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Thread: Pocket portable parts cleaner

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Oroville, WA

    Default Pocket portable parts cleaner

    The company I work for sells a lot of medicine cabinet stuff including Purell hand sanitizer in small squeeze bottles or in a flask with pump. And with the flu pandemic going around everyone in the office was given a couple bottles of the stuff.

    Yesterday I needed to use my Browne and Sharp dial caliper and discovered it on the bottom of a heap of swarf. I have no idea how that caliper got on the bottom of that pile of swarf, Officer Oppie...

    Anyway, something got picked up in the rack and gear so that at every inch of travel it went clunk. So I pulled the rack off, careful not to lose the four motes they call screws, and noted that the rack, while pretty cruded up, did not have any swarf wedged in it. That left the gear which is pretty much impossible to get to.

    Now right there on the kitchen table when I was disassembling and analyzing things and stacking threaded motes was a small container of Purell. I pulled the cap off and dunked the rack into it and then slid it into the caliper then gently swashed it about some. Then I pushed it further in and wiped it down with a paper napkin, then removed it.

    Now the deal with Purell is it is mostly water and alcohol with a little bit of oil so your skin doesn't dry out. But it's thick so clings and transports like grease but then goes away, finally.

    I cleaned it up and tried the rack again and it's better but not perfect. Dunk, swash, wipe, repeat as necessary. Voila, as the French say, it's cleared and smooth again. Next I got out the utility tooth brush, dunked the rack again, and used the toothbrush to clean out the leettle bitty teeth on that rack. It worked a treat.

    Before I put it away I dropped a spluge on a piece of 12L14 which I consider to be the least happy metal to be found the the Pacific North Wet and this morning I checked it for rust - nothing there. Not to say that Purell can't affect things, but so far, so good.

    I put a flask with pump on my chem shelf.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Calgary, AB


    I have used aerosol cans of flux remover to clean parts before. I think it is just alcohol in a can, but it does a really good job of degreasing everything.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Mapleton, IL


    I am a horrible cheapskate and a packrat which are a bad combination. It serves me well though, as stuff I don't have to buy just leaves more money for stuff I *want* to buy.

    I save my contact lens solution bottles. I have *lots* of them, they cost nothing and the labels peel off cleanly. I don't suppose they are totally solvent resistant, but good enough for lots of stuff like mineral spirits or kerosene or even methanol. I keep these sitting around with the above solvents (and labelled as such) all around my basement shop and shop building. I am constantly using mineral spirits or alcohol to clean stuff up and I can't remember what I did before I had both in a squirt bottle at arms reach all the time.

    The smaller sample size bottles are even tool-box size and I also use them for gun cleaning solvents, although some of those are a bit tougher on the bottle over time. When they get a bit soft or the lid doesn't fit as tight, I just transfer the contents, pitch it and grab another. The eye drop bottles are especially handy for lubricants and other stuff you want to dispense in small amounts. The larger, lens solution bottles are unique in design in that you can turn them upside down and they just dispense drips. Squeeze and you get a stream.

    I also bought some tiny brass tubing with the intent of making snorkles for the lens solution bottles so they could serve as wash bottles but haven't done it yet. I have a couple of commercial wash bottles I use for the same purposes though and they are handy as you don't have to tip them to dispense solvent. However, with the dip tube in the solvent, they will percolate out solvent when the shop warms, due to increased vapor pressure. I solved that problem with a thumb tack....a tiny pinhole in the lid lets vapor out rather than pushing solvent out the tube.

    If you don't wear contacts, hit up a friend who does as they probably go through these quickly.

    Paul Carpenter
    Mapleton, IL

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