- May 16, 2011
- Reaction score
- Tranquility Base, Moon
I grew up in a die casting and machine shop and I've seen, or heard of, some nasty stuff. Here a few, as well as some of my own experiences:
- Never put a can of chili next to a crucible of molten metal! The guys used to warm their chili by placing it next to the gas fired crucible. In came a new guy who decided it was a good idea. Unfortunately, he didn't notice others poked holes in the top of the can. Yep! The can exploded and went straight up. It came down in the crucible full of about 700 pounds of molten aluminum. That is kind of like adding H2O to concentrated H2SO4. Instant explosion! Fortunately nobody was hit by the volcano.
- Always wear your safety glasses in the shop! One guy saved his eyesight while walking to the bathroom because the milling cutter that broke 40 feet away hit his glasses, not his eyeball.
- Have an overflow for those crucibles when they break. Fortunately, this was already there. But molten metal on concrete is a bad combination. Concrete has a lot of water in it that will instantly boil, which then explodes the concrete (and the molten metal on top of it). A specialized trough solves that problem.
- Don't max out your forklift... Bad things happen when you start to top forward because your stuff is too heavy. *NOTHING* will stop it so just hang on for the ride because it is going to be nasty. I've seen the back end drop heavily about a foot (broke the lift) once the item slid off the forks.
- Walk behind forklifts are dangerous. When I was 15 I was going faster than I should have (stupid). Thank goodness for that operable safety brake when the steering lever was raised. I wasn't injured through crushing.
- Always look *UP* when driving a forklift. We had a low doorway between two buildings and way too much stuff around to monitor while moving a machine (sling). Jockeying the lift back and forth, I hit the header and was presented with some concrete blocks being partially dislodged. Ironically, the same thing had happened about 6 weeks before. Moral of the story? One person does something, shame on them. Two people, shame on you.
- This one didn't bite me but... A-frame lifts on wheels are dangerous when trying to right dies laying flat; unless you constantly move the frame so the chain is vertical, at some point the frame on wheels will slide over, too far actually, and then the now descending weight below and absurdly out of plumb chain will 'pull' the frame down. I saw someone do that; he is lucky it didn't kill him. Instead, the lift toppled "around" him, although I suspect he needed to use the rest room afterwards (btw, no hard hat). That was probably one of the scariest things I've seen
- Now for the home shop guys.... We are poor so we move our own machines with half baked equipment. Liftgate trucks are almost always a bad idea. You cannot crack open the valve to lower the gate. Due to the weight, the gate will come down alarmingly fast so you'll release the switch, which will shut the hydraulic valve off so quickly that the lift will start to bounce. That nice mill will be metal on metal and it could bounce off the gate. Moral of the story? Two really. First, don't use liftgate trucks. Two, and something you should always do... Position yourself in a location where you can't do any heroics. That split second 'emotional' response of "oh, %#$%*@, my expensive baby is going to break" simply doesn't matter because you are unable to put yourself in harm's way.
- Which, reference above, is why I always use a suitable forklift. When you are in the driver's seat, you basically have no choice but to sit and watch... no heroics.
- And now my really bad one... I was checking out a machine to buy. The guy had it wired incorrectly and when I turned it on, the chuck started to spin off. I always stand to the side and my instant thought was, "oh <removed>, thank goodness I'm over here!" Then that emotional "Oh <double removed>, this isn't my machine!" came in and for God knows what reason, I did something no sane person would ever do.... I tried to catch the chuck as it fell onto the bed of the lathe. *THAT* is the power of emotion. It kicks in when logic says run as fast as you can. Fortunately, all my digits are still here but I did have a good trip to the ER for stitches and I still have a scar. I look at that often just so I remember how powerful emotion can be.