How to Clean Your CNC Machine When Coolant Starts to Stink
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Introduction: In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to properly clean your CNC machine if the coolant starts to emit an unpleasant odor. While we will cover preventative measures in future articles, sometimes the smell can become unbearable even after trying biocide and other additives. In such cases, the only solution is to thoroughly clean the machine and replace the coolant. Let's get started.
Contaminated coolant on the tank surface
Step 1: Prepare the System Cleaner To begin, purchase a suitable system cleaner from our website (insert link). Use the following formula to determine the amount of cleaner required: Cleaner = Tank capacity/100 * K. For moderate pollution, set K = 4, and for hard pollution, set K = 6. For example, if you have a 400-liter coolant tank, you will need to add 16 liters of cleaner. In gallons, for a 105-gallon tank, add 4 gallons of cleaner. Utilize all coolant nozzles inside the machine and pump the coolant with the cleaner through the high-pressure coolant unit if available.
Step 2: Gather the Necessary Tools and Protective Gear Before starting the cleaning process, make sure you have the following tools and protective gear on hand:
- Pressure washer or pump sprayer
- Putty knives
- Oil-resistant gloves
- Safety glasses
- Breathing mask (sometimes the smell can be extremely unpleasant)
- Appropriate cleaner
- Mechanical tools
Step 3: Ensure Safety Precautions Before you begin cleaning, ensure that the CNC machine is turned off and locked out properly. This step is crucial for your safety.
Step 4: Pump out the Old Coolant Using an air vacuum, remove as much of the old coolant as possible. Make sure to follow your local regulations for the proper disposal of the old coolant.
Step 5: Refer to the Machine Manual Consult your machine manual for specific instructions on maintaining the coolant tank. In general, it is recommended to mark or take pictures of all connections, such as the coolant pump, hoses, drain, and filtration hoses. If possible, move the coolant tank out for easier access.
CNC machine tank with contaminated coolant
Step 6: Remove Debris Start by removing any visible debris, such as chips, dust, or other materials, from the machine. Use brushes, putty knives, scoops, and an industrial vacuum cleaner to clean the surfaces and crevices. Take care not to damage any delicate components during this process.
Removing old coolant and debries from the tank of CNC machine
Step 7: Clean with a Mild Detergent Prepare a mixture of mild detergent and water, such as ZEP 505. Before applying it to the entire machine, test the solution on a small surface to ensure it doesn't have a corrosive effect (low pH). Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the solution and gently wipe down the surfaces of the CNC machine and coolant tank. Pay extra attention to areas prone to buildup, such as the spindle, tool holders, and coolant channels. Avoid excessive moisture and prevent liquid from entering electrical components. Immediately wipe down metal surfaces to prevent rust.
"Coolant tank of CNC machine after cleaning
Step 8: Reassemble any disassembled parts and put the coolant tank back in place. Fill the tank with 1/4 or 1/3 of fresh coolant with a low concentration of 2–3%. Rinse all surfaces by keeping the coolant flowing for 10–20 minutes, and then pump out the coolant.
Fill with Fresh Coolant Finally, fill the CNC machine with fresh, high-quality coolant. Maintain a slightly higher concentration than usual for the first two weeks.
By following these steps, you can effectively clean your CNC machine and eliminate the unpleasant smell caused by the coolant. Remember to prioritize your safety throughout the process.
Spindle, work table and index unit of CNC machine
Work area and index unit of CNC machine
Work area Akira CNC Mill before cleaning
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