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Old 02-24-2008, 07:03 PM
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Drill press accident and how to avoid.

I know some nosy moderator is going to want to move this to the tool forum but please think about it before you do. No one goes to the tool forum looking for safety tips.

Guys, I have an old (VERY old) Montgomery Wards drill press that I bought used. It had a foot switch to turn it on and off. Well, the motor died and when I switched the motor I left the foot switch off. The other day I was drilling a hole in a 3/16" plate and I figured it was a pretty small drill and pretty big plate that I wouldn't clamp it in, big mistake. The friggin thing was ripped from my hand and spinning around and I the friggin switch is BEHIND the drill press. I would have had to bend over with my head right next to the spinning metal to turn it off! So I got between the drill press and my ready to paint car and took one in the stomach for the old Gran Sport! Got a pretty good wound in the belly as well as a hand before the drill bit broke sending the plate to the floor behind the press.

I decided a little late to add that foot switch back on. But I went one better, a momentary "dead mans" switch so all I do is lift my foot and the thing stops. I used the original home made unit and just changed the switch it's self.

Do something like this guys before you end up injured. And I know, you are thinking right now, "I am not a dummy, I clamp the metal in". But one day you could be in a hurry or for that matter the clamp could let loose of it or something like that. I feel a lot better knowing I have that dead-mans switch.

Brian


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Old 02-24-2008, 07:08 PM
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I agree completely. A drill press can be an extremely dangerous piece of equipment.

I had a customer once that owned a welding shop. He almost died from a broken drill that impaled his abdomen. I suggest wearing some sort chest and waist protection, as a broken drill bit can become a dagger in a heart beat. Wear eye protection and make sure it's quality stuff, not some cheezy 4 dollar goggles.
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Old 02-24-2008, 08:00 PM
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Let me know if it's OK to add this to the wiki. We have an in-progress article: Health and safety in the shop or garage.
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Old 02-24-2008, 08:08 PM
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ALL equipment is dangerous! Anything can become deadly at anytime. Friend thought he'd save some time and not put chains around a 2 piece rim he changed on the ground. The ring blew upward, took off his right testicle, and the ring impaled his abdomen. 6 hours of surgery, a colostomy, and 6 months off work to recoup. USE YOUR SAFETY EQUIPMENT!!!!
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Old 02-24-2008, 08:27 PM
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Sure you can use it Jon. And just in case anyone wonders why I used that funky old wooden thing, as respect to the person who made in the first place. It was obviously made in the days when people made everything instead of pulling out the wallet like we have come so use to.

Brian
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Old 02-25-2008, 07:28 AM
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Not a normal tool used on a car project - but yesterday I was using my big contractor's 10" JET table saw to rip a piece of .25 luan 1.5 foot by 3 foot. Now, as you know, this is pretty flimsy stuff and a sharp blade cuts it like butter. I had the blade up about .75, which is normal for this thickness to clear the tooth gullets, was feeding it through, and since it is so thin, wasn't using my push block. BAD IDEA. The piece being thin twisted and rode up the blade and I had a great, standard everyday kick back where the piece was thrown 20-25 feet across the room, hitting the wall about the same height as it started - which means had the wall not been there it would have gone a fair bit farther. I wasn't hurt, didn't get hit by this piece but it sure did emphasize to me again how dangerous power tools are. This saw operates at 3450 rpm and has a 10" blade. That is over 9000 surface feet per minute at the tip. Not sure that I can figure out how fast a real 2.5 Hp motor will kick something off the table, but a <2# piece of wood really moves.

Was I careful? nope. Was I dum? Yep. Will I do it again? Nope!! Will I always use my push devices? Yep!!
Drill presses - not sure my 10 year old Harbor Freight POS would do what Brian's tried to do to him. But have always been careful with it - as I had been with my table saw until I got careless yesterday. My radial arm saw - that's the one that can really do a job on you - I'm really careful here.

Dead man's switches or at least something you can get to quick. a floor switch maybe - great idea - which I haven't done yet, but will consider today.

Dave W
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Old 02-25-2008, 08:04 AM
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Our local vocational high school has a very well equipped machine shop with surface grinders, lathes, EDM machine, heat treat ovens CNC lathes and mills, Bridgeports, etc., but not a single drill press.... considered to dangerous for the kids and adults.

At home, I try to think this out before drilling a hole and sure enough, when I don't do it properly, it bites me. I did build a new lower table for the drill press so the material wouldn't slice me in the neck. Now, it'll get me in the chest if I don't heed my own warnings.
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Old 02-25-2008, 08:39 AM
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I had an accident with a buffing wheel at my shop a few years back... something as innocent as polishing a stainless headlight ring turned into a trip to the emergency room for stitches and an overextended finger Well I will be sure to use more caution and gloves in the future with that thing! I guess the wheel caught some part of it and ripped it out of my hand leaving some deep cuts. An accident can happen in the blink of an eye.
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:43 PM
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Added to the wiki article: http://crankshaftcoalition.com/wiki/...l_press_safety .
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Old 02-25-2008, 04:06 PM
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Thanks for the heads up. A foot switch would be a great saftey feature on alot of power tools. Back in High school I saw a girl loose a fist size chunk of hair to a drill press, Scalp and all The teacher taped the hair to the drill press and had other classes come through the shop to see it lol

I also saw a guy try and pop a blood blister under his fingernail with a drill press.... yeah it caught and went all the way through his thumb.

Jordon
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Old 02-25-2008, 04:55 PM
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This made me take a look at my drill press, it is about 10 years old and it has a nice big toggle switch on the front but I think it's time to put a "kill" switch on it so all I have to do is slap it if something goes wrong.
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Old 02-25-2008, 06:20 PM
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My ten year old saw this happen and afterward I told him how glad I was that he did. Hopefully he won't ever make the same mistake.

Brian
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Old 02-25-2008, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
Do something like this guys before you end up injured. And I know, you are thinking right now, "I am not a dummy, I clamp the metal in". But one day you could be in a hurry or for that matter the clamp could let loose of it or something like that. I feel a lot better knowing I have that dead-mans switch.

Brian
Thanks, Brian.

My drill press tried its best to get me once. I was cobbling up a tool to stir some viscous material and the container got loose, the stirrer bent and everything went into monster mode. The whole press started a drunken, slow-speed wobble and dance across the floor. I didn't know which was scarier -- the risk of the 5-gallon bucket getting completely loose or the gyrations of the press taking it beyond the tip point. (My drill press is attached to a square of 3/4" plywood but it was tilting in the direction of each side when the bucket happened to swing over one). The switch is on the side of the drill press head and the cord plugs in behind it. No way to get to either one. Fortunately my breaker box is about 12 ft from where my drill press plugs in, so I just slapped all of 'em when my brain unfroze.

I think a deadman's switch is well worth the trouble to make. It might protect me sometimes when "oh, this is clever" turns into "OMG what have I done!"

Hmm. Needs to be non-sparking and bistable. Maybe a light switch and a spring-loaded treadle so that when you lift your foot, the treadle flips the switch off. Cord needs to be both hefty and flexible so it can withstand dropping stuff on it and be easy to position.
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Old 02-25-2008, 07:27 PM
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re: drillpress accident

many a long moon ago,when this old man was a mere strippling I was an apprentice machinist,the master machinist in charge of my section showed me how to tap a casting. He didn't put it in a vice,needless to say the second casting spun in my hand.seventy-two stitches later,I learned to read the safety manual,you can be told,or shown anything,but if it's not the right way,they don't pay,YOU DO!
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Old 02-25-2008, 07:52 PM
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drill press

All tools are dangerouse.You have to take caution.I have 5 dollar goggles.there not flimsy.I got metal in my eye I was wearing goggles and a full face shield.It just found a way.##it happens when you fabricate.You could just pay someone else to do it.ive had no problems with my drill press.did have a spring compressor go though.Got 3 stiches on the top of my head.it broke and was made in USA.like I said ##it happens.
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