How to mass clean Leatherman Micras?
June 26, 2005 10:02 PM   Subscribe

I need to clean metal - in bulk. Metal with lots of nooks and crannies.

I took advantage of those airport confiscation auction dealies, and I now own 95 used Leatherman Micra mini tools. There's everything from blood to just gunk in these things. Is there some sort of bath I can make where I can just plop the lot in, let 'em sit, pull 'em out and have them work like new?
posted by sachinag to Grab Bag (14 answers total)
Buy some Castrol SuperClean. Large purple jug that's in automotive, at least at walmart. Mix some up with lots of water. Boil the pieces on the stove. Where gloves as the superclean is pretty harsh. After boiling to clean for awhile, use an old toothbrush to scrub out any remaining gunk and reboil. If you can do this outside I would recommend it.

Supeclean is pretty cheap and the solution shouldn't need to be too concentrated. I've used the same method to clean engine parts.
posted by 6550 at 10:44 PM on June 26, 2005

He might be talking about OregonTrail2000, they sell stuff for Oregon and other states.
posted by pwb503 at 10:45 PM on June 26, 2005

I realize boil on stove and do outside are probably exclusive. I happen to have a burner on my bbq. I also picked up a cheap enamelware pot, probably at walmart, for cleaning parts in.
posted by 6550 at 10:45 PM on June 26, 2005

Hot water and caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) will clean any thing (almost) from metal. Rinse well with hot water.
Places that rebuild auto engines have hot tanks that agitate
for cleaning the nooks and crannys of engine parts, perhaps
you could take your stuff there.
posted by hortense at 10:47 PM on June 26, 2005

odinsdream's got it. Open everything up wide, and be sure to use a cycle with heat dry. Does wonders for my full-sized Leatherman.
posted by nenequesadilla at 10:47 PM on June 26, 2005

It took me a little while to find this online:

I saw an ad in a gun magazine (of all the weird places) for a solvent/cleaning solution for firearms. Basically, just open the bucket and dunk your grimy, greasy, oily, dirty hunk of metal.
A pistol has quite a few surprisingly small and intricate parts, much like a Leatherman. I'd hesitate to put them in the dishwasher seeing as those nooks and crannies are places that water can become trapped and do some damage, even if they are stainless steel.
This gun cleaning solvent, I'd bet, is safer than water, considering how much gun owners really prize their firearms.

Here's one example. The prices seem a little high, though. I'm sure a little Google-Fu can find you something similar and cheaper.
posted by Jon-o at 11:28 PM on June 26, 2005

Second hortense's idea of the hot mineral oil tanks. The local trade school has one; I'll bet one near you does too, and I bet that it'll just cost you a micra and a couple bucks. Since it's mineral oil, so it's not some freakish toxin, caustic or acid. The bath will clean anything metal, and the mineral oil will 'seal' (it's late, I can't think of the proper word) the metal against futher crud. Once you've done this, you should email me with a price for one of them tasty micras. Oh yes.
posted by boo_radley at 11:37 PM on June 26, 2005

To whom does the money go when the airport auctions off things it confiscates? I'm really curious.
posted by interrobang at 11:55 PM on June 26, 2005

The tanks I mentioned are caustic soda hot tanks and they use them for engine blocks/heads and such grease and oil are turned to soap.Don't use this on aluminum it eats it up,easily neutralize with vinegar (yields salt water) wear rubber gloves goggles. on preview: maybe they save up to go to training camps,TSA summercamp!
posted by hortense at 12:15 AM on June 27, 2005

Two good ideas here, and I'd try them in sequence, if necessary:
1. Dishwasher. No, there's nothing there, least of all water, that will harm stainless steel.
2. Hot tank. Do make sure the rinse is thorough. Maybe another session with the dishwasher.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:33 AM on June 27, 2005

Best answer: simple green. non-toxic and biodegradable. also, gets nearly anything the hell off of metal.
posted by dorian at 6:10 AM on June 27, 2005

You can always use a sandblaster for the really tough stuff. Autobody shops or welding places typically have 'em. Might score the metal a bit though...
posted by sciurus at 7:25 AM on June 27, 2005

If yu have any hand cleaner, it does a great job on greasy stuff, and leaves a light oil finish. Dishwasher would probably do a great job, but you should probably relubricate joints. Got a MeFi price on those?

Odinsdream, et al, search ebay for confiscated. I've seen lots of TSA confiscated items. I think it was linked in the blue a while ago.
posted by theora55 at 12:36 PM on June 27, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions - I don't have a dishwasher, so I'm gonna try using the Simple Green first. I'll post results in this thread later.

I saw the magic "NTSA" search on boingboing a while back. I really wanted to get micras, though, so I only searched for "leatherman micra" auctions instead of all "NTSA" auctions. I bought two lots - one of 50 and one of 45 from the Kentucky Dept. of Revenue on eBay. I'm assuming the proceeds go into the state's general fund. They never said that they were from airport confiscations, but I'm pretty sure they are.
posted by sachinag at 6:34 PM on June 27, 2005

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