LATHE AND MILL

MIST COOLANT

By Bruno Taylor

Recently, I was milling some hornplates from mild steel for my next loco project and found the chips were not clearing.  I tried cutting oil which helped a bit but the chips still got caught up in the cutter. What I needed was some form of continuous coolant of suds from a pump or something. I did a bit of googling, and YouTube research, and saw several examples of a mist coolant system using compressed air. The components were cheap and it looked simple to fit.  And so it proved.


I bought all the parts I thought I would need (photo above).  My mill, a Warco VMC, has a pair of convenient screw holes in the pillar (photo below) to this l fixed a piece of aluminium angle to which I through bolted the atomizer body. 


I had bought elbows, plastic pipe and a bulkhead 8mm/BSP connector.  None of these were needed as l could unscrew the 8mm connector and screw a quick connector directly to the atomizer body (photo below).  The air supply simply plugged in, the intake pipe dangled into a plastic bottle of suds and we were in business. The most expensive part was the oil!.


This had been so easy l thought why not the same for the lathe.  This was a little more complicated and l did use more bits. I machined a block of aluminium which is bolted with a tee bolt to the cross-slide.  The air connection is to one side via the bulkhead connector with a flexible tube to the atomizer body 8mm push fit connector.   Again, simply connect up, suction pipe into the suds and away you go (photo below). 


These have proved really good. The mist is controlled by a simple ball valve which gives excellent control. (Photos below). Some models appear to have a screw type control. 

A downside is the noise. My compressor delivers about 9cfm and so runs continuously for this application. At 97dB ear protection is a must. Next project is to enclose the compressor in a sound absorbing box.

So, how cheap, you ask. At the time of writing the misters are available from Ebay at about £6. The elbows and pipes etc £18. Soluble oil £20 for 5L for a 5% dilution.

 
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