Mechanical Safety

Typical machine shops have available (in working condition) drill presses, band saws, milling machines, lathes and others. In the use of all of these devices, eye protection is essential. Beware of any loose personal articles (lab coat, ties, long hair) which may be caught on moving parts of equipment. On a lathe, the rotating positioning wheel can easily catch a pocket. Machine shop equipment is completely unforgiving and will draw the body into it, tearing off fingers and limbs. Parts to be drilled or tapped should preferably be clamped down prior to use, or held down firmly. Otherwise the part may be lifted by the drill bit and turned into a propeller blade. A block of sacrificial wood should be used to push parts through the band saw, not the fingers. In all cases, one needs to pay full attention to the equipment and not be distracted during use. John Holthaus should be consulted for training before use of the equipment residing in the furnace room in MSE. Similarly for the use of the rolling mill, Dr. Sanders must be consulted.

The undergraduate mechanical testing area as well as the Mechanical Properties Research Laboratory (MPRL) are potentially hazardous areas where training and approval by R.C. Brown is required prior to use. Hazards are related to the very high loads applied by the testing machines and the high power motors used to generate them. The Satec machine in the undergraduate area will generate 50,000 pounds of force on anything in its path. For this reason, only one operator should have their hands between the pinch points (the cross head and the table) and this person should be the onlyone to start the machine. The machine should not be started until the safety shields are in place and the area for testing is clear. The shields are essential since under certain conditions of fracture under load, parts could be sent flying at great velocities into the room. With the Charpie machine, the hammer and anvil area are of greatest concern-the machine is capable of generating 250 ft-lbs of force (more force than a car's motor can generate, and on a small area.) The hammer must be lifted and held in place by a small pin, which is then lever released. So that the lever is not released with another individual in the flight path of the hammer, only the operator should be behind the safety barrier. The rolling mill will take anything fed into it and reduce its cross sectional area, including parts of the human body. For this reason, materials should be fed into the device with a push block, not directly with the hands.

The MPRL is a particularly hazardous area and admittance to the facility is available only to those who have completed the MPRL training requirements. This area has 3000 psi hydraulic fluid driving the servo controlled test frames. This fluid, if released in a fine jet, can cut through a steel plate. These machines are capable of generating 20,000 pounds of force at a rate of 10 m/s. A complete knowledge of the operator controls and operating software is necessary for the machine to be operated safely.