Two Important Cold Saw Notes: Cutting Fluid and Cleaning

The Cold Saw blade, less than a month old, was found to be completely dulled on Monday, no longer capable of cutting even a modest mild steel square tube. We believe this most likely happened because someone used the Cold Saw to make cuts without cutting fluid.

The Cold Saw should never be used without cutting fluid. Cutting fluids are optional (though recommended) on other machines, but they are required on the Cold Saw – the cutting fluid is what provides the “Cold” in Cold Saw. And the flow should be generous, not just a trickle. I recommend that the flow control valve on the input tube at the back of the saw be left fully open or nearly so. If it seems like a little too much fluid, then it’s probably the right amount.

If you are not seeing fluid flow when the blade begins spinning, then check: 1) that the pump switch on the control panel is on, 2) that the flow control valve is open (i.e., in line with the tube), and 3) that the reservoir has fluid. If the reservoir lacks fluid, add several gallons of distilled water (available under the Tormach nearby) by pouring it into the blue reservoir in the back through the white filter basket. If there is no distilled water available, you can add pre-mixed cutting fluid (the blue liquid found in the bottom of the machine shop cabinet, if there is any) or tap water. (Do not add unmixed cutting fluid; that is a concentrate that needs to be heavily diluted for use.)

If you still cannot get a good fluid flow after checking these things, then talk to a steward or report the saw as broken. Do not be tempted to attempt any cuts whatsoever.

I have installed a replacement blade. Note that Cold Saw blades cost about $200 each.
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A second note about the Cold Saw: the clean-up of the saw after use has been completely inadequate for many users. I have routinely seen it covered in metal chips and fluid. Last night the chips had accumulated so deeply in the cutting fluid drain trough that they had completely blocked the drain screen, blocking the cycling of fluid.

The general purpose metal shop vacuum is being stored immediately adjacent to the Cold Saw. I believe some people are hesitant to clean the saw when it is wet with cutting fluid, but all of the metal shop vacuums are wet-dry vacs that can handle fluids and wet materials. All chips and fluids should be vacuumed off immediately after the saw is used. I have put on a new vacuum hose with a narrow tip, which should make cleaning in the trough and other narrow areas much easier. (The original hose is nearby for general shop use.)

(The vacuums do have a distressing tendency to acquire a strong mildew smell because of the fluids; the stewards will be implementing a more regular schedule for emptying and cleaning them to reduce this.)

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