View Full Version : cleaning table on milling machine

01-19-2012, 02:21 PM
Wow, I've been out of this forum for a long time.

Recently, I sold my drill/mill and upgraded to a full size knee mill: a step pulley Bridgeport clone. It's been in pretty good condition, and well taken care of by the previous owner.

Unfortunately, the only drawback to this machine is that the vise has been left on the bed for a very long time, and some of the gunk (from coolant/oil/fluid...etc). I've cleaned off as much of it as i can, but when i took the vise off, there was quite a bit of gunk outlining where the vise was. Soaking it with WD40 and wipe with a cotton rag seem to got most of it out, however, there's still a tiny layer.

my question is: is it ok to use solvents like acetone on the bed? i'll try that next if its standard practice. In case acetone wont take care of it, is it alright to go over the surface of the bed with steel wool and WD40?

other suggestions?

thanks in advance.

Alistair Hosie
01-19-2012, 02:26 PM
I would go over it with whatever cleaner I could. I ask beacause I don't know if sanding it VERY lightly would be better I dont think it would do any harm in any case if the solvents don't work I would try that at a last resort. Waiting to be shot down in flames for that suggestion but I am sure it would be ok. Alistair ps get some feedback before trying the sanding first.:DAlistair

01-19-2012, 02:26 PM
I simply use green Scotchbrite pads and WD-40 on all my cast iron tables when they get to looking a little ratty.

01-19-2012, 02:41 PM
+2 Scotchbrite pads and WD-40

Forrest Addy
01-19-2012, 02:52 PM
Yeah, water based coolant crud is almost solvent proof. It comes off much better with kitchen cleaner. Wash the oil off with any solvent. Wipe dry as possible. Spray on the kischen cleaner, scrub, and wipe off. Repeat if neccessary.

Don't worry about discoloration or stains. It's a machine tool not fine furniture. Think of them as battle scars.

Finally dress down any raised metal with a worn hard india stone taking it just flush. Over dressing leads to hollows in the table. .

01-19-2012, 03:07 PM
If there's just a thin layer left, try using a sharp (as in new) razor blade on it before you use whatever solvent/cleaner you have. That should get the bulk of what's remaining off.

Bill Pace
01-19-2012, 03:22 PM
#3 for Scotch Brite and WD, kerosene, thinner, etc. Personally, if that didnt work, I'd try some 6-800 grit wet/dry with a solvent - But in the end, you just may have to live with some discoloring...

01-19-2012, 03:59 PM
When you get all the foreign matter off, and you're down to just stain showing, you can use "Nevr-Dull," which is a cotton wadding saturated with some magic juice, along with a generous dose of elbow grease. That'll bring it back to like new.

Should be able to find Nevr-Dull at most any hardware store. ...probably at Lowes/HD also; I've never checked at those two.

Alistair Hosie
01-19-2012, 04:14 PM
Never heard of that Lynnl will look it out. Alistair

01-19-2012, 04:24 PM
Just google "nevr-dull."
It comes in a metal can, about 4-5" high and about 4" dia.

As I said, it requires some effort rubbing, but it will do a good job, and doesn't scratch or remove material, other than maybe very microscopically.

01-19-2012, 04:36 PM
nevr dull sounds like the old durabrite ..or the new brasso that now looks like the old durabrite

my table was very rusty when i got my machine ...i put hydrochloric on it (dilute form which was masonry cleaner) and rubbed around the mild green scotchbrite ..got it nice and shiny and silvery again

you have to get rid of every trace of hydrochloric after though ..as its hygroscopic ..and will keep on attracting water ..and your table will rust forever...dont dry it off with rags and think the stuff has gone .

use bicarbonate to neutralise

all the best.markj

01-19-2012, 11:01 PM
I have used "naval jelly" to get the stains out & restore the "whiteness" to the metal.
So far I've had good results.

Dr Stan
01-20-2012, 03:01 AM
As most if not all sailors know Never Dull is good stuff when it comes to making brass shine. Just keep in mind the chemicals in the cotton "wool" are quite flammable.

01-20-2012, 09:20 AM

Are you planning to use the mill or is it going to be for "show"?

The discoloration won't make any difference in the operation of the mill.

With vise off, use a file "lightly" to remove any nicks in the table. Then WD40 and scotchbrite as suggested above to remove any discoloration if you need something to do.


01-21-2012, 02:58 AM
the milling machine is definitely going to be used and not be a garage queen. I'm simply a novice who isn't privy to all the tricks of the trade. The gunk was making it impossible to tram. I tried the scotchbrite and WD40 on it and it got all the build up off.

incidentally, i do have a jar of never-dull, but i doubt i'll even bother. I'm in it to make stuff, not to have a bling-bling machine that i dont know how to use.

There's still staining on the bed, and i'm not worried about it. The machine is now tight, trammed and ready to work, as soon as i get the proper electricity into the garage

Thanks all, the scrotchbrite and WD came through for me:)

01-21-2012, 11:30 AM
Just google "nevr-dull."
It comes in a metal can, about 4-5" high and about 4" dia.

As I said, it requires some effort rubbing, but it will do a good job, and doesn't scratch or remove material, other than maybe very microscopically.
If it's brass, polish it (with Nevr-Dull), if it's not brass, scrape it & paint it (haze gray), if it moves, salute it...:D