Sunday, April 10, 2011

Taig lathe cabinet - drip trays and panel beating

This article covers the construction of the drip tray (first and second attempt) and touches on the panel beating methods I used

As mentioned in the article regarding the frame, the objective of the lathe base was to have a substantial piece of metal which was thick enough to support drilled and tapped holes, magnetic (for use of mag-based tool stands), and to help dampen noise. Thinking I could do this by building a drip tray out of 4mm steel, I made a tray by scoring and cutting the sheet, and then bending and welding it up.

Figure 1 - pieces of 4mm sheet scored and bent

Figure 2 - 4mm sheet welded up to form drip-tray #1

Figure 3 - resulting drip tray from 4mm sheet - distorted and not flat

BIG PROBLEM - the resulting tray buckled during welding and would not provide a flat base. no amount of cussin' or hammering would fix that. - on to Plan B.

Plan B was to use a thinner metal to make the drip tray, and then use a separate sheet to form the solid base floor. The frame was built to support this design, and the base sheet cut and fitted. From that sheet, all other measurements for the drip tray were derived.

The drip tray is made from colourbond "sign-white" - a thin sheet metal coated to prevent rust (some kind of zinc-aluminium coating) and coated in a bonded white paint - it's used by sign writers to make shop signs - hence the name. The other side is a pale grey colour, and this became the visible side since it was easier than trying to remove the old vinyl lettering from the white side.

My source of sign-white is a number of discarded signs which I obtained soon after moving to this town. The frames for the signs quickly became stock for building a myriad of doors, shelves, etc, and the panels have become door skins, guards, and a number of other tasks. This lathe drip tray commenced the use of the last full sheet.

Figure 4 - commencing the folding of the drip tray (#2) - forming the wired edge

Since I don't have a pan or finger brake (yet another project yet to start) , I improvised using tube and angle iron clamped together (often the tube was one side of an old table frame). The "mallet" was a piece of pine timber, and a piece of 2"x 1/4" flat bar was used as a flatter to help crisp up the edges. I formed up a wire edge for the edges of the tray where hands would touch by folding the sheetmetal around a strip of 3mm x 25mm (1/8" x 1") strip and hammering it flat with a mini sledge hammer.. after everything was folded up, this gap was then closed up to complete the wired edge.

Figure 5 - completed drip tray with wired edges for safety

This method of folding was used throughout this entire project - drip tray, drawers, trays, control cabinet - all fashioned with bits of tube or angle iron, 3 clamps, a piece of timber (with or without a flatter), and a pair of ear muffs to drown out the noise.

Figure 6 - completed drip tray and back board

Figure 7 - Rear view of back board showing overlap

Next article will cover the swarf gate and accompanying swarf drawer.
Still to come:
Drawers, electrical circuit, "home made" switches, control panel

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