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VERTICAL MILLING MACHINE SAFETY

Safe operation of the vertical milling machine requires that
you learn about hazards so that you can protect yourself
from them. It is important that you be alert when you are
working on a machine tool. Being sick, tired, or emotionally
upset is dangerous when operating any equipment. Many
prescription drugs should not be taken before driving a car
because they affect your reflexes; the same is true of operating
machinery.
A safe machine operator thinks before doing
anything. You need to know what is going to happen before
you turn a lever or operate a control.
Proper dress is important for safe vertical milling machine
operation. Short sleeves or tightly fitting sleeves are protection
against being caught in a revolving spindle.
Rings,
bracelets, earrings, and even wristwatches can become
dangerous if worn around machinery and should be
removed. Eye protection in the form of safety goggles
and face shields should always be worn in a machine
shop. Flying particles from the machine you are operating
or even someone else’s can blind you. Long hair should
be safely covered under a cap or with a hair net. Heavy
shoes should be worn to protect your feet from chips on
the floor and from falling objects. Gloves should not be
worn while operating machines because of the danger of
being caught by the machine. All machine guards should
be in place prior to starting up a milling machine. Observe
the other machines in operation around you to make sure
that they are guarded properly. Report any unsafe or dangerous
practices by those around you to the person in charge.
A safe workplace depends on everyone. If you
need to lift a heavy workpiece or machine attachments,
use a hoist or have someone help you.
SHOP TIP
Milling machine chips are dangerously sharp and often
hot and contaminated with cutting fluids. Never handle
chips with bare hands but remove them with a brush or
vacuum cleaner. Do not use compressed air to blow
chips off a machine or they will become small missiles
that can injure a person, even someone quite a distance
away. Compressed air will also force chips and dirt
between the sliding surfaces of the milling machine,
where they will cause scoring and rapid and permanent
wear. Attempt to clean chips and cutting fluids from the
machine or workpiece only after the cutter has stopped
its rotation. Do not use the machine table or ways as a
worktable, because even small nicks and scratches will
affect the accuracy of the machine. Keep the area
around the milling machine clean of chips, oil spills, cutting
fluids,
and other obstructions to prevent the
machine operator from slipping and stumbling. Be careful
when handling tools or sharp-edged workpieces to
avoid
getting cut;
use a shop towel to protect your
hands. Make sure that workpieces are rigidly supported
and tightly clamped to withstand the usually high cutting
forces encountered in machining. If a workpiece comes
loose while it is being machined, it is often ruined, and so
is the cutter. The operator is also in danger from flying
particles from a broken cutter or the workpiece. The cutting
tools need to be securely fastened in the machine
spindle
to prevent any movement during the cutting
operation.
Excessive feed rates can break the cutting
tool. Measurements are frequently made during machining
operations.
Do not take any measurements until the
spindle has come to a complete standstill. Never leave
a running machine unattended.
SECTION J VERTICAL MILLING MACHINES 513
SHOP TIP
Extreme care should be exercised when the toolhead
needs to be aligned or tilted to cut angular surfaces.
After loosening the clamping bolts that hold the toolhead
to the ram,
retighten them slightly to create a light
drag. Never loosen all the clamping bolts at one time.
There should be enough friction between the toolhead
and the ram that the toolhead swivels only when pressure
is applied to it.
If the clamping bolts are loosened
completely, the weight of the heavy spindle motor will
flip the toolhead upside down. This can cause serious
injury to the operator and damage the toolhead and the
machine table. This operation should be performed by
two persons.

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