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Can acetone be used to clean any precision tools?

Discussion in 'METROLOGY - MEASURE, SETUP & FIT' started by ome, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. ome

    ome United States Active User Active Member

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    I bought quite a few beautiful precision tools and want to care for them properly.
    My planer gage has a small amount of rust on the slider along the way, what is the appropriate procedure for getting rid of the rust?
     
  2. kd4gij

    kd4gij United States Active User Active Member

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    acetone can damiage plastics and paint so you have to be real carfull with it. As for the rust I use 0000 steal wool and some PB blaster.
     
  3. Codered741

    Codered741 United States Active User Active Member

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    Hello there,

    Acetone can be used to clean almost all of your machine surfaces. Note that I said MACHINE surfaces. Bare steel, or cast will not be damaged by acetone, but be sure to lubricate them again when you are done. However, you have to use caution with acetone, as it is GREAT at removing paint! Like the paint found in the markings on most precision tools.

    About the rust on your planer gauge. Acetone will not help you here. It will only make very clean rust. If the rust is just surface rust, you are better off getting some fine steel wool, or very fine sandpaper and gently polish the rust off. If it is more severe, try a product called "Evap-o-rust". It has been used successfully by many forum members, including myself, to remove even the deepest most set in rust. Let the part soak for a couple of hours, brush with a brass brush, and any sign of rust will disappear. Well except for the pitting.

    -Cody
     
  4. Tom Griffin

    Tom Griffin United States Active User Active Member

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    I agree with using a chemical removal method for rust. Any mechanical means, no matter how fine will leave permanent scratches. Just run down to your local automotive paint supply and ask for metal prep. It's a mild phosphoric acid based cleaner that will remove light rust without damaging the surface. It is water based though, so the tools will need to be dried and oiled after you use it.

    Tom
     
  5. Ray C

    Ray C United States Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    One thought about this -and it's a general consideration not specific to Acetone... Be very careful with all chemicals if you intend to weld the part. Residual amounts of brake cleaner will kill you (or leave you a vegetable) when hit with high heat from welding. This is not an urban legend -it's a fact.

    I don't specifically know if Acetone has this problem but, I avoid all things similar to it, naptha etc... I stick to plain old isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) in higher concentrations at 80% or greater for virtually all of my cleaning/degreasing and it works very, very well -and it's cheap.

    As a side note, galvanized metals can poison you as well. In general, be careful what you work with and take precautions when working with unknown metals.

    -Sorry for the OT post but, this seemed like a good time to remind folks.

    Ray
     
  6. Tom Griffin

    Tom Griffin United States Active User Active Member

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    Ray,

    It's the chlorinated solvents contained in brake cleaner, paint remover and some tapping fluids (trichloroethylene) exposed to the UV radiation in gas shielded arc welding that can under certain conditions produce deadly phosgene gas. Common solvents like naptha, acetone and mineral spirits are fine. Just make sure everything you weld is completely dry.

    Tom
     
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  7. ome

    ome United States Active User Active Member

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    Thank You for that warning, but I do not at this time, know how to weld..
     
  8. Tony Wells

    Tony Wells United States Former Vice President Staff Member Administrator

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    Although it is a GRAS, it still pays to be familiar with all substances used in your shop. Acetone is a good choice for degreasing and cleaning, but of course, there are caveats. I have worked around it a good deal in a laboratory environment as well as a machine shop. I keep at least a gallon on hand at any time. Unfortunately, purchase of it in some areas has come under scrutiny because of the potential use in manufacturing methamphetamine. The cost has gone up a bit in the last couple of years, but Lowe's and Home Depot still carry it.

    Please read about it here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acetone

    And it might be a good idea to keep the MSDS on hand for reference also:

    http://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9927062

    It's probably best to get the MSDS from the manufacturer of the brand you purchase from their website. They are legally required to make it available. The one I gave will suffice if you don't care to track down the one from your manufacturer.
     
  9. Shade

    Shade Active User Active Member

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    Any halogen (chlorinated, fluorinated, brominated, etc.) solvents or refrigerants all when exposed to hot metal surfaces (not UV radiation) can and will produce very toxic gases, phosgene in only one of them, not only should you make sure the part are not only dry but the welding area is well ventilated as well. Generally any Non-flammable solvents are halogenated. Flammable solvents generally are free of halogens. As stated acetone will not damage any metal surfaces but be careful around paint and polymers.
     
  10. Ray C

    Ray C United States Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Well, hurry-up and get moving on that :LOL:
     
  11. Tom Griffin

    Tom Griffin United States Active User Active Member

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    Not to hijack the thread any further, but the United States Depart of Labor seems to disagree. From their web site:

    "CHLORINATED HYDROCARBON SOLVENTS

    Various chlorinated hydrocarbons are used in degreasing or other cleaning operations. The vapors of these solvents are a concern in welding and cutting because the heat and ultraviolet radiation from the arc will decompose the vapors and form highly toxic and irritating phosgene gas. (See Phosgene.)"

    Tom
     
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  12. boxersatheart

    boxersatheart United States Iron Registered Member

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    I use alcohol and if needed I have a small (@ 1 qt) ultrasonic cleaner that I place components in. Starrett lube and careful Tear down and reassembly.
    Seems to have always worked for me!
     
  13. TOOLMASTER

    TOOLMASTER you don't want to know Active Member

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    paint thinner, stoddard solvent, mineral spirits.

    as with anything..use ventilation

    use with scotchbright on light rust
     
  14. Ray C

    Ray C United States Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    +1 on rubbing alcohol; the 90% kind from the supermarket. Totally under-rated and totally useful. No nasty petro-chem smell and the worst it will do is dry your skin a little. The health concerns are virtually non-existent.


    Ray
     
  15. Bill C.

    Bill C. United States Active User Active Member

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    They used to make a rust remover called Navel Jelly. You brush it on and wash it off with water. Of course oil the bare metal as soon as it dries.
     
  16. Dunc1

    Dunc1 Canada Active User Active Member

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    While the approaches here are mainly chemical (I have nothing against that) I expect that the electrolytic approach would also be successful.

    Is there any reason to prefer electrolytic rust removal over chemical (or vice versa)? Some jobs, of course, are just too large to immerse but with that proviso does one approach work as well as, or better, than the other?
     
  17. stupoty

    stupoty Active User Active Member

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    its the cleaners with a compound of chlorine in that are dangerous, something about the heat and UV makes it baaaaaad.

    Dont use plastic scrub pads with acetone that just gets messy :)

    if you want a safe de greaser you can use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) i use that for cleaning gauge blocks etc.

    I use paper towel for removing light rusting with some oil on it (very light rust dust)

    wire wool if the rust is more severe, as has been said be very careful with it as it can scratch, ive used it quite a lot on hardened surfaces and judicious use of the fine stuff doesn't seem to distress them i have found, although you are buffing so their will be some change for sure.

    Wood sticks can be good for small spots of bad rust.

    Good luck happy cleaning :)

    Stuart
     
  18. EmilioG

    EmilioG United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Naptha is a great cleaning solvent. No residue. The best is tri chloro flouro ethane and/or Freon. No longer available commercially.
    Acetone leaves residue. Non chlor. brake cleaner may be OK too., in some cases.
     

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