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A Poor Man’s Coolant Pump

by Bob Daley

My 1921 model SBW lathe doesn't have a coolant pump or a chip tray to catch shavings and cutting fluids. It is standard practice to apply a fluid to the cutting area to keep things cool. However, applying the coolant from a squirt bottle is rather messy, as a copious flow is required and it's difficult to aim the fluid directly where I want it. Also, if a large flow is needed, I end up with a pool of fluid on the floor!

To solve these problems, I came up with a simple and cheap idea: I drilled a hole in the lid of a plastic drink bottle and tightly fit a piece of 3/16" OD plastic tubing through it (Photo 1).


The hole needs to be about .015" smaller in diameter than the plastic tube. Cutting the end of the tube at 45° or more makes it easier to push the tube through the hole.

I then ran a length of wire through the tube, leaving about 75 mm of wire hanging clear of the tube (Photo 2). I bent the wire to a 60° angle, and presto, the fluid tracks along the wire and can be pointed directly into the parting groove.


Photo 3 shows the inside of the lid and the protruding tube and wire. Note the V cut in the tube and how the wire is bent to fit into the V – this helps stabilize the wire and prevents it from swinging. Because you can direct the fluid directly into the groove, it's not necessary to have a large flow; thus, only a little mess ends up on the floor.

I made this one about two years ago and, as can be seen, the plastic lid has started to split due to the stress caused by the original hole being a bit too small. I’ll need to make a new one next time I have an empty drink bottle!


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