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A Cost-Effective Alternative to Coolant Tank Fillers: Enhancing Efficiency Without Breaking the Bank

DIY Coolant Tank Filler

Coolant tank fillers are crucial for CNC machining, maintaining proper coolant levels for smooth machine operation. Traditional fillers can be costly for small to mid-sized machine shops, especially in the current economic climate. Affordable alternatives exist to achieve the same results without sacrificing performance. Discover a budget-friendly solution in this blog post to enhance efficiency while controlling costs.

The Importance of Coolant Tank Fillers

Before diving into alternatives, it's important to understand the role of coolant tank fillers. These devices help easily replenish the coolant levels in CNC machines, preventing overheating and ensuring optimal lubrication. Proper coolant maintenance is crucial for prolonging tool life, improving surface finish, and reducing downtime.

The High Cost of Traditional Coolant Tank Fillers

Traditional coolant tank fillers, while effective, can be expensive. They often involve sophisticated components and installation processes that add to their overall cost. In our current economic environment, where costs for raw materials and industrial equipment are soaring, investing in these high-end systems might not be financially feasible for many smaller CNC machine shops. This is where the need for a cost-effective alternative arises so you are not relinquished to multiple trips with 5 gal buckets...

A Budget-Friendly Solution: DIY Coolant Tank Fillers

One of the most economical alternatives to traditional coolant tank fillers is to create a DIY (Do It Yourself) system. With a few readily available materials and a bit of ingenuity, you can build an effective coolant tank filler at a fraction of the cost. Here’s how you can do it:

Certainly! Below are step-by-step instructions to make a CNC coolant tank filler using a 55-gallon drum on wheels and a fuel pump:

Materials Needed:

  1. 55-gallon drum (preferably with a lid)

  2. Drum dolly (to make the drum mobile)

  3. Fuel transfer pump (electric or manual, suitable for coolant)

  4. Hoses (compatible with the pump and drum fittings)

  5. Drum bung fittings (to connect the pump and hoses)

  6. Hose clamps

  7. Couplings and adapters (as needed for connections)

  8. Coolant filter (optional, for cleaner coolant)

  9. Electrical supplies (if using an electric pump, such as power cords, switches, etc.)

  10. Tools (wrenches, screwdrivers, etc.)


  1. Prepare the Drum:

  • Place the 55-gallon drum on the drum dolly to ensure mobility.

  • Secure the drum on the dolly to prevent it from tipping over.

  1. Install Drum Bung Fittings:

  • Identify the bung holes on the drum lid. Typically, one bung hole is larger (2 inches) and the other is smaller (¾ inch).

  • Install the appropriate drum bung fittings into these holes. The larger hole will generally be used for the intake hose and the smaller one for the vent or return line.

  1. Set Up the Pump:

  • Mount the fuel transfer pump to the drum or nearby area for stability.

  • Connect the intake hose from the pump to the larger bung fitting on the drum. Ensure the hose reaches near the bottom of the drum to access the coolant.

  • If using an electric pump, connect it to a power source and install a switch for easy operation.

  1. Attach Hoses:

  • Connect the output hose to the pump's discharge port. This hose will transfer the coolant to the CNC machine.

  • Secure all hose connections with hose clamps to prevent leaks.

  1. Optional Coolant Filter:

  • If using a coolant filter, install it in-line on the output hose. This helps in filtering out any debris or contaminants from the coolant before it reaches the CNC machine.

  1. Testing and Final Adjustments:

  • Fill the drum with mixed coolant.

  • Prime the pump if necessary (follow the pump manufacturer’s instructions).

  • Turn on the pump and check for any leaks or loose connections.

  • Test the system by filling a smaller container to ensure everything is working correctly and the flow rate is appropriate.

  1. Using the System:

  • Position the drum near your CNC machine.

  • Use the output hose to fill the CNC coolant tank as needed.

  • When finished, ensure the pump is turned off and all hoses are securely stored.

Safety Tips:

  • Always wear appropriate protective gear (gloves, goggles) when handling coolant and equipment.

  • Ensure all electrical connections are secure and away from moisture.

  • Regularly check the system for leaks or wear and maintain it accordingly.

By following these steps, you should have a functional and mobile CNC coolant tank filler system using a 55-gallon drum and a fuel pump.

Benefits of a DIY Coolant Tank Filler

Cost Savings: The most significant advantage of a DIY system is the cost savings. Float valves and tubing are inexpensive and widely available, making this solution accessible for shops on a tight budget.

Ease of Installation: Setting up a DIY coolant tank filler is straightforward and does not require specialized skills or tools. Most shop owners and operators can handle the installation themselves.

Customization: A DIY system allows for customization based on your shop's specific needs. You can adjust the reservoir size, tubing length, and float valve settings to suit your requirements.

Maintenance: Maintaining a DIY coolant tank filler is simple. Regular checks and occasional cleaning are usually sufficient to keep the system running smoothly.

Interested in more cost-saving tips and innovative solutions for your CNC machine shop? Subscribe to our blog and stay updated with the latest insights and practical advice. Let's work together to keep your shop running efficiently and economically, even in tough times!

By exploring and implementing affordable alternatives like the DIY coolant tank filler, your CNC machine shop can achieve greater efficiency and sustainability without stretching the budget, especially in today’s challenging economic environment.

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