Question about getting light rust of lathe bed

I just picked up an older Unimat lathe, a DB 200. I like to clean it up. It has light rust on the metal rails that allow other pieces to slide on. What
is the best way to do that, and maybe a hint on what to put on the parts afterwards, so the rust will not come back......many thanks...........Peter
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    That's even older than my SL-1000 -- but very similar. IIRC, it has iron castings for the base, instead of aluminum ones, and there is a slight difference in how the headstock attaches to either the base or the milling column, but otherwise quite similar.

    What I would do in that case is to remove the rails from the base casting (one screw at each end per rail), and then spray it with something like WD-40 and rub one of the finer grades of 3M's ScotchBrite, or a very fine steel wool to clean off the light rust. (Note that the WD-40 is useless for preventing the rust from occuring, but nice enough for the cleaning.)
    It should not make a difference, but I would still mark each rod at the end, so it goes back in the same place and the same orientation -- perhaps by making a single center punch mark at the right-hand end of the front rod, and a double mark at the right-hand end of the rear rod.
    If the rods are badly pitted, you should be able to get some drill rod of the same size (12mm I think?). In the UK, drill rod would be called "Silver Steel". Actually, the metric size will probably be easier to find in the UK than here in the USA. I don't think that you will need to harden the rods -- the originals never seemed to be hardened.

    I would use a good waylube (e.g. Vactra No. 2 Waylube) to keep it lubed and free of moisture. If all you have is a Unimat, the minimum purchase of a gallon should keep you going for life. Perhaps you should find a hobby machinist near wherever you live, and offer to buy a pint from him. (I know that I ordered a 5 gallon container of the Vactra No. 2, and use it on several machines.)
    Remember -- after using the machine, clean off the rails, and once clean, re-lube with the Vactra No. 2 again.
    Note that this is far from the most rigid design for the size -- those rods flex visibly under all but the lightest cuts. But you can learn a lot about how to deal with the limitations of a lathe using that machine.
    WD-40 makes a good lubricant/coolant for machining aluminum, but is more likely to concentrate water from the air and encourage rust if left on the surface. Vactra No. 2 stays there forever. But it will accumulate chips and such, which is why you want to clean the rods after use (and WD-40 is good for that, at least). Then you dry the WD-40 off, and coat with the Vactra No. 2.
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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Very nice post, Don! I would add only one thing. When cleaning off the surface rust, make full strokes of the (whatever) abrasive, as opposed to short strokes only in the problem areas. You want to distribute "new" wear evenly over the way surfaces.
Bob Swinney
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PeterM wrote:

I have a Unimat DB200 too and when I got mine last year it had a light rust film on all exposed parts including all the chucks, centres, vice and milling table.
I used a very fine grade 'wet & dry' paper I had lying around (possibly 600 or 800 grit) and a drop or two of oil and used that to 'gently' remove the rust deposits. Just be careful not to rub too hard in any one place as you do not want to create 'flat spots'. If you don't have 'wet & dry' paper try using wire wool (gently) to remove the rust. Just be sure to remove any traces of the wire wool afterwards in case they start the rusting process again.
As far as preventing rust afterwards, lightly coat the parts with a light grade mineral oil (general purpose oil or sewing machine oil is good) and try to keep the machine in a damp free environment (I also keep a couple of packs of silica gel crystals in the box to hopefully catch any moisture. I usually oil mine when putting it away after use and use an old rag to wipe the oil onto bare metal surfaces (a small squirt on a rag goes a loooong way!)
HTH
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Many many thanks to both of you fine gentlemen for taking the time to give me such generous information. I appreciate you both very much. My grandson wants to start playing with something like this.This machine was very inexpensive, but has a lot of extra stuff that looks nice, except for the light rust. My grandson is only 12 years old, so maybe he will make a good machinist one of those days. He builds all sorts of things, and this will get him a little further then what he got now. Have a wonderful Christmas, can you still say that?...............Peter

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I hope he has a lot of fun with it. Good thing to get a kid into. Just one caution: It might have been inexpensive for _you_, but most Unimats and accessories are highly sought after and frightfully expensive. Take good care of it.
GTO(John)
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Lucky little grandson, Peter! I remember yearning for a lathe as a kid and having to wait many years until I was able to afford one.
Bob Swinney

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You have been given good advice - and for a unimat it's probably just fine. But if you wanted to remove as little of the good metal as possible, and preserve as much of the character of the machine as you could, I would suggest going the extra step to de-rust it electrolytically. This means getting some washing soda, and a small power supply.
Folks here can no doubt point you to a good description of the process - it works quite well.
Jim
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Has anyone here ever used "Howe's Oil"? Killer stuff. Beats the daylights out of WD and LPS. Don't know if I would use it as a lube for the ways on a lathe, though. But if you want to protect metal from the weather, Howe's Oil is "the Kind." Protects and lubes any metal that is exposed to moisture. Put a drop into the cylinder of your outdoor padlocks (garage door, gates, trailers, etc.), and 7 years later, the key slips in and the lock pops right open. Try THAT with WDuck.
(No association with the manufacturer, just a happy customer.)
James

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What
thanks...........Peter
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For protecting padlocks and car locks I use STP. The locks never freeze or rust.
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Hey James,
Where did you buy this stuff? You mentioned WD 40 and LPS which are most popular as sprays, so is it a spray, or something else?
Take care.
Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX On Wed, 01 Dec 2004 12:10:52 GMT, "James L. Marino"

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Not really a spray, but comes in a squirt bottle, just like Windex. I get it from the MAC Tools dealer at work. Only bought one bottle, and after 7 years, still have it. Have you tried a Google on it?
James

up.
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wrote:

Never use anything abrasive on the ways of a machine. If you MUST use anything to scrub, use #0000 steel wool.... and that isn't a great idea, either.
There are a number of products on the market, now, that will chemically convert rust and leave bright metal behind. One such product is "Evaporust" and is available at Wal-Mart. There are other industrial products available. (Note: this is way different from "Naval Jelly.")
I have found that these products work more slowly than the manufacturer suggests, but your patience will be met with excellent results.
I have an example of using this material on my website, where I restored a 100 year old Peck, Stow, and Wilcox shear.
http://myworkshop.idleplay.net/machine_shop/Shear/index.htm
More to come....
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    I had suggested either 3M's ScotchBrite (fine grade) or a very fine steel wool (such as your #0000 above).
    I would *not* suggest these for the ways of a normal lathe (in which the ways are part of a large casting), but the ways of a Unimat are a special case. They are simply steel rod in a metric size (12mm IIRC), so they are easy enough to replace. And the fit on the front way is adjusted by a clamp screw, so it will grip a slightly undersized rod anyway. The main trick here is to get "silver steel" (drill rod) in a metric size. The ways show no sign of either being ground or scraped to size -- just extruded rod as far as I can see. Attachment to the base casting is via a cross-drilled and countersunk hole in each at each end, with nuts below the casting (aluminum in the SL-1000, perhaps cast iron in the older DB-200).
    The rest in 'V's for positioning.
    The Unimat (either DB-200 or SL-1000) can be lifted with a single hand with little effort -- unless it has been screwed down to something more massive, such as a large slab of aluminum or a workbench top. (It also has a column which can accept the headstock, and the column can be placed at the end of the bed where the headstock was previously, to make it into something of a drill press or milling machine. The spindle is mounted in the headstock as a quill, with a lever and rack-and-pinion feed. The collets for the milling cutters or the drill chuck screw onto the spindle (M12x1 thread).
    There is an optional spindle which accepts ww series collets, including the proper taper to expand stepped ID-grip collets.
    There are other optional features. A circular saw table and arbor, a (wood) planer head, a sanding head an arbor for small grinding wheels or cups to use it as a sort of surface grinder, and many other things.
    But the ways are too limber, so anything other than the lightest of cuts will have the ways springing -- especially in the middle of the span of the ways. (And since the carriage fully surrounds the ways, they can only be supported at the ends.

    That sounds like useful information.

    Nice work -- with one minor problem with the web page itself. This text:
=====================================================================Another problem was that one of the cast bosses supplied to hold the left table had been knocked off at some point. I fabricated another boss, screwed it into the back and bedded it into a foundation with J-B Weld, faring it into position and re-drilling the mounting hole. ====================================================================    Has the left-hand side hidden by the image "IMG_0515xxx.JPG", which is also partially covering the larger image "IMG_0528.JPG".
    This is on a system running mozilla, and it may not appear on Internet Explorer (which I cannot use on my systems).
    "Opera 7.50 B1" has the same problem.
    And on FireFox, it has a slightly different problem. The same image is overlaying the left-hand end of the following text:
=====================================================================I missed this picture, somehow, so this is a poor quality blow-up. I, originally, thought that this was a poor quality weld. I was wrong, it was a really, really,poor quality braze. The arm was actually broken into three pieces and was poorly tacked together with the brazed job and two pieces of steel held on by four stove bolts. Obviously, quite an old repair... but really poor quality. ====================================================================    O.K. Looking at the page source, I find the following:
    name=Generator content="Microsoft FrontPage 6.0"     name=Originator content="Microsoft Word 9"
And this program is famous for using things which work only with the broken HTML of IE, and not with real standards-compliant browsers, so you would not see the problems with IE.
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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On 1 Dec 2004 15:44:14 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@d-and-d.com (DoN. Nichols) wrote:

I haven't tried it with anything but IE..... It may soon be time to step up a notch or two in web design software.
I'll check and see if I can fix it....
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    I think so. Though I do web building with a plain text editor. And I avoid fancy trick stuff, so everybody should be able to see it.
    Looking through the source, there is some weird code near the image in question, and it has a long block of stuff highlighted as though it is all one command (even though it looks like several) when I use the "view source" option in Mozilla.
    It would be a good idea to pick up one or more of the other web browsers (Mozilla or firefox is free, opera is free if you're willing to put up with some pop-up ads, or quite inexpensive to get rid of them.) You can live with the ads if all you are using it for is testing for problems with the page.

    My work-around, to see the text, was to highlight the text from bottom right corner to top left corner (barely visible), and then drop it into an editor where I could read it. That got the text which was behind the image, too.
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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On 1 Dec 2004 20:53:12 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@d-and-d.com (DoN. Nichols) wrote:

Thanks to Micro$oft...

I added Netscape and Opera to my tests... it seems to work, now.

As usual, with Micro$oft, you have to work around your elbow to get to your (*) . However, I think I fixed it....
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    [ ... ]

    [ ... ]

    You have fixed it as far as I can see.
    Thank,         DoN.
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I have used this stuff and it works great. Less elbow grease and less metal removed. The t-9 family.
http://www.woodcraft.com/Woodcraft/product_family.asp?family%5Fid 4&giftlse&mscssid26DA2221E7E4813936C18B39EA4D88

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