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  • Water Soluble Cutting Fluids

    So they actually work like the more traditional oil-based stuff? Proposed use in my case would be manual machines, mostly aluminium and mild or free-machining steels. Im looking for something i can use for both general cutting in milling or turning operations to prevent BUE and improve the quality of cut, as well as tapping, mostly with cutting taps but the ocassional forming tap as well.

    Ive found both tapmatic and CRC have water-soluble formulations, anybody have any experience with either? Before it comes up, yes, i know that cutting oils will work better and that wd40 makes an excellent fluid for cutting aluminium and that i could use carbide tools and cut dry and all the other remarks of that nature. Im specifically looking for a water-soluble cutting fluid, mostly because i hate the cleanup required to get oils off of the parts, tooling and, well, me

  • #2
    Oh, ok. You already have the answers you need, Yes, water soluble lube sucks, We already know that.

    What was yer point? JR

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    • #3
      Originally posted by epicfail48 View Post
      mostly because i hate the cleanup required to get oils off of the parts, tooling and, well, me
      Hmm. You folks dont have a good centrifuge? Easy to make and fun to run. Been there done that. JR

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JRouche View Post
        Hmm. You folks dont have a good centrifuge? Easy to make and fun to run. Been there done that. JR
        OP's forum name might be a omen if you put him in centrifuge.
        Location: Helsinki, Finland, Europe

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        • #5
          IMO WD-40 is as easy if not easier to wipe off than soluble cutting "fluid". OK, you can rinse off the soluble with water but then you still have to dry at least the steel parts..
          Location: Helsinki, Finland, Europe

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          • #6
            Water soluble cutting fluids have very good performance characteristics but really are generally awful for machines. Many of them eat paint. The inexpensive non synthetic ones grow bacteria very quickly and develop a rather nasty smell. If you don't use deionized or reverse osmosis water you are asking for additional trouble. Tramp oil from machine lubrication is another potential source for bacteria and smell and requires removal.

            Water soluble fluids in a a home shop, in my opinion, aren't worth the trouble. Oil lubricants are much more stable and offer similar performance. In the case of tapping and forming operations as you said oils actually perform better.

            One of the main reasons that water soluble fluids are in significant use is because they don't catch fire as easily. And it is significantly less expensive to ship as you can mix it with water.

            I say all this dealing with some very high quality water soluble fluids at work on machines that run 2 shifts a day. The stuff is expensive (like $200 for a 5 gallon pail). It takes attention to little details to keep the fluid in good condition or you may end up with a nasty stink, paint removed from all your machines and rust. For occasional work I would seriously look at just dealing with a method to wash the finished parts in a parts washer before I started using water soluble at home.
            www.thecogwheel.net

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            • #7
              Water soluble cutting fluids are not meant to wash off with water, they are for diluting with water. You would still have to use solvents to remove the oily residue.

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              • #8
                Any emulsion is likely to go bad in a sump when the machine is not used regularly. I think the biggest benefit from the emulsion is the ability to cool the tool and the work. Hobby machinists are not likely to work at metal removal rated that require he cooling effect. For preventing BUE I use emulsion in as mist. I only mix a quart or so at a time so the issue of it going bad is almost non existent. Emulsions do leave an oily residue but not nearly as bad as cutting oils. I do use dark cutting oil when single pointing threads in steel.

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                • #9
                  OK, this is a HOME shop board. One that is probably going to be used for a few hours a week and on a highly irregular schedule. At least, mine is like that. Is that what you have? If so, then water based coolant really suck.

                  You talk about cleaning up oil based fluids from the parts. That is almost irrevelant. The parts you make will need to be cleaned in any event. Probably even if NO fluid is used at all. But clean up of the machines can be a lot different. Oil based fluids can be left on the machines and it will do little or no damage, even after weeks or months without cleanup. But if you try that with a water based coolant, you will have one or more of the following: RUST, staining, sliding parts stuck together, and more. If you use water based coolant IN A HOME SHOP, you MUST clean up your machine after every use. Or you will have a really nasty clean-up the next time you want to use it.

                  I have to agree that water based coolants are for commercial shops where the machines are in use on a daily basis. Otherwise, use oil based.

                  As for getting them on your clothing, I sometimes use the disposable, paper aprons. I say paper as it will tear instead of pulling me into a rotating spindle or piece of work. But most of the time, I am just careful. And I wear work clothing, not my Sunday best.
                  Paul A.
                  SE Texas

                  And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                  You will find that it has discrete steps.

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                  • #10
                    I use Rocol water soluble coolant/cutting fluid in a squeezy bottle, from a premixed container that is ten years old. The reason it has not gone off is probably because it is a much stronger mix than recommended. The machines where I used to work had their coolant changed when the stink of rotting oil became too much for the operators to tolerate.

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                    • #11
                      Suppose i shouldve elaborated by saying that this will be a "keep in a sealed bottle, dab on as needed" situation, not in a flood/mist setup, or even anything where the fluid would be recirculated, so going off in a sump isnt a concern for me. Im more worried about performance than i am about storage.

                      Wd40 does work well for most of what i do, being that most of what i do is in aluminium anway, but id like to switch to something thats actually meant for the purpose, and is hopefully a little less smokey. Id also like to find something that works as a tapping fluid too, dont want to use WD40 for that, so i usually have to dig out the bottle of more sticky, oily tapping fluid. As far as the remarks on cleanup go, i realize that no matter what ill have something to clean off, but id much rather a quick rinse with water over a scrubbing with hot water, dish soap, 3 kinda of degreaser and still find the bloody tapping oil all over everything. Same with the machines, id rather wipe off something water-soluble than try to scrub off cutting oil

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                      • #12
                        You're in the wrong hobby.

                        As far as performance, there won't be any if you dab on a fluid that is designed to be used as a mist or flood coolant. The only other choice that I know of is oil. I keep a container of lacquer thinner or acetone for cleaning parts off the mill or lathe--When I'm finished. It will remove any mark-up fluid also. Someone, I think it was Evan, mentioned using alcohol as a taping fluid for aluminum. I've never tried it though.

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                        • #13
                          I use water soluble oil for my bandsaw (great for keeping the gullets clear) and when things are going to get hot, like when milling steel with HSS or slotting. Nothing better for these uses IMO. Otherwise dabs of high sulfur oil for preventing bue in steel or wd40 for aluminum. BTW most of what people call tramp oil really isn't oil from the machine, but oil that is no longer emulsified. I get it all the time on my bandsaw, no machine oil there.

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                          • #14
                            1. Aluminium- paraffin (kerosene in 'Mercan?) mixed with a little ATF 90/10 ratio.
                            2. Steels inc S/S - cutting oil purchased in 500ml (one pint) bottles.
                            Both the above put in home made Spillmaster jars and brushed on - inc parting off.
                            3. Heavy duty sulphur based cutting fluids/paste like Roco etc used for tapping etc, directly from the original squeezy bottle or the jar.
                            Gave up with my flood coolants years ago...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CCWKen View Post
                              You're in the wrong hobby.

                              As far as performance, there won't be any if you dab on a fluid that is designed to be used as a mist or flood coolant. The only other choice that I know of is oil. I keep a container of lacquer thinner or acetone for cleaning parts off the mill or lathe--When I'm finished. It will remove any mark-up fluid also. Someone, I think it was Evan, mentioned using alcohol as a taping fluid for aluminum. I've never tried it though.
                              Im thinking something like this:
                              https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002A5QUO8...v_ov_lig_dp_it

                              Im not proposing using something meant to be used as a flood or mist coolant, rather something thats actually advertised as a cutting fluid meant to be used like a standard oil that would be dabbed/wiped/squirted onto the cut.

                              Wrong hobby i may be in, but i do enjoy making things. I just dont enjoy spending more time trying to get the bloody oil off than i do actually making the part. Like i said, if i can get similar results without requiring extensive cleanup or harsh chemicals, id rather go down that route.

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