duckboards - usefulness at machines
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  1. #1
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    Default duckboards - usefulness at machines

    PA Engineer has an interesting post in the Antiques forum on a Cincinnati Lathe & Tool lathe. Mention is made there of what I would call duckboards placed in front of machines, a not uncommon oldtime practice. It seems to be almost universally agreed that they are more comfortable to stand on when operating for long periods of time than solid flooring. I'd be interested in understanding why this is so, and if the enhanced comfort applies to all operators or only to certain individuals. I should add that I have only the most limited experience with machine operation while standing on these things, the ones I recall being ancient examples. What struck me was that they were oil soaked and spongy.
    -Marty-

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    I just wear sneakers with Dr. Shole's (?) pads in them. They pad anything I walk on. No duck boards needed.

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    I have a few duckboards that I made for machines, they do seem to reduce the stress on your feet. My guess is the flexibility transmits less shock to your feet and legs than a solid floor. A side benefit is not standing directly on oily swarf. The boards I made have a fairly wide gaps 3/4~7/8" so chips can fall through. While the slats can get oily they don't pool like a floor does.

    Steve

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    I used a box from a mill run of shafting. A little saw work and I had a spring board or duck board supported in three places over 16 foot long perfect for the lathe. I used one for over 9 years it was really good for the feet and back.

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    Essential piece of equipment in my opinion. Every machine and work bench had one in my last real engineering place. I worked on duck boards most of my life without any foot trouble. The last ten years I worked in a shop with no duck boards and I've had plenty of trouble with my feet.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Ya think our age might be related to the pain in the last ten years? I am pretty sure of it in my case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgedog View Post
    Ya think our age might be related to the pain in the last ten years? I am pretty sure of it in my case.

    It's possible. I guess I'll never know now.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgedog View Post
    Ya think our age might be related to the pain in the last ten years? I am pretty sure of it in my case.
    I'm pretty sure age has me more likely to trip over even a thin resilient mat, let alone a duckboard.
    Dunno if that is the reduced peripheral vision of cataract lenses, or just creeping don't-give-a-damn-itis.

    I do buy much better footgear in me dotage.

    As Geo said, it goes with you anywhere in the shop. So far, less trip-hazard as well. I did shed the laces in the steel-toad boots in favor of a light bungee cord around at the top.

    Quick slip-on, slip-off, swop for Brothel-creepers at the shop door, track less swarf into the kitchen or loo.


    Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Feldman View Post
    PA Engineer has an interesting post in the Antiques forum on a Cincinnati Lathe & Tool lathe. Mention is made there of what I would call duckboards placed in front of machines, a not uncommon oldtime practice. It seems to be almost universally agreed that they are more comfortable to stand on when operating for long periods of time than solid flooring. I'd be interested in understanding why this is so, and if the enhanced comfort applies to all operators or only to certain individuals. I should add that I have only the most limited experience with machine operation while standing on these things, the ones I recall being ancient examples. What struck me was that they were oil soaked and spongy.
    -Marty-
    From a hobbiest/homeshop machinist standpoint,they probably dont need duckboards. Same with places that dont do alot of production or theres a high amount of dicking around.

    Commercial machining, on manual equipment/un-guarded CNCs, taking 1/4 inch cuts or more at 0.02 feed roughing passes is a different story. You cant stand on the piles of chips that are generated, its dangerous, uncomfortable and even more destructive to boots then the trade already is. So you have the duckboard so "most" of the chips fall through the slats...........until they accumulate and rise above the slats, at which point you have to pick up the duckboard and sweep up.

    Standing directly on top of chips on concrete, is a balancing act that hurts the back in short order as well.

    I can tell not alot of guys here have tried to walk on concrete with a boot full of chips, your traction goes to nothing pretty quickly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hickstick_10 View Post
    From a hobbiest standpoint,they probably dont need duckboards. Same with places that dont do alot of production or theres a high amount of dicking around.

    Commercial machining, on manual equipment, taking 1/4 inch a side or more at 0.02 feed roughing passes is a different story. You cant stand on the piles of chips that are generated, its dangerous, uncomfortable and even more destructive to boots then the trade already is. So you have the duckboard so "most" of the chips fall through the slats...........until they accumulate and rise above the slats.

    Standing directly on top of chips on concrete, is a balancing act that hurts the back in short order as well.

    I can tell not alot of guys here have tried to walk on concrete with a boot full of chips, your traction goes to nothing pretty quickly.
    Never really a factor. MOST of us learnt to work with what the machine already provided, add a bit of help to MANAGE the chips (AND oily, slippery coolants) and their disposal... instead of HAVING to stand atop 'em. Unsafe is unsafe, duckboard or no.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hickstick_10 View Post
    From a hobbiest/homeshop machinist standpoint,they probably dont need duckboards. Same with places that dont do alot of production or theres a high amount of dicking around.

    Commercial machining, on manual equipment/un-guarded CNCs, taking 1/4 inch cuts or more at 0.02 feed roughing passes is a different story. You cant stand on the piles of chips that are generated, its dangerous, uncomfortable and even more destructive to boots then the trade already is. So you have the duckboard so "most" of the chips fall through the slats...........until they accumulate and rise above the slats, at which point you have to pick up the duckboard and sweep up.

    Standing directly on top of chips on concrete, is a balancing act that hurts the back in short order as well.

    I can tell not alot of guys here have tried to walk on concrete with a boot full of chips, your traction goes to nothing pretty quickly.

    Yup,

    In a half hour the floor will resemble a full chip tray. Rubber soled shoes are just chip magnets, rubber anything gets embedded with swarf that will not come out, even using pliers.

    Steve

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    Am I the only one who uses stools in the shop?

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    Sitting down at the machine is tempting but I like to be on my toes. You never know when you might need to leap out of the way. That's been my experience anyway.

    Regarding swarf in your boots. I used to spend 10 minutes every couple of weeks digging swarf out of the soles of my boots with a terminal screwdriver. I hated the feel of swarf under my feet.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    Sitting down at the machine is tempting but I like to be on my toes. You never know when you might need to leap out of the way. That's been my experience anyway.

    Regarding swarf in your boots. I used to spend 10 minutes every couple of weeks digging swarf out of the soles of my boots with a terminal screwdriver. I hated the feel of swarf under my feet.

    Regards Tyrone.
    It's been my experience, after a few leaping-out-of-the-way incidents, that you then know where to put the stool. Then you can sit in comfort, and no extra exercise required as you watch the 4-lb workpieces ejected from the vise landing safely across the shop.

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    We used the duckboards for many years in the shop where I worked. In our case they were not the best choice. They did add a level of comfort, but any small part or tool that got dropped went between the slats. Then you had to pick up the board, retrieve the part, sweep the area so the boards would lay flat again and reposition the board.

    After about 15 years of the boards they changed to anti fatigue mats. They were just as comfortable and didn't have to be moved every time something was dropped. The only minor downside was that some chips inevitably got pushed into the mats and had to be removed with a pliers. All in all the minor inconvenience was a better option the duckboards in our case.

    For informational purposes the shop I worked in wasn't a production shop. It was rather a prototype and experimental design shop. We rarely made more than a dozen of any given part, so there were no massive chip loads. In my own shop I also use anti fatigue mats, again it's a repair shop not a production shop, and there aren't massive chip loads hitting the floor.

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    OK, I give up, what is a "duck board?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by SIP6A View Post
    OK, I give up, what is a "duck board?"
    Google told me it is like setting a pallet on a mud puddle, origin WW1, to make mucky terrain more passable.

    I thus presume it is a slotted platform that the operator stands on and the chips fall through. I do not know if these machine operator platforms are metal, polymer, rubber or wood.

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    Wooden slatted boards you stood on. They'd be made from say 2.5" by 1"" timbers. Seven or eight running length ways and about five short ones running the other way just nailed together.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Think a pallet on a smaller, longer scale; long strips of wood, often 1" x 2". nailed to and supported by perpendicular stringers underneath. Usually spaced about half the width of the strips so chips fall through.

    jack vines

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    Rubber mats are comfortable, the down side is any hot chips melt into them.

    Steve


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