I have a rather painful experience when a small bit of the tip of an end mill broke off and got trapped between the carriage and the lathe bed. I managed to get the chip out, but the bed gained a long scratch. Luckily, although it has become an eyesore, it does not affect the smooth running of the lathe.
I understand that many lathe owners install a piece of leather on the carriage to prevent chips from getting under it. This usually involves mounting a piece of cow hide onto a plate which is screwed onto the front of the carriage. This requires drilling and tapping the carriage which I am loathe to do.
It is time for me to replace the windscreen wipers on my car. Just as I am about to throw the old wipers into the garbage bin, it occurs to me that I can make a squeegee out of the old wiper, and install it onto my lathe without drilling any holes.
This is how I do it.
Step 1: Modifying Old Windscreen Wiper
The wiper which I replaced is of the type with a number of gripping claws holding the long teflon blade which is stiffened with two springy strips of stainless steel. I removed the blade and steel strips, and one of the gripping claws. I then cut the blade along a good section, and also the two steel strips to the same length as the claws. These are then reassembled into a mini wiper, a squeegee in other words.
It is most fortunate that the windscreen wiper claw is just the right size, and its original mounting hole is perfectly positioned to allow it to be fitted onto the carriage at the right height without the need for any further work.
Step 2: Installation and Test
As I said, I do not want to drill any holes on my machine. So I do not install the squeegee onto the carriage itself but onto the cross slide on top of it. The cross slide sits there all the time and the t-slot on its side is perfectly placed to mount the squeegee. Although the cross slide will be moved crosswise often during operation, it would not prevent the squeegee from serving its purpose.
I take an M3 countersunk machine screw, grind the head slightly on two sides and in the neck so that it slides into the narrow t-slot of the cross slide. I then secure it with an M3 nylon insert lock nut. The wiper claw already has a mounting hole on it, albeit set slightly off centre, so the position of this screw is also slightly off centre to accommodate. I then slide the screw into the mini squeegee mounting hole and put in two M3 nuts to hold the squeegee snugly but not tightly. The edge of the blade rests just on the lathe bed without any pressure, but sufficiently tight to prevent any debris from moving pass to the underside of the carriage. I have only used half an hour on this project which costs me nothing (apart from a few pennies for the M3 screw and nuts). I am really very happy with the result.
The only downside is that the squeegee blade gets in the way of the carriage stop bar. I am going to get round it by bending the bar downwards to avoid conflict and straighten it out again near the carriage.