarbon soultions into your septic system or your wastewater treatment plant. Using used solvents and oil for dust and pest control is not politcally correct anymore, although it works, so be carefull. Eventually these things can get back into the aquafir - so just watch where the waste ends up going - you don't want it back in your drinking water.

Patrick

Yeah that's why you use crisco as a tapping lube. No I'm not kidding. It oozes out of the hole carrying chips as it taps just like that expensive waxy tapping stuff, plus I get it for "free" by stealing it from wife's food cabinet. Your experience with stainless steel may vary from my experience with aluminum.

I have also applied genuine beeswax to woodworking tools using a lit beeswax candle. It smokes too much for carbide metalworking of steel, but maybe its OK with other stuff.

If your gear stinks of rancid cooking oils, that means you need to clean your gear more effectively. Sorry, thats just how it is.

Also I had to have my house drain roto-rootered and in addition to uncountable yards of tree roots I had yards of aluminum chips from rinsing parts off for a decade or two. You'd think alkali based drain cleaners would dissolve them but apparently I add more faster than they dissolve. I was fairly speechless when the rooto rooter guy had all kinds of mystified obscenities (I think he was worried his roto rooter was falling apart making those chips; I knew better). I suppose he's pulled worse and weirder out of old drains... With city sewers its merely a mess, but imagine a septic field with the holes blocked by metal chips, not cool...

Finally its material choice. I like cleaning up my brass "cutting lubricant" that being "air". Oddly enough I use brass whenever I can. Compared to the cost of other hobbies like golf, frankly some brass rounds once in a while are pretty cheap.

Rustybolt
10-10-2011, 11:28 AM
There are a lot of good water soluble solvents out there. They work very well at room temperature , but excell when they're hot. I placed a magnetic engine block heater under my solvent tank and it kept the solution hot enough that when the parts were removed they dried almost instantly.

The stuff I used cam from -CLC Lubricants- in Geneva Illinois. It was flourecent green in color.
Used straight-without dilution it would remove paint.

Peter.
10-10-2011, 01:24 PM
I've tried diluted TFR in mine but it leaves a tide-mark of rust around the tub. Going to have a go at paraffin next.

Carld
10-10-2011, 01:58 PM
I'm not politically correct or a tree hugger so I don't worry about much stuff. I don't trash the environment but I do things with a common sense approach.

Dunc
10-10-2011, 03:47 PM
To me, this is white gas or "Coleman" stove fuel but given its ready evaporation/high imflammability, it wouldn't be my first choice.

Or (more likely) it is something else.

dwentz
10-10-2011, 05:13 PM
My parts washer is small, 2 gallons. I use zep heavy duty citrus cleaner in mine i have been impressed with the stuff. Have no problem using it in my basement shop. It's available at home depot, I think it's about 10.00

Dale

mike4
10-10-2011, 09:38 PM
I've heard of other people doing this as well.

I have used a commercial diswasher to clean electronic circuit boards of grease and oil before and after repair , just had to remove them when wash cycle completed .
Its sitting in a corner at the moment , might get used to clean contents of a small gearbox of gunk before repair shortly as the smelly goop comprises gear oil, water and other unfriendly smelling stuff.
two cycles should get the parts clean , then about half an hour air drying before rebuilding with new bearings and fresh oil.

The machine went under water and has only just been salvaged, my contribution is the gearbox and controls .Others have hydraulics and motor , sand blasting the frame and repaint is due in a couple of weeks , full re-assembly depends on the motor .
Michael

lakeside53
10-10-2011, 09:43 PM
To me, this is white gas or "Coleman" stove fuel but given its ready evaporation/high imflammability, it wouldn't be my first choice.

Or (more likely) it is something else.

Naptha is a class of petrochemicals. Many different products fall under that name. No, the solvent typically used isn't lantern fluid (but I realy like it for cleaning in my ultrasonic units;) )

Bill736
10-10-2011, 09:48 PM
Regarding the dishwasher parts washer, my first thought is that the unit is not explosion proof. Too many hydrocarbon fumes from greasy parts might cause a problem, even if your solvent is water based.

Don Young
10-10-2011, 10:00 PM
When it had a high phosphate content, "Tide" laundry detergent in boiling water excelled in cleaning carburetors and all sorts of auto parts. I have read that a dishwasher with hot water and either the regular dishwashing compound or TSP worked really good. I have seem cleaners in transmission shops that looked like oversized dishwashers.

Andrew_D
10-10-2011, 10:31 PM
I use solvent in mine (20 gallon washer).

On a related topic, the clear/transparent solvent that I dumped into the washer a few years back is now a semi-transparent black/grey color. Does anyone out there filter their solvent to try and clean it? Or just change it out. I was thinking that a couple of fuel filters might work to clean it up. Just attach the filter housing to the drain on the parts washer and use a hose to drain it down into some pails.

Andrew

jnissen
10-10-2011, 11:07 PM
I've had a 40 gallon drum type washer for about 20 years now. The bottom of the tank is essentially the drum and sitting over the top is the washing tank. Suspended in the drum below is the pump. I have used mineral spirits exclusively and been pleased with the performance over the years. If I use it often then you have to change out the fluid and clean out the bottom of the tank. Been at least 5 years since I cleaned it out last! Then again it has not been used heavily lately.

Mine site in a garage and the fumes are not an issue. I don't even notice any smell unless I just recently cleaned and added new solvent. Once in a while I will add a few gallons but to be honest that is mostly from use and not from evaporation. My washer does have a cover that closes down and most of the time I leave that cover down. I only open it when I have to actually use it. Been pleased with the thing as it's been one of those shop purchases that has worked well over the years.

T.Hoffman
10-10-2011, 11:42 PM
Does anyone out there filter their solvent to try and clean it? Or just change it out. I was thinking that a couple of fuel filters might work to clean it up. Just attach the filter housing to the drain on the parts washer and use a hose to drain it down into some pails.

I have one of the cheaper 20 gallon style parts washers myself.
I'll be adding external filtration system outlined in this link, fairly cheap and easy to do:

http://www.popsci.com/diy/article/2009-12/build-parts-washer-filter

I see no reason to mount the filter that low. You're just making the pump work harder by going down to the filter and then back up against gravity.

This one has a better mount for the filter:
http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=52121

becksmachine
10-11-2011, 01:09 AM
I use solvent in mine (20 gallon washer).

On a related topic, the clear/transparent solvent that I dumped into the washer a few years back is now a semi-transparent black/grey color. Does anyone out there filter their solvent to try and clean it? Or just change it out. I was thinking that a couple of fuel filters might work to clean it up. Just attach the filter housing to the drain on the parts washer and use a hose to drain it down into some pails.

Andrew

Yes, a filter will help prolong the life of the solvent, it will remove a lot of the particulates. However a filter won't do anything about removing the dissolved oils and greases, that requires distillation.

I also would not use mineral spirits in the basement of a house I was living in, the solvent might not smell too bad initially but, other considerations aside, it eventually gets fairly odiferous.

Dave

Dr Stan
10-11-2011, 01:40 AM
I use diesel in my cheapo (HF) 20 gallon parts washer. I added a spin on oil filter to the intake of the pump which helps keep the particulates to a minimum. It does have the diesel smell, which does not bother me, and a fairly high flash point.

mike4
10-11-2011, 01:56 AM
Regarding the dishwasher parts washer, my first thought is that the unit is not explosion proof. Too many hydrocarbon fumes from greasy parts might cause a problem, even if your solvent is water based.
I use dishwashing powder or liquid depending how dirty the parts are and the water temp is set at maximum , no problem with explosion as the detergent keeps the hydrocarbons in suspensio .
I dont use flammable materials as solvents , I apply commonsense to these applications and check that what I am doing is as safe as practical.

The only stuff that I cant clean is aluminium alloys as the detergent will corrode them slightly .

Michael

DATo
10-11-2011, 05:37 AM
I was at a tool show once and this company was selling ultrasonic cleaners as well as the driers for same. The two units together were about the size of a clothes washer and drier. The salesman told me that every ship in the U.S. Navy had one (possibly more) of these units onboard for cleaning electronics chassis. I have the impression, though this was many years ago, that he said these electronics are not covered by outer casings but rather the guts are exposed so the unit can easily be pulled out and stuck in the cleaner. Don't know if all this is true but it sounded on up and up when I heard it. Of course this was told to me by a salesman (by definition: "One skilled in the art of lying")