Water; it is a lubricant, right? Concrete contractors use water to lubricate their concrete cutting saws, so yes, that makes sense. However, when it comes to CNC machines, water should never be your sole lubricant. It's better to use a CNC lubricant. Here is why.
There Are Multiple CNC Lubricants
There are at least a half dozen options for lubricants for a CNC machine. If you are wondering why that is, it is because you are not machining the same material all the time. Different materials are going to create different levels of friction and overheating problems for your CNC machine. That is why there are different lubricants to begin with. Each one is meant to lubricate the moving parts of your CNC when the CNC is working with a different material.
Water Oxidizes Machine Parts and Metal Materials
Water is notorious for oxidizing (rusting) machine parts. Over time, the water alone will gradually cause parts to rust, and then the parts will break and splinter all over the project materials. Nobody wants that. What is more, when just water is used, it can be sprinkled, sprayed, and splattered onto the metal materials that you have on the CNC work table. Oxidation begins the minute water hits and sits on metal, and that includes the metal materials on which you are working with the CNC machine.
Water Soluble Coolants and Lubricants Are Different Beasts
While water should never be the sole lubricant, it can be an ingredient in a coolant or lubricant. When mixed with other chemicals, the water is safe and will not cause the level of harm to CNC parts and tools or to the metal materials on the table. These lubricants help cool the metal parts and prevent the levels of friction that could cause just as much damage as water used by itself as a lubricant. Just remember: water alone is not good, but water and lubricant or coolant is excellent.
Finally, water alone is not a good idea because water quickly evaporates. If you are operating a CNC machine with a tool on a very high RPM, the heat that tool is creating could actually cause water to evaporate. What you have left are the chemical residues found in the water, which in turn cause a buildup and then a grating and grinding effect on the tool in question. Water that heats up very fast on a piece of sheet metal also creates undesirable flaws, so avoid just water, and opt for oil-based lubricants or water-soluble types.
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