Cleaning bits with Ethylene Glycol - Router Forums
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post #1 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Default Cleaning bits with Ethylene Glycol

Requesting opinions on cleaning router bits using ethylene glycol. I watched this YouTube video on the subject of cleaning various metal parts which included bits...

"Cleaning With Ethylene Glycol - Engine Parts, Router Bits, Carbide Sanding Drums" posted by Ronald Walters

Since I am not yet permitted to post URLs, anyone who wishes to watch the video will have to do a YouTube search.

Any feedback would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 01:47 PM
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Hey, Charlie; welcome!
The prevailing wisdom around here is to use cleaners developed specifically for Carbide.
Other commonly recommended solutions may or may not have negative impact on either or both the Carbide or the brazing.
I had been using Simple Green on my blades and bits, until an e-mail to the company brought back the answer that they didn't recommend soaking Carbide in it.
Instead, they suggested using their Simple Green Aircraft Cleaner. Who knew, eh?

Stick with the bit manufactures' approved cleaners.
Also...do not get the bearings really wet with any cleaner; just wipe them down with a cleaner dampened rag. The solutions will ruin the internal lubrication.
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post #3 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zfooking View Post
Requesting opinions on cleaning router bits using ethylene glycol.
Hi Charlie and welcome!

The main thing I'd say is "toxicity". From a COSHH sheet (UK Control of Substances Hazardous to Health): "Ethylene glycol is chemically broken down in the body into toxic compounds. It and its' toxic byproducts first affect the central nervous system, then the heart, and finally the kidneys. Ingestion of sufficient amounts can be fatal.". Ethylene glycol vapour may also cause eye and respiratory tract irritation. It is combustible and should never be disposed of by dumping into water courses (or down the drain) or in land fill

That makes it a dangerous product to have wherever you have kids or animals, such as a domestic setting (cats and dogs have died from ingesting anti-freeze which contains a percentage of ethylene glycol) although I do know that it is used in secondary schools during dissection as a safer alternative to formaldehyde.

Regards

Phil
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post #4 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 03:22 PM
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I haven't used it to clean anything except for the inside of my engine.

Back in the early 70's, I worked at a "canning plant". One of the products we produced was antifreeze for different companies such as Peak, and several others (I forget which).

Ethylene Glycol is the base. It would come to us by barge and it would be offloaded and trucked to the plant.

I would make a 2000 gallon batch by using some of the glycol, and added other ingredients of the specific recipe supplied by the company. That would include phosphoric acid, caustic soda, and a little bit of powdred dye. Whew! That stuff would go a looong way.

Mix this batch for a hour or so, then pump it into a tank with 20,000 gallons of Ethylene Glycol and turn the mixer on.
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post #5 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 08:13 PM
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I personally like Trend's Bit and Blade Cleaner. It does an excellent job and has no harmful chemicals that I know of. This has come up before and I did some reading on it and the one substance that is absolutely for sure bad for carbide is peroxide. It will dissolve it. CMT also makes a bit cleaner and the one Dan quoted are all safe so there really isn't a good reason to use something toxic like antifreeze or lye.
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post #6 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 08:35 PM
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++ Phil & Mike. Not only toxic to pets but cats are actually attracted to it, not to mention its human toxicity. Like Mike, I also worked on anti-freeze production and it is pretty much 99% ethylene glycol with 1% residuals including dye for coloring. Avoid it.
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post #7 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your replies. I appreciate it.

I didn't have any plans to use ethylene glycol to clean anything but I was curious about this application and I just figured some of you folks on here would have some good input. I was not disappointed. Thanks again.
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post #8 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cherryville chuck View Post
i personally like trend's bit and blade cleaner. It does an excellent job and has no harmful chemicals that i know of. This has come up before and i did some reading on it and the one substance that is absolutely for sure bad for carbide is peroxide. It will dissolve it. Cmt also makes a bit cleaner and the one dan quoted are all safe so there really isn't a good reason to use something toxic like antifreeze or lye.
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post #9 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 10:50 PM
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Timely topic for me. I had about 5 saw blades and several router bits that need a cleaning after building a number of storage boxes out of knotty pine. I had heard a lot about Simple Green Aircraft Cleaner which Simple Green Corp recommends for cleaning carbide. Simple Green sells the same stuff as "Simple Green Pro HD" (it's purple, go figure). So, today I picked up a half gallon at Home Depot for like $12.

I poured it straight onto the blades and bits, then scrubbed with a toothbrush and a brass brush on the stubborn parts. SGProHD is amazing stuff. As I was pouring it on the saw, it was lifting the tar off and turning brown. It took very little scrubbing and my blades are sparkling clean. Total time per blade was less than 10 minutes including prep and drying and about half of that was just letting it stand with the SGProHD. I think I used about $.10 worth per blade. By the way, this stuff also lifted sharpie writing on the blades.

So, to the original question - use something like SGProHD instead of Ethylene Glycol. It's biodegradable and non-toxic. EG is very bad because dogs really like it, can sniff it out, will drink it up and die. When I was a kid I knew some one who's dad was flushing his radiator and their dog got into the antifreeze - knocked over an open bottle and licked it up. Poor mutt died in agony.
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post #10 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 11:32 PM
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If I'm not sure when I see water lying under an engine whether it might be leaking coolant I touch my finger to the puddle and then the tip of my finger to my tongue. If it tastes sweet then I have a coolant leak and that is why it's so dangerous around pets and small children. You should also keep in mind that chemicals like this are often absorbed through the skin. Topping up your rad once in a while is no big deal but doing something like cleaning blades and bits with it might be too much exposure.
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