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Fumes from cutting oil?

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  • Fumes from cutting oil?


    I have been a lurker for quite a while and recently signed up. I am a newbie and have been machining occasionally for about 3 years on a mini lathe and mill.

    Today I was machining a small steel shaft and the cutting oil I was using was putting off fumes. I am wondering what you guys do to avoid breathing that stuff? Or, do I need to use some other oil? I usually use whatever light oil is around as a coolant.


    There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who don't.

  • #2

    In larger shops, there is enough space that the fumes dissipate without much problem. In the home shop, it can be more problematic. I usually set up a small fan near my machines if I anticipate a smoke-generating procedure. That still won't help if your entire room fills up.

    Some oils are better than others, but if you're running your tooling at recommended surface speeds, smoke is pretty common. If you're using HSS tooling, try reducing your cutting speed. That will lower your cutting temperatures and may reduce smoking. If you're using carbide, you can probably get away without using oil.



    • #3
      I wonder if hash oil would make a good cutting lube?
      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


      • #4
        Originally posted by Evan
        I wonder if hash oil would make a good cutting lube?
        Only for a little while....and then you would probably forget what you were working on.
        Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
        Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

        Location: British Columbia


        • #5
          you might have to thin it with bong water.
          "four to tow, two to go"


          • #6
            I actually have to get a fix of cutting oil now and then , and it has to be high in sulfer to,,,, i'll tell you what i cant stand , delrin, i dont get headaches but i get them if i machine delrin, i hate delrin , i think its toxic.


            • #7
              Cutting oil smoke was a common but petty hazard of the old time machine shops. In the home shop where smokes and stinks can find its way to monre sensitive and intolerant noses it's not uncommon to rig a small exhaust blower to suck up the fumes and vent them to the great out doors.

              Smoke avoidance isn't that hard. Machine dry in all materials and cuts except those which require a little oil for finishing.


              • #8
                That damn sulfur based oil was great for cutting but that is partially to blame for my right lung barely operating. Probably get the other one someday. It was damn good lube though; don't breathe these oil fumes any more than necessary.


                • #9
                  Use an exhaust fan to remove the oil from the shop, a shop vac or small fan can be used to remove it from the immediate area.

                  If you are using any oil for coolant, you will get little benefit. There are water soluble coolants available that do not fume as badly as mineral oils, and the old standby sulfur based medium or dark cutting oil, which will fume. WD40 or alcohol are good coolants if you are machining aluminum.
                  Jim H.


                  • #10
                    I have found that "Buttercut" cutting and tapping compound made by Crown gives off minimal fumes compared to most of the others I have used. It says it contains "non-edible animal fat". Lard?

                    On the other hand I don't use it very much - only for parting off, and the final pass if I want a good finish as Forrest mentioned.




                    • #11
                      I've got a small box fan (out of a computer) rigged up above the end of my lathe. When I'm doing something that involves smoking cutting oil, I turn that on to dissipate the fumes. My basement, overall, is of pretty good size so I find that's usually enough. In general though I follow Forrest's suggestion: I try to avoid generating smoke as much as I can.
                      Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                      Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                      Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                      There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                      Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                      Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


                      • #12
                        Use bacon grease. Non-toxic, non-ozone depleting, and it's multi-tasking.

                        Everybody in the neighborhood will be over to see what you're making.


                        • #13
                          Oil Fumes

                          Try a fan.


                          • #14
                            Thanks for the advise everyone. Once we are finished moving, I'll rig up an exhaust fan.

                            There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who don't.


                            • #15
                              Happened to dig this up today and i was wondering about the smoke caused by used motor seems to hang around for awhile even with the garage door wide open. I don't suppose thats very good for one's lungs. What have you guys heard/ know about it? (as a cutting oil) I run dry most of the time now unless its a finish cut. I figure the extra money on tooling is better than having some lung cancer or something when i'm 40...

                              I like the idea of bacon grease...