Cheap suds!

Cheap suds!

Doc Nickel
Doc Nickel

April 9th, 2012, 6:33 am #1

"Suds" being the slang term for machine coolant, of course.

One of the things I never really got into using, on my old manual machines, is flood coolant. If you don't have an enclosure or proper drip trays, it's a mess to use, and on manual job-shop machines that aren't worked constantly, water-based coolant can cause rust, or just start to smell as gunk grows in it. (Most coolants have a biocide, but even still, with a layer of 'tramp oils- non soluble oils- on top of the water, anerobic bacteria can eventually grow.)

However, the benefits of coolants are rapidly outweighing the drawbacks, and I've been planning for a while to set up flood coolant on the horizontal bandsaw, the surface grinder (which came built for it, but which I haven't used yet) and at least one, if not both, of the lathes.

Yeah, yeah, I know some of you CNC guys are saying "Geez, welcome to the twentieth century, Doc!"

I'd also like to set it up on the mill- one of the mills, anyway- but while the lathes at least have drip trays and rear splash guards, the mill is a little more difficult to contain. I've been thinking about an add-on enclosure, basically a box that surrounds the vise. Most of my work is relatively small, so an enclosure wouldn't get in the way too often. It would, however, be a right pain in the sphincter to take down when I need to work on a larger part, so this one is still in the theoretical stage.

Now, that said, one of the most useful places for flood coolant would be the turret lathe. I've been doing more and more batch parts, and, in fact, the Logan was at one time a factory turret lathe with coolant. It came with front and rear splash trays and a drain built into the drip tray, though I removed the trays when I brought it home. Also, the legs of the lathe bed had been "potted", or sealed with epoxy or some other kind of sealant, so coolant won't drip on the motor or belts.

This weekend, I'd been having some problems with some stainless parts galling slightly as I was drilling them- it was a deep drill, and couldn't clear the chips well enough. So I finally decided I'd give the coolant a try.

Now, I am not yet convinced it'll work for me. It may be more trouble than it's worth, and if I start having rusting issues, I'll probably bag it. So I didn't want to invest a pile of money into parts I might not use, or even just parts I decided against when I change my mind as to how I want the coolant set up.

Fortunately, I'm a packrat. With a little digging and a couple of special-made parts, I put together a complete coolant setup for a grand total of $5.98 (I bought the plastic tub.)

The first thing was to dig out the old front splash tray, which I'd saved. (Again, packrat.) The lathe originally had a lever-operated turret, and I'd refitted it with a capstan-wheel turret. The full-length tray interfered with the handles.



Well, the tray didn't necessarily need to be full-length, so I chopped it down with the plaz, and capped both ends to help contain any overspill.



I had a pump salvaged from an old X-ray processor I'd dismantled a few years ago, and using a bucket and some tubing, I discovered that, while it was nearly completely silent, it was not self-priming. Once primed, it worked great, with plenty of flow. But if it wasn't primed, it'd sit there and just hum all day long.

The pump was not submersible, so I had to come up with a way to keep it dry, but also below the fluid level in my reservoir. So since this was a quick-and-dirty test run, so to speak, I whipped up a sort of "bulkhead" fitting out of 1" aluminum round:



It was made mostly to "that looks about right" spec, and I didn't bother putting wrench flats or slots on the parts- a couple of pliers tightens 'em up just fine.



For my reservoir, I measured the space I had under the lathe, and hit the nearest Big Box Store for a plastic storage tub. The one I found was smaller than I wanted, but the next size up was too big to fit. But for a whopping $5.98 it was a cheap solution. Two old O-rings from my parts stash and it works like a champ.



Giving it a try with plain water, she's leak-free, high flow, and quiet as a mouse fart. I didn't get pictures, but a second quickie connector can be seen on the pump output line- the clear stuff is some food-grade vinyl line I salvaged (packrat) from an old soda fountain, which I'd dismantled for the CO2 regulators. It was 3/8" ID, and the pump's ports are 1/2", so I just made an appropriate stepped adapter, and used two chunks of old 1/2" ID heater hose as connectors.



And it all tucks up under the lathe like so, out of the way, and well protected.



The return line was easy; there's a drain in the middle of the drip tray behind the lathe bed. I simply screwed a short section of 1/2" pipe into the bottom of it (already tapped for a hose) and slid a foot or so of 3/4" heater hose over that, and into a hole cut in the lid of the plastic tub. It's pretty much a straight shot from the drain down into the tub.

I was concerned, however, of debris clogging the drain (I'd had to vacuum several inches of swarf out of it just to open it up, as I'd never used for anything) so another quick and dirty fix was to take a chunk of leftover window screening, snip a chunk, roll it up, and just jam it in the hole:



Worked great!

Now, it was kind of tricky to get the "reservoir" under there with the various hoses and wires, so the easiest way to fill it was to just dump two gallons of mixed coolant right in the drip tray.



I used a jug of Prolong, which I bought for $9 a gallon at, interestingly enough, one of the local secondhand shops, back when I got the surface grinder, and was thinking of trying out the flood coolant on that. I mixed it fairly rich at about 15:1, since, again, I'm concerned with rusting.

I will say, though, that a trayful of coolant is a great way to break the habit of laying tools and rags in the drip tray...

For a spray nozzle, I dived back into my stashes of parts and boxes of junk. The base is an extra magnetic indicator base (I have about six or seven) and a clamp, a short chunk of bent stainless tubing and a Swagelok elbow, a small ball valve that originally came on a TASO fill station I bought back in the 90s, and a piece of 1/4" copper tubing soldered into a female 1/8" pipe fitting.



The vinyl hose slides over the stainless tubing for a perfect clamp-free fit (the pump can't make much pressure even with the valve blocked) and the soft copper line lets me adjust it wherever I want. Not as good as loc-line, but hey, I had it on hand.

Today's test project was some drilling, using an indexible carbide spade bit, and everything worked flawlessly. Big improvement in surface finish, since it wasn't galling anymore, and the parts weren't 150F when I pulled 'em out of the chuck anymore.



Now, assuming I don't have any real problems with the coolant itself (going rancid, rusting parts, drying out and gumming up the pump, whatever) I'll eventually rework it with a better reservoir and spray nozzle. But for the moment, for a couple hours work and six bucks expended, I thought it came out pretty well.

Doc.
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Jfransome
Jfransome

April 9th, 2012, 7:13 am #2

We all have a few pieces of plexy glass mounted with large magnets to use to control coolant splash on the manual mills where I work. Its simple cheap and very effective and very easy to reconfigure to any type of part.
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Nighthawke
Nighthawke

April 9th, 2012, 7:25 am #3

"Suds" being the slang term for machine coolant, of course.

One of the things I never really got into using, on my old manual machines, is flood coolant. If you don't have an enclosure or proper drip trays, it's a mess to use, and on manual job-shop machines that aren't worked constantly, water-based coolant can cause rust, or just start to smell as gunk grows in it. (Most coolants have a biocide, but even still, with a layer of 'tramp oils- non soluble oils- on top of the water, anerobic bacteria can eventually grow.)

However, the benefits of coolants are rapidly outweighing the drawbacks, and I've been planning for a while to set up flood coolant on the horizontal bandsaw, the surface grinder (which came built for it, but which I haven't used yet) and at least one, if not both, of the lathes.

Yeah, yeah, I know some of you CNC guys are saying "Geez, welcome to the twentieth century, Doc!"

I'd also like to set it up on the mill- one of the mills, anyway- but while the lathes at least have drip trays and rear splash guards, the mill is a little more difficult to contain. I've been thinking about an add-on enclosure, basically a box that surrounds the vise. Most of my work is relatively small, so an enclosure wouldn't get in the way too often. It would, however, be a right pain in the sphincter to take down when I need to work on a larger part, so this one is still in the theoretical stage.

Now, that said, one of the most useful places for flood coolant would be the turret lathe. I've been doing more and more batch parts, and, in fact, the Logan was at one time a factory turret lathe with coolant. It came with front and rear splash trays and a drain built into the drip tray, though I removed the trays when I brought it home. Also, the legs of the lathe bed had been "potted", or sealed with epoxy or some other kind of sealant, so coolant won't drip on the motor or belts.

This weekend, I'd been having some problems with some stainless parts galling slightly as I was drilling them- it was a deep drill, and couldn't clear the chips well enough. So I finally decided I'd give the coolant a try.

Now, I am not yet convinced it'll work for me. It may be more trouble than it's worth, and if I start having rusting issues, I'll probably bag it. So I didn't want to invest a pile of money into parts I might not use, or even just parts I decided against when I change my mind as to how I want the coolant set up.

Fortunately, I'm a packrat. With a little digging and a couple of special-made parts, I put together a complete coolant setup for a grand total of $5.98 (I bought the plastic tub.)

The first thing was to dig out the old front splash tray, which I'd saved. (Again, packrat.) The lathe originally had a lever-operated turret, and I'd refitted it with a capstan-wheel turret. The full-length tray interfered with the handles.



Well, the tray didn't necessarily need to be full-length, so I chopped it down with the plaz, and capped both ends to help contain any overspill.



I had a pump salvaged from an old X-ray processor I'd dismantled a few years ago, and using a bucket and some tubing, I discovered that, while it was nearly completely silent, it was not self-priming. Once primed, it worked great, with plenty of flow. But if it wasn't primed, it'd sit there and just hum all day long.

The pump was not submersible, so I had to come up with a way to keep it dry, but also below the fluid level in my reservoir. So since this was a quick-and-dirty test run, so to speak, I whipped up a sort of "bulkhead" fitting out of 1" aluminum round:



It was made mostly to "that looks about right" spec, and I didn't bother putting wrench flats or slots on the parts- a couple of pliers tightens 'em up just fine.



For my reservoir, I measured the space I had under the lathe, and hit the nearest Big Box Store for a plastic storage tub. The one I found was smaller than I wanted, but the next size up was too big to fit. But for a whopping $5.98 it was a cheap solution. Two old O-rings from my parts stash and it works like a champ.



Giving it a try with plain water, she's leak-free, high flow, and quiet as a mouse fart. I didn't get pictures, but a second quickie connector can be seen on the pump output line- the clear stuff is some food-grade vinyl line I salvaged (packrat) from an old soda fountain, which I'd dismantled for the CO2 regulators. It was 3/8" ID, and the pump's ports are 1/2", so I just made an appropriate stepped adapter, and used two chunks of old 1/2" ID heater hose as connectors.



And it all tucks up under the lathe like so, out of the way, and well protected.



The return line was easy; there's a drain in the middle of the drip tray behind the lathe bed. I simply screwed a short section of 1/2" pipe into the bottom of it (already tapped for a hose) and slid a foot or so of 3/4" heater hose over that, and into a hole cut in the lid of the plastic tub. It's pretty much a straight shot from the drain down into the tub.

I was concerned, however, of debris clogging the drain (I'd had to vacuum several inches of swarf out of it just to open it up, as I'd never used for anything) so another quick and dirty fix was to take a chunk of leftover window screening, snip a chunk, roll it up, and just jam it in the hole:



Worked great!

Now, it was kind of tricky to get the "reservoir" under there with the various hoses and wires, so the easiest way to fill it was to just dump two gallons of mixed coolant right in the drip tray.



I used a jug of Prolong, which I bought for $9 a gallon at, interestingly enough, one of the local secondhand shops, back when I got the surface grinder, and was thinking of trying out the flood coolant on that. I mixed it fairly rich at about 15:1, since, again, I'm concerned with rusting.

I will say, though, that a trayful of coolant is a great way to break the habit of laying tools and rags in the drip tray...

For a spray nozzle, I dived back into my stashes of parts and boxes of junk. The base is an extra magnetic indicator base (I have about six or seven) and a clamp, a short chunk of bent stainless tubing and a Swagelok elbow, a small ball valve that originally came on a TASO fill station I bought back in the 90s, and a piece of 1/4" copper tubing soldered into a female 1/8" pipe fitting.



The vinyl hose slides over the stainless tubing for a perfect clamp-free fit (the pump can't make much pressure even with the valve blocked) and the soft copper line lets me adjust it wherever I want. Not as good as loc-line, but hey, I had it on hand.

Today's test project was some drilling, using an indexible carbide spade bit, and everything worked flawlessly. Big improvement in surface finish, since it wasn't galling anymore, and the parts weren't 150F when I pulled 'em out of the chuck anymore.



Now, assuming I don't have any real problems with the coolant itself (going rancid, rusting parts, drying out and gumming up the pump, whatever) I'll eventually rework it with a better reservoir and spray nozzle. But for the moment, for a couple hours work and six bucks expended, I thought it came out pretty well.

Doc.
Perhaps a check valve to keep the flow at the tip and not waiting for the pump to catch up each time you power it up, and a relay after the pump switch so the pump can turn on when you power on your lathe, keeping the mess at a minimal. Oh, and flatten the tip slightly so the coolant can fan out, or some fan spray tips.

Create an inverse sump in the tub by turning the intake up, putting some screening on the end to allow any solids to settle to the bottom and prevent any from sneaking into the pump. And/or put some screening or a cover on top of the tub to keep anything from wandering into it and fouling things up.
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Doc Nickel
Doc Nickel

April 9th, 2012, 9:39 am #4

Some good suggestions. I did consider a check valve to try and keep the pump primed, but I wanted something a little more foolproof- trying to reprime it with oily coolant in the system would be a pain.

There's not that much delay between switching on the pump and getting flow at the nozzle- probably only a few seconds at most. And between parts, I just shut off the ball valve, rather than the pump. The pump's a centripetal design, not a positive displacement, so it can be deadheaded with no problems.

I ran fifty pieces, running the pump the whole time and only closing the ball valve. Worked great, no bobbles or bubbles in the flow, no waiting.

When I redo the system, though, I may drop the tube size to 1/4", so there's slightly less head pressure on the pump, but really, I don't think it'll be a problem.

As for the tip, when I switch to Locline or some similar flexible hose, I'll probably have a couple of tips for different jobs, but really, a lathe is a single-point machine; as long as the coolant is flowing towards the one cutting point, that's all that counts. And on this particular job, I wanted a narrow stream to flood into the bore, to help flush the chips out.

Technically, the inserted drill has coolant-thru passages, and I really wanted to hook it up somehow, but the design of the turret would make it difficult to connect a hose of any substantial size. Those types of tools also need higher pressure than I think I can get from my little pump, so I'm not sure it would have worked well anyway.

Crud in the coolant won't be too much of a problem, as my bulkhead fitting is roughly an inch off the floor of the tub. If or when I make a proper reservoir, I'll add a baffle that separates the inlet side and outlet side, so that coolant has to flow over the top. That's a common trick for coolant tubs- the surface grinder's coolant/vacuum tank has it, as do the oil reservoirs on my valve grinders- and should keep the output fairly clean.

Doc.
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Shargo
Shargo

April 9th, 2012, 12:54 pm #5

Since those holes really makes a difference for chip removal...

You might be able to set up internal coolant for one tool if you use some old quick connectors for air, they tend to rotate if there isn't to much pressure if worn. A connection stright up from the turet, a 90 degree connection and some elastic band should be able to keep the supply hose in the desired direction.

If you want high preasure grab an old HP-washer, you'll likely end with a combined lathe shower though :-D
(And I surely doesn't want those fluids when they got bacteria in my eyes.)
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Someone
Someone

April 9th, 2012, 5:55 pm #6

"Suds" being the slang term for machine coolant, of course.

One of the things I never really got into using, on my old manual machines, is flood coolant. If you don't have an enclosure or proper drip trays, it's a mess to use, and on manual job-shop machines that aren't worked constantly, water-based coolant can cause rust, or just start to smell as gunk grows in it. (Most coolants have a biocide, but even still, with a layer of 'tramp oils- non soluble oils- on top of the water, anerobic bacteria can eventually grow.)

However, the benefits of coolants are rapidly outweighing the drawbacks, and I've been planning for a while to set up flood coolant on the horizontal bandsaw, the surface grinder (which came built for it, but which I haven't used yet) and at least one, if not both, of the lathes.

Yeah, yeah, I know some of you CNC guys are saying "Geez, welcome to the twentieth century, Doc!"

I'd also like to set it up on the mill- one of the mills, anyway- but while the lathes at least have drip trays and rear splash guards, the mill is a little more difficult to contain. I've been thinking about an add-on enclosure, basically a box that surrounds the vise. Most of my work is relatively small, so an enclosure wouldn't get in the way too often. It would, however, be a right pain in the sphincter to take down when I need to work on a larger part, so this one is still in the theoretical stage.

Now, that said, one of the most useful places for flood coolant would be the turret lathe. I've been doing more and more batch parts, and, in fact, the Logan was at one time a factory turret lathe with coolant. It came with front and rear splash trays and a drain built into the drip tray, though I removed the trays when I brought it home. Also, the legs of the lathe bed had been "potted", or sealed with epoxy or some other kind of sealant, so coolant won't drip on the motor or belts.

This weekend, I'd been having some problems with some stainless parts galling slightly as I was drilling them- it was a deep drill, and couldn't clear the chips well enough. So I finally decided I'd give the coolant a try.

Now, I am not yet convinced it'll work for me. It may be more trouble than it's worth, and if I start having rusting issues, I'll probably bag it. So I didn't want to invest a pile of money into parts I might not use, or even just parts I decided against when I change my mind as to how I want the coolant set up.

Fortunately, I'm a packrat. With a little digging and a couple of special-made parts, I put together a complete coolant setup for a grand total of $5.98 (I bought the plastic tub.)

The first thing was to dig out the old front splash tray, which I'd saved. (Again, packrat.) The lathe originally had a lever-operated turret, and I'd refitted it with a capstan-wheel turret. The full-length tray interfered with the handles.



Well, the tray didn't necessarily need to be full-length, so I chopped it down with the plaz, and capped both ends to help contain any overspill.



I had a pump salvaged from an old X-ray processor I'd dismantled a few years ago, and using a bucket and some tubing, I discovered that, while it was nearly completely silent, it was not self-priming. Once primed, it worked great, with plenty of flow. But if it wasn't primed, it'd sit there and just hum all day long.

The pump was not submersible, so I had to come up with a way to keep it dry, but also below the fluid level in my reservoir. So since this was a quick-and-dirty test run, so to speak, I whipped up a sort of "bulkhead" fitting out of 1" aluminum round:



It was made mostly to "that looks about right" spec, and I didn't bother putting wrench flats or slots on the parts- a couple of pliers tightens 'em up just fine.



For my reservoir, I measured the space I had under the lathe, and hit the nearest Big Box Store for a plastic storage tub. The one I found was smaller than I wanted, but the next size up was too big to fit. But for a whopping $5.98 it was a cheap solution. Two old O-rings from my parts stash and it works like a champ.



Giving it a try with plain water, she's leak-free, high flow, and quiet as a mouse fart. I didn't get pictures, but a second quickie connector can be seen on the pump output line- the clear stuff is some food-grade vinyl line I salvaged (packrat) from an old soda fountain, which I'd dismantled for the CO2 regulators. It was 3/8" ID, and the pump's ports are 1/2", so I just made an appropriate stepped adapter, and used two chunks of old 1/2" ID heater hose as connectors.



And it all tucks up under the lathe like so, out of the way, and well protected.



The return line was easy; there's a drain in the middle of the drip tray behind the lathe bed. I simply screwed a short section of 1/2" pipe into the bottom of it (already tapped for a hose) and slid a foot or so of 3/4" heater hose over that, and into a hole cut in the lid of the plastic tub. It's pretty much a straight shot from the drain down into the tub.

I was concerned, however, of debris clogging the drain (I'd had to vacuum several inches of swarf out of it just to open it up, as I'd never used for anything) so another quick and dirty fix was to take a chunk of leftover window screening, snip a chunk, roll it up, and just jam it in the hole:



Worked great!

Now, it was kind of tricky to get the "reservoir" under there with the various hoses and wires, so the easiest way to fill it was to just dump two gallons of mixed coolant right in the drip tray.



I used a jug of Prolong, which I bought for $9 a gallon at, interestingly enough, one of the local secondhand shops, back when I got the surface grinder, and was thinking of trying out the flood coolant on that. I mixed it fairly rich at about 15:1, since, again, I'm concerned with rusting.

I will say, though, that a trayful of coolant is a great way to break the habit of laying tools and rags in the drip tray...

For a spray nozzle, I dived back into my stashes of parts and boxes of junk. The base is an extra magnetic indicator base (I have about six or seven) and a clamp, a short chunk of bent stainless tubing and a Swagelok elbow, a small ball valve that originally came on a TASO fill station I bought back in the 90s, and a piece of 1/4" copper tubing soldered into a female 1/8" pipe fitting.



The vinyl hose slides over the stainless tubing for a perfect clamp-free fit (the pump can't make much pressure even with the valve blocked) and the soft copper line lets me adjust it wherever I want. Not as good as loc-line, but hey, I had it on hand.

Today's test project was some drilling, using an indexible carbide spade bit, and everything worked flawlessly. Big improvement in surface finish, since it wasn't galling anymore, and the parts weren't 150F when I pulled 'em out of the chuck anymore.



Now, assuming I don't have any real problems with the coolant itself (going rancid, rusting parts, drying out and gumming up the pump, whatever) I'll eventually rework it with a better reservoir and spray nozzle. But for the moment, for a couple hours work and six bucks expended, I thought it came out pretty well.

Doc.
I've got the setup, but haven't installed it on the mill yet. I've just been running dry and slow.

Has anyone tried it, and how well does it work? Are there any tricks to setting it up?
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Irregular Logic
Irregular Logic

April 9th, 2012, 6:07 pm #7

I've heard that mist cooling is extremely messy - not to mention you would be also breathing that crap in as well.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 9th, 2012, 8:50 pm #8

Since those holes really makes a difference for chip removal...

You might be able to set up internal coolant for one tool if you use some old quick connectors for air, they tend to rotate if there isn't to much pressure if worn. A connection stright up from the turet, a 90 degree connection and some elastic band should be able to keep the supply hose in the desired direction.

If you want high preasure grab an old HP-washer, you'll likely end with a combined lathe shower though :-D
(And I surely doesn't want those fluids when they got bacteria in my eyes.)
Actually, in this case the rotation of the turret isn't an issue. For this stage, I was basically using the lathe as a big, laid-down drill press, with the turret locked from rotating.

The back of the drill body has an 1/8th pipe connection for coolant, but the turret's locking shaft (the T-shaped knob in the photos) goes right through the center. If not for that, I could have just installed the drill, made up a long section of tubing or long hose nipple, screwed it into the drill, and hooked up the coolant.

But because of the shaft, and the tight confines of the inside of the turret, any hose or tube would have to snake around it, and that just wasn't possible.

I'd considered essentially pressurizing the entire turret, by blocking off the other five sockets, but as I said, I'm still very much in the experimental stage right now. I suspect I'd have to add an O-ring or two to keep coolant from being forced down into the turret locking mechanism.

In any case, it wasn't necessary- the external spray flushed the chips quite well.

Doc.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 9th, 2012, 8:54 pm #9

I've got the setup, but haven't installed it on the mill yet. I've just been running dry and slow.

Has anyone tried it, and how well does it work? Are there any tricks to setting it up?
I haven't used mist cooling myself, but a lot of the home-shop guys aren't real thrilled with it. Apparently the oily-water vapor tends to travel a lot, especially in small, cramped shops, and winds up coating everything. You tend to find smears of the oil on nearby machines, the windows, your radio, stuff on the workbench, etc.

Most guys tend to save it for specific jobs, like when bandsawing aluminum, and don't use it for everyday machining.

Doc.
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sniper1rfa
sniper1rfa

April 9th, 2012, 11:55 pm #10

Plus, it's generally pretty much total-loss which is annoying.

Also, coolant for coolant's sake is nice and all, but coolant for blasting chips away from the part is *awesome.*
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