The plexiglass or lexan shield that is provided attaches to the table. Naturally, my first job involves work that extends past the limits of the table, so I never even installed it yet.
Now that I have fabricated a piece of lexan to slip onto the front of the machine, I probably will always use it.
The stand I bought is a really nice job, with separate compartments on the sides for holding the coolant tank and the computer, and one in front for holding tooling or whatever. It is welded construction and provides a solid base for the machine, with adjustable feet so that everything can rest solidly.
The coolant scheme is well thought out, with a fine screen in the drain that can be pulled out and dumped easily, which drains into a pan, which then drains into a double compartmented coolant tank. The pan under the screen nicely catches any chips that get by the screen when you take it out, and it slides into the compartment like a drawer, so you can just pull it out easily for cleaning (or you can just vacuum through the screen hole). Everything fits nicely into the side compartment of the machine. It would have been a real pain to design and build all of that myself. I haven't had it all back out of the machine for a thorough cleaning yet, but it looks like it was designed to make that a minimal fuss job. Just have to pump out the coolant first, then it all pulls right out.
I saw somewhere else where someone tilted theirs to make the coolant run towards the drain, with shims under the mill to make the machine level. I might do this myself, just to make it drain quicker. It works OK the way it is, but this might help with evaporation.
The job I am running right now involves hogging out 1" deep circular slots in aluminum. It didn't take me long to figure out that in order to do this on a routine basis, I'm going to have to blast the chips out of the slot with coolant, or else re-cut all the chips while wearing out tooling and roughing up the finish. A single nozzle pointing from only one direction can't do that all the way around. So, I am fabricating a coolant ring that will give me three nozzles instead of one. I am going to need lots of coolant flow, splashing and spraying chips in all directions.
The sides of the stock stand do not extend very high. If you even think about blowing chips off your work with an air gun, you will be sending chips across the room. Same thing with serious drilling in aluminum without the table-mounted guard installed. Zing! Duck! So I will be adding removable panels on the sides and rear very soon as well. I'm contemplating various ways of getting it done with stuff I have around. (I have lots of stuff around!)
One thing about using air to blow coolant - laden chips around is that it makes a big mess. It also occurred to me that blowing chips around would be a great way to have them end up behind the way covers, something I don't really want. So I spent all day yesterday modifying the coolant system. I put larger hose, a check valve, a tee, and a bunch of other stuff together so that now I have it set up like the HAAS mills do -- there is a short run of garden hose with a nozzle on the outside of the front of the machine. So now I can gently wash the chips away, instead of blasting them everywhere. That part works really nice, it's something I wished for from the start. Turned out to be quite a plumbing and fabrication job, but I'm happy with it.
What I will end up with is Lexan shields that extend pretty much all the way around, standing on pegs that slip into pockets attached to the base, so that everything is contained inside the machine. Because I intend to do lots of coolant blasting. Now this isn't to say that the Tormach base is inadequate -- there is an awful lot of workmanship and features built into the thing for comparatively little money. I wouldn't consider building my own base for it unless it were for hobby reasons and I wanted to do it for the pleasure of doing it. There are a whole lot of hours saved by having those features already thought out and built in. And it's relatively easy to add whatever modifications you like. I'll take some pictures and post them once I get everything set up the way I like.
I saw the wooden design, and it's very nice. That said, I would never build one out of wood, myself. That's because mine will be very wet, a lot of the time. And sometimes, the building gets water on the floor. If anyone were to decide to build one of wood, I would be very sure to use marine grade wood, and be very careful about sealing.