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When I am shaping parts, the plastic bits that clog up the mini files need to be removed frequently. I've found that the easiest way is to wipe it on a micro-fiber cloth. The fibers seem to grab the particles nicely! I make my own sanding sticks with popsicle sticks and 3M double face tape, and this works especially well for them. Then toss it in the wash when the wife ain't lookin...:unsure:.

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   I love the idea about popsicle sticks

for sure!!  I will try this very soon.

  Often I need a grit that I don't have, or

can't find in a sanding stick!!!

  For metal files I like using a old stiff

bristle toothbrush.  And I would never

guts making my wife mad with the 'ol

laundry trick there!!  LOL!!!

        David S.

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1 hour ago, Pete J. said:

Ideally, a brass bristle brush would be what most metal workers would use.  It doesn't dull the teeth of the file. 

I use old gun bore brushes (bronze) just 'cause I have a bunch of them around. 

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3 hours ago, Slick Shifter said:

There is a tool named File Card that is specifically designed to clean conventional metal files of all types.

One side has steel bristles. Other side has nylon bristles to clean off the remnants.

A welding supply store or a real hardware store will have both.

Yes, file card is specifically designed to clean standard size (large) files. That is what I use for my standard (large) files.  But its steel bristles are too thick to clean needle file grooves.  Or have you found a file card brush made for smaller (needle) files?

For needle files I use cheap steel or brass brushes (which look like large toothbrushes). They have much finer bristles which get into the fine grooves in needle files.

If some plastic is really stuck in the grooves, you can dnk the file in acetone. It will dissolve the plastic.  Then don't forget to spray some WD40 over the file, because acetone degreases the file too (leaving it prone to rusting). Then soak up the excess WD40 with a paper towel.

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Wire brushes don't work very well on sanding sticks, or my diamond files. Try the cloth, you'll like it! The odd bit that is impacted I scrape out with the tip of a hobby knife. I don't think I want WD40 anywhere near my models?

Edited by NOBLNG
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I have an old BBQ apron I wear when working on models (I have a tendency to spill glue and paint).  When my files or sanding sticks get full I simply wipe them across the apron, when I am finished for the day I will take an old toothbrush to clean the files before putting them away.

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10 hours ago, NOBLNG said:

Wire brushes don't work very well on sanding sticks, or my diamond files. Try the cloth, you'll like it! The odd bit that is impacted I scrape out with the tip of a hobby knife. I don't think I want WD40 anywhere near my models?

I didn't mean to rain on your microfiber cloth parade.  Sorry. It obviously is a good hint, but others started mentioning their file cleaning methods, so I chimed in.  I don't own any diamond files, just regular metal files and some emery boards.  The acetone method would only be used if there was some really stubborn plastic lodged in the grooves.  I can't remember last time I had to do that. I usually use a hobby knife to pry the stuck plastic out of the grooves.

As for WD40, it is not the dreaded silicone - it is just standard petroleum-based lubricant. Actually it is composed of mostly solvent, which evaporates, leaving very thin film of lubricant.  Again, I mentioned using it after the file got degreased because I live in humid climate (in the Summer), and bare clean steel will rust easily.

Edited by peteski
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15 hours ago, peteski said:

I didn't mean to rain on your microfiber cloth parade.  Sorry.

Hey, No worries! This is a good "while you work" cleaning... sand-wipe-sand-wipe. It keeps stuff from getting embedded on the files or sanding sticks.  If things get really crusty I'll break out the brass brush or hobby knife too. The diamond files are a cheapo 10 piece 150 grit set from Princess Auto. They are less aggressive and less "directional" than my other files.

Edited by NOBLNG
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I use a very large peice of gum type rubber that has a very fine pumice in it... same stuff good artists erasers are made from to clean my files.

I got a block of the stuff for free of an old part at work... 

I would imagine you could order a block for a few bucks.

Works like a CHARM... clogged file goes to unclogged in just a few swipes.

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16 hours ago, LL3 Model Worx said:

I use a very large peice of gum type rubber that has a very fine pumice in it... same stuff good artists erasers are made from to clean my files.

I got a block of the stuff for free of an old part at work... 

I would imagine you could order a block for a few bucks.

Works like a CHARM... clogged file goes to unclogged in just a few swipes.

Yes, I've bought something like that at my local hobby shop a few years back and it works great.

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I has successfully used tooth brush size brass and steel wire brushes for years. They easily rid my sanding sticks,paper,etc of the clogging putty and plastic debris with a few passes and I continue to the true joy of sanding:)

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  • 9 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Sanding Sticks -  Gum rubber abrasive cleaning pad, gum rubber artists eraser.  Deep cleaning hot water a drop of dish soap and a toothbrush, most sanding sticks are “Wet / Dry” type abrasives.  After three or four deep cleaning sessions the sanding stick has about had it when the abrasive particles have rounded off and it takes more effort to do the job.

Steel Files - Brass Brush, file card.  Stainless steel brushes are nowhere near as hard as tool steel but repeated cleaning with a steel brush will round the sharp cutting edges of the file over time.  A steel file shouldn’t rust unless it is allowed to get near water or stored in high humidity environment, if it is rusting in a modeling room, you have other issues to deal with.

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