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I Forge Iron

Taking Care of your power tools

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I am interested in how you maintain or even improve your power tools
What I already do, in somehow regular intervals, is:

Dust of motors and fans with pressured air.
Check the cables, replace damaged
On not hardwired stationary machines I pull the plug and search for corrosion, bad contacts on the plug and the socket
If you see large sparks in power drills you might need new carbon brushes

Oil and grease, this is obvious, refill if necessary, check for leaks if the consumption rises
If a oil release screw has a magnet check for metal shavings.
On cold days let hydraulics run for a few minutes before you put load on it

Angle grinder:
I have seen shattered gearboxes because they lost all grease over time and jammed.
You can see that it loses grease if the head is constantly collecting dust because it got sticky from the grease.
ask the manufacture what grease you need or use NLGI 00-1

Pressured Air:
Release the condense water from the tank
empty water separators and refill oilers
make sure there are no leaks

Clean the wire feed wheels and check the grooves
I had a cheap portable magnetic stick welder that shut of because it got too hot on bigger welds,
After installing a 230V (EU) fan it had a duty cycle of 100%
I connected it to the power switch- warranty void, do it on your own risk

Test kill switches and residual-current circuit breaker for function

Anything that does not get used much may fail when you need it the most. Check these items at regular intervals to be sure they are in good working order.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I am terrible at it.  My power tools get no mercy, I ride them hard and put them away wet.  When it is just out of reach I'll drag it over by the cord.  I push them until they smoke or I can no longer hold them.  Very bad habits picked up in the trades when production is all that counts.  


That said I still get a pretty good life out of them considering what they go through.  I don't buy junk or jr handyman tools.  When something does break I will hunt down the parts on the net and fix it myself, that is if the part and shipping are worth doing compared too the cost of replacement.  I rarely take things into have them fixed as the costs of doing so just doesn't make it worthwhile.


Air tools I do oil regularly and that is it.

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I thought using them a lot WAS taking care of them! Isn't it?

Like LawnJockey I admit to ride hard/put away wet. I sincerely wish I was one of those people with well cared for tools, but it just isn't in me. I am the first to decry our Throwaway mindset, but with some things I do have that mentality, too. I have a $99 miter saw my dad gave me for Christmas some years back, a Lowes brand special. Figured if I got a couple years use out of it, great. I think that was actually almost 20 years ago now. And it's never given me a single problem. If it does, I'll go back and get another one, I've more than gotten the money out of it.

With some tools I'm the opposite, I don't mind paying higher dollar for something I know was really built well and built to last. But anymore, those things are few and far between. We make things to fall apart. I just had to replace my HVAC on a rare 10 degree day in Alabama this past winter. The guy who put in my new Trane and took out my 31 (!!!) year old Trane said I'd be doing good to get 6-8 years out of the new one. He said it's not about well built anymore, it's about planned obsolescence.

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