While there is often a learning curve when getting up and running with a coldworking machine, you sometimes forget that there can be obstacles to even getting materials up and running.
Connecting machinery to water supplies and drains can oftentimes be an impediment to even getting started with your new coldworking eqiupment.
Water is always important when working with glass and there can often be much confusion about how to connect pieces to a water supply.
With wet saws, it’s quite easy. The water pan at the bottom contains a submersible pump that pumps water through the blade hood and supplies water to the saw blade. The water then flows back into the water pan and recycles. Wet saws are ready to go right out of the box. Just mount your blade and fill the water tray with water.
Flat lap grinders are a bit different. Take the Covington flat lap grinders. They have a small water manifold on the side of the grinder that has Loc-Line material for the water dispersion on the grinder top and valves to control the water flow on the manifold. But where does the water come from?
There are a number of different ways to get water to a flat lap. You can run a garden hose with our garden hose tubing kit, where the water can come from a faucet or garden hose threading down to a 1/4 inch polyethylene tubing that then pushes into the small round push-to-connect adaptor on the flat lap water manifold.
If you don’t have a plumbed water supply where your grinder is going, you can also use a submersible pump in a bucket filled with water. The pump can utilize the same 1/4 inch polyethylene tubing to move the water from the pump to the grinder.
The same techniques can be used with the smaller tabletop wet belt sanders. The water spray on the top of the wet belt sander uses a 1/4 inch compression nut instead of a push-to-connect adaptor, but the theory is the same. You can use a garden hose or faucet adaptor kit or a submersible pump with 1/4 inch tubing. When using polyethylene tubing with a compression nut, you’ll need to use a brass insert to give the tubing some resilience otherwise the compression nut will crimp your tubing and cause a water leak at the top of your sander.
But what about the drain lines?
With the flat lap grinders you’ll have a drain line attached that will have to be put somewhere. You don’t want to put this drain line directly into your plumbing or, sooner rather than later, you’ll be tearing up your flooring to replace your drain pipes. Ground glass can build up very quickly in drain lines and seal them up. Removing the obstruction is out of the question as ground glass is virtually impossible to remove once it has dried in an area.
You’ll want to either drain into a bucket and then pour off the water and scoop out the ground glass from the bottom of the bucket and dispose of it.
Or you can put a cascade style system in place that allows the ground debris to settle into various chambers as the water overflows from one chamber to another until a submersible pump can then pump the water outside or into a filtered drain line. These systems work quite well for several different machines and saves a lot of trouble down the line.
Knowing how your water is getting to your grinder and how it is leaving your grinder is the first step to making sure you are using your equipment properly and safely.