The Importance of Cleanliness in the Machine Shop

Many people do not realize the importance of making sure the shop is always clean. After a good while, things begin to pile up and then there almost seems no point in cleaning up. However, if cleanliness is maintained from the very start, then it is easy to clean up from a job. Cleanliness involves much more than the floors. This would include the machines, accessories for the machines and seemingly insignificant areas such as the offices and bathrooms.

So, why should the shop always be clean? First, you will save a lot of money with your tools. Tools always operate a little bit better if they are clean and greased properly. Over a period of time, a build-up of dust and particles can bring a drill press to its knees. Particles and dust can cause a drill press or a lathe to overheat to the point that the motor will simply burn up. But, not just with the machines themselves, the accessories for the machines have to be cleaned as well. The perfect example of an accessory that needs maintenance is the step drill bit. The step drill bit, especially when used on wood, can become clogged up with particles that have seared or welded onto the bit itself. This makes the bit to be extremely inaccurate and causes the bit to dull and burn up. Many people will clean the floors of the shop and they also have clean bathrooms, but it is important not to forget the seemingly insignificant pieces that need a little tender loving care.

Another forgotten accessory is the annular cutter. This marvel of ingenuity can cut a hole so precise in a pipe or really anything. The problem is that the flutes on the side become clogged with particles and debris from the material being drilled. It is extremely important to clean these flutes as good as you can. It is recommended to use a cleaning agent of some kind that will not leave a scum or film on the tool. Many tools can be burned up or lose accuracy when cleaned over and over with a soap that leaves a scum.

Some have tried certain products, but the one that works the best for cleaning drill bits, such as the annular cutter and the step drill bit, is an automotive brake parts cleaner. This cleaner is very powerful and has the potential to cause damage to your skin and eyes, so do be careful with its use. First, just spray a little of this cleaner on your part and then quickly wipe the debris off with a clean rag. It is important not to let this cleaner sit on the tool for a long period of time, as this may cause a form of erosion on the tool itself.

So, the next time it comes to clean up the shop, make sure that everything is cleaned, because if you take care of your equipment, it will take care of you. You will not be buying these little items over and over again. This may not save you a lot of time right now, but it certainly will pay off in the future.