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  • Solvent for parts washer?

    I picked up a parts washer last night for use in my little basement hobby shop. It sits on a 30 (?) gal. barrel to hold the solvent. Since the pump is at the bottom of the barrel it looks like I just need to keep the pump covered with solvent so 5 gallons should be plenty without hurting the pump, right?

    Searched this forum for solvent to use and found about a dozen recommendations. I see mineral spirits and diesel fuel recommended. Was thinking about plain old kerosene. A 5 gallon container for use with those kerosene heaters should do it I guess.

    What's a decent, safe solvent to use?

  • #2
    I used kerosene in mine, when I was working on cars every weekend and 3 weeknights a week.... Surprisingly little odor, worked great. When time came for disposal, I placed an ad on craigslist for "free dirty kerosene", and it was picked up within a day. I'm sure it was against my homeowners insurance policy.... but meh... priorities!

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    • #3
      I wouldn't put 5 gallon of such stuff in my basement... it's not just the solvent , but all the nasty stuff that can end up in it over time.

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      • #4
        Stand two concrete blocks in the bottom of the drum, one on top of the other. Then fill with water half way up the top block.
        Stand the pump on the top block and lob 5 gallons of kerosene in.

        What happens is the kerosene floats on the water but all the crud and solids filter down and drop into the water, result is the kerosene stays cleaner for longer.

        We used to pump ours empty, using the pump, dump the bottom bit of keroscene togarher with the water and crud, then refill with water and replace and top up the kerosene.
        .

        Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



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        • #5
          Excellent!!! Thanks John.

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          • #6
            I guess it really depends on what you are cleaning. It is expensive but I found Graymills super agitene to be one of the best I have used. For a house basement, maybe fill it with simple green or purple power cleaner.

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            • #7
              Personally, I use Simple Green Industrial in my parts washer. Its non flammable and bio-degradable. Of course the one caution is that if used on aluminum, don't soak and rinse with water after cleaning. Simple Green is mildly corrosive to aluminum although I've never had any problems with it.
              After the fire department puts the fire out in your basement and your insurance company is told that it started in an "industrial parts washer full of flammable solvent" you'll quickly find out what your insurance company's "priorities" are.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Frank K View Post
                Personally, I use Simple Green Industrial in my parts washer. Its non flammable and bio-degradable.
                The Simple Green might be biodegradable, but what about the contaminants it washes off of your parts.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by RichR View Post
                  The Simple Green might be biodegradable, but what about the contaminants it washes off of your parts.
                  The contaminants will be the same regardless of the type of solvent you use. If you want to go by the letter of the law, you'll need to contract out the removal and disposal of the contaminated solvent. After you have it analyzed by the disposal company to see if its hazardous then you'll have to have it disposed of. In a former life I was a Plant Engineer and dealt with this stuff all the time. I'm not saying that as home shop machinists we all do things the "proper" way, but if you do you'll find that the cheap parts washer can get VERY expensive VERY quickly. Just ask Safety Kleen how much they charge to haul away 20 gallons of the solvent that they provide for a parts washer.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Frank K View Post
                    After the fire department puts the fire out in your basement and your insurance company is told that it started in an "industrial parts washer full of flammable solvent" you'll quickly find out what your insurance company's "priorities" are.
                    Funny, after seven years of use I sold my house with no problems having never needed my homeowners insurance.... Hard to imagine that with proper precautions a few gallons of kerosene might actually go that long without spontaneously combusting......

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                    • #11
                      Another trick to remove the nasty junk that accumulates on the bottom... slide a piece of old carpet into the bottom and slightly weigh down. Every now and then.. lift out, drain and "dispose". Burns well
                      Last edited by lakeside53; 09-10-2015, 11:07 PM.

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                      • #12
                        The parts washer I bought was made by R&D. It has a 16 gallon sink and 30 gallon barrel. I can only find one model of R&D parts washer that looks like it and it sells new for $899. Do they make multiple models of this style of washer because my used one certainly didn't cost anywhere near that much?

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                        • #13
                          the kerosene stays cleaner for longer.
                          Not to mention avoiding clogging up your pump.
                          "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979

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                          • #14
                            I installed a simple filter between the pump and nozzle/brush. A standard replaceable cartridge water filter about the
                            size of two soda cans tall. Not an original idea. Came from a friend with an auto repair shop who didn't like washing
                            out bearings with media containing particulate matter. I have the same problem with particulates. I don't care if the
                            solvent gets oily as it keeps freshly washed parts from rusting so fast. When I need to paint the part I give it a final
                            'rinse' with a spray bottle loaded with new solvent. Over the washer of course. Oh, and I use Chevron Solvent 365 which
                            is basically de-odorized mineral spirits. Not something you want to breath or get on your skin a lot so I wear gloves
                            and the washer is in a very well ventilated area.

                            If I were to set up again or start over I'd just replace the solvent with an aqueous cleaner like Simple Green and leave
                            in the filter. Just don't want to face cleaning out the bottom of the drum just yet.

                            Pete
                            1973 SB 10K .
                            BenchMaster mill.

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                            • #15
                              I love fantastik/409 for cleaning stuff...not as good at cutting grease as simplegreen, but it dont eat up auminum/copper/silver/plastics like simplegreen either...have a small ultrasonic cleaner with fantastik in it, works great

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