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Removing rust from ways

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  • Removing rust from ways

    Hey Guys - this one is just a quick question!

    Any tips on removing rust, grime, etc on lathe ways? I figure I'd clean it up with some kerosene and then for the rust I could use some WD-40 and crumpled up aluminum foil. It's worked great for other castings, but I didn't know too much about maintaining the condition of the v ways.

    Thanks guys!

  • #2
    oil and scotch brite pad . the red one
    Every Mans Work Is A Portrait of Him Self


    • #3
      I can do that! I was affraid it might be too aggressive on soft iron ways, but that is probably much more effective than aluminum foil. It worked well the last time I tried it, but it took alot of elbow grease.


      • #4
        Yeah...just be gentle. Its a trade off as you don't want to make a low spot and abraisives are less than ideal. However, iron oxide is also abraisive so getting them cleaned up is good. When you get down to mostly bare metal, run your hand over it and feel the difference in friction. You will understand why you did it. Leaving it rusty would have meant that constant rubbing of the rough surface on the bottom of the carriage. I have run the abraisive parallel to the tends to ride down into any way scoring that way and cleans out the bottom of the grooves.

        Gentle and careful stoning with a not-too-coarse, flat stone is also acceptable...usually used to stone out dings and the corresponding high spot that they make. Dings look a bit like a meteor hit....they have a low spot and a high spot from the displaced metal. Keep it moving so as to have an "averaging effect" and quit as soon as the shiny high spot is blended. If you had a scraper, you can also just take the high spot off with some focused scraping of the very tiny raised spot.

        Paul Carpenter
        Mapleton, IL


        • #5
          Don't worry too much about aggressive means, so long as they don't shed grains that embed....

          Sometime when you are bored, TRY to remove a couple thous from a 1" x 3/4" area of steel or CI with fine sandpaper or steel wool. I think it will take you a LONG time, and will probably cure you of excessive worries about causing bed problems removing rust.

          Keep eye on ball.
          Hashim Khan


          • #6
            lol yeah I hadn't thought about that. I have actually tried to remove even just .001" with 120 grit emery cloth. It was not a very effective metal removal technique.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Fasttrack
              Hey Guys - this one is just a quick question! Any tips on removing rust, grime, etc on lathe ways? Thanks guys!
              Electrolysis using cloth soaked in the solution then laid on the bedways.
              This method used on a sawtable(?) has been posted here some time back. I would dig it out for you but I have just been called in for the evening meal...twice!


              • #8
                One word... Evapo-Rust. Or is that two .
                I've used this and it works like a charm with no harm.

                Wow... where did the time go. I could of swore I was only out there for an hour.


                • #9
                  If it is dried on coolant, oil and goo , spray on oven cleaner(ie with lye ) is my new best friend.

                  since the machine I am working on is so filthy , it will need a coat of paint anyway, so the paint stripping qualities of the oven cleaner are a benifit


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lane
                    oil and scotch brite pad . the red one
                    Likewise -- (penetrating) oil and Scotchbrite.
                    Careful with the red scotchbrite though -- that's 360 grit. OK for hard beds, but not a good idea on soft beds. If you wipe a red scotchbite on unhardened steel it leaves fine scratches.

                    For soft beds I'd suggest Grey Scotchbrite, which is 800 grit.
                    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the tips guys! Electrolysis with a bit of cloth ... thats an interesting idea. I'll post pictures when I actually see the lathe. I've put a deposit down and we've signed a purchase agreement on two lathes. One is in good condition and the other needs a little love. I've seen the good one, but not the dirty one.