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add a street 90° at the bottom and a few inches of pipe
and move the valve out from under the tank , to the front edge of the tank near the door .
still have to bend over to open the valve ... unless you add a 2 ft extension as a vertical handle

I think most people are guilty of not draining compressor tanks often enough .

( ... that compressor closet looks like a good place for snakes )

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Hi MM and All,
Having in a past working life opened literally hundreds of air receivers for annual insurance inspection I feel safe to say that the plug on MM's
compressor tank's large plug has been sealed with anaerobic "goo"
Applying the oxy torch was the only way to open those plugs along with the 6 foot helper LOL

An automatic condensate drain as below saves bending down or remembering to drain the tank
"Harbor Freight Automatic Compressor Drain Kit Item 68244"
At $10 I could do with one myself !!

John

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Originally Posted by quinten
( ... that compressor closet looks like a good place for snakes )
After two $2000 rattlesnake bite treatments for one of the dogs, we had "snakeproof" fencing installed around the yard. Thus far it has lived up to its name more than "waterproof" clothes have to theirs against Irish rain. But, I digress. Anyway, even without the fencing, the compressor closet itself has no snake-size gaps anywhere.

Originally Posted by chaterlea25
"Harbor Freight Automatic Compressor Drain Kit Item 68244"
While "automatic" is very appealing, I looked into how it operates and, even without the Harbor Freight quality, I wouldn't want to install it. Although I have a switch for the compressor inside the garage, as well as in the closet, I normally leave it 'on' all the time. A slow leak in an air gun that I also leave connected all the time means the compressor kicks on a few times in 24 hours, so I would be trusting an "automatic" valve never to open without closing. Otherwise the compressor would be on all the time.

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As an aside, the Manual for my blasting cabinet says it uses 9.5 cfm @ 90 psi, but my measurements found the gun that came with it limits the actual flow to less than 3 cfm, which is less than a third of the value given in the Manual. This shows, once again, there's no substitute for instrumentation (in this case, an air flow gauge) if you want to actually know what's what, rather than be at the mercy of whatever you're told. As a further aside, I didn't find similar flow measurements anywhere on the web so keep that in mind when reading about blasting cabinet "upgrades" elsewhere. I'm always skeptical of claimed improvements absent actual measurements of those "improvements."

Several times earlier in this thread I mentioned measurements made at 55 psi. However, I found significantly better (faster) results with Al oxide when I used 80 psi. There will be more on pressure and media later in this thread.

The following items were used for the above blasting cabinet and modifications.

blasting cabinet
plywood base
(4) locking wheels
quick connect
pressure regulator/moisture separator capable of flowing at least 10 cfm
120 psi pressure gauge
miscellaneous pipe fittings
⅜" ID high pressure tubing
⅜" air hose barb
6 cfm replacement gun
bottom feeder assembly for media (complete with hose)
guillotine-type air inlet valve
hose to connect outlet of cabinet to inlet of cyclone separator
cyclone separator
5-gallon bucket
plywood stiffener for underside of bucket lid
shop vacuum with adaptor for cyclone separator outlet

Everything on the above list that I didn't already have came from Amazon, eBay, Lowes, McMaster-Carr, or Harbor Freight, and the items I did have (e.g pressure regulator) also could be found at those sources.

[to be continued]

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Originally Posted by quinten
move the valve out from under the tank ,
On one hand, my maintenance guy swears he will regularly drain and properly maintain the compressor from now on. On the other hand, although I know he is sincere, I also know he won't follow through. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me countless times over the course of many decades, shame on me. You'd think I would have learned years ago how much he'd rather do interesting new things than boring routine maintenance. Anyway, because of this, and since I already had a ¼" NPT ball valve, I had run out of excuses not to do it right. Don't you hate it when that happens?

[Linked Image]

With the ball valve staring him in the face (well, that is, staring at him if he looks down), and it requiring merely a deep-knee bend to reach it, my hope is that will be enough to ensure he frequently drains the compressor from now on.

I also taped a paper to the side of the tank to record the date of the latest oil change, noting on it that it is to be done annually. At least he no longer will be able to pretend to himself he changed it "recently" when the date is in large print in front of him.

The things you have to do because competent help is so hard to find...

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For what it's worth, I experimented with a wide variety of media with the blasting cabinet I had access to prior to three years ago, including plastic, walnut shells, aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, glass beads, and possibly a few others that I don't remember. In the end I found I used aluminum oxide for a large percentage of motorcycle-related tasks, walnut shells for a much smaller percentage, and the rest of the media, never.

One issue with using different media in the same cabinet is that it is practically impossible to remove all of one before introducing another. Because of this, there will be some contamination by hard aluminum oxide when switching to softer walnut shells (contamination when switching in the other direction is less of a problem).

I haven't done the experiment yet, but when my friend's shop burned down a few years ago he gave me a crate filled with AMAL carburetors that have a tough black residue on them that was left by the fire. At some point I'll see if walnut shells do a good job removing that reside without abrading the zinc of the body and, if so, if there is any microscopic pitting due to residual contamination by aluminum oxide media.

What I found with my cabinet, consistent with the 80–90 psi recommended by several professional sites, is that 80 psi results in considerably faster material removal than a lower pressure. Those same sites recommend 80 psi for walnut shells as well so, although it only requires a quick turn of a knob on the air manifold regulator to change it, 80 psi will be my default setting. Interpolating the values given for my compressor, it should produce 9.5 cfm @ 80 psi.

Another medium that definitely has its uses for cleaning some motorcycle parts is soda. It's soft, so it doesn't cause abrasion, and it's water soluble, so all residual amounts of it can be removed afterwards. Soda can be used in a blasting cabinet (subject to the contamination issue mentioned above), but I have an external soda blasting unit. I used it outdoors only once because it made such a mess on the driveway, and it didn't completely wash away with a hose or with a number of rainy days. I used it to clean a BSA head and it did an OK-ish job of that. Although it removed a lot of the contamination and discoloration without affecting the Al, it wasn't aggressive enough to remove all of it.

Finally, before I end my planned posts for this thread, there's "vapor blasting," "vapor honing," or "dustless blasting," which are just different names for the same process of mixing abrasive media with a high-pressure stream of water (but not a super-high-pressure "water jet," which is used for cutting metal). Some of the claims made for this process are just marketing hype. For example, whether or not it somehow actually "seals pores" in Al, the Al castings on Ariels, BSAs, Matchlesses, Triumphs, and Vincents that I've examined don't have pores in them. Also, it's a personal choice, but I don't like the too-shiny-yet-too-matte look of vapor-blasted Al, nor do I like the look of "standard" abrasive-blasted Al, either, which is why I use walnut shells when I want to "deep-clean" without abrading. On the other hand, if I wanted to prepare a bike to sell at a Las Vegas auction, there's no such thing as too shiny.

Irrespective of what technique is used to clean or abrade Al, it will then oxidize at the same rate over time. The only way to keep Al shiny is to polish it regularly, or cover it with a clear coating that will slow the oxidation. Which is good, until the coating itself discolors or starts flaking off. When that happens you will be left with a worse problem to deal with than the time required for polishing.

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Some comments on your latest thoughts:-

Quote
Some of the claims made for this process are just marketing hype. For example, whether or not it somehow actually "seals pores" in Al, the Al castings on Ariels, BSAs, Matchlesses, Triumphs, and Vincents that I've examined don't have pores in them.

I agree, there are no pores as such on the original cast aluminum used on these bikes when they left the factory, however, the issue is what kind of surface finish is left following media blasting.

It's certainly the case that using bead blasting and other abrasive media will cause the surface to be roughened up and as a result will attract dirt, this is what is meant by opening the pores.

Vapor Blasting doesn't open up the surface in the same way and results in a polished surface that doesn't attract dirt, in other words, there are no open pores to attract dirt but merely a polished surface.

It would be interesting to see a microscopic examination of an original surface finish vs bead blasted, walnut blasted, soda blasted and vapor blasted. I don't know what the results would be but I expect the vapor blasted finish would be smoother than the others, hence the polished appearance.

Quote
I don't like the too-shiny-yet-too-matte look of vapor-blasted Al,

For info, the too shiny appearance of vapor blasting doesn't last long at all as the alloy soon oxidizes, however it does remain clean and doesn't attract dirt in the same way as other finishess, so it's usually my first choice over any other types of cleaning.

I know some favor ultrasonic cleaning (Kommando and others) and that's something I want to try in the future as it doesn't affect the surface finish at all but just extracts the dirt.

Quote
The only way to keep Al shiny is to polish it regularly, or cover it with a clear coating that will slow the oxidation.

I agree that polishing is the best way to keep it shiny and clear coats are best avoided. Some people use ACF50 or WD40 to prevent oxidization and keep things shiny and I've heard especially good reviews on ACF50.

Last edited by gunner; 09/12/21 7:37 pm.

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For many years I've had a profession interest in the color and texture of metals. In the motorcycle world, the color of aluminum, cadmium, zinc, steel, and stainless steel all are "silver," but the spectrum each reflects is different enough that they don't look the same. Some people say bead-blasted stainless looks like cadmium but, while it might from 10 ft., it doesn't from any closer than that.

Turning to texture, it happens the not all areas on a sand cast item look the same, depending on where the area was in the mold, how thick it is, and how fast it cooled. People claim various techniques reproduce the sand-cast texture (blasting with various media, needle scaler, air peen hammer, etc.), but none of them do. When I repaired the fins on my Spitfire Scrambler I showed micrographs of the nearby areas to a colleague who uses a high-power fiber laser in his research and he assured me he could program his laser to reproduce any of those textures on the head. I didn't pursue it further at the time, although I still might sometime in the future.

Anyway, when I wrote that I didn't like the texture left by vapor blasting, it wasn't for lack of having investigated it. But, it's a personal choice.

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Originally Posted by Magnetoman
......I also taped a paper to the side of the tank to record the date of the latest oil change, noting on it that it is to be done annually. At least he no longer will be able to pretend to himself he changed it "recently" when the date is in large print in front of him.

The things you have to do because competent help is so hard to find...
You know, there are probably folk on this site that think discussions like these are mundane and not worth following. BUT, I read them anyway finding comfort in the all too present human angle complete with the three foibles of forgetfulness, frustration and human frailty. But what do you do? It's better than the other options! So to let MM and others know they are not alone, here's my water heater.
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
It has a sacrificial anode that needs changing every 5 years. Will I remember? Who knows, does anybody? Will the plug come out? Probably not. My electrical engineer neighbors sure didn't, even with my venerable CP air impact with 150PSI pushing it and a modified socket to fully engage the flats on the thin hexagonal head. (The flats rounded off.) We discussed welding a bar to the head but decided against because of the zinc on the other end. Oh well.

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Aluminium oxide grown at room temperature is full of "pores"
It looks rather like those old one piece cast foam rubber cushions .
When you anodize aluminium you force the oxide layer to grow 2 to 4 times thicker than it normally would
The die gets into the open pores which are sealed off which is what gives anodised alloy it colour ( and also the foul metal taste .)
I rather think that a few have seen the macro / micro graphs of these pores in the oxide & assumed they were actually part of the metal.

As for keeping it shinny, the best thing to do is use a WAX that you work in with hard rubbing
The heat is important to seal the surface and the wax is important to change the surface properties so water forms beads & can not wet the surface .
Water gets adsorbed into the aluminium oxide changing it from AL2O3 to Al2O3-6H2O with is the end product white fluffy oxide
There are two ways to make a shinny surface
One is to remove metal using progressively finner abrasives till they scratches are so small the human eye can not see them and they appear shinny ( Autosol )
The other is to apply a coating that reflects light ( turtle wax )
The best way is to start with the abrasives then finish with the wax


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Originally Posted by BSA_WM20
Aluminium oxide grown at room temperature is full of "pores" ...
When you anodize aluminium you force the oxide layer to grow 2 to 4 times thicker than it normally would
That's not correct. The natural oxide that slowly forms on a polished Al case or mudguard is very uniform, in contrast with electrolytically grown (anodized) oxides, which are "forced" to grow more than 10,000× faster and are more than 1000× thicker. Even then, there are several anodization processes that each produce oxides of different densities.

It's worth noting that although we may call it aluminum (or aluminium), everything we deal with is an alloy whose principle component is Al, but which also includes Cu, Zn, Si, etc. in amounts that depend on the specific alloy. Hence, more than just Al2O3 forms. In any case, it's the slowly-forming natural oxide that develops over the course of months (faster, if you live on an ocean beach) that concerns us.

On the compressor front, I've treated it to fresh synthetic lubricant and a replacement air filter in addition to the bespoke drain valve, so it's now ready for my maintenance guy to ignore it for another 30 years. However, I did tape a note to it with the date of the latest oil change and that it should be replaced annually, so that note should at least make him feel somewhat guilty starting ~18 months from now...

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Appologies, I stand corrected , happens when not thinking about what one is typing and too lazy to check before one hits the send button.
So you you are quite correct 1000's of times thicker for anodizing and I will go back to the naughty corner .
However the point of closing the open pores of the shiny surface oxide is what I was trying to make
And that surface adsorbing water to change into the hydrated white fluffy dull surface we are trying to prevent happening .


Very few of the alloying elements form oxides on the surface of Al-Si casting alloys as they are just about all bound very tightly into the silicon as silicides and not free to react with air to change the colour of the oxides unless there in sufficiently high enough concentrations to solidify as a continious interstitial phase surrounding the dendrites .
BSA crankcases are either LM 2 for strait sand castings (10% silicon 1% Cu .5 % Fe ) or LM 4 (5 % silicon 2 % Cu) for gravity or pressure die casting
Most of the LM 4 will have higher than the acceptable .5 % Fe because if you are using a metal mould the Fe instantly solidifies as a silicide on the surface of the mould and being quite brittle allows for faster cleaner stripping.
It also promotes finer gain size
If cast into graphite moulds then the Fe needs to be as near to 0% as possible .
All of the BSA casting I have done a chemical analysis were defintaly made from scrap or secondary ingot as they all were way over the old maximin non specified impurity level
The LM specifications for Aluminum casting alloys date back to WWII when chemical analysis was all by wet chemistry so the specifications and in particular the impurities are quite coarse and significanly higher than the LM 2 & 4 ( not often ) used now days.
While under a microscope the alloying elements ( or contaminats) in the silicon do add their distinctive colours to the silicon phases, which in pre X-ray days was how we identified them, they rarely add any colour to the polished surfaces


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My Vincent rebuild is forcing me to spend a lot of time dealing with cosmetics so, not-unrelated to this blasting cabinet thread, I bought a vibratory tumbler that arrived yesterday.

[Linked Image]

Since my hope is it will enable me to prepare parts for plating with zero physical labor, I bought a large "18 lb." tumbler. However, that's the capacity including abrasive media and water. With the 7 lbs. of abrasive that came with it, and the stated "ideal: ratio of 70/30 media to parts, the 18 lb. capacity turns out to be just 3 lbs. of parts. Still, that's a lot of Fasteners. Also, the large size of the tumbler means there aren't many parts on a motorcycle that might benefit from this device that are too large for it.

It seemed likely the small Fasteners I used as my first test would just sink to the bottom, but watching the tumbler with the lid off showed a sort of stirring action taking place, with bolts and washers surfacing momentarily before being swallowed up again by the media. The instructions say typical times required for de-rusting are 3 to 7 hours, but significant improvement was obvious after just 2 hours. The noise it makes isn't too obnoxious so I could work while it's operating, but I could just as well run it overnight instead.

The tumbler abrades material from the parts so, to determine how fast that happens, I measured the head and threads of a black oxide ¼-20 cap screw (to distinguish it from the hex BSF Fasteners sharing space with it in the tumbler) for a longer test to determine the rate of material removal, as well as how deep into the threads the abrasive manages to clean. The next photograph shows the bolt after 1 hour in the tumbler, compared with an un-tumbled bolt from the same batch.

[Linked Image]

To the extent the internet can be believed, the thickness of the black oxide is ~50 µinches (0.75 µm), from which a rough estimate is that material removal rate less than 50 µinches (0.75 µm)/2 hours.

Next are photographs before and after photographs of the Fasteners from the rear of the motorcycle after 5 hours in the tumbler.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

The improvement is obvious, although some of the Fasteners could benefit from a few more hours. The missing rod isn't lost in the tumbler; it's presently being used for fitting the Vincent's rear mudguard. However, two of the small screws turned out to be brass, and brass isn't attracted to a magnet even as powerful as SmFeCo, so I'll have to sift through the tumbler to find it manually.

After 5 hours the cap screw looked the same as after just one hour.

[Linked Image]

Prior to starting the test I measured the cap screw with a micrometer at various orientations of the threads and head, recording the highest and lowest values, and redid those measurements after five hours. Variation in measured diameters resulted in some uncertainty, but the maximum values for both the head and the threads were smaller by 0.0015"±0.0002" after 5 hours. Given the double-depth of thread of a ¼-20 bolt, this would roughly reduce the strength by a marginal 2% (proportionally less for larger Fasteners). However, the locations where the black oxide has been removed, and where it still remains, is good reason to suspect the initial micrometer readings were of asperities left by the knurling and thread rolling, and that the actual "bulk" reduction was less than 0.0015". In the next few days I'll run an overnight test with accurately-measured solid rods of steel, brass and Al.

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Looks like a great machine MM, and I'm just wondering whether the media you are using is the right type for rust removal and general cleaning of parts?

I believe you can get more aggressive ceramic media for rapid rust removal and also softer plastic & wood media for polishing etc.

I have no idea which is best for your application, but thought it worth mentioning.

Just my tuppence worth.


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Originally Posted by gunner
I'm just wondering whether the media you are using is the right type for rust removal and general cleaning of parts?
The unit came with that green media that is claimed to be good for "light rust and paint removal," along with finer corn cob media mixed with a polishing compound. After experimenting more with the green media I'll switch to that to see if the smaller size cleans to the roots of threads better. In any case, rather than using a more aggressive media on heavy rust, which also would remove metal, I would first de-rust items in molasses and then use the tumbler to do the final work. I already had de-rusted the Fasteners that way.

My initial concern, which my test run yesterday showed wasn't justified, was that the abrasive media would remove too much metal, especially from the crests of the threads. I stopped after 5 hours because at that point I didn't know how aggressive the media was. The instructions did say 3–7 hours, so requiring a few more hours to get rid of the residual staining is consistent with the instructions.

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I use a tumbler to clean brass for reloading. I have found that going to the local pet shop, and asking for reptile media gets what I think are ground walnut shells, and is much cheaper than "tumbler media". Also drop a dryer sheet into the bowl with your parts. It will collect most of the dust like waste and make the media last longer.


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Coming back to blasting media I must admit that I cannot bring myself to use media which do not dissolve in water.
To me the thought of a particle of sand, or a piece of walnut shell, stuck in an oilway but moving elsewhere after some/many heat cycles is not acceptable.
So that is why I stick to soda blasting.
It is not the quickest -- but I am retired so time is not the most important consideration.
In terms of removing paint from external surfaces--- frames etc, I used to use paint stripper followed by a an old bearing scraper.
However thanks to our Californian cousins paint stripper these days is no more use than mouth wash so I just use the old bearing scraper followed by fine emery paper.
Just my two cents worth of course.

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Originally Posted by Tridentman
Coming back to blasting media ...
This is a very useful discussion, since different tasks require different media, and different people have different requirements and expectations. This applies to both blasting cabinets and tumblers. For example, I typically want minimally-aggressive media for castings to preserve sharp features, whereas speed of removal may be more important for someone else. For some reason TM doesn't want sand in his oil lines, whereas someone else might not care...

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Apart from dissolving in water soda does not present any hazard to ones health
Will not remove much in the way of sound metal
But it is slooow
However I have found that parts that have been soda blasted need an acid rinse prior to painting
No amount of hot or cold water will leave a surface that takes brush painting very well
It is really good for cleaning corrosion from electrical connections provided they are degreased first if contact grease has been used .


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Originally Posted by BSA_WM20
Apart from dissolving in water soda does not present any hazard to ones health …..snip…… .

BUT…….it kills any vegetation I’ve let it get on.

Gordon in NC


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Have to disagree ref brush painting.
After soda blasting I immediately hose down the parts vigorously.
I have had no problems with brush painting afterwards using the normal process of passivation (which I guess does include an acid) then POR-15 coats and then top coats---all by brush.
As to killing vegetation--dont know.
I do my blasting in the road outside my house and the hosed water goes straight into the municipal drains.
The last time a cop stopped and asked what I was doing I told him that I was cleaning the road as it looked rather dirty.
He drove off no doubt convinced that all Englishmen are mad.
Which of course to an Englishman is the ultimate compliment!

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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
Originally Posted by BSA_WM20
Apart from dissolving in water soda does not present any hazard to ones health …..snip…… .

BUT…….it kills any vegetation I’ve let it get on.

Gordon in NC
Baking soda is a buffering agent so it can affect the leaves it falls on
But it does not kill the plant, just the leaves
I only work outside and the grass browns off after a big soda session then comes back stronger a couple of days latter .
However the lillies seem to love it and the geraniums thrive on it .
You can breathe it , eat it or drink it with little affect other than a bit of reflux.
You definately do not want to breathe in any other blasting medium .
Can not count the number of times I see some one out in the open dry sand blasting with no PPE, not even a paper face mask.

While I would like to POR-15 mower decks, the customers won't pay for it
Some even bitch about paying for any paint at all .


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Originally Posted by WD_M20
drink it with little affect other than a bit of reflux.

Drinking sodium bicarbonate is a quick short-term remedy for acid indigestion.


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Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 11,368
Likes: 169
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Britbike forum member
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 11,368
Likes: 169
I worked in a company that used a bank of 20 odd vibratory drums running day and night cleaning several million plain bushes a week. The process to make the bimetallic bearing materials left oxide on the steel back of the bush plus machining of internal grooves and holes needed deburring.

1. The size of the media in relation to the part being cleaned is critical, the media must be small enough to easily pass through the smallest hole and not get stuck. There was a range of media and each bush had the size to use in the process sheet.

2. You are not going to clean any threaded item fully until you use media that can get into the root of the thread. Some blasting media either at 100% or mixed in with the current media would work. This will possibly permanently add blasting media to your green pyramids so not without risk.

3. All the vibratory machines used a hot detergent water solution mixed in with the media to improve cleaning time and reduce abrasive decay of the base part. The solution also made it easier to keep the bowels clean.

4. The complete contents were tipped over into a cage with a grid sized so the media fell through leaving the bushes inside the cage, vibration and more washing fluid helped. Grid sizes were in the process sheets.

5. The cleaned parts were then immediately oiled and then sent for inspection and final packing.

1 member likes this: Magnetoman
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