Bridgeport Coolant Tray
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  1. #1
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    Default Bridgeport Coolant Tray

    My Bridgeport mill came with a large, 2 piece plastic tray that was obviously for a coolant system. It's like 3' by 4', so pretty substantial. It even had "Bridgeport" molded into it, so it is a factory made tray. I set up without it, but now that I have everything up to speed, I find myself thinking about how that big tray even installs. I have found a lot of my jobs are temperature limited on the cuts.

    Does anyone have any information about these trays? How they install etc.?

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    Well, looking around the web, it looks like these pans go around the base of the mill. That explains a lot, as I could not visualize how it could fit up on the table!?! Still curious about how the system worked if anyone has ever dealt with it.

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    used to have a couple. Absolutely useless POS.

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    There are several different styles of OEM trays for Bridgeports

    6 foot wide metal that slides under wings
    4 foot wide fiberglass that screws to the base
    molded plastic the slides around base

    maybe pics and specific questions

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    This would be the molded plastic. I'll try to take a pic. It's been sitting on the junk pile for a year...but having trouble with tool and part heating had me wondering how it worked...with the possibility of resurrecting it. I could not visualize how it could fit the table. It makes more sense that it surrounds the base.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJD View Post
    This would be the molded plastic. I'll try to take a pic. It's been sitting on the junk pile for a year...but having trouble with tool and part heating had me wondering how it worked...with the possibility of resurrecting it. I could not visualize how it could fit the table. It makes more sense that it surrounds the base.
    If it’s the style I’m thinking of, you need the back guard as well?
    These were used mainly on the CNC machines if I’m not mistaken?
    I don’t think I would waste my time with it........

    Kevin

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    I run flood for many ops on the Bridgeport; tapping, drilling, milling, boring, draining into the table slots and out the table drains. I control the flow off the vise by mounting a baking sheet between the vise and table, holes in the sheet suitably located to put the flow where I want it. The sheet catches everything dripping off the vise, even when its 90 deg to the table- vise drain channels are unhelpful more often than not. When parts are clamped to the table, sometimes corralling the coolant is a problem other times its easy.

    The downside is anything that pulls long chips will fling coolant, some faster milling too- so there are tradeoffs. Gravity drain out the table through tubes is tricky- the 90 degree turns and tubing are prone to clogging with chips and air lock so occasionally blowing them out with compressed air is helpful. Running the tubing as vertically as possible with the end(s) above the coolant level in the sump helps a lot- any loops in the tubing form bubbles and are prone to cause trouble.

    I run cutting oil diluted with DTE so its a lot thicker than the water based or mist systems- maybe the emulsions would drain a lot more easily.

    This approach probably only reasonably suited for slow ops though.

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    Thanks, Greg, Kevin.

    My mill does have elbows in the table drains, so some PO used flood on it. I also like the idea of using more oil than water based fluid. The mist I have been using tends to tarnish my vice and other steel parts.

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    I use Habcool 318, diluted with DTE #6 to make it reasonably pumpable with the usual sorts of coolant pumps- out of the can its quite thick closer to gear oil, I have it down to about a 5W oil though viscosity is very sensitive to temp. For the Bridgeport (and Nichols horizonal) I got one of the small mag base coolant tubes- Jetco iirc, with the segmented hose. That works very nicely, just stick the base someplace handy and bend the hose to suit. I like the circular nozzles more than the fan, smaller is better the Bridgeport doesn't need massive flow. A valve at the mag base is helpful to reduce flow as the coolant heats and viscosity lowers- too much flow and suddenly the table starts overflowing lol. It helps drainage to bias the machine's level so it is slightly pitched downward to the back, side to side to bias drainage to one end of the table doesn't help much.

    I just converted all the coolant bases from the plastic nozzles to short lengths of straightened copper refigeration tubing, the plastic nozzles tend to be large and in the way. +1 for also forming a couple inch long 90 degree bend of the tubing, to be stuck onto the ends of the new coolant nozzles with a length of vacuum tubing- sometimes that compact 90 degree bend will let you position the flow and nozzle much more easily.

    Cleanup is a bigger job, I let the table drain then shop-vac everything off and wipe clean. With the oil based coolant there is no rancidity, bacteria or rust, tramp oil is also not of concern. Habcool states the 318 doesn't evaporate much, I've only added some make-up oil once in the last 2 years and have not needed to add more 318. Of course it gets all over the parts and workholding which means more cleaning and wiping, but all that keeps the machine and tooling cleaner which may not make up for the extra time & effort but it is nice.

    318 will stain copper alloys with prolonged exposure eg some of the copper plumbing of the system. I find it tends make my fingernails dry and crack a bit, so am careful to minimize how much of it gets on my hands.

    I tied the two lathe coolant sumps with the main sump (Bridgeport and Nichols mill share that one) via suction and fill lines through a pump and filter. Inside each sump the suction line is positioned so it sucks air once coolant reaches the minimum fill level, so individual sumps can't be sucked empty and thus overfill the others. I balanced the suction and fill lines using a valve on each one, so each tank gets circulation. There is a lot of cavitation via the suction lines but a lot of oil moves too. I set up a timer to run the pump for 15mins once a week.

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    Excellent tips!

    Do you use any kind of splash shield on the front or back? I would imagine coolant goes everywhere at higher tool speeds.

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    I have a few pieces of aluminum flashing that I stick to the table or vise with magnets- its really not great. I ran a universal grinder a couple times that used a large piece of plexi in front of the work to manage the splashing, I imagine something like that could (in some cases) be retained by either of the t-slots but it really sounds like a pain. The same coolant rig on the horizontal mill doesn't have anywhere near the trouble with spray- I guess because the spray is mostly down the length of the table instead perpendicular to it. I recently did a bit of slab milling using the coolant, I only ended up with spray when drips got onto the endmill holder where the rotating diameter got large enough to fling it- thats when being smart about coolant flow and where its directed vs spindle rotation can reduce the mess.

    For messy ops on the Bridgeport I've usually handled it by reducing the flow, which helps. The fairly high viscosity of the 318 may be helping here- doesn't spray so much, droplets tend to be large and so don't go so far. I have the most trouble with drilling, very important to break the chips quickly- rats nests make a big mess really fast. Flood is great when milling slots etc, washing the chips out avoids recuts. If the job permits, holding a chip brush so the tool wipes it helps keep spray down also- and helps manage rats nests when drilling; you can scoot them up higher onto the drill, get them out of the coolant.

    The biggest win for this coolant system has been with slitting saws- its critical to wash chips out of the kerf and teeth, and rpm's are low enough that there is little or no splashing. I've had have great luck even with very thin cutters on the horizontal using the production feed.

    I just did a power tapping job on the Bpt, flood onto the tap was very helpful- same job had a couple fairly large holes done with a boring head, likewise- I got very even cuts with fine feeds I suppose because the cut never ran dry. If its a steady supply right on the cutter it doesn't have to be a big flood.

    I like the screw machine videos where there are huge torrents of cutting oil all over the workpiece, looks cool but moderating the flow to control the mess works fine too. I've used heavy flood on the turret lathe, it does help clear chips out of the box tools and so on- but the machine base has a large surface area to collect the drips coming off everywhere.

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    Thanks...a lot of good info to digest!

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    My mill came with the moulded plastic type tray extension. I'm about to fit it ti the nachine. It sits in / on top of the existing base catchment area, I will need to drill & tap a couple of holes in the base to fix the tray. I'm in the process of setting up the coolant system. I'd like to have some form of splash, chip barrier for the rear of the mill to direct splash & chips into the tray, so as to reduce the mess on the floor. I'd like the coolant when I use my end mills mostly for heat. I'm also trying to set up the horizontal arbour. I posted asking how to clamp the arbour support. I am about to do some slow steady horizontal milling if I can figure the clamp arrangement and would like flood coolant for this. Below tips in post from Diamond are good value. We have similar Bridgeport clone at work and use coolant all the time.

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    Piece of plexi/lexan, 6-8 inch tall wide as is practical, with holes drilled at the Kurt vise jaw locations. Pair of short table studs threaded into the holes facing operator.

    Allows you to stand in front without getting the dreaded coolant stripe


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