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Thread: Machining in Cold Weather

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    Default Machining in Cold Weather

    Im a Southern California boy, thinking about relocating. What considerations do I need to......consider......about cold weather locations. Do you need to heat the shop 24/7?. Do you encounter weather related failures, hoses,seals, oil viscosity, etc. Machine warm ups? What temps trigger precautions. Thanks

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    Registered vladdy's Avatar
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    for the most part, as long as the shop area is kept above freezing no major problems should occur..unless you are working in the tenths range, heat expansion from cutting can alter your end result..
    below freezing conditions screw up things like coolant, power loss from turning gears in the equivalent of grease, etc..
    I only heat my garage / workshop when I need it, and condensation has already caused some fine surface rust on my new 10" chuck on an old Gisholt lathe..and other items as well

    ??enjoy..



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    I live in central Minnesota. I let the big shop freeze up in mid winter. Gets to -40 here, can't afford to heat to freezing when I'm not using it. I put polypropelene glycol in the coolant and spray all surfaces down with LPS-3 to prevent rusting. Before starting a CNC machine, I warm the computer to above freezing (lost a hard disk once to cold) and then start the machine. It has a hydraulic pump and I let the pump run and the spindle turn for 15 to 30 minutes before making parts.

    P.S. Now that I'm a bit older, I spend Jan. and Feb. in the Florida Keys. I just wasn't having enough fun freezing my a%$ off making parts in mid winter.

    Karl



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    If using your machinery on a weekly basis, I would recommend keeping the temp between 50 to 60F when away. It could be just my imagination, but I don't like the idea of the mechanical strain and relative motion of connectors and circuit boards as they grow and shrink from wide temperature changes. That little bit of slippage induces oxidation of contact surfaces, or induction of crap into the contact area. You just have to work a little bit with the flimsy connectors that are commonplace in modern computers, to appreciate that they work as reliably as they do, because there is nothing robust about the connections.

    This comment is not meant to contradict what Karl said, as he wrote that he is basically shut down for months. The number of severe heating/cooling cycles that he would be talking about would therefore be very low.

    First you get good, then you get fast. Then grouchiness sets in.

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)


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    it has been my experience to keep the shop climate controlled all year long. especially if your machining high tolerance. Im in texas and it will be 18 on day and 86 the next and i have actually seen parts go out of tolerance due to changes in temp. If we shut down for a few days over the holidays i will make sure the thermostat is turned down a bit but will keep it with in a certain area. drastic changes in temp WILL affect tolerance.



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    Thanks for all the input. I guess I was anticipating more drastic effects (failure) of machine components. I had already anticipated tolerance variance.

    Sure would like to move. Just dont know where to go. Someplace with clean air, unclogged freeways, and cheaper rents. Would like to get away from the city, but what about access to materials, tools, plating etc. ?

    Lots of things to consider.

    Thanks again.



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    Depends where you want to move and how far from civilization you're trying to get.

    We're in a college town and people tell us "you can't grind cams there" but we do. Why, because we live here. With UPS and FEDEX, the net, phone and fax's, anything is easy to get. We ship to the Carolinas a lot and fedex gets there overnite - no sweat.

    Before you move, do some looking. You won't have some of the stuff that might be easy to get due to the aircraft industry that is in California. However, we folks in the fly over states find a way to manage 8-))



    Shipping can gobble up profit if you need a lot of outside help. Fortunately, we live in S/E Michigan and it is easy to get stuff heat treated and plated as needed. We found some guys who do great specialty heat treating and it takes a week to get just about anything done - 2-3 days if we drive it there and beg.



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    Quote Originally Posted by NC Cams
    You won't have some of the stuff that might be easy to get due to the aircraft industry that is in California. However, we folks in the fly over states find a way to manage 8-))
    Right on...Thanks for the input.



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    I'm up north in Quebec in a shop/garage and I heat all the time with cold time out here so hard you cant leave the CNC without heat, there would be condesation on the slide and ball screws resulting in severe damage... I have wood furnace, that help on the cost, i pick old wood piece for free in a place where the make cabinet



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    Thanks for the reply. Thats kind of the extreme I was thinking about. You are pretty far up North Mr. Red. The wood stove is a good idea. I have heard of running hot water pipes through the concrete, but that might comprimise the foundation for machine tools. Hope it gets warm soon. I bet Quebec is beautiful place. Thanks again.



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    I,m happy to helped you out, my brother has a car mechanic garage with heat tube in the concrete, this is so fun! your feets are never cold witch result you never feel the cold... but i dont think it would affect the concrete that much, all depends on the mix...



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