Pay attention when using the shaper
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  1. #1
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    Default Pay attention when using the shaper

    Today i was setting up to cut the mill-scale off of some 1 1/4" square x 16" long bar stock on the 16" cincinnati universal shaper. I failed to confirm the back-gear was engaged and turned the machine on with 157 strokes/min selected (highest speed setting) with the machine set up for its' maximum stroke length. Fortunately my hand never left the ram engagement switch but even so, the machine made two full strokes before i was able to shut it down. It's not bolted to the floor. In those two strokes, two things happened:

    1. It scared the hell out of me
    2. It walked back 1/2"

    Other than soiled underwear, there was no damage to man, machine or shop.

    I'm not new to working around man-eating equipment or situations where independent verification is a good idea. I've had all kinds of training on the dangers of complacency and have been a bit of of a safety evangelist and yet, i made what i consider to be an inexcusable mistake. The fact that there was no real consequence was just dumb luck.

    From now on, i shall be verifying correct gear settings prior to engaging the ram.

  2. #2
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    Which is why I prefer a machine to have a manual clutch so it can be slowly cycled before full engagement.....also why most WHSO have banned shapers..............but the commonest shaper accident is still trying to mike a cut with a slow stroking ram.......a fast cut ,you stay clear,a slow one you think you have lots of time............anyway,for machine disasters you couldnt beat the old Warner and Swasey CNC machines from the seventies......never seen one wasnt smashed to pieces.

  3. #3
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    One of the most frightening aspects of safety is when oldtimers kill themselves or nearly do, a flight instructor acquaintance of mine was "Mr. Safety", all about it on every flight, big on long drawn out preflights and swivel eyes during flight.

    He got killed when a high wing plane came up under his low wing plane.

    Same kind of aspect for warfare, they say everyone expected the new guy to get killed but the really high time soldier who knew all the tricks to stay alive sometimes got killed anyway.

    I really think for the machine shop the photos of killed machinists are almost necessary, and stressing that we all have moments when we SHOULD be paying attention but are thinking about dinner or something. Safety meetings are good all around, perfect to show after the fact that the guys were warned too. Not trying to be cynical but that signed meeting slip could be the difference between selling out to retire or selling out to pay off a lawsuit.
    It's hard to think about though, when you come to work it's all about getting the job done, I know, but stories like this make me want to stress safety meetings not as drudgery but for saving someone's life.

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  5. #4
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    Thinking about your story made me realize too that all my smaller shapers have a handwheel, it's part of setup to pull it through and that would be a hint if it was in high gear. But not with a 16" maybe, too much friction?

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    Quote Originally Posted by partsproduction View Post
    Thinking about your story made me realize too that all my smaller shapers have a handwheel, it's part of setup to pull it through and that would be a hint if it was in high gear. But not with a 16" maybe, too much friction?
    No hand wheel on my 14 inch Steptoe but a big clutch lever that can be feathered.. I always feather the clutch to see if my set up is ok FIRST... Ramsay 1

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    Almost !!!
    The ever best learning experience

    Peter

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  9. #7
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    When I go to an unknown setup in a shaper, I always make sure that the ram and the tool are above danger. I started running shapers about fifty three years ago with ten fingers, still got all ten.

    JH

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  11. #8
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    I remember some guys moving a shaper when I was a young guy. They set it up near the foreman's office and switched it on. Unfortunately it was on full stroke and the back end of the ram punched a hole in the single brick wall of the office.

    I used to work at another place where the new maintenance electrician's nickname was " Jaws ". No matter what you'd done he'd always done it bigger, better and more often. In spite of this he'd obviously never seen a shaper working before. His attitude managed to upset most of the maintenance team in no time at all !

    When we moved the shop shaper he fastened the electrical isolator to the ram and ran his tubing down to it from the ceiling !
    When he'd finished we made sure it was on a short stroke and switched the machine on. His face was a picture when he saw the tubing wagging back and forth.


    Regards Tyrone.

  12. #9
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    some years ago I was taking some light surfacing cuts with a 14 inch Steptoe. Evidently, the tool post was not tightened enough. After about 4 strokes the tool holder dropped down. The 3/8 MoMax tool bit attempted to take a 1 inch cut. It broke and flew across the shop like a bullet. Luckily I was standing to the side.
    Still haven't found the projectile end.
    Lesson------ Tighten twice.

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    Thanks for the reminder.

  15. #11
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    I learned not to stand in front of the Shaper when a hot blue chip went down the front of my shirt and "branded" me. I certainly agree with those above to start slow and check set ups and return stroke clearances. I love my shaper but respect its power. Please post some photos of set ups and work done. It is nice to talk about Shapers but photos say so much more.

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  17. #12
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    Dad always told me, when you operate a shaper, you ALWAYS run it from the side. Never run it from in front, one way to get your chest or head caved in from the ram! And always keep your hands and fingers away from the clapper and tool bit when it is stroking. I haven't had a chance to operate a shaper still hope to get one some day. Have operated a couple of planers in my younger years! Does that count? Ken

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