How to Clean a Used CNC Machine

Real talk—if your CNC machine isn’t dirty, then you’re not making enough money with it! However, sometimes it’s necessary to shut it down and do a thorough cleaning in order to maintain a high level of reliability and value in your CNC machine. Keep reading to learn how to clean CNC machines.

The overall running condition of your CNC machine is what’s most important to a machine shop. If your machine isn’t running, then you’re not making money.

Yet, have you ever considered the way your machine looks? The cleanliness of your machine can affect both its long-term value and immediate running condition. Excessive chips will damage way covers, interfere with axis movement and can destroy any new or used CNC machine.

Over the past 30 years at Premier Equipment, we have dealt with thousands of used CNC lathes, vertical machining centers, horizontal machining centers as well as all types of other CNC equipment like CNC waterjets, CNC lasers, CNC fabrication equipment and more. With so many years of experience with different types of machines, we are the experts in this field. Trust us. We know how to clean CNC machines.

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How to Clean CNC Machines

So what are the best ways to clean your used CNC machine? It all starts with the correct degreaser. Although there are many brands of degreasers, we have found that ZEP products work the best, but you’ll have to experiment to find the right degreaser-to-water ratio to use.

For example, for a really dirty and oily used CNC lathe or machining center, you will want to use a higher ratio of degreaser to water but not enough to fade the finish. Use thick cloth rags and brillo-type pads that are soaked in the degreaser. Use air nozzles to blowout the ballscrew, chuck, turret, tailstock and way cover areas. Be careful not to blow any liquid on any electrical components in those areas.

Another good example would be with a used CNC horizontal—the pallet areas always have a lot of chips. Blow the chips down to the chip conveyor and let the machine do all the work.

Depending on the type of CNC machine that you’re cleaning, you may be able to remove external covers for better accessibility of cleaning internal areas of the CNC machine and the covers themselves. You can’t be afraid of getting dirty! We have seen so many used CNC machines that have been covered in grease and oil turn out like new with a little scrubbing.

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Take your time, the larger the machine, the longer it will take. For example, some used CNC horizontals and used mills we get are as large as a house. The good thing about these is that they are highly accessible.

Some small CNC lathes are so tiny that you may be limited to what you can clean. Be careful not to damage any electrical components. As always, be sure to utilize all safety gear when cleaning—just like you would when you run your CNC machine in your machine shop.

Once your machine is all cleaned, you may be ready to sell it. Premier Equipment can help you learn how to sell your CNC machine.

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