Non-stainless steel, treatments?

I’m contemplating/planning a second machine with 1" (25.4 mm OD) steel tube, and I’d prefer not to pay for stainless.

I was considering perhaps “bluing” with chemicals to reduce rust. I’ve never done it before but I suppose I can figure it out.

Has anyone done this or have any other cautions or other suggestions for how to protect non-stainless steel? Should I worry that the rollers might degrade the bluing?

edit: I can’t read, ignore this comment

Lightly oil the metal. Best way to preserve the steel. Otherwise use SS.


After a bit more research, it is sounding like bluing offers less protection than I was hoping. I was wanting to avoid the mess but it looks like oil is really the way to go. I suppose I’ll get used to it and it won’t be so bad.

I’m thinking I might also go for an enclosure and desiccant when not being used.

If it were just my convenience then I would probably just buy the SS and be done with it, but I want to see how much awesome can be had for how little $, so I want to be careful about where the money is spent.

Don’t oil them. You think dust sticks to the rails now, oil them and you’ll be taking apart the machine to clean the bearings. It sucks. Unless you’re running your mpcnc in the rain, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. If you’re really worried about it, car wax. Anything that drys will work really, so paste wax will work as well. That’s what I use on my cast iron table saw top, it doesn’t rust, and lives out in the barn.


I definitely want it to not be sticky to minimize mess. I was thinking a generous coating followed by a wipe-down so it would be dry to the touch with still a microscopic coating.

Now I’m thinking maybe that same process but using boiled linseed oil, so it would end up with a polymer coating. I think I’ll try a test piece and leave it for a week or so to see how it feels.

I might be thinking too hard about this. It won’t be outside or anything, I just need it to not get too ugly too fast.

It also helps that these are tubes, so they change temperature faster. Down in the barn’s basement is where my forge and assorted metal working stuff lives because of the concrete or gravel floors. The anvil and forge burner will rust if I forget to spray them with oil every now and then. There’s some cut off chunks of steel pipe and other tube down there as well, and except for the parts touching the ground they don’t rust that much. The biggest issue is condensation, the tubes heat up with the air fairly quickly, so they don’t condensate that much. The heavier chunks of metal stay wet for hours.

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