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coolant technique for light cuts

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  • coolant technique for light cuts

    Searching the archives shows several members use WD40 as cutting fluid for aluminum. I like that idea, since it's readily available in any size. For light cuts using my Sherline or 6" Atlas does it matter if I use brush, or aerosol? Can the WD40 be applied before (but not during) the machining, or would it get slung off?
    Allan Ostling

  • #2
    I use WD-40 for aluminum and for steel, especially drilling steel. I actually don't use WD-40 any more as I have found a slightly cheaper and more important, mainly odorless replacement. What I use now is Canadian Tire's Motomaster Multipurpose Lube in a spray can the same as WD-40.

    Kerosene aka deodorized lamp oil also works well and for high speed turning of high strength aluminum alloys the best is ethyl alcohol. Other alcohols do not work as well.

    The big advantage of ethanol is the total lack of mess. As long as it is used with non sparking metals only there is no special hazard since under ordinary shop conditions it will not form an explosive vapor.

    Low viscosity lubricoolants are the best for aluminum because of the high cutting speeds involved. Also because of the speeds they need to be applied while turning. It doesn't take much but needs to be spritzed on every few seconds during the cut for best effect. That is exactly how the alcohol coolant systems on the big gantry routers work.
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    • #3
      if you use WD-40, buy it in the gallon cans. one gallon is only about 3x the cost of a spray can, and the can only holds a few oz., versus a gallon. i've been using WD-40 lately and it does cut nicely. i just bought a cheap spray bottle and give a spritz every few seconds as cutting.

      andy b.
      The danger is not that computers will come to think like men - but that men will come to think like computers. - some guy on another forum not dedicated to machining

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Evan
        Low viscosity lubricoolants are the best for aluminum because of the high cutting speeds involved. Also because of the speeds they need to be applied while turning. It doesn't take much but needs to be spritzed on every few seconds during the cut for best effect. That is exactly how the alcohol coolant systems on the big gantry routers work.
        Thanks Evan, I'd read your earlier post on using ethanol. I haven't allowed that stuff in my house since 1983, but I think I can handle that issue now. I really like the notion of "no mess."

        I won't be using power feed so one hand will of course be engaged in turning the crank. I'll plan on using the other for applying the coolant.
        Allan Ostling

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        • #5
          Echoing Evan, I'd like to add odorless mineral spirits applied in a low volume, fine mist.

          Diamond machining guys love the stuff, it provides plenty of lubrication to allow fine surface finishes (.2 Ra) on machines that don't have the thermal control necessary to do a 'proper' depth of cut.

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          • #6
            After hearing all this about kerosene I went looking for a place that
            sells it for heaters or lamps etc. The only place I found was a
            hardware store and they were out. So (says I ) since diesel fuel is
            only a little lower on the distillation column why not. And its cheeper
            even with the highway taxes. So I got a gallon yesterday and tried it
            out on a peice of 6061. Worked very well. Now to rig up a way to
            dispense it drop by drop or a "spritz". How about an IV bag ? Has
            anyone ever gotten one of those and checked to see if it could be
            used for such? Since they are usually a "drip by drip" arangement.
            It's convient to have both hands on the crossfeed when making a
            deep cutoff or a form tool cut so an automatic fluid dispense would be
            nice.
            ...lew...

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            • #7
              I have used 3-in-one oil and have gotten good results. Just a couple drips at a time. The stuff stinks, though.

              On my P&W, I have been cutting without any coolant because I don't have any exhaust fan rigged up yet.

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

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              • #8
                Lew -

                Dripping it into an airstream would work great. Hook a pressure regulator up to a little hose, and terminate your IV drip in front of the air stream. Keep your pressure low and adjust the droplet rate to suit.

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                • #9
                  How about an IV bag ? Has
                  anyone ever gotten one of those and checked to see if it could be
                  used for such? Since they are usually a "drip by drip" arangement.
                  How about some sort of foot pump?

                  It could be as simple as a piece of 1/2" silicone rubber tubing with a one way valve.
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                  • #10
                    This mention of medical equipment and slow dispensing of low viscosity solutions reminded me of a device that is ideal for the purpose. It's called a peristaltic pump. I have one that is a commercial unit that I had forgotten about entirely and just now managed to find it and dig it out. It is such a simple device that anyone should be able to make one in an afternoon to use for dispensing kero, alcohol or WD-40 either by the drops or low pressure squirt. It could easily be controlled by a foot switch or fitted with a speed control depending on the motor used.

                    All that is required is a small low rpm gear motor, power for it and some silicone rubber tubing. The rest can be whatever small bits of scrap you have.

                    You should be able to discern the principle of operation from this image. It has the signal advantage of not having any seals to bother with.

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                    • #11
                      Yes, yes, and yes...

                      WD does work great for aluminum. I buy it by the gallon and use a spray bottle. For steels I use dark cutting oil, the cheap thread cutting stuff they sell at the plumbing supply. Make sure the bottle says "Contains Sulfur".

                      In my "near dry" system I have been using LPS Tapmatic Gold. I can get a near mirror finish on high carbon steels with that stuff.
                      James Kilroy

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Evan
                        It's called a peristaltic pump.

                        You should be able to discern the principle of operation from this image.
                        Sure, much like the old peristaltic milk pump. The milk pump pinched the tube between a pair of rollers and a semi-circular wall. Yours dispenses with the wall. Same principle, though.

                        I don't know if it would be worth doing, but I guess you could dispense with the little motor. A lathe feed screw shaft may turn slow enough to incorporate a collar and the other parts for a pump like this.
                        Allan Ostling

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                        • #13
                          Coolant cutting fluid ?

                          I've been using a dark tapping fluid but it smokes so much on steel.
                          It wasn't so bad when I had my shop in a garage but now that I have
                          a basement shop (with return air going throuout the house) I've
                          been using the Koolmist diluted with a lot of water out of a detergent
                          bottle. I'd like to rig an aimed drip gravity fed system that is
                          attached to the cross slide.
                          Anyone else tried this ? Don't really see the need for a pump. Just
                          have a resoivoir above the lathe and refill as needed. Guess you could
                          plumb for a sump collector and recycle the stuff.

                          Larry Swearingen
                          Larry Swearingen
                          Fort Wayne, IN
                          New Hoosier

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                          • #14
                            My experience with my drip oiler on my bandsaw is that it is really difficult to get the drip to hit in the right place. Lots of fiddling. I solved that problem on the bandsaw by dripping the oil on a guide bearing which then applied it to the blade which is where it needs to be.

                            On a lathe or mill you would be much better off using a directed stream than a drip. The guys know what I mean, especially the older ones.

                            This calls for a pump but the one I showed will work fine and cost almost nothing. For a nozzle use the very same straw that comes with the WD-40. It can also be made smaller, micron size if you wish, by heating with a flame and stretching the tube to whatever size you want. Make it small enough and use higher pressure and you have a mister. You can do this to the straw when used on the can and it will save a lot of waste.
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                            • #15
                              peristaltic pump. Now there is an idea. Ive repaired many of those
                              while working at the university. Some had multiple tubes, I think as
                              many as 4 . Fancy rollers too, cant remember how many but must
                              have been about 10 ball bearing and all. I like Evans simple version.
                              May have to try that out one of these days.
                              ...lew...

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