How to make cutting oil

Written by mark slingo
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How to make cutting oil
Cutting oil is used when machining parts on devices such as lathes. (lathe image by Tomasz Plawski from

Cutting oil is oil used in machining and manufacture of metal products. Using metal working machines generates a great deal of heat. Cutting oil is applied to the work area, to carry away some of the heat and lubricate the cutting tool, enabling a better cutting motion with less friction and extending the tool life. Cutting oil can be made easily, using general household products.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 1 qt. of motor oil
  • 3 cups of dish washing liquid
  • 4 gallons of water

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  1. 1

    Purchase the necessary products. Motor oil can be found at your local petrol station and dish washing liquid at convenience stores and supermarkets.

  2. 2

    Add the liquid soap to the water. Mix the soap into the water so that it is dissolved. The soap is the catalyst that will enable the oil and the water to mix; otherwise the different densities will make the oil float on top of the water.

  3. 3

    Pour in the motor oil. Make sure that the water and the oil are mixed properly together with no separation. The water will act as a coolant in the cutting oil, while the oil acts as the lubricant, as the water is evaporated off by the heat generated in the cutting process.

Tips and warnings

  • If a sticky residue is left on the cutting tool following use, then the cutting oil mix contains too much soap.
  • A great deal of heat is generated in the cutting process, so a fire extinguisher should be kept handy as a precaution against the oil catching fire in the cutting process. When using this cutting oil, cutting machines should be set to a slower speed.

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