Go Back OFN Forums > Shop and Tool Talk > In The Shop

In The Shop Shop talk, shop tools & fixtures, shop wear, anything for the shop that is not covered in another forum.

In The Shop Shop talk, shop tools & fixtures, shop wear, anything for the shop that is not covered in another forum.

Thread Tools
Old 09-29-2016, 09:35 AM
Graham08's Avatar
Graham08 Graham08 is offline
Master Fabricator
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Denver, NC
Posts: 1,737
Parts Washer Rehab

I commented in another thread about bending square tubing and how useful it is, and it reminded me of something I did earlier this spring...rehabbing a parts washer that my dad rescued from being dumpstered at his work.

Sorry I didn't take any "before" pictures. Dad is a diesel/heavy equipment mechanic, so you can imagine how nasty a parts washer gets in that environment. I had to scrape about 1/2" of nasty black goo out of the bottom of the sink.

I custom-built a tank and small stand for it. Most of these things sit on a drum that eventually rots out at the bottom because they sit directly on the floor. It also makes them a pain to drain used solvent from, and a pain to move.

Here's the start of the tank. This is 18 gauge cold rolled mild steel. I made the tank in two halves to try to minimize welding.

After tacking the two halves together:

The bottom:

The cross brakes are to try to stiffen the bottom a little and get the solvent to flow toward the drain that eventually went in the center. I welded around the flange and down in the corners with the TIG...no leaks!

Filler pieces for the corners:

And my little stand out of 3/4" square tubing:

This is intended to serve a couple purposes. First, it gets the tank off the floor so it doesn't rot from moisture getting trapped under it, and it allows for a drain in the bottom of the tank. I made it wide enough to allow the forks of my pallet jack to get under it so it can be easily moved with 30 gallons of solvent in it.

I had gotten the die a couple weeks prior to doing this project to do another project for a paying customer. Unfortunately, I can't post photos of that because it's a prototype for something they're going to market in 2017.

Filter to keep the solvent clean:

Test fitting the sink on it. This is after cleaning it several times!

You can barely see the little piece at the corner of the base of the tank to keep it from sliding off the base. There's also one on the opposite corner.


This got pressed into immediate service when I was rebuilding the rear end for the sprint car, and has been used a ton since then. Having a parts washer beats the heck out of using many, many cans of brake cleaner!

Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2016, 10:03 AM
CarterKraft's Avatar
CarterKraft CarterKraft is offline
Master Fabricator
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: DFW
Posts: 910
Awesome project.

What are you using for solvent? I am curious about the water based types.
Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2016, 10:07 AM
bullnerd's Avatar
bullnerd bullnerd is offline
Master Fabricator
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Jersey
Posts: 762
Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2016, 10:20 AM
Graham08's Avatar
Graham08 Graham08 is offline
Master Fabricator
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Denver, NC
Posts: 1,737
Originally Posted by CarterKraft View Post
Awesome project.

What are you using for solvent? I am curious about the water based types.
I'm using this stuff:


I don't remember it being quite that expensive in the store, though.

From what I've read about the water based parts cleaning solutions, they're good in a commercial environment where the tank is heated and used all the time. In a home shop environment, where it's only occasional use, they're not really practical. They don't work well cold, and have problems with bacteria growth if they aren't used a lot. There are a ton of threads about this on Garage Journal.
Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2016, 02:09 PM
juicedz4's Avatar
juicedz4 juicedz4 is offline
Master Fabricator
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 549
Excellent job as usual.

Im going to have to get some of this Crown parts cleaner for my HF washer. The guy that gave it to me also had a bunch of the water based cleaner for it. Its awful for all the reasons above and thus I never want to use it.

Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2016, 06:03 PM
alwaysFlOoReD's Avatar
alwaysFlOoReD alwaysFlOoReD is offline
Master Fabricator
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Red Deer,AB Canada
Posts: 720
I put a filter on my homemade tank and it clogged within a couple days. But it was about half size of yours.
I use diesel.
Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2016, 07:35 PM
Graham08's Avatar
Graham08 Graham08 is offline
Master Fabricator
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Denver, NC
Posts: 1,737
I found a site that showed a filter setup like mine. They recommended using the racing version of the filter for parts washer duty because the media is coarser and doesn't plug up as fast.
Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2016, 09:50 PM
Bray D's Avatar
Bray D Bray D is offline
Master Fabricator
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: IL
Posts: 102
Very nice. I have a tiny parts washer, but it has paid for itself may times over considering the cost of brake cleaner. I'd love to have a big heavy duty tank like that. Well done!
Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2016, 10:43 AM
cbrogers's Avatar
cbrogers cbrogers is offline
Engineer, and Shop Monkey
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Yorktown, Va.
Posts: 203
You might also look at the Take Apart spin on filters for racing. That way when it clogs you can disassemble brush off the screen and keep going. Also a vary tall Diesel truck filter will give you more area to cut down on clogging.

Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2016, 01:21 PM
entropy's Avatar
entropy entropy is offline
Master Fabricator
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: 95-miles from the center of Oregon.
Posts: 8,380

On the last few washer cabinets I’ve built none of which do I currently own; having found it easier to give them away, rather then move them. Anyway, I have come up with a filter system that works well and is simple to clean. This did not start out as a filter it came because of a check ball that washed loose into the tank and cause all kinds of grief on a Saturday night. At first it was just a way to catch small parts before the tank/sump...

The simple description is a set of offset stacked boxes each box has a bunch of small holes drilled through the bottom and is located so that the holes are over the next lower box and I generally do a stack of three boxes If you have ever seen a ‘Fish Ladder’ you have the idea. The size of the holes is not critical I think on the last one I used ¼” and drilled 30 or so in each box.
The boxes are sized so that a readily available media can be used as a filter over the holes. I use “Scotchbrite” pads so that is how big I make the boxes. I stagger the boxes so that should the Scotchbrite become clogged the solvent will simply flow out of one box and into the next. It is thus never possible to plug the drain because there is a built in bypass. You can easily get a feel for how much flow is necessary by looking at the pump output; fill a coffee can and eyeball the time to volume...
I use the real course Scotchbrite in the top two boxes and a Medium pad in the bottom box.
To clean the filter pads I simply run some solvent into a can and rinse the pads out let them dry and then blow them out w/ compressed air.
Yes, there is more upkeep however there is less waste, you can clean and reuse the filters rather then buying them for 20x the cost.
When you feel that the filters are done, you can still use them to clean parts.
No, the solvent will not stay as clean unless you also use the pressurized filter and that filter will last longer with this 3-box added into it. Also if you are not already doing so raise the pump /pickup so that it is in the top ¼ of the tank rather then the bottom.
The last one that I built I made so that I could remove the whole shoot’n-match and still run the tank that allowed me to wash the filter boxes before I replaced the solvent.

Obviously you MUST enclose this system because a few sparks from a grinder and... I now return you to your regularly scheduled fabrication entertainment!

When did empirical knowledge get replaced by a theoretical education?

Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2016, 02:11 PM
R.DesJardin's Avatar
R.DesJardin R.DesJardin is offline
Designer & Builder
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Clarkston, WA
Posts: 395
This is what I've been using to clean parts with. I am pleased with how well it works, non-flammable and yes you need to wear gloves. Super Clean.
Need, Design, Build, Use, repeat........
Reply With Quote


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:28 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Template-Modifications by TMS
Copyright ©2012, Offroad Fabrication Network