View Full Version : Swarf solution

11-16-2004, 12:19 AM
As usual, with my shop in the basement it is always a problem tracking swarf upstairs. I have finally hit upon a solution that works well for the little bits. First, in the entrance to the shop area I have two outdoor floor mats, the type made of bristles of some kind, probably sisal. But the real key is the mats I found for in front of the lathe. These are great and comfortable to stand on. I have been doing a lot of interrupted cuts on aluminum and it is producing a small fountain of little chips that shower all around the lathe work area. These mats do an excellent job of catching the swarf and keeping it from sticking to the bottom of your shoes.



11-16-2004, 12:31 AM
I'll second that recommendation. I have 8 of them in my shop, in front of the machines and work benches.
I got them at the local home improvement center "Lowes".


11-16-2004, 05:22 AM
Interesting, the ones that I have are made backwards from yours. Mine interlock together and have the pattern you show on the bottom with a smooth top. They catch the chips like yours do but they also lay on top. I will look at mind and see if they will work better upside down. I buy mine at Sams.


[This message has been edited by WJHartson (edited 11-16-2004).]

11-16-2004, 08:24 AM
All the way through the heated side of my shop, my durashock shoes track still, My tennis shoes still track, My sandals still track, My slippers have shavings in them.

My new vacuum cleaner will suck up shavings like nobodys business. Problem is a lot of my shavings are longer than the holes are round and embed. WHOO HOO FOR GOOD sharp cutters and good cutting machines.

You can tell the difference from standing all day long on a mat vs concrete.. WEll worth the bucks for us OLD hobbiests.

OUR House carpet is industrial Loop pile, really durable, Olefin, easy to clean, hard to stain. But pick one loop and you got a strand following you half a mile long. Not happened yet, but it will.. THEN, there'll go my rathole money for more toys..

My wife is in customer service at a carpet manufacturer. She knew what I needed in our house since I had built the harley motor on the dining room table.. She endures me. Pity her.

David Cofer, Of:
Tunnel Hill, North Georgia

11-16-2004, 08:44 AM
Them're the hard mats Evan. I know your knees don't see the shock mine do since you are half my weight but.. the Fatigue type mats are worth the extra bucks.. THEY feel cushy.. soft. AHH.. the gellin commercial for real.. The ones Like I have clip together. I have four or five like that picture.

Most big men have trouble with thier joints that support thier weight, especially us old farts that were involved in sports. My dad has dropped so much weight. At 82 I guess he needed to. Anyways, that is the prime reason I got them on my floor.


The One True Bob
11-16-2004, 09:02 AM
Oh yeah. Second them mats.

I've gone from 160 pounds to 250 in less than five years (that's what I get for quitting smoking, which I purely enjoyed) and have a fractured vertabrae, to boot. Those mats are a life saver, and I rank them up there above certain other things on my list of "must have", like coffee and sharp tools.

Put off buying them for a long time, now I'm sorry I did. Even got one for in front of the washing machine/dryer and one for the ironing board and they've gotten rave reviews.

They have the added bonus of when I drop something small it always ends up in one of them holes, as opposed to shooting across the room.


J Tiers
11-16-2004, 09:41 AM
One thing about those "holy" mats, aside from them being hard.

They offer very little help for dropped items. Like buttered bread, all valuable dropped items "know" how to fall, and it is aimed directly at the holes.

The solid type don't offer a place for swarf to escape, but they also prevent damage to most dropped items, including the cutting end of your newly sharpened bit, or the appearance part you just spent 45 minutes on.........

11-16-2004, 12:03 PM
Hey Evan, I've been eyeballin those for awhile.

My folks have them in of all places, the kitchen. Theirs are the "soft" ones.

My only issue was the holes. Do you vacuum each hole out or do you just lift the mats and sweep. I would be getting them more for comfort than chip control. I would need about six of the interlocking type.

My chips tend to gravitate towards my entire body sort of like static electricity. Maybe I'm getting to close and "intimate" with the work. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif
Thanks, JRouche

11-16-2004, 12:20 PM
I just pick them up and sweep. These aren't really hard or soft mats, somewhere in between. I have been using them for about a month or two now and it really has made a difference to the amount of swarf tracked upstairs. Especially lately as I have been doing a lot of flycutting of 3/4" aluminum plate with the cutter running about 700 sfpm. It really throws the chips.

11-16-2004, 03:52 PM
With the new jet engine Genie 4hp shopvac.. I just vacuumed the floor, the chips came right up.. I didn't lift anything. Mine are keyed together on the edges.. except for the ones Like Evan has.. ALSO, my leblond leaks oil.. The oil is under the matt, I am not walking in it.. Neato on it's own.. if it gets deep as the matt I guess it will be time to fix that seal.. or whatever is leaking..

In the last two years it has leaked about a two foot circle of oil out onto the concrete.. Since I didn't seal the floor, well it is there forever.. and ever.. and ..

I love things that work, things that save me time, things that make my knees feel better, things that save electrical shocks (yes they do) and make cleanup easier.. I got two more 3x3 matts at the last auction for $2.. whoo hoo.. I liked that.. I got matt all over that side now..
In a semi-heated shop like mine, it even makes your piggies warmer.. no cold concrete sucking heat out.. (did I mention I shaved my head, my head has been cold all day, even though it warmed up to the 60s today.) Your head is just full of blood.. like a big radiator..


Herb Helbig
11-16-2004, 05:36 PM
I have a couple of similar mats (no holes) mostly for comfort on the concrete basement floor, and to save the things I drop from damage. But my main solution to the swarf problem is this. I bought a pair of good work shoes, stripped out the laces, and replaced them with a single loop of skinny bungee cord in the top lace holes. I can get in and out of them like slippers, and I leave them on the bottom cellar stair. Works for me! (and my fair lady!)


Michael Az
11-17-2004, 10:43 AM
I got lucky this last spring when visiting my parents in Dayton, Oh. It seemed like every swap meet somebody was selling large soft mats of different thickness. I ended up buying about 10 of these. They are 4' X 5' closed cell and are perfect for machine shops. I noticed a lot of the vendors bought them to stand on. The fellow I bought from told me they were rejects from Dr. Scholls shoes. So watch the swap meets fellows. Seems like I paid $10 each when I bought 4 at a time.