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  • Heating, moisture formation, and then rust

    Hi Guys,

    I’m having a wee problem with surface oxidation on my lathe and chucks. I am confident the precipitating factor is heating. It’s not practical to install a heating system nor is it practical to burn fuel 24 hours a day so I use a Super-Duper kerosene heater complete with particle beam generator and neutron accelerator. Naturally the confines of my shop serve as the cooling tower.

    Adiabatic temperature change, congruent with complete combustion which produces water, is killing me. It’s cost prohibitive to install a proper heating system thus out of the question. The next logical step is to inhibit surface oxidation via chemical means, i.e., application of oil. I’ve tried this with inconsistent success. Some days I can turn on my “atom splitter” and the shop warms with no perceivable moisture collection on my lathe. On other days, even the thought of heating the shop forms an abundance of moisture beneath the oil layer and my ways rust before my very eyes.

    Is there a product specially formulated that could be applied to “bare metal” providing lubrication on the one hand and rust inhibition/protection on the other? If so, would you kindly provide me with the product name and location where I may purchase this product.

    Harold
    For those having fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
    Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.

  • #2
    Harold the best advice I can give you is rather than damage control, why not avoid the problem in the first place.
    Dry heat is what you need. A simple $15 fan forced 1500 watt heater will make a world of difference. Even if you have to go in a couple of hours early and place a couple of heaters in appropriate locations to warm the machines up is better than trying to cover every conceivable object that might form condensation with something that may protect it. And then what happens when you rub against it or handle it, are you going to try and remember everything that was handled and re-coat it before you leave? Hard enough to do on a couple of big machines never mind all of the tooling in the shop!
    If nothing else at least warm the machines up past the condensing stage before you fire up the sauna.
    Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
    Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

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    • #3
      I had a similar problem with a gas heater, and at least a partial solution was to set up a fan for air circulation. Having the air moving seemed to eliminate the condensation problem I was having on the machine nearest the heater.

      This may or may not be any further help, but I'm told Popeye kept his favorite tool from rusting by putting it in Olive Oyl.
      .
      "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

      Comment


      • #4
        I highly recommend spraying all machine surfaces with WD-40 and leaving it un-wiped overnight so it can seep into all of the pores in the metal. After that, wipe the machine down with a soft cloth or paper towels.

        WD-40 is a water displacement liquid (that's what the "WD" in the name is all about, the 40 is the 40th formulation). It gets between the moisture and the metal surface and stays there. I have tools that I have applied WD-40 as above only once and fifteen years later there is not a trace of rust, even though they stay in a basement. I try to apply WD-40 once or twice a year to my lathe and mill. The metal surfaces do not feel oily and can take repeated handling without leaving a trace of rust.

        Planeman

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        • #5
          TGTool:

          You may have provided an answer to my follow-up question of Willy, that being "air movement". It only seems logical that if "forced air" passes over my equipment, there would be less chance of condensation. A large floor fan at the time that heating begins may serve to draw warm air in from the back side passing a hefty volume of warm air over the equipment reducing condensation while more evenly distributing mixed air?

          What do you think?

          Harold
          For those having fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
          Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.

          Comment


          • #6
            I don't think that trying to lube everything is a good solution. I have seen lots of rusty and greasy machines. It also isn't practical with tons of small tooling items (chucks, vises, setup blocks etc.) all of which will sweat and rust in high humidity.

            I have LP (vented) heat in my shop so do not suffer from the same sort of condensation problems from that source. However I have had a few of what I would call "sweating episodes" that looked catastrophic at the time and I will share what I found in hopes that it will help.

            From time to time, I have had an episode of early warming and opened the overhead doors. The first time this happened, all my cold machine tools and lots of tooling instantly broke out in a sweat. I quickly closed the door again and turned on both the ceiling fan in the shop as well as a high-speed floor fan I have. This helped by creating moving air which will not condense as easily. It did not completely fix the problem so I ran around in a panic wiping the brown that instantly appeared on my brand new lathe and other machinery. This is not practical for tons of small tooling.

            The second time it occurred, I turned on the heat and quickly raised the air temperature which raises the dew point a bit. This helped dry it out more quickly that time. I also turned on the dehumidifier I keep in the shop...which may be a good idea in your case.

            The best solution is to not pump all that moisture in the shop. Some sort of dryer heat (wood?) or vented gas heat may be the only reliable solution. I do the same thing you do (let it get cold between shop sessions) with my LP furnace and don't have the sweating problem. The only cause in my case is with early warm days. Just yesterday set a record of 65 here in central IL, but I did not dare open the overhead doors as the shop was 47 when I entered. I bit the bullet and used the furnace on a day when the temp otherwise did not merit its use.

            Paul
            Paul Carpenter
            Mapleton, IL

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by hwingo
              TGTool:

              You may have provided an answer to my follow-up question of Willy, that being "air movement". It only seems logical that if "forced air" passes over my equipment, there would be less chance of condensation. A large floor fan at the time that heating begins may serve to draw warm air in from the back side passing a hefty volume of warm air over the equipment reducing condensation while more evenly distributing mixed air?

              What do you think?

              Harold
              Yes, that's basically what I did. Expect the heated air to raise the dew point and circulate it to inhibit formation of condensation on machine surfaces. It would also speed up the temperature rise on the machines too.
              .
              "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by hwingo
                It’s not practical to install a heating system nor is it practical to burn fuel 24 hours a day so I use a Super-Duper kerosene heater complete with particle beam generator and neutron accelerator.
                Harold
                I'm assuming that your "Super-Duper kerosene heater" vent the exhast gases into the space that is being heated. That is the problem right there. Water from the combustion process, in vapor form, is being put into the air. While the heat is being generated, the water vapor stays in the air as vapor and more vapor is constantly being added while the heater is running. Once the heater is shut down, all of the water vapor in the air looks for a nice cold place on which to condense. Since the metal tools cool faster, the water condense on them and rust results.

                Simply vent the exhaust gases from the heater to the outside and this will reduce the water vapor in the area of the tools and help considerably to cut down on the rust.

                Bill
                Bill

                Being ROAD KILL on the Information Super Highway and Electronically Challenged really SUCKS!!

                Every problem can be solved through the proper application of explosives, duct tape, teflon, WD-40, or any combo of the aforementioned items.

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                • #9
                  Couple other things you can do are to install a dehumidifier. You can also cover the machine with a cover and out a light bulb under. This should stop the problem. On mills you can also put a light bulb or small heating element in the knee or the column and it will keep things a little warm.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by hwingo
                    Hi Guys,

                    Adiabatic temperature change, congruent with complete combustion which produces water, is killing me. Harold
                    Hi Bill,

                    That's what I meant when I said that complete combustion produces water.

                    There's no way to vent to the outside because the unit's vent is where heat is expelled into the room. Therein lies the problem ...... water production and no way to vent exhaust. But it's the best I can do at this time. I think I will try the "fan thing" and see if that helps.

                    Harold
                    For those having fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
                    Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You either have to remove the moisture from the air or raise the tools above dew point.

                      You could throw a light bulb under machines, or attach a piano/gunsafe dryer to them to keep the biggest stuff warm, and store chucks, rotary tables, tooling, etc in cabinets similarly rigged. As long as the temperature of the metal is about the same as the room, you should almost no condensation.

                      Controlling moisture, would pretty much mean sealing your workspace and swapping out your heater.

                      Do you have a thermometer out there? If so, what is your temperature swing?

                      Where I live, condensation is not a problem, but moisture is. Pretty much all of my tools not made with quality stainless either live in sealed containers or swim in oil. The status of my poor bench vice is slowly transitioning from the equipment to consumables category though, it's only saving grace was that the initial paint color was red...

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                      • #12
                        Yep! I have a thermometer and if the shop is not being used the temp is around 40F to 42F (at this time of year). When the heat is going, it get around 62F.

                        Maybe a small electric ceramic heater place on the chip bed and put to sleep with a nice blanket would help. Or as you and others have pointed out, even a light bulb.

                        Harold
                        For those having fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
                        Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm a big fan of light bulbs and hair dryers.
                          If you heat the garage while working, than toss a blanket/moving pad over the machine with a small light bulb under it, it will keep the machine warm to the touch on even the coldest days. A small string of small indoor/outdoor christmas lights work well.

                          If you don't want to use the light bulbs, a hair dryer blowing under a blanket or pad over the machine before turning on your normal heat source will warm up the machine faster than the surrounding air so moisture won't condense on it.

                          Currently went from the low 30's with 8" of snow to 58 with no snow, everything in the garage (bikes, van, tables, windows etc) is covered with condensation except the machines.

                          Ken.

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                          • #14
                            Ya know, I get as much pleasure from the various responses as I do knowing I now have simple options that have worked for others.

                            Harold
                            For those having fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
                            Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I would vote for a big (50 pints per 24 hours) de-humidifier. That's what I've been using since 1993 with no problems and I have an un-vented Propane fired wall heater in the Shop.

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