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Lathe rusting

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petro1head21/03/2015 21:14:08
749 forum posts
143 photos

So maybe I just need something like this then -


Edited By petro1head on 21/03/2015 21:14:41

MalcB21/03/2015 22:56:11
257 forum posts
31 photos

I use this stuff £1/can from local pound shop. Never pass it without getting at least 5 cans. Lubes and protects. Use it on loads of things.image.jpg

Chris Trice21/03/2015 23:41:36
1362 forum posts
9 photos

Keeping the workshop temperature as constant as possible helps. Condensation is at its worst when warm air which carries more moisture condenses onto cold equipment. This is why covering the machines also helps as an additional insulator. The less air available to the metal surface, the less moisture can condense. I use slideway oil (Rocol Ultraglide) in a spray can which is pricey but worth it because it clings to metal and less likely to run off.

Jim Guthrie22/03/2015 08:45:08
102 forum posts
5 photos
Posted by petro1head on 21/03/2015 17:19:36:

So, if going the heater route what size convector would I need and the same re dehumidifier

My workshop is just under 10' x 8' with a 7' high ceiling and a 1.5kW heater copes well in all the low temperatures we have had over the past twenty years (Bristol area). In coldest winter weeks it uses about 25 - 30kWH. At the moment it's usage is dropping into the low teens of kWH and I suspect that it will have dropped to zero in a few weeks time.

Another method of heating I have seen recommended is using a low wattage "black heat" heater under a lathe or milling machine with a cover over the machine so that the machine sits in relatively warm, dry conditions and condensation is avoided. This would be a lot cheaper than trying to heat a whole workshop. You can find these heaters if you search for "piano heaters" in Google.


Vic22/03/2015 10:49:53
2954 forum posts
8 photos
Posted by petro1head on 21/03/2015 21:14:08:

So maybe I just need something like this then - **LINK**

Edited By petro1head on 21/03/2015 21:14:41

Looks good.

I tried WD40 on my old mill and when I checked it a week later it was covered in rust, never again. For storage I use Lanolin but it's getting difficult to buy lately.

Peter G. Shaw22/03/2015 11:13:42
1340 forum posts
44 photos

I used WD40 for a few years, and despite all the counter claims, I found it ok at preventing rust. For me, the downside was a) the smell, and b) the mess - especially as I ended up having to clean up every time before I could use the lathe.

In the end, I came across some so-called enclosure heaters from RS Components. I used the 10W version, item code 360-4059, and fitted two to the lathe. No more WD40, no more rust, and the lathe never has that bone chilling cold numbness to it. I also cover the lathe, and milling machine (which also has one fitted) with cloth and plastic.

The downside is that although nominally 10W, they can work at up to 20W so mine present a permanent 50-60W load, but I think it's worth it.


Peter G. Shaw

Ady122/03/2015 11:50:11
4813 forum posts
717 photos

Does throwing a cover over the machine when it's not in use not help? As you would with a car or motorbike.

Keeps the moist air at bay

Edited By Ady1 on 22/03/2015 11:51:04

IanT22/03/2015 12:57:15
1917 forum posts
185 photos

The reason I use plastic and blankets Ady is that the plastic doesn't absorb the oil (or any outside moisture) and in fact it tends to cling to any oiled surface. I do in fact smooth it down over the mill tables and other larger surfaces - and being fairly thin, it generally sticks, so the metal surface is effectively protected from any air movement. However, the plastic cannot cover/protect every inch of bare metal - just the larger, flatter surfaces...

The blankets (which do absorb some moisture and can get a bit damp in the springtime/autumn) hold everything in place and seem to act like a tent - maybe helping to even out/slow any temperature changes going on inside the shed. They certainly act as overall dust covers and are generally left in place unless I'm using the machine in question. This has other benefits when I do any tool grinding or woodwork - when I really cannot take these operations outside (which is my normal preference for both if the weather is good enough).



Cyril Bonnett22/03/2015 22:18:48
244 forum posts
1 photos

I have a wooden workshop, unheated and very well ventilated, my tools and lathe do not rust I clean them and give them a liberal spray of WD40 about once a fortnight. all the machines sit on one side of the workshop and are covered by a huge lightweight plastic sheet/bag courtesy Jewsons the builder. Peter G Shaw is right about having to clean up but better wiping WD40 up that having to de-rust things.

Do not use blankets especially woollen ones in an unheated shed, I once went to see a coronet lathe, purchased new on retirement with just about every attachment you could get, the gentleman sat it at the rear of his very large garage. His health then quickly deteriorated to the extent that he never used it and it sat for a long time covered in blankets, safe so he thought from rust. When he's wife advertised it I rang him and asked how much, £150, so I nipped round to have a look.

His wife led me into the garage and said its under all those blankets, it was and would have been a very nice buy for the £150 except for the thick layer of fine red rust covering everything and beneath the rust very bad corrosion. Sadly the lathe was pretty well past it and I left feeling quite sorry for the fella. I found out later that when they moved to a smaller house it was sold for scrap.

robert branch22/03/2015 23:28:26
2 forum posts

hi, i saw an interesting set up over lathe here in australia years ago , it was a thin plywood box/lid to fit onto lathe chipguard and either lift off or hinge back to wall behind ,the person had used an old truck tail/stop/indicator light with reflectors in it but with lenses removed ,he fitted 12v 10 watt bulbs into light and used a small 12v transformer and diode ,for power supply .adjustment for temperature was just by the amount of 10watt globes fitted. he found he only needed the one 10watt globe as it did get very warm under box/lid and even lathe got warm.that was years ago.this solved his rusting problems in winter .

this can be set up cheaply using some old car lights and car battery to check if it works for you.

use care ,etc ,as heat,electricity,spark risk,fire risk

however where i live in qld,australia my rust problems is more due to summer humidity inrainy season and perspiration, [gets very hot in steel shed unlined, on 34 degree celcius days] the

Fisheyes22/03/2015 23:29:52
1 forum posts

My workshop is in an unheated brick and concrete building and my lathe is a Myford Super 7. I hate having to spend valuable time cleaning down a machine before it can be used.

A number of years ago, I read an article on the preservation of antique firearms displayed in a museum. Moisture was entering the display case and the resulting rust had to be cleaned off once a year to the detriment of the weapons. The staff hid a couple of Toolguard VCI (Vapour Corrosion Inhibitor) tubs in the display. The rust problem ceased and the tubs were replaced on a yearly basis.

I thought that If this was good enough for antique firearms, it would be good enough for my lathe. I use a plastic cover (Myford) with a tub attached to the lathe body. I use a new tub every year (6 years now) without any sign of rust. As an added bonus, I use the discarded tub for a further year in a drawer containing precision tooling and again there is no sign of rust.

I bought my tubs from Axminster Tools but there are other sellers on eBay. I have no connection with this company other than a satisfied customer.

Howard Lewis24/03/2015 17:33:48
5542 forum posts
13 photos

If the shop is not insulated, adding insulation will bring great benefits, not only in reducing rusting, but in comfort..

As already said, temperature changes tend to encourage rusting. Insulation slows the rate of change.

For steel to rust, it needs both moisture and oxygen. A workshop without oxygen is unlikely, (not to mention lethal without breathing apparatus), so minimise the moisture content of the air.

It is taken as read that there is no water ingress to the shop, from leaking windows, walls or roof..

For a start do not use WD40 on the machines, (It is hygroscopic, being Kerosene based, with minimal oil content). Coat exposed surfaces with oil (I used fresh engine oil - NOT used which will contain acids and definitely produce rusting). In an uninsulated, unheated, 5 x 7 ( 1.52M x 2.13M) wooden shed, the oil would be emulsified (grey) but the moisture did not reach the machined surfaces of my Myford, to cause rusting.

The downsides were having to wipe down everything before starting work, and then recoating afterwards..

Do NOT use any form of combustion heater, solid, liquid or gaseous fueled. One of the combustion products is water vapour, and the rest , even the non poisionous parts; do not support life, (yours included).

DO insulate the walls, and ceiling, and if possible the floor. Polystyrene sheets between the verticals on the walls, and the rafters on the ceiling, is an easy way. Ideally, use glassfibre,and overlay  with ply.

(Hardboard will eventually warp) The chap who built my shop used 12mm ply "You'll be sure to screw things on there". He was right!. Where else would all the shelves be fixed?

Windows can be insulated, minimally, by fixing polythene sheet over them; sealed to the frame if possible. Acrylic sheet would be more durable, and probably absorb less light.. The ideal would be double glazing, (even triple in a very low temperature region of the world) but only really practical for a new build, or major upgrade.

My shop has no windows (security, plus shelves would be fitted across them anyway), and has 19mm external wooden cladding, on 50mm frames with glassfibre between that and the 12mm ply internal walls.

The pitched roof is 12mm ply fixed each side of 50mm frames with glass fibre insulation between. After eleven years, it now has a one piece 1.6mm EPDM rubber covering in place of the original single layer felt.

The floor is uninsulated 18mm ply sheet, sitting on 200mm x 50mm wooden bearers, which are only open at one end. The small walked on area is covered by 25mm deep plastic mats.  The rear wall is sheltered by a 1.8M high wooden fence.

A 60 watt tubular heater under a bench keeps the place suitably warm during the sort of frosts that occur in East Anglia. After a day with it switched on, the steel bench no longer feels cold to the touch.

Moist air is heavier than dry, so there ought to be a vent near floor level, to allow the exit of water vapour. ( We exhale water vapour, and perspire, and so contribute to the problem!) My shop has a small ventilation fan fixed high up, in the rear wall, with an external cowl extended downwards to prevent any rain/snow ingress, to aid air circulation.

When occupied, and it is cold outside, to make it comfortable, there is a thermostatically controlled 2Kw Fan Heater, with the 'stat set to about 18C. Physical activity and heat from the machine motors provide the extra warmth needed. The heater runs for about ten minutes each hour. Externally, the shop is 10 feet 9 inches (3.27M) x 6 feet 9 inches (2.06M) . The height is 8 feet (2.44M) high at the front sloping to 7 feet 6 inches (1.98M) at the rear, to run the water off into the guttering.

In this environment, machined surfaces are left unoiled, and rusting is virtually unknown. The very small areas of very light rust on drill chucks / tools are most likely caused by moisture / acid from my hands, or exposure to the outdoors. Machined surfaces have never rusted.

Matters can be improved in phases; preferably starting with low level heating; then with ventilation, and with improved insulation following on afterwards. The improved insulation will reduce the heating costs.

I hope that some of this will help anyone with rusting problems.


Edited By Howard Lewis on 24/03/2015 17:39:35

Les Jones 124/03/2015 17:54:36
2239 forum posts
153 photos

Hi Howard,
I disagree with two of your points. I think a single glased window will help to reduce the humidity as it will be cold and the moisture in the air will condense on it in preference to warmer surfaces. Some means of collecting the condensed water needs to be arranged. I use a lengthe of oval plastic conduit cut in half to form a channel which is stuck to the bottom of the window with silicone sealant. It has a plastic pipe leading to a plastic bottle to collect the water. (It could be routed to outside to avoid having to empty the bottle.) The other point is moist air is less dense than dry air. See this web page.


pgk pgk24/03/2015 20:59:49
2358 forum posts
293 photos

Indeed water will condense onto a cold window.. an dbe rplaced by mre air from outside which will also codense etc.. then when it warms up the indoors humidity stays raised, machne is now colder than window....

I was wondering whether spraying the lathe over with a coolant solution might be better.. specially if used sl concentrated such that any extra condensate just gets to to usual strength: those coolants being rust inhibiting anyway...?

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