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Home Model Engine Machinist > Building Them > Mistakes, Blunders and Boo Boos > Lathe accident, Tool organizer, bad idea.

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Old 05-26-2011, 12:48 AM   #11
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Default Re: Lathe accident, Tool organizer, bad idea.

When I see a post title like this, I cringe but I force myself to read it. I don't fear my tools but I am aware of the need to be aware of what can happen. Here is a potential problem that I am trying to deal with.

We don't talk much about automatic actions. On my 9x20 lathe, there are three things that I do with my left hand.

1. Turn the Start/Stop switch.

2. Pull the belt tension lever to change speed.

3. Grab the chuck key ( suspended by a counterweight above and left of the headstock).

With enough repetition, these things become automatic. When my left hand gets an alert to do something, it sometimes gets the message garbled. I have become aware of this and know that I must check to be sure it's doing the right thing. The biggest danger that I see is that if I want to change the belt, my right hand is probably headed for the chuck to roll the spindle a bit to assist the belt change. If my left hand decides to go for the start switch instead, I could be in a world of hurt. Hasn't happened yet and WON'T!!

Be careful out there.


There are things you can do and things you can't do.
I'm never sure which is which.
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Old 05-27-2011, 12:12 AM   #12
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Default Re: Lathe accident, Tool organizer, bad idea.

sounds like several safety rules were violated. that is often the case when someone gets hurt. while thew smaller machines are well smaller . they are still designed to cut metal/ Flesh and bone is a bit softer material . and while a 7x may not break an arm i would not want to wear a 80lb lathe because it caught a piece of loose clothing.
Unfortunately it is usually the journeymen that get careless. The new guy still has a healthy dose of fear and respect for the machines. and the master has been around long enough to know that no one is immune to an accident and we all need to remember
be ever vigilant.

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Old 06-04-2011, 04:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: Lathe accident, Tool organizer, bad idea.

Originally Posted by kvom
Another reason I try to use my collet chuck whenever possible. Much safer than chucks with jaws.
It was not the chuck that grabbed him, it was the surface of the work. It was rough enough to grab his sweathshirt, like velcro would. It was a cold morning. He was wearing a sweatshirt. I know I do not wait for shirtsleeve weather to work in my shop. It was a freak accident that, in hindsite, was preventable. He has over 50-years experience. My point in posting it was about having a neat organized tool rack on the splash guard behind the machine is a poor idea.

Everyone, think ahead, don't rush, and stay safe.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:47 PM   #14
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I know this post is old and I'm new to this site.
But this reminds me of the guy in the auto shop next to where I worked as a machinist some years ago. He was the owner of the auto repair shop and was in there alone refinishing a crankshaft. He got caught in the machine and it wound his arm up. He was able to stop the machine but had to cut himself away from it to call for help. We, at the shop next door, were not aware of his predicument until the ambulance showed up. I bearly knew the guy only from seeing him in around the area. It stuck with me thinking of him cutting his arm off to free himself. My understanding was there was not much left to cut to get free. It was said he used a pair of side cutter pliers to do it.
I try to be aware anytime I work at the lathe. But I do catch myself taking chances from time to time. Could happen at the mill too!

If I'd a known I'd live this long, I'd a had more fun getting here!
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:06 AM   #15
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in the airforce safety briefings are a big thing. and you also hear stories from other shops since in the military we tend to move around. it seems two relatively common accidents are getting a sleeve caught in a machine (not so common in the military since we must be in short sleeves and wear safety glasses but we do see civilian accidents in the safety briefings) and files driving through forearms because they have no handle. i have seen a photo that circulated around to put the fear of death into us about safety of a guy runnign a lathe in many layers of clothing and everything from his left arm to his neck and much of his clothing was wrapped up in the wokpiece before the spindle stopped. very disturbing.

the file in the forearm i have heard both from witnesses and in safety briefings similar stories. the results are usually similar where a 8" or 10" file gets caught in the jaws and the end drives into the forearm near the wrist and either breaks a bone or lands between the two bones. the entry hole is small and the skin stretches, the file gets completely engulfed in the forearm and it ends up looking like a small wound and the arm is very swollen as if broken. the person usually passes out from pain or shock and is found by coworkers in a pool of blood who are unaware of the nature of the accident. just looks like a cut and a broken arm x-rays at the hospital reveal a file deep in the arm which is when they finally put the pieces together of what happened....
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:18 AM   #16
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I have a friend that insists on reaching over the head stock to file on the lathe. I called him on it and he insisted he has never had any problems do it that way. I replied, well I guess you will stop doing it that way when you do have a problem with it.

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Old 12-09-2012, 12:23 AM   #17
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No matter how we stressed safe practice, there will some stubborn guys who imagine themselves to be accident free. I have seen Power Brushing wrapping up one worker's jeans.Lucky for him same machine stalled and further damage. Other than minor bruises,he was OK. He was told not to carry a switched on power brush to next job on the line. After this incident he was my best safety champion.
I have seen cut-off disc shattered to pieces at my sub-contractor's shop.Told him,he has to clean up all his unsafe practices and audited before re-instatement to our supplier list as I would not risk my QA men in his shop.
Chuck keys stuck into a stationary lathe is another accident waiting to happen.
Gus,the Happy Boat-Fisherman and Happy Machinist.
(Jack of all Trades and Master of None)
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:22 AM   #18
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Yeah a lathe or mill can be pretty dangerous no matter how much experience. Honestly i would never put lathe or mill tool holders any where you would have to reach over or around the spindles or chucks. even at work we have carts and a rack for chuck keys and stuff off to the side. nothing gets set on head stock just because we had a employee was running a lathe and a drill rolled off and hit the chuck and threw it across the shop. missed him by inches. Doesnt pertain to home shops but at where i work if you left the chuck key in the chuck and walk off when your done it is a automatic write up.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:44 AM   #19
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first thing i learned in tech school was nothing goes on the headstock and yeah a chuck key in the spindle was a write up. related to that my supervisor told me of when he was an airman he switched on the shops 16" standard modern lathe with the chuck key in and knocked himself in the chest. i bet that was a surprise.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:28 AM   #20
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I appreciate the "Chuck Key Never Leaves Your Hand" rule. Left a chuck key in a drill press chuck. Switched it on. Managed not to kill anybody. Amazing how frightening an otherwise friendly and familiar machine can suddenly become...

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