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Foot pump type suds supply?

Need a hands free design

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John Coates09/07/2012 21:37:06
554 forum posts
27 photos

Hi all

I was parting off some stainless steel tonight and it's proving a tough job to get a good finish. But I am progressing so that's not the issue. What is is the inconvenience of having to work cack handed, turning the cross slide with my left hand so I can apply cutting fluid with my right hand. I have more feel with my right hand to avoid digging in. So I need an option to let me use my natural hand on the cross slide but apply cutting fluid to the job.

I've seen ideas in MEW to use a tank above the lathe but mine stands in the middle of the garage. I think that using a foot pump, like the sort used to pump up airbeds, to push fluid up via a tub to a positionable nozzle mounted on the lathe could be a solution.

What do folks think?


Michael Gilligan09/07/2012 22:26:21
14241 forum posts
627 photos

Sounds worth a try, John

Only two [related] problems I can foresee

1. Because you are pumping air, the flow will vary with the pressure

2. ... and fluid will continue to flow until the pressure subsides.

These may be perfectly acceptable to you. Alternatively, some sort of pressure regulator in the air-line would solve (1).


Dave Tointon09/07/2012 22:27:40
49 forum posts

G'Day John,

Why not do as the professionals and fit a proper electric suds pump and tank. The chinese ones are not expensive and give good service.


Dave Tointon

Andyf09/07/2012 22:29:06
392 forum posts

Why not? Maybe use a tyre pump to force air into the top of a sealed vessel containing suds, to act as a low-pressure reservoir so the flow doesn't stop when you lift your foot ready for the next push.

Your idea reminds me of an advert in a prewar Army and Navy Store catalogue: a portable shower for explorers etc to take into the jungle. It comprised a footpump with a long rubber hose leading to a ring of rubber tubing with holes in it. You stood in a bowl of water with the ring round your neck and pumped away, no doubt wearing your solar topee for the further amusement of the local tribesmen. Best to wash your face in the water first, I suppose.


Michael Cox 109/07/2012 23:01:08
518 forum posts
27 photos

You can use a windscreen washer pump to pump the cooolant/cutting fluid to the workpiece. The motor speed can be varied from drops to a jet by regulating the motor voltage. An article on this was published in MEW No 181 page 20.


John Coates10/07/2012 07:09:01
554 forum posts
27 photos

Thanks guys

Michael - must admit my idea was to have fluid in the pump reservoir (imagine one of those round cylinder type foot pumps) so when I stepped on it the cutting fluid would be forced up a tube and out of the nozzle. Maybe I would rig up a supply with a one way valve to keep the reservoir full

Dave - I'll have a look for some chinese options (ooer madam! can just see the missus being really impressed by me Googling for chinese + lubricant)

Mike - I'll dig out MEW 181

Onward and erm, well onwards anyway cheeky


Michael Horner10/07/2012 07:30:13
202 forum posts
55 photos

If you only want small amount of lubricant at a time I have used hand soap bottle that I have fitted a metal tube into the exit orrifice so that I can attache a plastic tube too. They have a built in one way valve.


Michael Gilligan10/07/2012 08:31:00
14241 forum posts
627 photos


My misunderstanding ... When you said "like the sort used to pump up airbeds" I presumed that you meant the rubberised fabric "bellows" pump.

Now that I understand your intention, I would agree with Mike regarding the Windscreen Washer pump.

I do have some reservations about life expectancy [ of the pump components ] because of contact with chemicals that are outside its design specification ... but hopefully all should be well.


Ian S C10/07/2012 09:51:54
7447 forum posts
230 photos

I use a little squeeze bottle (ex PVA glue), butyou could hang a container above the lathe with a length of plastic tube with a nozzle of some sort, and a clamp (similar to a medical IV drip system). Ian S C

Neil Greenaway10/07/2012 09:55:35
70 forum posts
3 photos

Hi There,

As a child we used to have a caravan that was fitted with a foot operated pump for the sink unit in the kitchen area - I think it was a diaphram pump probably made by whale and was quite effective - was self priming from the water barrel outside and with gentle pumping you could carefully control the water flow.

This could be a simple alternative if they are still available and if you wanted to look into it. I used a windscreen washer pump for a number of years on my power hacksaw with the original car reservoir fitted under the saw frame for recirculating the coolant - worked ok for years until it sat dry for a while and gummed up - but it was obtained from a breakers yard anyway so easily replaced.


Richard Parsons10/07/2012 12:22:06
645 forum posts
33 photos

Mine cost me nowt. I took a washed out bean tin. pinched two holes in it. I soldered a bit of broken clothes hanger into it. sharpened a bit of fire wood to a point which I poked into the other hole.

The wood is adjusted so the cutting oil oozes down the wood onto the wire and drips off the end onto the work piece.

Cost 2 pence for the soap and 1 penny for the solder.

Stub Mandrel10/07/2012 21:27:00
4306 forum posts
291 photos

I just dip an old toothbrush in cutting oil and hold its bristles to the work with my left hand.


Michael Gilligan10/07/2012 22:42:37
14241 forum posts
627 photos
Posted by Bogstandard2 on 10/07/2012 10:13:17:

Why do people always make life difficult for themselves.

If you lot came to a ditch you could jump across, someone here would want to replicate the Forth road bridge over it.

< etc. >



A. Sometimes just for the fun of it ... the intellectual challenge ... the ingenuity ... the adventure

B. Years ago, I heard this lovely Liverpudlian description: "Using a Rolls Royce to kill a pig"

... OK it's wasteful; but it has a certain elegance


Now ... Has anyone tried using a Peristaltic Pump for Coolant?


Edited By Michael Gilligan on 10/07/2012 22:49:01

Michael Cox 110/07/2012 22:50:21
518 forum posts
27 photos

The benefits of using a windscreen washer pump are twofold. Firstly with any sort of drip system then sooner or later the drip tray or catch container becomes full of coolant that has to be removed and cleaned up. This is not always easy and a pump enables the fluid to be recirculated. The second benefit is that the feedrate is readily adjusted by varying the motor voltage. This is not always easy using the sort of pinch vales used on plastic tubes.


_Paul_11/07/2012 08:00:11
543 forum posts
31 photos

@ Michael Cox

Mike, do you have a particular washer pump you could recommend? as I am quietly leaning to towards trying a washer pump setup out it would be nice to start with a "known value".

Do you suffer from corrosion and if so how do you cope with it the reason I ask is that I have a built in suds pump on one of my donkey saws and it always seems to rust the machine no matter how diligently I mop it up.



Michael Cox 111/07/2012 09:10:57
518 forum posts
27 photos

Hi Paul,

I had two windscreen wash pumps in my scrap box. One was marked SEIM and was made in France. It was a gear pump with plastic gears. The other one was marked Linwood and it had a rubber impeller. I was not sure of the compatability of rubber with oil based coolants so I opted for the SEIM pump.

The SEIM pump has been in contact with neat mineral oil for over 4 years and it still works well.

I avoid the use of aqueous coolants whereever possible because of the rust problem (and staining of metal surfaces that slide together). I generally use a 50/50 mixture of engine oil and white spirite as coolant.


Gordon W11/07/2012 11:03:03
2011 forum posts

Washer fluid seems to be alcohol based so pumps should be ok with oil, I've never had a problem. Hand water pumps are still available, but may be rubber based. Another way is to use an old car fuel pump, mechanical usually cam driven but will work with just a "bump" on a shaft, depending on dia. and speed. Means you don't need a power supply.

Paul Lousick06/08/2012 11:19:38
1212 forum posts
502 photos

I have been using a windscreen washer pump on my mill for the last 6 months and has been great. Power is from a small 12V battery via a variable resistor to adjust the speed and an old plugpack charger to top up the battery. Got the pump from a car parts supplier for about $10, an old 4 litre plastic bottle as a tank and a plastic water strainer from the local hardware.

Sandy Morton06/08/2012 14:47:01
104 forum posts

I'll go along with the windscreen washer type. Mine cost £4 for pump, container and a length of poly tubing from the local scrappy - it raises the standard of the workshop because it came from a BMW laugh Power supply is variable switched voltage and came out of the scrap box. Coolant flow varies feom a gush to a drip.

maurice bennie06/08/2012 21:47:14
164 forum posts
1 photos

Hi all,with a car washer pump ,run a pipe from tank through pump back to tank ,in the loop put "T" piece ,run pipe from here to where you want the suds ,put a small clamp on pipe to control flow,works OK.. Put the drain from lathe back to the resevoir through a filter. Dont forget switch for motor

happy turning Maurice

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