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  • Coolant for the mill.

    I have have been doing this hobby machinist thing for over 50 years but I have never used coolant. Even an old man should try something new at least once. I have a new PM45 gear head mill that came with a coolant system. I have a concern about water based coolant. Rust is not a friend of mine. I know it is probably in the head. The question. Could I us WD-40 as a coolant? The tank is small, maybe 6 quarts. I know it will be messy, but I would like to try it. Suggestions.

  • #2
    After I started using coolant, I almost never work without it on the mill. All my cutters, including carbide, last much longer and the chips don't burn me!

    I use water-soluable oil (rustlik) and water. Water absorbs heat better than most other liquids. The oil prevents rusting except where the solution gets under the vise and water vapor rises to the underside of the vise and causes a little rust after a while.

    It isn't much of a mess for me either. I plumbed the wells at the ends of my mill table and run rubber hoses to a container underneath. I use a Noga coolant sprayer and I set it to a coarse, low-velocity sputter. A gallon of coolant goes a long, long way, and it doesn't fill the air with mist. I ususally don't even re-use the coolant. The setup came with a mag base, and I can easily move it to the bandsaw or lathe.

    Gordon

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    • #3
      If it's a mist system, consider whether you want to breathe WD-40 for an extended period. The 95% to 98% water coolants are bad enough for me to contemplate.

      Note that there should be no visible mist. According to Bijur, the cooling is supposed to come from the refrigeration effect of the mist evaporating into the air as it leaves the nozzle. The cold moisture-laden air does the actual cooling. The cooling effect is quite pronounced. You can feel it when it happens if you stick your finger in the airstream and slowly turn on the mist. Turn up the mist until you just begin to see a few small droplets condensing on a thumbnail held in the airstream.

      As Gordon said, rust isn't much of a problem unless the coolant gets trapped somewhere.

      If your coolant system is the flood type the rust concern would probably be the same. It's just going to be inherently a lot more messy.
      Last edited by SGW; 08-03-2011, 05:03 PM.
      ----------
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      • #4
        A mist of WD40 would be like napalm. Just hold a lighter under the nozzle and spray and I think you'll give up on that one.

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        • #5
          coolant

          I switched both lathe & mill from water based coolant which caused rust and stains on the mill table to 75/25 mix of Rigid light cutting oil and kerosene.
          Works like a charm, no bacterial growth in the tank, no rust, no stains.
          I will not go back to water based even though it's cheaper.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by klemchuk
            Works like a charm, no bacterial growth in the tank, no rust, no stains.
            Kerosene supports a number of bacteria. It has a strong smell which you'll track into the house, and while difficult to ignite, once you do you'll have quite a fire.

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            • #7
              I dribble some rapidtap on everything I cut. Works wonders. More of a lube then coolant really. REALLY needed for some operations like cutoff on the lathe, Anything to do with aluminum where I want a good finish.. Not so much for steel, but I bet it does help tool life a lot.
              Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by chipmaker4130
                Kerosene supports a number of bacteria. It has a strong smell which you'll track into the house, and while difficult to ignite, once you do you'll have quite a fire.
                Well, I guess its good that iv been using up all my (Several year old) kerosene that my brother left scattered all over my place (No really, 3 diffrent bottles of the stuff, all nearly full) as cleaning fluid for old rusty/greasy crap.
                Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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                • #9
                  I would steer well clear of using any combustable liquid.

                  Even stuff like heavy diesel oil makes an explosive mixture when mixed with air. Just think about it, the smaller the particles the more surface area to volume and the more exposure to oxygen in the air, wood dust, flour dust, aluminium dust, all explosive when suspended in air.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Black_Moons
                    Well, I guess its good that iv been using up all my (Several year old) kerosene that my brother left scattered all over my place (No really, 3 diffrent bottles of the stuff, all nearly full) as cleaning fluid for old rusty/greasy crap.
                    Oh yeah, I use a fair amount of kerosene, just haven't used it as coolant. In fact, I often mix ATF and kerosene to make light quenching oil. In that case, I expect flame and often get it. That's fine with me, I just close the lid on the quench tank and that's that.

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                    • #11
                      I use Koolmist 87 or Tricool TC1 for my spray mist unit. Works great for just about everything. And it washes off with running water and does not stink to high heaven. Have not had any rust issues either.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for all the input. I had some concerns about using WD-40. Based on all the comments I'm not sure what to do. I refuse to use a water based coolant. Bottom line is there a non water based coolant that can be used with a flood coolant system? If so what is it and where can I get it or should I just forget trying coolant. It seem a waste to have a flood coolant system and not a least try it. Thanks Guys. Information is knowledge.

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                        • #13
                          Cutting fluid Management in Small machine Shop Operations
                          http://members.multimania.co.uk/gera...ngfluidman.pdf

                          Thread on PM about health hazards of cutting fluids:
                          http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb...estion-187817/

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by theGallery
                            It seem a waste to have a flood coolant system and not a least try it. Thanks Guys. Information is knowledge.
                            Thats what I thought till I tried it. What a mistake. That is unless your machine is enclosed.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by theGallery
                              I refuse to use a water based coolant. Bottom line is there a non water based coolant that can be used with a flood coolant system? If so what is it and where can I get it or should I just forget trying coolant.
                              Well since your running a manual mill and "High speed Milling" and or "Chip Control / Deep Slot Milling" are not much of a concern for you. There are those who feel exactly like you, and don't feel the risk of rusting out the base of their mill are worth the benefits of coolant - among those would be Forrest Addy so consider yourself in good company.

                              Enco sells a self contained "Coolant Pump-Sump" set up for about $100. A 5 gal of Rustlics is another $100 and at 15:1 will produce a lifetime supply of 75 gals of coolant.

                              Mist Cooling is a very good option for controlling heat and prolonging tool life on a manual mill and IMO will produce a better finish. Except for the hot sticky chip that gets stuck on every thing.

                              That and a little grease on the bottom side of your vise during set up

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