No announcement yet.

Fabricating a lathe chip pan?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Fabricating a lathe chip pan?


    I've got a 1940 Sheldon 10" lathe on cast iron legs that I got about a year ago, from a gunsmith who said it was passed down to him from his grandfather and father who only used it to turn firing pins. You can find an image of it at this link... 2nd illustration from the top of the page.

    The problem is it has no chip pan, and I want to fabricate one up. Possibly something that could serve as a coolant tray also, so I'd like it have a watertight mounting scheme. I think I can take any pan with a turned up edge that I make and drill it to fit between the lathe bed and the legs.

    Any advice, plans, lessons learned, and any other sage information to help give me a good start on this would be highly appreciated.


  • #2
    Take a look at the auto parts store at drip pans used under vehicles with oil leaks. The come on several sizes including some big enough to be used under large trucks. By the time you purchase materials to make one it may be just as cost effective to adapt a drip pan to your needs.


    • #3
      If that doesn't work a local heating store can whip one up if the have a good tinman, just have him seal the corner joints.
      "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
      world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
      country, in easy stages."
      ~ James Madison


      • #4
        Sounds sort of basic, but make it deep enough (front to back deep).
        I have a similar lathe and while the tray I made fits fine, it catches the bulk of chips falling down between the ways, I did not take into account the number of points that need regular oiling like the lead screw and points on the apron/cross slide/compound and since the apron is single wall, some of that oil drips down as a matter of course, couple three inches deeper would mean all excess would have been caught.


        • #5
          The bottom of my chip pan tapers to a low spot center and back. It was designed to direct coolant into a catch tube, but it works pretty good at directing the fine swarf there as well. Makes for an easier cleanout.
          I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


          • #6
            It is also possible to adapt a mortar poly mixing pan from the builders supply house.
            "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"


            • #7
              Easy as pie, if you're willing to put in a little work.

              The tray should be sized just enough to catch any oil drippage off the machine, plus perhaps a few inches, no more. Make sure a tray won't interfere with a gearcover opening, or your hand on the handwheel, or a gearbox lever, etc.

              Take that measurement, and add two inches along each edge. As in, if your original shape was (just to throw numbers out) 18" wide by 60" long, you'll need a piece of sheetmetal 22" wide by 64" long.

              For something like an older lathe mounted on a pair of individual cast legs, I'd say make the tray heavy- like 12 ga, or even 10. Weight helps, and should add a little bracing. Plus it's heavy enough you can set tools in and on it- we all do- without worrying about bending it.

              Now, technically you could simply have it bent at a fab shop or ductwork shop, but I prefer to add a bit of pizazz. Draw two lines at each corner, 2" in and following each edge. Just as if you were marking it to cut a 2" square from each corner, as if you were going to have the sides bent 90 degrees (as if they were going to be vertical.)

              THEN, however, grab a handy round thing, like a can of spray paint, and set the base on those two lines- so instead of the lines meeting at a 90 degree corner, the line curves around the corner. Cut that out by whatever method you wish.

              Then have the sides (a 2" strip along each edge) bent using a sheetmetal brake- 30 to 45 degrees is plenty. The tricky part is fabricating a new piece to fill in the rounded corner.

              An illustrated version of what I'm talking about can be found here, though in that case, I started with an already-bent tray. A few years before that, I did a similar thing with a steel tray for a small shaper.

              Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)


              • #8
                Go for 12G steel, get a piece cut the length and width you want the tray, plus 2" all round for turning up. mark out the size of the tray, and with an angle grinder cut along those lines about 2/3rds of the thickness, not all the way through. Make a cut full depth coming in at 45 degrees in each corner till you hit the part cut lines. You should then be able to manually bend up the sides, say 60 degrees, trim the corners so they meet properly, then weld up. Of course, if you've got access to a shop with press brake, that's much easier.

                'It may not always be the best policy to do what is best technically, but those responsible for policy can never form a right judgement without knowledge of what is right technically' - 'Dutch' Kindelberger


                • #9
                  Thats a bad plan, just sell me the old boat anchor and buy something with a chip pan. The beauty is you can get some really nice "import" machinery and you get to fine tune it to your needs. JUST KIDDING.

                  I have a 9 inch South Bend with a bakers sheet pan for a drip/swarf pan. The sheet pans come as a solid pan and a perforated pan that stack.
                  The top pan is perforated and catches all but the finest swarf, the oil drips through to the bottom pan. The advantage is that they are aluminum so they don't rust. Because they are not very deep you are forced to work neater and when you drop something in the pan it is easier to find. The lower pan catches the cutting oil which you can reuse. I bought mine at a resturant supply store.



                  • #10
                    I have made a couple by going to the recycle yard and getting a sufficiently large sheet of heavy gage stainless steel for the stock. One time it was a huge laser guide, another time the side off a commercial stove of some kind. Cutting it up took a few jig saw blades because the stainless is so tough, but I love stainless pans. Lacking a brake, just clamp a stout board to each side of the bend line and hammer form it over. I actually folded the edges twice so I had a rounded smooth edge top on the pan and the cut edge was inside the pan on the vertical side. I brazed the corners. Twerked for me.


                    • #11
                      Sheldon? How far between the pedestals? Have you considered a sheet cake pan from a restaurant supply? The come inmany sizes from full sheet, half sheet etc down to jelly roll pans. Very handt around the shop for washing parts etc and also chip pans, sorting trays,etc. Lots of cool containers are the restaurant supply. Inserts for steam table, baking pans used in commercial kitchens al in stainless or aluminum.

                      So before you commission a sheet metaal shop to make a custom chip pan for your small lathe look at a real restaruant supply; the kind that serves commercial and institutional kitchens not a kichen and bath shop or a housewares section of a WalMart.


                      • #12

                        As I wrote earlier a sheet pan and a perforated sheet pan. Works like a dream. I agree that they have all sorts of handy containers ect. I just bought some "Busing totes" for $6.00 each. These I use to segregate all the notes, drawings, special tools and parts of a project.

                        Last edited by Stepside; 10-21-2013, 08:24 PM. Reason: The usual "fat fingers"


                        • #13
                          Thanks for the great info Doc, and those are beautiful trays. I hope mine looks as fine when done.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Doc Nickel View Post
                            The tray should be sized just enough to catch any oil drippage off the machine, plus perhaps a few inches, no more. Make sure a tray won't interfere with a gearcover opening, or your hand on the handwheel, or a gearbox lever, etc.
                            Good info Doc. I probably would have noticed it as I looked at the problem further, but it turns out the the legs mount high enough up behind the apron that the hand wheel hangs low enough on the apron to prevent just taking the lathe bed off the legs and sandwiching a pan between the legs and bed.

                            Would it make sense to create a couple of spacer blocks to raise the bed high enough above the legs to create a clearance between pan and hand wheel?



                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Forrest Addy View Post
                              Sheldon? How far between the pedestals?
                              41 inches is the span from leg outer edge to leg outer edge. The overall lathe length, including gearbox cover to right end of the bed is roughly 49 inches. I think an 18 - 20 inch width (front to back) would work well.