Static Discharge Risks During Cleaning

Are you putting your CarveWright and CompuCarve machines at risk?

How much thought have you given to cleaning out these beasts?

Are you like a good number of guys and just grab the shop vac and vacuum out the dust and dirt?

If you just said yes, I want to urge you to RE-THINK that approach!!

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No doubt that vacuuming does a great job of cleaning up, but it produces one very serious and potentially deadly side effect....  STATIC ELECTRICITY!!

The one thing that makes your CarveWright machine what it is, is the fact that it has a computer inside.  Computers and static electricity are arch enemies.   The static charge that builds up at the end of that vacuum hose could kill a computer in a split second.

Just visit the forums and you'll find numerous instances where static discharge is the suspected cause for a whole range of machine problems and the need to return the machine for repair or board swap.

So what's a guy to do?  You need to clean the machine - especially the areas near and around drive mechanisms and sensor locations.

You basically have two choices;  1) brush the stuff away, or 2) blow it away with compressed air.

I'm going to suggest you use BOTH.  Use a small set of soft brushes to dislodge the dust & particles and then use small, short bursts of compressed air to get the stuff out of the machine.  If necessary, repeat the process until your CarveWright is clean as a whistle.

CAUTION: BE GENTLE - do not use force to remove debris  - especially around delicate sensors.  Patience is what you want here - not brute force.  Tender care will pay off in spades.

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So maybe you're wondering what equipment I use?  I've found that a small investment in good (not expensive) tools and accessories can make carving even more fun because there is pride in keeping your equipment clean and in great working order.

I use a
small shop vac. I prefer a 5 gallon model because it's powerful enough to do a good job, but still small enough to store easily and I can carry it around as I vacuum the floor, shelves, or ceiling rafters.  I also use the paper filter bags in conjunction with a corrugated filter cartridge.

I used to use only the corrugated filter but found that the suction diminished quickly as the corrugated filter started to plug up with dirt and sawdust.  I also didn't like the mess I had on my hands when I went to empty the vac.  Now, with a cartridge and filter bag combo, I get nearly full suction till the filter bag needs changing.  AND, there's NO mess or dust that gets away from me either.  How many times have you had to vacuum up the mess you made emptying out your vac?  You'll wonder why you didn't use this approach sooner.

I also use a small set of
horse hair brushes to gently swab out my carving machine.  These are real soft - they don't scratch or mar any of the equipment surfaces and yet they do a great job of getting into those cracks and crevices.  I also like the idea of using an "old world" method of caring for a "new world" tool.

Finally, I use a small
air compressor to supply the compressed air in my shop.  Again, I like a small unit that has enough power to drive some small air powered tools, yet not so big that I break my back lugging it around and I can store it on a shelf.

If you prefer not to invest in a compressor, then get the
cans of compressed air used for cleaning out electronic equipment.  And for heaven sakes, don't blow the dust out with your mouth...  On second thought, go ahead and try it - that's a lesson every guy has to learn on his own.  LOL