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Opinion on Accordion Way Covers

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oskar

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#1
Looking on YouTube I find no mill has any way covers. Does your mill / lathe have any covers?

What’s your opinion about them? Perhaps they are more trouble than good?
 

RJSakowski

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#2
I use coolant on my Tormach 770 CNC and wouldn't want to be without the way covers. My mill/drill has a single cover on the y axis, just a single sheet in an s curve. It helps to keep the chips off the ways. Nothing on the lathes.
 

mksj

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#3
I would not look a YouTube on this matter, you will find that just about every mill has a flexible rubber sheet way cover on the on the back of the saddle. The reason why accordion type are not used in this location is because you loose too much travel when they are folded up. Many knee mill come with an accordion way cover on the front of the saddle, otherwise they may have some form of sliding metal covers. On bench top mills you would loose too much Y travel with accordion type covers in the back or front of the saddle, although I added a rubber sheet type to the front on my last benchtop mill. Mills may also have a wiper system to clear chips, my knee mill has both. Have not seen way covers on manual lathes although some have leadscrew guards, lathes have chip guards on the moving surfaces.

BF30 Mill 5.jpg
 

oskar

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#4
Thank you both
 

Ken from ontario

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#5
I left the front (Y axes) accordion way cover on my mini mill but removed the smaller one the the back and instead I installed a piece of vinyl 16" long 12" wide for covering both the column(Z) and the Y ways , bought the material from Fabric Land for $3, money well spent.

You definitely need something to protect the ways on your mill but the only positive upgrade that I've done for my lathe was to build 4 V shaped metal way Way protectors that each holds a piece of felt, screwed on the saddle ,these lubricate and clean the ways and do a good job if I may say so myself. I have heard about lead screw "chip deflector" that is supposed to be a good upgrade but haven't bothered with it yet.
 

RJSakowski

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#6
IMO, running flood coolant, or for that matter, any water based cooling system require a means of coolant exclusion from the ways. The water based coolants, at least those that I have a tendency to create corrosion spots if left unattended for any length of time. The accordion style way protectors drain the coolant away from the ways. Flood coolant, in particular tends to create car wash like situations with spray going everywhere within the enclosure
If only oil based lubricants are used, I'm fine with rubber sheet protectors.
 

Cadillac

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#7
I use a accordion style on my lathe. It helps a lot. My 9x20 is a pain always cleaning the ways under the chuck area and lead screw. My lathe came with lead screw cover which is awesome no more worrying chips in that. Wouldn’t be without
image.jpg
My mill already had a cover for rear ways but I ended up putting leather covers over closest to operator to cut down on chips and a padding for where I rest a tool once in awhile
image.jpg
I think they are well worth the mod. The accordion style I have found are not cheap so look around first.
 

TakeDeadAim

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#8
My Mill has way covers for the saddle and wipers on the knee
 

Winegrower

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#9
My Bridgeport came with front and back accordion covers. Until this thread I never thought much about it.
I don’t think it’s a big deal either way. I think if you are a “neat desk” person, you will want the covers. Me, not so much.
 

oskar

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#10
Lots to consider here, thank you all
 

Cadillac

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#11
My Bridgeport came with front and back accordion covers. Until this thread I never thought much about it.
I don’t think it’s a big deal either way. I think if you are a “neat desk” person, you will want the covers. Me, not so much.
Its more about if you care about your equipment. You get chips under the sliding surface on any piece it won't take very long to score up the ways. All my machines have felt wipers for the ways and covers where ever possible. Keep them oiled regularly they will all outlast me. Treat them right and they will treat you right.
 

RandyM

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#12
I just have the smooth sheet of rubber. I always felt that the bellows styles would be very difficult to clean with all of those pleats. The smooth rubber sheets are bad enough. I mounted mine so that they could be easily removed. Just something you may want to think about.
 

Groundhog

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#13
You know all these old manual mills and lathes us hobby type machinists are refurbishing and getting pretty tight tolerances with? Most spent years and years being used 40 hours and more a week - without way covers. And the ways (of the salvageable) machines seem to be the least of the problems. I don't bother with them (I have wipers and oilers installed and I clean them after use). I doubt I am going to wear the ways out with the relatively little use (compared to a commercially used machine) I give them. I think it is just one of those things that in theory should be done but in reality doesn't make a tinkers worth of difference.
 

Winegrower

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#14
Agree with Groundhog! The railroad museum has a Bridgeport that’s been used for decades without covers...no problems. But if you do go that way, Randy, my accordion covers are pretty easy to clean, just lift them up in the middle and stretch out the folds, and brush off.
 

Creativechipper

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#15
Thanks for shinning a light on the subject. I have a brand new lathe and never knew it was an option.
I will have to look at making something to fit my chip pan as it is not removable. Some rubber liners or something will be better than nothing.
thanks
 

oskar

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#16
You know all these old manual mills and lathes us hobby type machinists are refurbishing and getting pretty tight tolerances with? Most spent years and years being used 40 hours and more a week - without way covers. And the ways (of the salvageable) machines seem to be the least of the problems. I don't bother with them (I have wipers and oilers installed and I clean them after use). I doubt I am going to wear the ways out with the relatively little use (compared to a commercially used machine) I give them. I think it is just one of those things that in theory should be done but in reality doesn't make a tinkers worth of difference.
I think I'm with you on this subject, I was just wondering about it but the use a hobby machine gets it would be easier to just clean up after.
 

RobertHaas

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#17
Covers of any kind hide stuff that should be cleaned and maintained. I have seen several machines that look like showroom (unused) condition with serious amounts of corrosion underneath the covers. Hell, the fact that many of these machines are in unheated shops and suffer condensation should be reason enough to leave them exposed to atmosphere and any air movement they can get.

Nothing wrong with using diverters and shields during operation but leaving a plastic/rubber "blanket" like covering over any part of a large iron/steel machine is folly.
 

Groundhog

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#18
I think I'm with you on this subject, I was just wondering about it but the use a hobby machine gets it would be easier to just clean up after.
Not much.
 

oskar

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#19
Covers of any kind hide stuff that should be cleaned and maintained. I have seen several machines that look like showroom (unused) condition with serious amounts of corrosion underneath the covers. Hell, the fact that many of these machines are in unheated shops and suffer condensation should be reason enough to leave them exposed to atmosphere and any air movement they can get.

Nothing wrong with using diverters and shields during operation but leaving a plastic/rubber "blanket" like covering over any part of a large iron/steel machine is folly.
Another good reason to think before installing them covers, not that they dont serve any purpose but I think they will be more of a maintenance headache
 

Creativechipper

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#20
I am thinking with a non removable chip pan , something should be set over the chip tray so that it can be removed to empty.
Anyone doing it like this?
 

ttabbal

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#21
I am thinking with a non removable chip pan , something should be set over the chip tray so that it can be removed to empty.
Anyone doing it like this?

I've seen people use baking sheets and similar things in the chip pan. It seems like it would help. I've just been pulling the big bits out by hand and using the shop vac for the rest. I might try something nicer though, if nothing else, making it easier makes me more likely to do it. :)
 

MrWhoopee

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#22
I put a piece of conveyor belting over the ways behind the table on my BP copy. It's nice for keeping the ways clean, but more importantly, it keeps chips from accumulating between the column and the knee. I saw a machine so severely packed with chips that it caused the knee to bind.
 
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