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how to clean a old drill?


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From the email:

What is the best way to clean and remove the rust from an old hand cranked drill so I can start using it. How do you lubricate it, oil, grease or what, and how often. Thanks

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Any more info would be helpful. Is this a one speed drill or more? Breast drill?

The only thing you want to watch out for are hidden springs and clips and pins and bearings. Sometimes there can be a pile of stuff in a hurry, with no easy way to figure out what went where. It helps to know ahead of time what you'll run into.

A make and model will help us get you started.

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It was a hand crank post drill, bolt to a wall style. From what I gather it had rust on most of the surface including the rotating shaft.

I posted it here as I am sure there are other drills out there finding new homes. The new owners want to clean them up but don't know exactly how, or what care and lubrication is needed.

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I have used Easy Off oven cleaner on some stuff that had layers of caked on grease and dirt. Spray it on and let sit for a while. Then use a power washer on it. Before I had my own power washer, I used to load stuff on the back of the pickup and head for the nearest car wash.

NOTE: observe safety precautions when using the Easy Off. Read the caution on the can.

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For most of these old tools, the grub that's on it falls into two classes which need to be treated differently.

Luckily, they're both simple.

Dirt. Grease.

Detergents work great on the dirt, not so well on the grease. Degreasers work great on the grease/oil/lube, but not on the dirt.

The local carwash that BT mentioned is not a bad way to go. BUT, some of these detergents and solvents work better over time, so if you want the ability to spray some on and wait, it's easy enough to do at home.

I prefer Simple Green for the degreasing. Just spray it on and let it sit. Spray on some more during breaks in your other work.

A simple (relatively) low pressure hose is all you need to wash it off.

If you're going the dissassembly route, you might as well just start taking parts off and putting them into buckets of solvent/brake cleaner/simple green

Here's a warning: Though those oven cleaners work pretty well. They are hazardous (to your health, yes, but more importantly) to your CAR PAINT. Watch the overspray and for sure don't let the part stay in your pickup bed if you're going to use easy-off or somesuch.

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I got an old post drill and the first thing I did was spray it liberally with WD-40 and let it sit for a few days, once in awhile respraying if it looked like it was drying out. Then it was disassembled and wire brushed. All dirt and grease came off and most of the rust. A coat of WD-40 again and reassembled. Lube with WD-40 on the moving/contacting parts.

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To be sure, nothing beats the physical removal via a brush, rag, or high pressure water. I got a Cannedy Otto #17 drill press at an auction for $10, and the loads of crud that a simple screwdriver removed would have taken many cans of X to dissolve. (http://homepage.mac.com/mcgroves/PhotoAlbum26.html)

The solvents/cleaners should come after the "bulk" removal.

222.attach

223.attach

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Vinegar.

Dissolves rust, forge scale, and probably dirt, too

The only drawback is finding a large enough container, and getting enough vinegar to fill it. Failing that, connect it up to a battery charger - that'll shift any rust you might have

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Google "electrolytic derusting". This method uses water, soda, a tub of some kind and a battery charger.

It works. Be sure you brush your object, spray it off with water and coat it with something as soon as you are satisfied with the process.

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Ok, here's my opinion. If the drill ( or any other tool ) has some grease or dirt on it, just get a putty knife and clean it up a bit. Them small wire brushes you can buy for a buck or so will reach into tight spots. Rust, well, diesel or just some spray lube will solve most of that. I have taken lotta stuff to car wash over the years too. Compressed air blows water out but still need to get some lube in there ( hidden places ). Absolutely nothing wrong with a little grease on a drill. If you want museum quality look then that's another thing. Don't forget there may be factory decals on the appliance and you can kill them if you scrape or use chemicals or car wash. Decals showing through a little grease is fine with me. Not that I really like greasy lookin tools but old drills is another story. Grease will stop rust that will start when you remove the grease. The mechanisim of course should be free of junk ( gears, chuck etc ). The moving parts should have some grease or lube on them. Big time scaly rust is another issue and castings will wick chemicals you put on them. Mechanisms will clean up with elbow grease.

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