Machining.. with epilepsy

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jwcnc1911

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That about the dogs is amazing. I had to Google that one.
 

oransmat

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I did some googling and it looks like someday you may be able to wear a watch or similar device which will send out a signal when a seizure is detected and that signal could be used to shut down equipment in addition to notifying people, see "SmartWatch" by Smart Monitor. However there doesn't seem to be anything currently available.

A basic deadman switch might not work for you from what some have said here, but now days it is easy to add smarts to basic electronics without spending a lot of money. How do you feel about Arduino? I don't really know much of anything about epilepsy so I don't know the best way to handle this. However, what about a button (or foot switch) that you had to _Tap_ once every 10 seconds or so for your machine to stay on. If you don't tap in time a buzzer starts and you have 2 seconds to tap or everything shuts off. If you lose control and push and hold the button down for more than 2 seconds then everything shuts off. If you start getting the shakes and hit the button more than 3 or 4 times in 10 seconds then everything shuts off.

Arduino's are available for cheap all over the world and the programing for one to do this type of thing would be trivially easy. You would want something like a "PowerSwitch Tail" IIU-240 Kit to let the Arduino control power to your machine. http://www.powerswitchtail.com/Pages/PSTIIU.aspx And lastly you need a button or momentary switch. A rotating momentary switch may be best because it would be really hard to activate on accident, but not so great because it would be fairly impossible to use with your feet but because you wouldn't need to constantly be pushing it something that is actuated by hand seems reasonable to me.

There are actually a lot of different ways you could do a keep-alive/heartbeat/watchdog type system using the Arduino. Do you need something that will respond much quicker to a loss of control? Use two buttons mounted facing each other about 1.5 shoe widths apart. Moving your foot side to side you have to alternate which button you push and if you don't push the correct button within 1 second everything shuts off. Do you need something that requires more thought so that some base part of your brain isn't still tapping a button while your higher brain function has checked out and risking your safety? Get 5 LEDs and 5 buttons and every 30 seconds a different light turns on and a buzzer sounds, you now have a few seconds to tap the correct button and only that button or everything turns off.

You have a lot of different ways you could set it up and even something complicated should run you less than 100 pounds.
 

Tin Falcon

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Thank you all those helping this guy . especially the ones dealing with this condition . I know machining but other than my first res ponder training years ago i know nothing about epilepsy.
Tin
 

Cbowler

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Smaller table top machines like Sherline or Taig might be a consideration as well as the great suggestions already posted.
Cole
 

Wizard69

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I might as well add my two cents. First off I'm diabetic which is a whole different ball of wax. At this point in the disease development I have a pretty good idea when something is going wrong. As has been noted a seizure patient may not have such warnings, this makes safety far more difficult. It is such a bad condition that I'm not sure that I can see a clean and safe way to set up a non CNC machine that would be safe.

My first thought was to implement an anti tie down control for each machine that has to remain activated while the machine runs. This involves two switches that have to be pressed at the same time and in this case remain actuated while the machine runs. Combined with an air brake on the drive motor this has the chance to stop the machine fairly quickly. The problem then becomes how do you manage any of the dials, levers and so forth.

By the way, everything I've seen suggested to this point in the thread would likely be far more useful if the machine had a mechanical brake on the motor or motors driving the machine. The amount of time for a spindle to wind down and the amount of energy in that spindle varies greatly with what is being worked on at the time. So I don't see much of a safety gain without some sort of brake to stop the spindle real quick. These brakes aren't cheap either which is another problem, most of them are air actuated too which adds yet another problem.

I'm not even sure how you would enclose a manual machine to make it safe enough for a seizure patient and still maintain access to the controls. Look at it this way you can put a cover or guard over the spindle but what do you do about the front apron, lead screws and so forth. Those are just as dangerous as the spindle. The problem is that you don't need a massive collision with the lathe resulting in huge body trauma to kill you, all that needs to happen is to get pulled in far enough to cut open a vein while the seizure is taking place to put you in bad shape real quick. Getting wrapped up in a chuck or work piece can be ugly but that isn't the only way to death on a machine.

This brings us to two possible alternatives. Well one is focused on lathes but they would be the Electronic Leadscrew and CNC. With a bit of prep you implement either as a totally enclosed machine which would be vastly safer and by the way a lot cleaner. I can't say I have any experience with the electronic lead screw, but for the description it sounds like it could be very useful to you if you went to the lengths required to implement supporting safety circuitry. CNC is a more well known solution that would allow you to easily implement safe solutions. Thankfully the costs are more reasonable today than at any time in the past.

Even with CNC though I'd still implement additional safety features beyond what many of the low cost machines have. Number one of course would be a full enclosure with a safety interlocked door. I'd still would want a brake on the spindle motor. Cycle start should be anti tie down to start the machine. MDI mode might be even more interesting. Off the top of my head I can't offer lots of suggestions, maybe implementation of combo keystrokes.

In any event CNC could lead to safe operation of your two major platforms for this hobby. You still would have to address things like bench grinders, drill presses, deburring/sanding/finishing machines and other powered tools in the shop. Some of these I see no simple safety solutions. Of course you could approach some of those tasks the old fashion way with hand tools.

In any event without totally enclosing the machine, and the use of CNC, I just don't see a safe solution. There is just no way to tell where all the body parts will be with a seizure. I don't want to discourage you but I've seen healthy people end up with body parts where they really shouldn't be. It is always possible to defeat the best intentions of the engineers that designed the machines safety systems. You just need a safety approach that is next to impossible to defeat while that seizure takes place.
 

DougB

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In reading your call for input to assist with your hindrance I firstly must say do not give up with the workshop. I strongly believe the therapy of the workshop will offer you a far greater chance of a “normal” life than any other activity. All the offered advice regarding this matter will no doubt assist you to cookbook a method of protection from harm during the real possibility of a seizure at the wrong time.

In considering this matter I am of the opinion there are two main factors that will cause injury, falling forward into the lathe chuck and or falling into other objects within the workshop. Dealing with the lathe specific other correspondents have offered sound advice in the use of a foot switch in series with the motor. This is unquestionably “sound practice” however I would recommend two foot switches in series one for each foot as I suspect one switch would be used by your dominate side i.e. right foot. Automatically this will be the supporting leg subconsciously trying to support you during a seizure fall and the last leg to be lifted from the floor. I also would recommend in lieu of an AC electric motor use a DC motor with dynamic braking (basically a dead short circuit across the armature) as the inertia of the chuck can still cause some serious injury. This part of the circuit would be operated by the foot switch. The other advantage of using a DC motor would be the infinite speed control, always a real advantage in time saving and fine tuning.
The guards and face protection are also a must but do not wear leather gloves for any operation in the workshop. If you must wear hand protection use the industrial quality latex glove.

Turning to the falling component I am recommending perhaps something out of left field.
Using a riggers harness and a seat belt from a motor car the combination of these should protect you from falling into something untoward. The sudden pull on the belt will lock the inertia ratchet within the seat belt anchor and support you in suspension. For this to work properly it would be necessary to mount the anchor in the roof space behind your normal standing position say approx 600mm. In an event you would most likely fall backwards as once again your instinctive mechanisms will try and over compensate you falling forward. If you have the room a refinement would be to have linear track and roller dolly system the length of the workshop allowing you to move freely within.

In conclusion there could be a switch installed within the inertia lock (perhaps a hall effect) with a time delay to overcome false triggering and intern this would operate an alarm to advise your carer of you plight.

I sincerely hope this offering assist you with your quest and I wish well for the future.

Doug Baker
 

Hopper

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Or think outside the box a little and mount your lathe on a lower bench with legroom underneath so you can sit in a comfortable chair while turning. Less likely to fall forward that way, and less distance from head to ground if worst comes to worst. And I suppose you could rig up some kind of seat belt or harness to stop you falling forward. In that case you would want to have similar height benches around with tools etc all in arm's reach.

I reckon I would want a good solid plexiglass shield between me and the rotating chuck too. This could be rigged with a switch that shut off the power if the sheild is pushed up or down out of position on its pivot, so if your body weight lands on it, power is cut.

I have a disablility, nothing like yours, and have found that I can get around it by setting up chairs and stools and bench heights to suit various types of work and thinking of diffferent ways of doing things.

One thing you don't want to do is give up a beloved hobby and end up sitting around on the couch all your life. Personally, I would rather take the risk of eating a rotating chuck than going back to that.
 

Septic

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Radio Shack in USA and Maplins in the UK used to sell an infra-red beam detector kit which could be used to activate a burglar alarm, or any other circuit using a simple relay.

Having one that keeps the power on while you are in the beam may be easier than having one hand on a "dead man's handle' or using a foot switch, or you could have one to cut power if anything broke a beam too close to a rotating chuck, or spindle, as was the case with most industrial press-brakes and similar plant in UK factories for many years.
 

Tin Falcon

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I like the electric eye idea. Need to learn to work around the beam.
Tin
 

multiturner

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Hello,
As you can possibly tell from my user name on this forum that I have been a woodturner for about seven years, also I now have both lots of woodwoking machinery including a metal working lathe and woodturning lathe, as the wood lathe was were I started, I have very bad epilepsy and have an average of 4 -5 siezures every week, but I will not let that put me off. About I have had a few siezures in my shed but up to now I have been extremly lucky. About 5 years ago I fell in a halogen heater in my shed & that heater just boke to bits as you can well imagine, but apart from that it also put all of the electricity off both in the shed & in the house, when that happened I had a local company install armoured cable from inside my home up to the shed, and this company also fitted a three pin socket in the meter cuboard, plugged into this socket is a baby alarm, and I can go into either of my sheds and have the confidence to know that if I have a siezure in the shed and the electric turns itself off, an alarm will sound inside the meter cuboard, as the electricity to the shed are on a sperate circit to everything inside the house so only loss of electric in the shed will every trip the alarm, and apart from all this the only other thing I do have is plenty of common sence, If like today I have had a siezure in the house I just will not go into the shed at anytime during that day, as I know that there could be more siezures due, this way if I do get hurt in the house at least I know that firstly I wont be hurt by any of the machinery in the shed, plus I also am lucky in that I still have my mother living at home with me and she is my carer, so evan if the worst did happen she is there to give me any help.:)
Also I concider that I will not let my epilepsy stop me from doing my hobbies, I have learned over the last 40 years to mould my life around the epilepy, I wont let them control me.
I hope some of the above advice may be of use to you. and hope to hear from you soon.:):cool:

I hope you find some of this advise helpful
 
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lennardhme

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Very interesting & timely thread for me. I'm in the process of helping a friend with schizophrenia set up his workshop. Medication can sometimes make him drowsy, so a lot of helpful advice to consider.
thanks.
 

Hopper

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Hello,
As you can possibly tell from my user name on this forum that I have been a woodturner for about seven years, also I now have both lots of woodwoking machinery including a metal working lathe and woodturning lathe, as the wood lathe was were I started, I have very bad epilepsy and have an average of 4 -5 siezures every week, but I will not let that put me off. About I have had a few siezures in my shed but up to now I have been extremly lucky. About 5 years ago I fell in a halogen heater in my shed & that heater just boke to bits as you can well imagine, but apart from that it also put all of the electricity off both in the shed & in the house, when that happened I had a local company install armoured cable from inside my home up to the shed, and this company also fitted a three pin socket in the meter cuboard, plugged into this socket is a baby alarm, and I can go into either of my sheds and have the confidence to know that if I have a siezure in the shed and the electric turns itself off, an alarm will sound inside the meter cuboard, as the electricity to the shed are on a sperate circit to everything inside the house so only loss of electric in the shed will every trip the alarm, and apart from all this the only other thing I do have is plenty of common sence, If like today I have had a siezure in the house I just will not go into the shed at anytime during that day, as I know that there could be more siezures due, this way if I do get hurt in the house at least I know that firstly I wont be hurt by any of the machinery in the shed, plus I also am lucky in that I still have my mother living at home with me and she is my carer, so evan if the worst did happen she is there to give me any help.:)
Also I concider that I will not let my epilepsy stop me from doing my hobbies, I have learned over the last 40 years to mould my life around the epilepy, I wont let them control me.
I hope some of the above advice may be of use to you. and hope to hear from you soon.:):cool:

I hope you find some of this advise helpful
Atta boy!!! Love your attitude. Where there is a will there is a way. Never give up!
 

Herbiev

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Invocast. You have posted in our "machining with disabilities section". If you wish to advertise your services please contact Austin for rates.
 

Wagon173

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You could always model one after a jetski or treadmill. Hook a magnetic kill switch up to your machines and use a little clip on a string to attach to your clothing somewhere. In the event that you go into convulsions it will be as if you had fallen off the jetski or treadmill and it will yank the magnet off your machine killing it's power supply. Sorry if someone has already suggested this. I only read the initial post. Good luck!
 

syrtismajor

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Firstly I'd like to apologise for the amount of time it has taken me to reply to this wonderful and deeply insightful thread.
I just wanted to see what type of responses I would get and then respond. That all went wrong however when I started to move in with my partner. It is a rented house and my partner has been living there for a few years. We're now buying from the landlady so it is a private sale.
Unfortunately that plan has now gone a bit like this: :fan:
This doesn't mean that the sale has stopped, it just means that the solicitors are being total and utter *&"%$@£%")"&$^") and taking over three months to get it sorted. One of the results of this is a drastically reduced amount of time online.
That aside I would like to thank you all for your support and fantastic replies. I do also have some sort of good news that my medication now seem to be working much better. Now before a seizure I have a clear warning sign (feels like my brain is sinking to the left) for a few seconds before an onset. Even better news is that I haven't has a seizure now for just under 5 months (hurrah!). This doesn't mean however that I will never have one again (it is actually inevitable due to my condition but that is another story).
What is great is that I will eventually have a proper work area in the house along with my partner who is into needle work etc. This means in the event of a seizure she will be there to pull me away from the machinery. This combined with my 'alarm aura' to hit the kill switch makes me much more confident to continue with my hobby.
Now for the 'other story'. You may recall from my first post that I had surgery to my brain to remove some grey matter. That matter contained an Oligodendroglioma. While they could remove the bulk, it doesn't stop the fact that it is an intrinsically intrusive tumor. This fact means that they cannot remove every last cancerous cell so it will eventually return.
Please don't give me any support as it is not what I want. The expectancy puts me in the same bracket as 'being hit by a bus tomorrow'. Nobody goes around saying that they are sorry that they may be hit as that doesn't make any sense and I feel the same way. It does mean however that I have to work around one the symptoms it gave me.
What it has done however has made me feel that I really should tackle the one project I wanted to complete. This means that I am shelving my LBSC Virginia project and soon will start on the major project. This will remain a secret until I start. I already have most of the parts ready including the full wheel set, a few feet of LG2 bronze and about 5kg of mild steel. Soon a brand new 3.5" scale steam locomotive to no commercial drawings will commence. Watch this space...
 

44-henry

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I have had students that suffered from that condition and we were able to make accommodations so that they could continue to use our machine shop area. What I would suggest has been mentioned above and that would be:

1. Try to have a partner that will be in the work area with you whenever possible. This person should have some familiarity with the machine shop tools and the ability to shut them down in the event of an emergency and also help get you medical attention.
2. Explore CNC machines. You can do much of the preparation behind a computer and with the right system the actual setup of the machine can be safe and operation can be behind a closed door with safety locks in place to prevent interfering with the operation. Look for systems made for educational programs as they often have the smaller scale and safety features that you would require.
3. Consider using smaller machines such as Sherline, Taig. While not without dangers, they are considerably less than full size equipment and can often be rigged for other safety features that would be helpful to you.
4. Learn to love hand tools. People often forget, or do not realize, the capabilities of hand tools and mastering their use can provide a great reward, greater safety, and oftentimes better work than can be done with power tools.
5. Consider shifting your focus. I have found as much, if not more enjoyment, documenting and writing about machine tool processes for others to enjoy. Find a good lab partner and work together to detail the process, perhaps write and publish an e-book on the subject.

Though I have no firsthand experience with what you are going through, I am someone who suffers from Rheumatoid arthritis which provides its share of limitations and potentially greater obstacles down the road. Life is too short even when everything goes right to not enjoy the time that we have. If this hobby is your passion, as I feel that it is, than don't give up on it. Adapt and find a way to continue doing what you love and don't let the illness define you.
 

Wizard69

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It is pretty hard to relate to your problem. I'm a diabetic myself but do have some ability to control my condition and thankfully have gotten to the point of suddenly passing out. So suggestions made here are at best guesses.

Hello all!
This is a bit of an odd question but I am hoping for some kind of positive answer.
Last year after a sudden seizure and brain surgery I was diagnosed with epilepsy (thankfully non-photosensitive). Thankfully I'm okay and have lost nothing at all (other than 25 cubic cm of grey matter :eek:).
I'd consider loosing gray matter to be very serious.
The problem is the potential of giving up model engineering as a result since I cannot control my seizures (three in 12 months so they're not that frequent). The thought of having one whilst on my lathe isn't one I want to consider. It's bad enough waking up on the floor let alone doing so while suddenly missing a body part...
This is a serious issue and frankly I think the only really safe approach would be a rather full CNC machine implementation. By full I mean a CNC built with complete guarding that is impossible to operate when "open" and impossible to fall into while running.
Basically my question is simply; is there some kind of 'kill switch' I can buy or create to cut all power to my tools upon the onset of a seizure?
I've thought about this a lot and can only come up with a 'foot paddle' that has to remain pressed to allow power to my tools. The problem is that I cannot guarantee that this will work since seizures are inherently unpredictable in their effect on the body.
The use of a foot switch would not work in my opinion and would leave you with a false sense of security. Much of you could end up in a machine before it coasted to a stop and that is if your foot pressure is removed in a timely manner.

If you are interested in manual machining you might be able to get buy with a fully enclosed machine with cranks moved to the outside of the enclosure. With a digital axis position display this might be workable for a mill. The idea of course is to isolate you and your body from moving parts when the machine is powered up. Depending upon the mill this might be fairly easy to accomplish. Think lots of lexan and framing.
Does anybody on these forums have such a condition or know someone that has and have found a way to overcome this? I dread the idea of letting this addiction go because of something so basic so any help or suggestion would be fantastic.
Actually I don't know of anyone, however don't let this keep you from enjoying the hobby. We as a group might not find all the answers immediately but I would think some good ideas will float to the surface.
I'm hoping for an positive answer more for the peace of mind of my partner. I've already scared her enough over the past year with an excess of medical visits and both of us don't want another!
For somethings I think CNC would be the best route to follow even if there is an extended learning curve. Mainly because CNC isolates you from the operation of the machine. However CNC doesn't cover everything that needs to be done in the home shop. I'm thinking sharpening tools (grinding), deburring parts and finishing (belt sanders and the like). Here hand tools will have to replace power tools and you may have to prefer buying tooling as opposed to grinding HSS. Hand cranked bench grinders might be a thing of the past for most of us but I would suspect that the danger to you would be greatly reduced for light work.

In a nut shell I don't see any kill switch like arrangement being anywhere near 100% effective. Even if you had a switch on the ceiling you had to maintain on in order to operate a machine you still have the problem of inertia and the time it takes the machine to wind down. On some machines a clutch/brake might help with a quick stop, however many machines are designed for quick stops and frankly you often need two hands so holding one in the air in a kill switch probably won't work. So in the end I just don't see a viable kill switch approach.

In any event I'm going to read through the rest of this thread to see what else might be possible.

Correction: I just realized that I responded to this thread some time ago. My memory just isn't what it use to be!
 
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Wizard69

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I have had students that suffered from that condition and we were able to make accommodations so that they could continue to use our machine shop area. What I would suggest has been mentioned above and that would be:

1. Try to have a partner that will be in the work area with you whenever possible. This person should have some familiarity with the machine shop tools and the ability to shut them down in the event of an emergency and also help get you medical attention.
Having someone around is a good idea. However they would not be able to respond fast enough to prevent being turned into hamburger if you fall into a machine. This is why I see full guarding as being very important, it only takes milliseconds for a machine to do its damage. In fact I see no arrangement of observer, kill switch or other non physical guarding that would be 100% reliable.
2. Explore CNC machines. You can do much of the preparation behind a computer and with the right system the actual setup of the machine can be safe and operation can be behind a closed door with safety locks in place to prevent interfering with the operation. Look for systems made for educational programs as they often have the smaller scale and safety features that you would require.
This is certainly a good idea. These days it can be cheaper to outfit a CNC machine rather than trying to outfit a manual mill with all the required goodies.
3. Consider using smaller machines such as Sherline, Taig. While not without dangers, they are considerably less than full size equipment and can often be rigged for other safety features that would be helpful to you.
Swinging body parts into a chuck would still be extremely dangerous. However with a little creativity you can place the knobs out side of an enclosure effectively isolating you from those dangers. A suitably modified Taig lathe or even a 7x10 would still be comfortable to operate like this. The only gotcha might be the compound and there a stepper and manual pulse generator might do the trick.
4. Learn to love hand tools. People often forget, or do not realize, the capabilities of hand tools and mastering their use can provide a great reward, greater safety, and oftentimes better work than can be done with power tools.
This is very true. Hand powered grinders use to be fairly common in home shops. Even things like braces and cranked drills are useful and sometimes preferred. I use a Stanley hand cranked drill with a counter sink to deburr holes for example. Such a tool is actually an advantage as it gives you good control to just touch something up.
5. Consider shifting your focus. I have found as much, if not more enjoyment, documenting and writing about machine tool processes for others to enjoy. Find a good lab partner and work together to detail the process, perhaps write and publish an e-book on the subject.
Just going CNC would be a huge shift in focus. The problem is where does ones satisfaction come from. I know personally I'd rather just work with my hands rather than spend a lot of time designing.
Though I have no firsthand experience with what you are going through, I am someone who suffers from Rheumatoid arthritis which provides its share of limitations and potentially greater obstacles down the road. Life is too short even when everything goes right to not enjoy the time that we have. If this hobby is your passion, as I feel that it is, than don't give up on it. Adapt and find a way to continue doing what you love and don't let the illness define you.
Yep adaptation is the key. Since few of us have this specific issue all we can do is make suggestions. Ultimately a method of protection must be found that is 100% reliable when the body is doing extremely strange things. In some cases there might not be an ideal solution.
 

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