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  1. #1
    Senior Member calstar's Avatar
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    Acetone/ATF penetrating brew

    This(in italics) was taken from the Old Wood Working Machinery(OWWM) site I used to visit regularly. It shows the torque in ft lbs needed to break loose a "frozen" nut relative to the different penetrating fluids. Nope, I don't know the origin of the original data so "buyer beware".

    One suggestions, buy yourself a squirt bottle, some acetone and some Auto-Trans Fluid and do away with all of those other penetrating oils. That stuff is magic!

    Penetrating oil . Average load .. Price per fluid ounce
    None ................. 516 pounds .
    WD-40 .............. 238 pounds .. $0.25
    PB Blaster ......... 214 pounds .. $0.35
    Liquid Wrench ... 127 pounds .. $0.21
    Kano Kroil ........ 106 pounds .. $0.75
    ATF-Acetone mix.. 53 pounds .. $0.10

    The ATF/acetone is a 50/50 mix.
    Last edited by calstar; 12-28-12 at 09:04 AM.
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    I love how the internet so often proves that job specific commercial products can't hold a candle to simple home brews of readily available stuff.

    You'd think that maybe the makers of Kroil should fire all their chemists and double it's performance with a simple reformulation.

    Seems that there are parallels between bike, woodworking and probably many other buff forums.
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  3. #3
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    acetone is extremely volatile, and also its fumes are quite toxic. it has a really low flash point too. use with great caution, only in a well ventilated space, and only while wearing nitrile rubber gloves (it will go through your skin, and even small doses have an affect similar to a really bad hangover).

    I mixed some acetone+ATF once before when I was out of Kroil. it worked quite well, but I didn't find it any better than Kroil, just equivalent.

    I've seen the original tests that table is from (sorry, don't have the URL handy), and I remember thinking they weren't that scientific. they only tested one bolt with each compound, the bolts were rusted valve cover bolts on an old tractor, but as anyone who's worked on old rusty stuff can attest, not all old rusty bolts are as difficult to remove.

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    Flammable plus toxic, and will strip the oils from your skin, when there are safe alternatives makes ATF+acetone a non-starter in my workshop. At a drop or two per application an 8 ounce can of Kroil will last for a long time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    acetone is extremely volatile, and also its fumes are quite toxic. it has a really low flash point too. use with great caution, only in a well ventilated space, and only while wearing nitrile rubber gloves (it will go through your skin, and even small doses have an affect similar to a really bad hangover).
    That's a crock.

    Acetone is a normal metabolite present in many body tissues and is a mild irritant for most people either by vapour inhalation or skin contact.

    I'm not suggesting you drink it, but even if you did it wouldn't do you much more harm than the equivalent volume of ethanol (eg you'd appear drunk and get a hangover)

  6. #6
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I love how the internet so often proves that job specific commercial products can't hold a candle to simple home brews of readily available stuff.

    You'd think that maybe the makers of Kroil should fire all their chemists and double it's performance with a simple reformulation.

    Seems that there are parallels between bike, woodworking and probably many other buff forums.
    Even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut. How many 'simple home brews' out there not only can't hold a candle to commercial products but are dangerous, toxic, useless, harmful and ineffective? And if it weren't for those chemists, you wouldn't even know about three quarters of the oils and lubricants that make our machinery work.

    As for the 'tests' that calstar referenced, how were they performed? How was the nut 'frozen' and could it be done reproducibly? Was each nut 'frozen' at 516 lb of load and then the oil applied? Or was the oil applied to a frozen nut and it was assumed that all 'frozen' nuts have a load of 516 lb? Before I'd say that any of those numbers were valid, I'd like to see how the experiment was set up, replicates, how the load was measured, etc.

    Additionally, Mark Kelly is correct that acetone isn't particularly toxic. It is highly flammable however.
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    There is a cleaner/solvent called "Ed's Red" developed for firearms cleaning years ago that is similar. It's a mix of Dexron ATF, Mineral Spirits and Acetone and has been found as effective as many commercial cleaners at much lower cost. Here is a link to the formula: http://home.comcast.net/~dsmjd/tux/d...ch/eds_red.htm

    As mentioned above, acetone isn't particularly toxic (it's the effective solvent in fingernail polish remover) but it is volatile and flammable.

    And yes, the "tests" used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the various solvents are very suspect.

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    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    acetone ...will go through your skin, and even small doses have an affect similar to a really bad hangover.
    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    acetone ... (it's the effective solvent in fingernail polish remover)
    Hmm, this might explain much about people I know that paint their fingernails.

    Kidding aside, without a proper control and methodology, all that test tells me is that atf/acetone worked OK on that particular bolt. It might be handy to know in some circumstances though, like when you need a large volume to free up a rusted assembly of some sort.
    Best regards,
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    In the acetone/ATF blends the acetone acts simply as a thinner and vehicle to carry the oil in deeper and faster. This is fine as far as it goes, and any thin solvent (for oil) will work inc. naphtha, OMS, diesel fuel.

    The dedicated products designed for the job also include active chemicals specifically to attack the rust itself, something neither acetone and ATF does.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    The dedicated products designed for the job also include active chemicals specifically to attack the rust itself, something neither acetone and ATF does.
    Right, Ed's Red wasn't intended as a penetrating oil for rusted parts. It was made as a bore and action cleaner for firearms and was intended to loosen powder fouling and the plastic buildup in shotgun barrels from the shot wads. For this purpose the acetone was a solvent as well as a thinner/penetrant.

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    In the acetone/ATF blends the acetone acts simply as a thinner and vehicle to carry the oil in deeper and faster. This is fine as far as it goes, and any thin solvent (for oil) will work inc. naphtha, OMS, diesel fuel.

    The dedicated products designed for the job also include active chemicals specifically to attack the rust itself, something neither acetone and ATF does.
    I'm confused. Were you being facetious in your first post? If so I didn't get the 'joke'.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut. .
    Yes, but not very likely the biggest nut in a field heavily worked over by sighted squirrels. I wouldn't have posted except that the "data" was so ludicrous. The spectrum among dedicated products was suspiciously wide, and for the home brew to outperform the best of them by a factor of 2 was beyond my threshold credulity.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    I'm confused. Were you being facetious in your first post? If so I didn't get the 'joke'.
    Yes, I was being facetious, and it wasn't as much as joke as a commentary on the quality of so called "data" that tends to show up in various forums.

    You as a chemist can appreciate the value of peer review. There have always been new discoveries of miracle products, (italics used to differentiate between proven science, and lore), long before the internet. That isn't new and happens in every field, from miracle cures in medicine, to devices that allow cars to get up to 100mpg, to all kinds of conspiracy theories.

    The internet didn't change that, but unlike traditional media, it lacks any editing or review mode. So while all media reports may require some healthy skepticism, internet info calls for much more than the standard grain of salt.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 12-28-12 at 11:34 AM.
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  14. #14
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kelly View Post
    That's a crock.

    Acetone is a normal metabolite present in many body tissues and is a mild irritant for most people either by vapour inhalation or skin contact.

    I'm not suggesting you drink it, but even if you did it wouldn't do you much more harm than the equivalent volume of ethanol (eg you'd appear drunk and get a hangover)
    indeed, its one of the primary metabolites of drinking too much Ethanol, and its one of the things that gives you that really bad hangover if you drink too much.

    I was careless with acetone while cleaning some telescope optics and got a fair amount of skin exposure as well as breathed a fair amount of the fumes, and a half hour later I felt about as bad as I did the morning after polishing off a fifth of homemade bourbon with a friend who's way-too-wise wife had told me to stick around and console after a mid-life crisis (and yes, she had me stay in their spare bedroom, hah!). I couldn't drink bourbon for a year after that, eek (it was good, tho!)

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    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    indeed, its one of the primary metabolites of drinking too much Ethanol, and its one of the things that gives you that really bad hangover if you drink too much.

    I was careless with acetone while cleaning some telescope optics and got a fair amount of skin exposure as well as breathed a fair amount of the fumes, and a half hour later I felt about as bad as I did the morning after polishing off a fifth of homemade bourbon with a friend who's way-too-wise wife had told me to stick around and console after a mid-life crisis (and yes, she had me stay in their spare bedroom, hah!). I couldn't drink bourbon for a year after that, eek (it was good, tho!)
    That's a very mistake-dense post.
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    I've not found any of the list of penetrants better than any others. Even the homebrew acetone ATF mix... although it does allow you to get all mad scientist/garage chemist and stuff. Something will work great on a stuck bolt and then not the next, where something else seems to do the trick. Unless it's something deep/inaccessible like a stuck seatpost or something, I prefer an impact driver -- not the air ***, the thing you hit with a hammer that turns impact force into torque.

  17. #17
    Senior Member calstar's Avatar
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    Looks like this was the basis for the data; the author states the results are subjective. Google, ain't it grand!

    http://www.antiquemodeler.org/sam_ne...am_2011_07.pdf

    Hope his methodology was better than his editing.
    Last edited by calstar; 12-28-12 at 02:09 PM.
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    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    I did a little more googling... that was a forwarding of a forwarding of the article: The Home Shop Machinist and Machinist's Workshop published in its Apr-May 2007 edition (Volume 20, No.2), entitled Testing Different Types of Penetrating Oils, by Lloyd Bender.

    Mr Bender is described as a machinist and material scientist. The original article is apparently not available online.

    interesting discussion thread here on that magazine's website. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/thr...netrating-Oil?

    this thread notes Acetone and modern synthetic ATF don't actually mix. Also, the original homebrew mixtures used a toxic and no longer available trichloroethylene. OLD school red ATF did mix with acetone. When I tried ATF+Acetone around 3-4 years ago, the bottle of ATF I used was an *ancient* dusty old bottle from my garage, probably 15-20 years old.

  19. #19
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Big fan of Kroil here, use it quite often. Acetone is pretty flammable (flash point -4F), so if you use it, be careful (gasoline is even worse, at -45F). I have on occasion used acetone to remove rattlecan (spray paint). Same cautions apply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    this thread notes Acetone and modern synthetic ATF don't actually mix. Also, the original homebrew mixtures used a toxic and no longer available trichloroethylene. OLD school red ATF did mix with acetone. When I tried ATF+Acetone around 3-4 years ago, the bottle of ATF I used was an *ancient* dusty old bottle from my garage, probably 15-20 years old.
    The original mix specified Dexron III ATF which apparently was miscible with acetone, etc. Actually, the real original formula used sperm oil but ATF was a more available (and more PC) substitute.

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    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    a little more googling on that Lloyd Bender name found he later admitted that his original study used Power Steering Fluid (which CAN be the same as ATF< but not neccessarily), *AND* he used 1,1,1 TCE, which is totally outlawed now, so when he wrote it up for publication in that Machinist magazine, he SAID he'd used Acetone. so that puts this whole thing to question.

    I'm sticking with Kroil. we have a excellent locally owned auto parts store that stocks it. my favorite local european car mechanic is the one who turned me onto it.

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    Actually, the original recipe was power steering fluid and acetone. Because ATF is used as the recommended power steering fluid in many cars, ATF became the recipe. It has simiilair properties to power steerong fluid, so it works just as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willbur View Post
    Actually, the original recipe was power steering fluid and acetone. Because ATF is used as the recommended power steering fluid in many cars, ATF became the recipe. It has simiilair properties to power steerong fluid, so it works just as well.
    That's not correct. Read my link above about the history and composition of Ed's Red.

  24. #24
    Half way there gmt13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    acetone is extremely volatile, and also its fumes are quite toxic. it has a really low flash point too. use with great caution, only in a well ventilated space, and only while wearing nitrile rubber gloves (it will go through your skin, and even small doses have an affect similar to a really bad hangover).
    While it is true that acetone is volatile and flammable, it is one of the less toxic solvents, having relatively low toxicity by most routes of exposure (oral, inhalation, and dermal). It is not absorbed through the skin but will cause significant irritation. Also, nitrile gloves are not much protection (and anyone who used nitrile with acetone would know this). Natural latex works much better but butyl is the material of choice.

    In any case, I would guess that the choice of carrier solvent is irrelevant here. The key is getting the active ingredient to the point of the corrosion.

    -G

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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    That's not correct. Read my link above about the history and composition of Ed's Red.
    Wrong again! There is no such compound as 1,1,1-TCE. It's 1,1,1-TCA-a strong chlorinated degreaser for hydrocarbon compounds. How it can loosen rust or corrosion is beyound me. It's not banned/outlawed but regulated because it's a green house gas. One can still buy it.

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