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personal computers in a machining environment

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personal computers in a machining environment

Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:29 am

My PC decided to pack up recently, still not sure what the problem was but I have a faint suspicion it could be related to the sudden increase in fine metal shavings in the environment it lives (lived...) in. Some questions which you might be able to help me with:

1) Are my concerns justified, as in are PCs internally vulnerable to the small scale equivalent of this which I create every time I use the lathe or mill?

2) How does CNC hardware deal with the issue, are the special filters on the vents, are they internally coated? If this is a problem and I need a solution it can't compromise cooling.

I basically intend to go ahead and get new higher spec motherboard, CPU and RAM and don't want to ruin it immediately. Ideally I'd like to keep the PC in the same room, but moving it to another is a possibility.
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Unread postAuthor: jvw1979 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:07 am

I think you just had some bad luck JSR, I run my lathe and cnc mill close to my shop pc, also the cnc controllers are just self tap screwed onto a piece of wood. I haven't had it blow up yet. I clean the work area at least once a week or so. then use the blower to blow off all the dust and accumilated dirt.

It is an interesting thought though I'm sure it's not a good thing to have metal shavings that close to sensitive electronics. Still so far ive been lucky.
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Unread postAuthor: CooperJS » Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:19 am

hmmm, how far away is your computer from your lathe and tools and are there any dust filters on your pc case?
If not you could probably make some?
This is probably the most cheapest way to do and stop any tiny metal chips :)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH1CsgADwBY[/youtube]
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Unread postAuthor: POLAND_SPUD » Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:59 am

I am pretty sure he has lots of pantyhose at home so this seems to be ideal method for him
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Unread postAuthor: dewey-1 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:01 am

The most common PC failures are a result of heat buildup.

Even in a typical home environment, the "dust bunnies" seem to find the likes of a new home inside that PC or laptop.
Even these computers should be cleaned yearly to reduce bunny reproduction.
Raising the tower type PCs off the floor by 12 inches or more also minimizes the dust collection.

The cooling fans inside the PC are just sucking all the particulates in the air into the PSU and other boards.
The simplest solution is to install a washable foam filter in front of the PSU air intake hole. Like the first one shown.

http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg/se ... sst=subset

But the crucial step here is to be sure it is cleaned weekly and not cleaned weakly!
If this is not done on a regular schedule then just don't use a filter. The idea is to catch those bunnies and its conductive friends!
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:04 am

jvw1979, sounds like you're walking on thin ice :)

CooperJS wrote:hmmm, how far away is your computer from your lathe and tools and are there any dust filters on your pc case?


It couldn't have been worse, see attached scaled diagram.

I am pretty sure he has lots of pantyhose at home so this seems to be ideal method for him


... yeah but it will look weird if both user and PC are wearing pantyhose :roll:

Seriously though, these look like a better idea and not too expensive :)

edit: "Ninjad" by dewey, I was thinking of putting it in a more elevated position too, above the level of the machine tools.
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Unread postAuthor: dewey-1 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:33 am

This program (RealTemp GT 3.60) is handy if you like to occassionly monitor temperatures for preventive maintenance purposes.

I check it to see if my laptop needs a quick air intake clean.
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:42 am

I had an Asus window that monitored temperatures and warned me if they got too high, plus I had this beast on the CPU so I don't think overheating was the issue.
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Unread postAuthor: dewey-1 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:39 am

Now I understand your cooling system.

The down side is that it is sucking in air and dust from every other nook and cranny in the PC case besides the PSU intake holes.
The filter will help on the PSU intake though and isolating the PC to another room or the other side of wall will help immensely.

An alternative would be a semi sealed enclosure for the PC with multiple filters. Similar to something like this only home made.

http://www.armagard.co.uk/products/ip54 ... osure.html

A concept that we used many years ago for cooling PCs was to put a 55 CFM fan or higher on the PSU air inlet and mounting it so it was blowing into the PC thus giving it a positive pressure and preventing dust from getting into the PC through all the nooks and crannies.

Of course you needed the filters on the intake side of the for dust collection and the specified warning to clean weekly!

You can see all these ideas if you look at the rear of the above linked pictures.
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Last edited by dewey-1 on Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postAuthor: warhead052 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:00 am

Jack, I had pvc shavings flying into mine after I got my demel, and it was hell to clean out. My computer nearly screamed at me, and is still making a bunch of noises, so your theory may be true. I expect my computer to crash any day now (I am just hoping it won't, I would much rather spend my money on a airsoft gun or a few new valves and parts.) One thing I can suggest though, try putting a fan facing away from your computer to blow anything away from the air intake. (I could try to use MS paint and make a little diagram of what I mean)
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Unread postAuthor: Technician1002 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:38 am

In a cleanroom environment, the use of laminar air flow from a filtered source can bathe the computer in dust free air. I've seen this used in industrial locations where rack mount equipment is placed into a rack and the rack is fed climate controlled filtered air. The air then either exits to the room or is removed from the rack with a heat exhaust back to the air conditioning equipment.

For a home set up, this can be as simple as a furnace filter taped onto a cadboard box with a box fan. A 24 inch filter can be taped to a box fan and the fan taped to the cardboard box. The front of the box would be open for access, but the airflow out the front would prevent dust from entering. It would be much like a paint booth in reverse. Instead of sucking paint overspray out of a booth to prevent overspray in other places, clean air would be blown in to prevent outside dirt from entering.
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Unread postAuthor: dewey-1 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:45 am

Tech;

Much better explanation in simple terms rather than mine!
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:14 pm

Hmmm... interesting concepts, though the laminar flow idea would require a fan to be permanently on, failing that some sort of sealing cabinet... probably overkill.

I think the easiest solution is to bolt a couple of brackets to the wall and have the tower a couple of metres up, that way it's free from any debris from the lathe and mill and in general less susceptible to dust, though I will fit some of those wire mesh filters.
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Unread postAuthor: Fnord » Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:21 pm

Not sure what your budget is... I'm guessing a decent water cooling system can be had for 50-100 USD
Someone, somewhere, posted this. it might have been on here before;
http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/ho ... -garage-pc

You can just seal your PC up except for the drive bays, but I'd say moving it away from swarf ground zero is still a good place to start. :wink:
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:47 pm

Fnord wrote:Not sure what your budget is... I'm guessing a decent water cooling system can be had for 50-100 USD


I was thinking about it but constant maintenance was mentioned and it didn't seem worthwhile, besides given the expense of new MB, RAM and CPU there's not much budget left for extra cooling.

You can just seal your PC up except for the drive bays, but I'd say moving it away from swarf ground zero is still a good place to start. :wink:


Yeah, really hadn't thought this one through :roll:
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