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What kind of oil to use

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  • What kind of oil to use

    I have a Jet 1240 metal lathe and I am looking for advice on what kind of oil to use;

    1. to prevent rust on the ways and out machined area on the lathe. I live in South Mississippi and we have very high humidity year round. The gentleman that I purchased my lathe from was using Mobil Vactra 4 Way oil. I need to order some and I am looking for recommendations.

    2. The lathe has a cooling system. It will not being getting frequent use so do not think I should use a oil water mix. Any oil that I use also needs to reduce/control rust. The cooling system oil that is currently in the lathe is likely 20 years old and it is about time to replace it. Again I am looking for recommendations.

    3. What is a good cutting oil to use when I am not using the cooling system?


    New and trying to learn

    Tres Lennep

  • #2
    1) As far as I know, these typically use Vactra #2. That's what I use.

    2) No idea, I don't use it.

    3) Depends on the material. WD40 for aluminum. Dark sulfer Gunk for most steel. I also use Tapmatic Gold when I don't want the smell and mess (and potential stain on some materials) of Dark Sulfer oil. I also find I prefer Tap Magic classic for most steel tapping (though not always) and a cheap glycerin based lube for drilling or when the piece will be painted.
    Master Floor Sweeper


    • #3
      Tres, I've used soluble oil/water coolant on my Jet 9x20 for several years, with no corrosion problems.
      I lived on the waterfront for 5 years and am now between a lake and the ocean, still no probs.
      The idea is, the water evaporates out of the mixture and leaves a film of oil on the machine and work.
      Rgds, Lin.
      Just got my head together
      now my body's falling apart


      • #4
        I'm between a lake and the ocean too but I can't bloody well walk to the beach in 10 minutes.

        No rust either.
        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


        • #5
          "I'm between a lake and the ocean too but I can't bloody well walk to the beach in 10 minutes. "

          Make that 5, Evan.
          Walking HOME from the yacht club takes considerable longer tho
          Just got my head together
          now my body's falling apart


          • #6
            As S&S mentions, most water soluble oils leave a protective film after the water evaporates. It might discolor the metal, but it will prevent rust. Leaving piles of swarf & chips that are wetted with the W/S coolant will leave masses of rusted, concrete like gunk though.

            I would empty and clean the system and not use it at all if corrosion concerns you. For the most part, adequate coolant can be applied with an acid brush or squirt or dripper bottle. In my opinion, unless you plan on doing a great deal of heavy, high speed machining, the flood coolant systems are more trouble than they are worth.

            I use dark sulfur oil W/S coolant and WD40 on my lathe. The sulfur oil is the best for thread cutting and some stainless. W/S for most other cutting and on the milling machine. WD40 for aluminum. I also often use WD40 with emery cloth when polishing as much to keep the dust down as any other reason.

            Vactra #2 is lighter, and probably a better choice for way oil. If you already have the #4, use it up.

            This thread has one of the better discourses on lubrication I have seen;

            Jim H.


            • #7
              Wow! Everything you ever wanted to know about oil grades, but didn't even know to ask! Actually, I've seen most of that before in bits in pieces, but that's a very impressive and (seems to be) comprehensive compilation...
              Master Floor Sweeper