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Milling Machine Table Covers

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  • Milling Machine Table Covers

    In the post about lining up two milling vises, in his video, Tom Lipton showed some table covers that he uses when his vise is in use on the table. I wonder how many have and use such covers? Are they worth the trouble? What are yours made from, his looked like unfinished plywood? Wouldn't that absorb a lot of cutting oil/fluid? If made from wood, what finish would be best?

    What about metal? Or plastic? Or masonite?

    Photos would be nice, if you have them.
    Paul A.
    SE Texas

    And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
    You will find that it has discrete steps.

  • #2
    1/4" hardboard with oak strips on the sides and a quick coat of urethane. Works nice, brush the vise off on to the covers and take the covers to the trash can and dump it in. I had the vise shifted off to one side in this picture so some of the table is exposed.


    • #3
      I have two unfinished OSB boards with keys fitting the table slots. No problem with oils ,etc. for years.

      Pauls boards look better to me because they prevent tools from rolling over the edges.
      Last edited by MichaelP; 10-22-2016, 01:08 AM.
      WI/IL border, USA


      • #4


        • #5
          Years ago there was someone on Practical Machinist that was selling custom molded Buna-N (rubber) Bridgeport mill table covers that indexed to the table slot. They work pretty nice. I have no idea if they are still available.

          10 or 12 years ago I made up some Buna N(nitrile) table covers for Bridgeport size milling machines. The cover on the Bridgeport, in the picture, is over 10 years old and has been in daily hard use. The covers are 9 inches wide and fit any table with a 0.625" slot. They work fine on wider...


          • #6
            I've never bothered, would probably make them out of 11 gauge and bend up a lip around the perimeter and hole to contain and drain coolant
            in Toronto Ontario - where are you?


            • #7
              Mine are 1/8" neoprene and are similar to these:



              • #8

                The couple times I've been around table covers, I found them more hassle than they are worth. So I don't have any for my mill. But light gauge sheet metal would work fine if you want them.

                If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.


                • #9
                  I have 16ga aluminum sheets that have a .75" bend over each side of the table and a 1" hole drilled through at the end where the coolant drain is so that I can pic them up easily. I do like the stop edge of Paul's, maybe something to add.

                  Mr fixit for the family


                  • #10
                    I made these for our B'ports. Material is 1/8 Al with two steel slugs fastened to the bottom with flat head screws.

                    Errol Groff

                    New England Model Engineering Society

                    YouTube channel:


                    • #11
                      One of the best table cover rigs I've seen was made of heavy gage galvanized sheet metal (12 ga, I think) flanged 1/2" on each edge and on the extreme ends. The two covers were coped to fit the vice. On the under side they were fitted with T nuts held with counter-sunk screws to keep them in place. He habitually used flood coolant and these covers guided the overflow to the return very effectively. The gap between covers and vise were caulked with bath tube seal (easily removed and replaced).

                      Since these covers were in place for months at a time, there was ample opportunity for seepage to rust the underlying cast iron. Thanks to the galvanize aand a dose of LPS3 this was reduced to staining.

                      Tom told me he was going to outfit the machine with splash guards that dropped over the raise edge flange but nothing he could come up with was very durable. The covers needed to be of heavier gage and have 3/4 or 1" flanges. He was also going to make them 14" wide and have the back sides pitched to shed coolant to the return drains but never got around to it.

                      Table covers are handy and easily made but one improvement leads to another. In time, a creative guy could evolve table covers into a real production asset - or a work of art.
                      Last edited by Forrest Addy; 10-22-2016, 04:07 PM.


                      • #12
                        Could you guys help me inc RWO please look further down the post you placed here. this guy is selling a felt washer for approx. fifteen bucks. Question is that not Fourteen bucks too much ? LOL look it up and please explain to me am I living in the real world. Or maybe these felt washers are made by the KARDASHIAN Family inc the handsome-ish new daddy-er-mummy. ? Alistair
                        Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease