Coolant Spraying in the Mini Mill
Another picture I took for the Neil's Machining site.
This is what the inside of a Haas Mini Mill looks like when it's running (if you freeze the action with a speedlight). The white fluid is coolant that's used in machining to keep things from overheating.
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Strobist: LP160 @ 1/16 power through gary fong powershoot with grid, above and to the left of the subject. Triggered with pocket wizard plus ii tranceivers.
I forgot to get a setup shot of this, but I did get one of the power snoot hanging over the machine and I posted it below. It was pretty simple lighting setup. I just hung the speedlight with power snoot over the top left corner of the machine and pointed it down to the center. The Mini Mill has an open top (unlike the VF-1 and VF-2 mills) so it was pretty easy. I was thinking about trying this again with maybe one more light, but I want to avoid adding too much light so I can preserve the contrast between the dark background and the white coolant.
It was kind of hard to shoot this because the coolant kept spraying on my lens. I had to take the filter off and clean it after about every 30 seconds of shooting, otherwise I figured there would be too many drops on the lens and it would be making the picture blurry. It was taking me about 5 minutes each time to completely clean the filter, so it was basically 30 seconds of shooting, then 5 minutes of cleaning, then repeat. It took me the whole night to get just a few good frames. I've heard that these Hoya multicoated filters are hard to clean, and I guess that' what I'm experiencing here. Maybe it would be better to just use cheap filters for this type of stuff. The coolant is oily and it's especially hard to clean off the filter - I had to use dish soap, then rinse with water, then dry, then use a microfiber cloth to really get it clean.
Any comments/questions/advice for me? Let me know what you use to keep stuff from spraying on your gear or how you clean it in situations like this...