Last Updated on March 1, 2023 by Charles Wilson
A lathe machine can work wonders when it comes to metal and woodcraft.
But before operating, you must equip yourself with the proper safety knowledge and precautions that you should never forget when using the machine.
So, here are my lathe safety tips for you to remember when using your machine.
Let’s get started!
Important Lathe Safety Tips to Remember
1) Make Sure You Get Proper Training
In operating a lathe machine, it’s important to ensure that the operator has read the owner’s manual CAREFULLY and is properly trained for the job.
Test if they’re skilled in using the tool before giving them the task of operating a lathe machine, and know that they’re aware of the basics to maintain positive control over the machine.
2) Keep Children Out of the Workshop
Making your workplace kid-proof is another safety tip you must remember. Whether it’s your child, your friend’s, or your neighbor’s, ensure that they are not seen near the lathe machine.
If your workshop is in your home and many kids are playing in the area, the least you can do is remove the machine’s starter keys, block the electrical outlets, secure sharp lathe-cutting tools, and store hazardous chemicals out of their reach.
3) Always Remove Adjusting Keys and Wrenches Before Use
Make it a habit to remove chuck wrench immediately, along with the other wrenches, BEFORE using the machine. You should also ensure that adjusting keys are removed before turning the lathe on.
It’s also best if you give the lathe machine a spin with your hand before powering it up.
4) Protect Your Eyes (Wear Safety Glasses)
Always wear safety glasses or a full-face shield to protect your face from flying chips and other objects that might dislodge and hit your face while operating the tool.
The bare minimum is using ANSI-approved safety glasses or those that are CSA-certified.
5) Maintain Cleanliness and Organization in the Work Area
You should also keep your working surface clean at ALL TIMES and keep your tools from cluttering the place. With this, you can also minimize slip hazards and obstructions that might get in your way while working.
Messy work areas are breeding grounds for accidents. Make it a habit to clean, organize your workshop, and keep the floor free from clutter.
6) Wear Proper Clothing
When working with a lathe machine, you must ensure that you’re not wearing loose clothing or jewelry.
Removing accessories and using proper clothes are ESSENTIAL for minimizing entanglement hazards while you work. You must always confine long hair in a hat or hairnet.
7) Secure the Chuck
Always ensure that your workpiece makes contact with the lathe bed before operating, and measure your stock before running it on the tool at the recommended RPM (revolutions per minute).
I suggest you start at slow speeds and work your way up while checking if the stock is aligned properly. Also, you have to make sure that everything is locked in place.
TIP: Inspect chucks for knots and damage. Avoid using those with significant cracks.
8) Keep Lathe Cutting Tools Sharp
Keeping your tools sharp will enable you to work EASILY and SMOOTHLY, plus it’s much safer than working with dull tools.
I always find sharp tools easy to work with, as they allow me to turn and shape workpieces like a hot knife through butter. It’s best to keep the chisels sharp.
Lathe Safety Do’s and Don’ts
Here are the do’s and don’ts to remember to ensure your safety during lathe operations:
- Wear gloves; Don’t wear rings and other accessories.
- Avoid loose clothing and confine long hair at all times.
- Stand erect and keep your face away from flying pieces. Always use safety glasses.
- Stop lathe before adjusting chuck, taking measurements, using calipers or gauges, or before you remove cuttings from the work area.
- Avoid making heavy cuts on long workpieces to keep them from flying out.
- Utilize a lifting device to handle heavy chucks, and always inspect them for wear or damage before use.
- Utilize a barrier guard, especially in power transmission parts, for machines working in semi-automatic or automatic mode.
- Ensure that the chip and coolant shields are positioned correctly, and remove tools and measuring instruments from the lathe bed or saddle before starting the lathe operation.
- Make sure that the machine has an emergency stop button (e-stop).
- Turn off the power supply before loading and removing accessories. Wait for the lathe to come to a complete stop before leaving the workplace.
- Adjust tool and tool rest to be slightly above the center of the chuck. Verify that all work runs true and remains centered.
- Keep the surface around the lathe clean at all times to minimize fall hazards. Don’t use your bare hands to clear the chips. Utilize a cleaning brush or compressed air instead.
- Follow job specifications when working with the chuck. Make sure to understand instructions before working with the chuck.
- Remove the chuck key from the chuck after use.
- Use a center drill to provide support for the workpiece as it turns.
- Hold the turning tool securely and comfortably on the tool rest.
Lathe Hazards to Be Aware Of
You must also be aware of the following hazards during lathe operations:
- Fast-rotating parts and entanglements hazards
- Pinch points from rotating and moving parts
- Cut and laceration hazards from cutting tools, machine edges, and chips
- Flying object hazards from the chuck
- Burn hazards due to high friction
Remember these safety tips to secure yourself when working with a lathe machine. Always remember that in every operation, it’s essential to maintain your safety first before anything else!
Feel free to revisit this article to remind you of the safety tips I shared.