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FROM THE June 2009 ISSUE

Cleaning caked-on plastic from Micro Burrs

RELATED TOPICS: PLASTIC
Q: Is there a way to clean caked-on plastic from Micro Burrs? I was thinking "thinner," but there must be a better way. Thank you.

- Keith Baty
via E-mail



Ken: The Micro Burrs Keith is referring to are those steel rotary-tool cutters with aggressive spiral blades that make quick work of plastic, wood and metal.

They're great for cutting and shaping, but at a price: they do clog easily, and they're tricky to clean - especially if material such as styrene has melted between the teeth during a high-speed cutting project.

Fortunately, there are several ways to clean them:

If the buildup isn't too intense, you might be able to pick the chunks out with a needle, or coax them out with a rotary-tool wire-brush wheel.

You can also try heating the burr to soften the plastic just enough to make it easier to pick out, but be careful: too much heat might affect the temper of the bit.

We're not too sure about the "thinner" solution, Keith. We tried that once a long time ago, and it liquefied the plastic just enough to make more of a mess than we had before we started.

I've had the best success with the rotary wire-brush method, but try several methods and determine which one works best for you.

Good luck, and let us know how it works out. Thanks for the question.

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