The last few days have been devoted to the steel for the base. Someone I met through the CNC forum offered to source and cut the steel for me which has saved me a big job and I collected the parts last weekend. After leaving them in the hall for a week I carried them upstairs to the workshop to start the clean up.

I hadn’t realized but steel comes with the most god awful coating of oil on it which I’m guessing is used to prevent it binding up in the forming machine. This oil is black and dirty and gets just about everywhere if you come within 3m of the steel. As I didn’t want to have to wash most of the house everytime I worked on the CNC it was time to get cleaning the steel up.

I started with white spirit and managed to do four little pieces before concluding it wasn’t working. Then I moved on to bagging pieces up with white spirit which also didn’t work. A little research on the Intertubes suggested using a de-greasser which got rid of the surface layer of oil brilliantly.

There were a couple of spots of rust on some of the pieces so I loaded up a wire wheel and started at them. To my dismay I discovered what I thought was colouration on the steel was actually a heavier oil that seems to be pressed into the steel. I tried more de-greaser and scrubbing which had some effect but the steel was still covered in oil.

I’ve never worked with steel before so I don’t know how clean it has to be for paint to stick but my guessing is that it won’t stick to the oil residue left. A couple of people have recommended traffic film remover but as I an’t find a local supplier for that I’ve got myself some flapper wheels and attacked the steel with them. It’s a long and boring job but it does get the steel lovely and clean ready for painting. I don’t know what I’m going to paint the thing with yet or whether I’ll paint it before construction or after.


I’ve ordered a bench mounted pillar drill which with, unfortunately, get delivered tomorrow. It’s unfortunate because I ordered it thinking it would get delivered earlier – I’m out tomorrow. Due to the cost of a sufficiently powerful mig welder I had gone back to the idea of bolting it all together but I’ve since throught that I could make new railings for the front of the house and a new gate for the back. With three jobs to do it seems more worth while to get a welder especially as the railing at the front of the house would probably cost well over £1000 to get done professionally.