Makevember 10th A Lathe Cover

I made a cover for my Lathe to prevent it from rusting quite so quickly.

My workshop is an old stone building. The damp comes up through the floor and in winter all the metal machines get cold and water condenses on them. Unprotected surfaces rust really quickly.

I’m hoping that a reasonably closed cover and a dehumidifier will save my lathe from rust. I’ve cleaned the rust off several times, but every winter it rusts again and that makes me sad.

You can see the rust on the ways, on the cross slide, etc. It’s not pretty.

So, first thing was to cut up some wood and make a frame. I decided to use pocket holes for making the frame, but I dare say butt joints with screws into pre-drilled holes would have been just as good…

The next step is to cover it with an impermeable membrane of some sort. I chose to use black corrugated plastic protective sheeting. This stuff is used to protect floors and other surfaces while building work is going on.

It is really cheap. 8 foot by 4 foot sheets cost around a fiver. Handy stuff to have around. This stuff is branded Hardnox, but it’s the same as other stuff.

I used the air nailer to tack it to the frame. The crown stapes will just cut through the plastic unless you are careful to hold the plastic down well.

As usual, the final result always seems massive – it’s not, Lathes always have sticking out bits that make them take up more space than you might think.

I’ve put a chemical dehumidifier in the box along with the lathe. I’m hoping that this will suck all the moisture out of the box and then temperature changes won’t cause condensation and I won’t get rust. One other benefit is that the ever present dust won’t be landing on the lathe. I think the (mostly wood) dust tends to trap moisture and hold it on the surfaces too.

I shall revisit my in accurate temperature and humidity sensor from the start of Makevember and make some measurements both inside and outside the box to see what effect my efforts have.

So… What did I learn from this one? Firstly It’s a box, it’s quite a dull thing to make. I’d estimated that it would only take a few minutes, in the end I took an hour and a half. It wasn’t fun because I wasn’t really invested too much in the outcome. It’s much more fun when you care about the result.

One bonus was that I finally managed to tidy up this part of the barn and get rid of some scrap wood too. This will pay dividends, but felt too much like maintenance rather than making.

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