Curious what people are using to clean the muck and gunk off their old shop equipment? I started to clean up the gears on the old craftsman lathe I recently got and 1) the years old grease is very tenacious. 2) I started by using brake cleaner to spray off the gears and this worked, but I noticed as I was wiping that it was softening the paint on the housings slightly.
Is there something that works well for cleaning up old machine equipment?
I often use Gojo hand cleaner or WD-40 for cleaning old grease and gunk off equipment. Doesn't hurt the paint. If the apint isn't an issue, brake cleaner and foaming engine cleaner.
Purple Power is highly recommended. Its won't strip paint unless allowed to soak for extended periods at high concentration. Its available at most auto parts stores (Auto Zone, Advance, Napa etc) and Tractor Supply Company.
If that Craftsman lathe is an Atlas? I'd be very careful exactly what you used. If it's safe to be used on aluminum you should be ok.
Thanks guys. It is an old craftsman/atlas with alloy gears so I've been avoiding caustic cleaners. Sounds as if my best bet is just to visit the local auto parts store and read the labels.
FWIW, the brake cleaner didn't mark the paint at all, but I noticed a little blue on the rag I was using after wiping the inside of the gear cover, and I'd swear the paint on the craftsman badge looks a little thinner now...
Not that the lathe is perfect, but the paint is in pretty good shape and I'd like to keep it that way.
Brake cleaner is nasty and would be pretty expensive for me. And yes it eats paint. If the price of brake cleaner doesn't scare the life out of you then you may want to try CRC's Lectra Motive Electric Motor Parts Cleaner.
However if you're avoiding water based cleaners then WD-40 works well to soften gunk up. Spray it on and let it soak, repeat over and over. Plus it won't cause rust while it sits like a water based product would.
They make a fabulous cleaner that is biodegradeable. I used it to completely clean an old mill I bought. I first came across it in my job (we make testers for asphalt) and it will clean up asphalt like there's no tomorrow.
Here's a blurb from the site. I have no dog in the fight.
"EXCEL CLEAN HD is a 100% active product that is water rinseable. It’s major use is for asphalt testing and clean-up, however, it is an excellent solvent for parts washers. It is long lasting and therefore very economical to use. The cleaning solution can get very dirty, but after water rinsing the parts end up totally clean."
You can also get a free sample from them. It is about a pint. Just contact them through the web site and ask for a sample.
USAF Ret. (E-8)
I use this stuff
It cleans awesome and I have never had it soften any paint
I buy it by the case of 12 and its $40. I think its fairly safe as well
Last edited by legendboy; 05-10-2012 at 05:42 PM.
Xring, I've contacted astecorp. Will give them a try first as it seems to be most along the lines of what I'm looking for.
I'll be out of town for a few days anyway, so waiting for the product to arrive won't hurt me at all.