Refurbishing an old drill press

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There are two 5mm thick mild steel plates. One is screwed to the machine using countersunk hex machine screws and the other is shaped to fit the hole then glued using West Systems two part epoxy. I've then covered over everything with SteelStik and sanded.

Welding made such a mess of the cast iron, which is why I ended up having to plate the holes.

Belt sander is the most effective way to get the large surface areas flat, right?
None of the high-end machine tool builders went to a lot of trouble on the castings. Remove the worst of the casting flash, go over it with body filler and sand the filler.

It might be worth reading up on the sequence: should you fill a bare casting and then etch prime or should you etch prime the casting and then fill on top of the primer?
Whilst my impression is that it's best to etch prime to stop oxidation, I think it's best to fill the bare casting before moving on to priming/painting because it's not going to be quite so porous once I've sanded it.

Whilst I was looking at the many posts on the subject, I read about the problems of using acetone or lacquer thinner to clean cast iron as it gets into the pores of the metal and makes painting difficult/problematic. I've already used mineral spirits to clean the surfaces, is that any better? I would have thought it wouldn't matter what was used as they re all quite volatile and therefore evaporate quickly/I didn't think they left any residue.
Leaving the casting in the airing cupboard overnight or warming it well with a hairdryer or hot air gun would drive off any solvent in the pores.
Okay, so I can clean using anything I like as long as I heat up the cast once I'm ready to work with it? Hot air gun sounds good to me.