Machine Gauge cleaning

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
I inherited a box of machinist tools from my Grandfather. I was going through them a bit to figure out what I have and there are alot of Starrett tools which is nice. One of the items is a Starrett Last Word indicator probably hasn't been used in 40 years and the dial sticks. Is there a safe way to clean it without messing it up?? I thought about putting it in a Sonic cleaner I have that is filled with Simple green but I didn't know if it would mess it up. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am a serious beginner to this and am teaching myself as I go (I know nothing) I have a Grizzly G0704 mill and an old Atlas 618 Lathe I've been collecting pieces for and still need to set up. Always was interested in this type of stuff and want to be able to make small parts.
 

52 Ford

Well-Known Member
Try light oil, first. Work the stylus back and forth. Could just be gummed up from sitting.

If you really wanted to, I'm pretty sure Starrett can fix it for you. Gotta pay, though

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52 Ford

Well-Known Member
Also, just curious, is it in Freedom Units or that other stuff?

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Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
wd-40 to clean...3-in-one or sewing machine oil to lube. just at the pivot. don't let it get inside the body. If it's a jeweled indicator....wd-40 to clean...no lube necessary.

409, etc. for the outside body and bezel...
 

52 Ford

Well-Known Member
WD-40 works well. Personally, my go-to is Ballistol. I use that stuff on EVERYTHING. Little expensive, though. Has an "interesting" smell - takes a bit to get used to. G96 is another light oil that works well. Plus G96 smells like bubble gum or something like that. Ballistol and G96 are the only two oils I use on firearms.

Also, for anything of those tools that CAN be soaked - if they're corroded, consider EvapoRust. Be aware that it will turn high carbon steel black and also strips bluing off of steel. The black layer it leaves on HCS is easy - if sometimes tedious - to clean off.

Kerosene does a decent job cutting grease. Cheap way to clean up a lot of stuff at once, soak it in a bucket full. (cleans off asphalt, too... if you ever happen to find yourself paving roads.)
 

52 Ford

Well-Known Member
I'm serious about EvapoRust. The more I use it, the more I'm impressed. I've soaked everything from metal files to rusty chainsaw chains to antique layout tools. The oldest thing I've tried it on was a pair of pattern maker's dividers (compass) from the 1800's.

I swear by it now. Gotta see the results first hand. Its gotta be one of the most satisfying transformations you can make to something in the shop.

I can go on and on...

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Gliden07

Well-Known Member
This gauge is not rusty. There was some caked up oil on the back side of the gauge I scraped off with a little steel dentist pick. I'm guessing the inside is just coated with dust and old oil. Guy I know also suggested Mineral Sprits. The lens is yellowed good but the gauge works it just will stick sometimes. If I hit it with my finger it will settle where it should.
 

52 Ford

Well-Known Member
This gauge is not rusty. There was some caked up oil on the back side of the gauge I scraped off with a little steel dentist pick. I'm guessing the inside is just coated with dust and old oil. Guy I know also suggested Mineral Sprits. The lens is yellowed good but the gauge works it just will stick sometimes. If I hit it with my finger it will settle where it should.
Might be able to clean the gage lense light a headlight. Really fine sandpaper then polish. I've done that on some plastic gage faces before.

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