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Thread: Do metalworkers cover their big metal machines?

  1. #1

    Do metalworkers cover their big metal machines?

    Sawdust is easy enough to brush off a wood lathe. But what about black soot from cutting torches, grinders and welding tools? It must go everywhere. I'm wondering if folks cover their brakes, shears, etc.
    Lloyd Kerry

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    I don't weld (unless you count forge welding). I cover the forge when not in use & wax and cover the anvil. Sea salt is a constant fight. Soot from the acetyline torch is pretty much a non problem.
    Shawn

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    My metal shop and most metal shops I've worked in are much cleaner than my wood shop. I've worked in Tool and Die shops that were cleaner than most most kitchens. Depends on the type of work you do. When you are working to extreme tolerances things must be very clean, even dust will cause tolerance problems. Having said that, my home machine shop is not of that level of cleanliness, because I don't work in the extreme tolerance zone at home. But I do have my machines inside plastic curtained walls with a .3 micron Heppa filter scrubbing the wood shop air before it enters the machine shop. Heated and air conditioned also.
    So no, I don't cover my metal working machines. I do very little "blacksmith" type of work though. Mostly machining with the occasional tourch treat operation, no metal bending or welding.
    The Plane Anarchist

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    I have wondered at times if sawdust and wood chips getting mixed in with cutting oil create a possibility of starting a fire like oily rags do? I don't cover my machinery but most of my wood working equipment are not located near my metal working equipment . My welding and metal chop sawing are in separate buildings away from wood and metal working equipment.
    David B

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    Quote Originally Posted by David G Baker View Post
    I have wondered at times if sawdust and wood chips getting mixed in with cutting oil create a possibility of starting a fire like oily rags do?
    In cases like that, all you have to do is ask "Is the oil flammable?" The wood chips will act like a wick, but if you dip them in Coke they still won't burn... the oil itself has to burn.
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  6. #6
    All oil is flammable. It would depend on the type of oil being used? Take linseed oil,if the wood was saturated by this oil and compacted in a tight pile or space,the wood will advance in lighting off. You need heat source, fuel (matter) and O2 to create a fire. Actually the oil doesn't burn per say,it's the off gas that the heat is creating with oil.
    I would consider all oil a flammable material regardlesswhat it is mixed with or not. Mix itwith Coke and it can still burn because oil or petroleum products really do notbind with much of anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Elliott View Post
    All oil is flammable. It would depend on the type of oil being used? Take linseed oil,if the wood was saturated by this oil and compacted in a tight pile or space,the wood will advance in lighting off. You need heat source, fuel (matter) and O2 to create a fire. Actually the oil doesn't burn per say,it's the off gas that the heat is creating with oil.
    I would consider all oil a flammable material regardlesswhat it is mixed with or not. Mix itwith Coke and it can still burn because oil or petroleum products really do notbind with much of anything.
    I wasn't suggesting mixing Coke in with the oily chips, in case that was read the wrong way. I was saying that although wood chips will wick up Coke, it still won't burn as Coke itself doesn't (normally) burn. But if you wick up oil, and that oil has a tendency to burn, then yes, it can go south quickly. Motor oil will not catch on fire if you throw a match in a puddle... but put it on an exhaust manifold and you're past the ignition point. El Flame-O! Mix it into bundled rags where any heat from the breakdown process can build up and again, El Flame-O!

    Cutting oil by itself will not catch on fire if you throw a match into a puddle of it. But the correct ignition source will eventually ignite it. So, to de-simplify my "is it flammable" question... if the cutting oil breaks down in a similar fashion (and therefore creates heat in the process), a thick enough pile of soaked shavings could get to the El Flame-O point.
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    If the burning match are held close to the oil so that the oil get hot enough to smoke the smoke will catch on fire
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  9. #9
    I wouldn't worry about a match in the shop.. I'm sure you're not lighting them off and tossing them into a puddle. What I would be worried about is a hot piece of metal dropping into this mixture we are talking about. You know, those bad luck days when the tool grinds something the wrong way. Ray, you are right.. that happens more than people think.

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    I worked many years in a sheet metal shop with a lot of welding going on every day. No we did not cover anything. Never had a problem except with the lights. Once a year we would have to clean the soot off of the light fixtures and the lamps to keep the shop well lit.
    Just my opinion, I may be right!

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    David,

    A lot of newer synthetic metal cutting lubricants are actually water based. Even so, my bigger concern with sawdust in my cutting oil would be clogging the lubricating jets. I've never looked into it, but it just seems that a material would need a low flash point for spontaneous combustion to be a concern. Plus being in a machine shop the lubricant would be around sparks and flames all the time. Hopefully chemical engineers would have enough sense not to use that type of material for a friction lubricant.

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    This thread seems to be more about fire control than dust control; although they're not isolated from each other. At any rate, I don't weld in the basement workshop, but I do have metal and wood machines near each other, so I'm interested in the dust control aspects. I wanted to point out this thread: http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...athe-placement in the Turner's forum where shower curtains (yes!) are suggested as a cost-effective way to get some isolation of different shop areas.
    I might just try this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd Kerry View Post
    Sawdust is easy enough to brush off a wood lathe. But what about black soot from cutting torches, grinders and welding tools? It must go everywhere. I'm wondering if folks cover their brakes, shears, etc.

    I will cover a machine if I'm grinding near it, in order to keep the fine grinding particles off of the equipment. I also usually cover the TIG welder. Otherwise, no.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Hintz View Post
    Cutting oil by itself will not catch on fire if you throw a match into a puddle of it. But the correct ignition source will eventually ignite it. So, to de-simplify my "is it flammable" question... if the cutting oil breaks down in a similar fashion (and therefore creates heat in the process), a thick enough pile of soaked shavings could get to the El Flame-O point.

    Not an issue as it is with Linseed oil, and other vegetable oils. Petroleum oils don't polymerize, which is the exothermic reaction that makes Linseed oil soaked rags a hazard. So the requirement to stash them in a safety can covers 2 possibilities: Ignition from an outside source, and; Satisfying a fireman and/or insurance inspector who doesn't understand the difference between petroleum and vegetables ;-) There are, however, some cutting oils which are vegetable based. Whether they're a problem like Linseed I don't know.

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