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lathe tool cutting oils

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Gary Clayton Jones 119/05/2009 14:03:21
2 forum posts
The topic of  lubricating /cooling  lathe and milling tools seems to come up  but there seems no clear advice as to what is best to use or how much .  Some folk say they never use anything,  others advise suds , LBSC talks about  using  oils on a brush or drip can .  What is the best thing to use in the home workshop  where only small numbers of items are being made  using  indexable tools -  working on steels and brass mainly ?  
David Clark 119/05/2009 14:39:10
3357 forum posts
112 photos
10 articles
Hi There
I use cutting oil.
Arc Euro Tade sell MWC I think which is Metalworkers cutting oil.
Soluble is not ideal especially if you have a digital readout.
The modern synthetic soluble oils can sting if you have a cut as well.
regards David
wahiba19/05/2009 15:46:31
10 forum posts
When I bought my little lather a few years ago I bought some aerosol cutting fluids from ScrewFix. It is fine with steel, needs to be applied copiously on aluminium and brass does not need it. It also works well on the drill and the steel band saw.
They do not seem to stock it any more though and I only have a couple of tins left.
For intermittent hobby use like mine I think pure oil is preferable to water based coolants. It does provide prtoection against corrosion during the long periods not in use.
Does anyone know of another source of aerosol lubricants? I intend to try a normal cutting oil in an old manual spray bottle, but have not got around to it yet.
Gary Clayton Jones 119/05/2009 16:07:34
2 forum posts
Thanks for the replies so far
I obtained a spray can from a firm in ireland , sold as cutting and tapping  fluid - it smells just like WD40  and is the same colour and consitency. It was cheaper when the euro was  low , but now?  I have used it on my hacksaw maching and for tapping as well as when parting off steel - makes a lot of smoke though , but I think it works.    
I also have a can of  cutting oil from Machine mart  - that looks more like oil . Should one always use  a fluid though ? Is turning with a dry tool tip  Ok , or is it really bad practice  i.e will it cause the tool tip to become blunt more quickly ?
It appears as though large quantities of fluid are used to flush away the  swarf in commercial  lathe work , so is that a reason to try to use it and to use a large volume?
JasonB19/05/2009 17:46:11
23029 forum posts
2767 photos
1 articles
For steel and drilling bronze I use soluable oil about 20:1 and apply with a small brush For Aluminium, parafin gives the best results. Milk is good on copper (full fat). Brass and Cast Iron are best cut dry.
At the rate we remove metal the fluid is not as critical as in production work where the  work would get far hotter and the swarf needs clearing away. You will find that just a small amount applied with a brush will allow your tools to cut faster and you should get a better finish as a result
Rocol do a few of spray lubs, Foamcut, Cleancut, etc Have a look at J&L they sell them, its best to look at the virtual cataloge as searching throws up too many results.

Edited By JasonB on 19/05/2009 17:49:18

chameleonrob21/05/2009 08:31:28
2 forum posts
If you are using carbide cutting tools then you should be using either full flood coolent or none at all because of the thermal shock so cutting dry is probably the order of the day.
Sandy Morton21/05/2009 09:44:42
104 forum posts
Slightly off topic.  To apply the cutting oil I use a car windscreen washer tank and pump and a variable voltage power supply which allows anything from full flood to a dribble.  The lot cost me about £15 on ebay and with some redundant poly pipe from the aquarium works wonderfully well.  
It is incidental that my tank and pump came from a BMW - any make will do but this one holds about a gallon of fluid and has a large sump at the bottom to collect fine particles of metal.
John Wood126/05/2009 15:21:55
116 forum posts
Hi Gary
Chameleonrob (above) has the most convenient answer if using carbide tools, it saves a lot of messing about and makes cleaning down a relative pleasure.
I have more-or-less stopped using water based soluble oil because, as Jason says, with our intermittent light work it's not really necessary to flood the cutter with coolant, also the stuff gets underneath the lathe slides and can cause rust if not cleaned regularly.
I tend to use  Neatcut oil or similar, usually applied with a brush and that seems to suit most purposes. It's also useful for drilling and tapping as well.  Do look at Jasons advice regarding lubricants for the different metals as many simply need nothing at all.
All the best
WALLACE09/07/2009 17:52:49
304 forum posts
17 photos
Hello all.
I have a fairly heafty Harrison L5A which has a sump, electric pump etc.(the suds pump was 3 phase - but it ran fine on one with a capacitor stuck across one of the windings.  The problem with it was it filled the tray  under the bed with coolant - which is usually filled with bits and pieces, lathe tools etc etc. 
So I abandoned that and in the end used a trigger type plant sprayer.  I enlarged the jet to produce a stream of suds rather  than a spray !! It works fine with the type of soluble oil Chronos supply.  
Generally, rust isn't a problem but then the lathe's in a garage which is part of the house - it doesn't get too cold in the winter nor are there any condensation problems.  There was a slight marking on the bed under the felt wippers of the sadle if left for a few weeks - the cure was easy - I just took off the metal covers leaving just the felt pads. I imagine this allows the water in the oil to evaporate more quicky before it has a chance to do any damage. I
Definetly would run with some kind of soluble oil - doing a manual cut, it's a lot less effort with rather than without which must be a good thing  - and even though using a intermittant jet, I've never cracked a TC tool.
Circlip09/07/2009 19:11:39
1524 forum posts
Looks like we're old school Wallace, I'm guilty of using a plant sprayer and soluble too, There's summat abart  t'smell o suds. 
  You may only need a lube on non HE30 aluminininiums (HE9 ugh!)
    Regards  Ian.
Peter G. Shaw10/07/2009 21:49:21
1454 forum posts
44 photos
For steel I have used Rocol RTD Cleancut diluted 1:1 with water. It's good, but expensive. I now use Warco's Neatcut - much cheaper for a much larger quantity. Seems to work ok.
For aluminium I use dirty paraffin - dirty 'cos it's been used to clean objects. Works a treat.
All applied by brush.
In respect of carbide tipped tools, which I don't like 'cos they seem to break at the least provocation, and they do wear - well at least mine do, I've tried dry, Rocol and Neatcut. Don't know which is best. Cracking? Don't know, unless the breakages are actually cracking!
Peter G. Shaw

Edited By Peter G. Shaw on 10/07/2009 21:50:30

HasBean10/07/2009 23:19:15
141 forum posts
32 photos
I've always used a neat cutting fluid which I originally got from Tilgear but would appear to be the same as the one from Chronos. Never had any problems with tipped tooling but I generally brush the work liberally with fluid beforehand and leave it at that. (Does produce quite a lot of smoke as it heats up, smells good though!)
Ian Abbott11/07/2009 17:01:36
279 forum posts
21 photos
WD 40 has always worked well for turning, drilling and tapping. 
I use a squirt bottle on the lathe and drill to keep well away from the sharp and whirring bits, standing carefully to one side of or below the work.  Always have a line of oil up the wall, across the ceiling and back via the floor from the lathe and a horizontal one from the drill.   Three-in-One of course works well too, doesn't fly as far though.
As well, I used to have a can of "cutting oil", which looked like WD 40 and smelled like cough syrup.  I can't remember the name, as the painted label rusted off due to the proximity to the Pacific Ocean.  The salt air there would rust metal through a thick layer of oil.  I left it there, thinking that in time, the can would rot away from the contents and waterproof the bench.
I used way more cutting oil than necessary when turning, so that the lathe would be coated in oil.  When I turned wood, I left the shavings on the bed to absorb the oil to help form a barrier to the damp.

Geoff Theasby11/07/2009 17:37:39
613 forum posts
17 photos
I am glad to see someone else using 3-in-1.
I use nothing else, and it has always worked well, dipensed from a drip can.
I will bear in mind WD-40.
WALLACE13/07/2009 19:05:13
304 forum posts
17 photos
Just another thought about soluble oil - yes, it leaves an oily film over the bed, crossways etc - but that is surely a good thing as it will reduce friction and wear on the lathe as eveyrthings now 'floating' on a thin film of oil !
It's also a good indicator if things are getting too hot - if it boils instantly on hitting the tool or workpiece, it's time to slow down a bit.
I'm even been known to put out the odd small fire caused by not being sensible enough when welding with the contents of the suds botttle. - but don't try this with WD40  !
bricky19/07/2009 17:43:45
583 forum posts
72 photos
I use cutting oil from J B supplies and dilute with water as recommended,this oil lasts and as my wife is in a studio above my workshop I was forced to get rid of the old suds.The new oil dose not have such a pungent smell.I apply the oil with a plastic oil can with a flexible spout from Halfords.The spout allows one to get close to the tool with no fear of damage to the can or oneself.Great for squerting up a bored hole.
mgj19/07/2009 22:02:46
1017 forum posts
14 photos
I must admit, I use Morrisons soluble cutting oil for everything. - comes in 5l cans  - dilute to 20:1 so its dirt cheap, doesn't smell, and greatly improves surface finish. Use it for cutting cast iron to keep the dust down, ali, brass (to stop the chips flying) everything!.
I like the oily surface it leaves behind .
I have a little pump supplied by Axminster but for a jet, I use a 2mm hypodermic needle. They come from vets and are the perfect delivery spout. You get full flood on the job and a very accurate jet into parting off slots, inot hte back of drilled boring tools etc, without soaking everything!
Martin Cottrell20/07/2009 22:02:52
297 forum posts
18 photos
I use Warco cutting oil, Neatcut I think it's called, which I dilute approx 50:50 with paraffin and this seems to work well on steels and bronze. For aluminium I just use neat paraffin. In both cases I apply with a brush which seems adequate!
Regards, Martin.
Buddy22/08/2009 15:12:57
3 forum posts
9 photos
I'm using Trefolex applied with a brush, Also Neat oil, got from MJ engineering. But the cutting oil I would like give a try to is Rape Seed Oil, I have a pump up can, which was bought to apply Waxoyl to car chassis.etc. Which I will use to apply a mist, when turning. Also surprised no one mentioned using Lard.
Michael Gray23/08/2009 01:39:24
45 forum posts
6 photos
Buddy, I  think you'll find that Rape Seed oil is the same as Canola, the Prairie sections (640 acres) are a sea of yellow a little earlier in the summer.  Anyway that's your canola/rape for you.  Can be found at any decent supermarket, but the price !!! somewhat cheaper than a year ago, but still too high for my cutting purposes.
regards, Mike

Edited By Michael Gray on 23/08/2009 01:40:08

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