Not the right stuff is what it is. Cutting compounds are made for the
task, they're not just lubricants. You can get by with field
expedients on some jobs but if you want a smooth hole, get the stuff
for the material you're drilling(which you didn't say). Just one
won't do everything, either.
Pipe threading oil from the big-box hardware stores works well.
Kerosine is fine for aluminum, substitutes are lighter fluid and
WD-40. You can also drill steel and aluminum without any cutting
Reminds me of the video of the drunk/drugged kids driving down a
residential street hoping to smack one of the younger kids riding
bicycles. Filmed from the other side of the back seat... As the
car slowly approached one of the young kids on a bicycle, the
teenager opened the door and smacked the kid. Unfortunately, the
drunk teenager handling the back door let it get away from him,
lost his balance and leaned too far out while trying to hold on to
the door. That's when his chin met the bumper of a parked car,
that instantly yanked him clean out of the car by his chin.
I think that's all correct, except... Looks more like the
mind-blowing car was oncoming. And the kid was falling out of the
door before the oncoming car took his head off.
I am using canola oil right now I apply with a dropper bottle, as I
ended up with some I wouldn't be using for cooking at all, and there was
no local source of real cutting fluid in small quantities.
The canola oil definitely works better than nothing, and it doesn't cost
much and it doesn't smell at all in use--but it probably doesn't work as
well as "real" cutting fluid would either.
It's worth finding a supply of real cutting lubricant, Doug.
Cutting oil attempts to do a couple of things at once: Provide high-pressure
lubrication, and prevent skating of the cutting tool. These two objectives
are at odds; certain oils and additives are better at it than others.
Sulfur, for example, provides some lubrication at extreme pressure but it
also has a threshold, above which the film punctures, and lets the cutting
edge in to do its work.
Most cutting oils are not really very good lubricants. An extreme-pressure
lubricating oil would be much better. But it could make your tool skate over
the work, particularly with lathes that have less than production-quality
stiffness. Flexible tools or workpieces can produce the same result on *any*
Until I came to this NG I had no idea that serious hobbyists did so
much...uh, experimenting, with all kinds of industrial and kitchen liquids.
<g> You may come up with an effective one every once in a while, but the
commercial products made for the job usually will beat them.
I realize it's not easy to find good cutting oils these days, and that a lot
of users mix up some pipe-threading lubricant with a little kerosene or
whatever as an expedient. I haven't seen DoAll's cutting oils for sale for
quite a few years now. They came in quart cans. But you can still get
Buttercut, I think. That's straight lard oil, one of the first cutting oils
used for machining. It may actually work no better than your canola, but it
does do the job.
Note we aren't talking about "coolant" here. On small machines, lubricating
usually is far more important than cooling.
If you want free use drain motor oil. Rather than an eye dropper you
might have better luck going to a hardware store and getting an acid
brush. (For acid soldering flux.)
These are cheap (should be < $.20) and real do a good job. Your
drilling oil acts as a coolant and a lubricant. At the cutting edge a
great deal of heat is produced and having the coolant really helps
extend the life of the drill as it takes the heat with it as the smoke
bellows. squirting on the oil works OK but most just drips off and
makes a bigger mess then necessary.
As someone else mentioned, if you are drilling aluminum WD 40 works
pretty good just go easy and spray little spurts and try not to inhale
too many fumes. True for any coolant WD is not too nasty like the
My first machine shop trainer (yes, I _have_ operated a mill and a lathe)
used lard or Crisco for aluminum, and for steel, whatever liquid petroleum
product was on hand at the time - usually kerosene.
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