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ShopSabre Blog

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November 08, 2019

CNC safety tips

By scribe

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CNC routers and plasmas are highly advanced and powerful machines that allow us to perform precise work on an accelerated timeline. But because they’re so high-powered and efficient, they can also be dangerous if not used properly.

Safety should always come first at home or in the shop, and using your machine safely will also extend its life and produce a higher-quality product. Although we do always recommend consulting with a safety advisor for your specific shop needs, here are some key best practices to utilize in your CNC work to ensure a safe and effective result.

Know your machine

The first and most important rule of safety in CNC work is to understand how to properly use your machine to perform your intended task. Using a machine you’re not trained to use or simply guessing on certain steps of a particular process can be a dangerous way of doing business and is likely to result in a low-quality product and added wear and tear on your machine.

Make sure you understand and have a plan for what you’re doing before you dive in, and if you don’t, don’t be afraid to consult an industry professional or turn to your manual for guidance.

Ensure your safeguards are in place

The vast majority of CNC machines come with built-in safety mechanisms to protect the machine and the user during work. These typically include curtain guards, contact mats, an emergency stop button, and more. These mechanisms are built into the machine for a reason, and you should make sure they’re set up properly before you begin your work.

In some cases, it may be necessary for you to install safety mats and guards as determined for you and your employees’ safety.

Practice shop safety

If you’ve spent enough time in the shop – whether at home or professionally – you’re no doubt aware of the many basic safety guidelines inherent in such a setting. These include:

  • Wearing eye and ear protection
  • Wearing closed-toe shoes or boots
  • Containing long hair when near the machine
  • Standing clear of the machine during operation
  • Powering down and cleaning the machine after each use

Following these simple guidelines already puts you on a positive track to promoting proper safety in all other areas of your work. As soon as you start slacking in these easier areas, it’s easy to let yourself slide in other areas, as well – so make sure the simple safety tasks are taken care of.

Don’t modify your machine

It may be tempting to make unauthorized alterations to your machine in order for it to perform a certain way, but doing so can have dangerous effects on the operation of the machine and can also cause damage to its components. There are accessories and additional options available for many CNC machines that will help safely achieve your desired result.

Knowing your machine also means working within its specified capabilities and not trying to make it perform tasks it’s not designed to perform.

Again, many machines are engineered to operate a specific way – altering can cause a ripple effect.

Double-check before operation

There are several things you should confirm before completing a cut, including:

  • That the machine isn’t running
  • That the tools are set correctly
  • That the correct tool data is set
  • That the spindle and machine direction are properly set
  • That the tools are sharp and none of them are cracked or chipped
  • That the hold down method is properly installed and functioning

You should also make sure the bit path is clear of any obstructions. Not doing so could result in the obstruction becoming a part of your project or shooting in the direction of you or someone else in the shop.

Other safety tips

Other basic safety tips to practice on an ongoing basis center around keeping the machine clean and well-maintained before and after every use. This will extend the life of your machine and will also produce higher-quality work on a consistent basis.

ShopSabre’s industry-best CNC machines provide precision, efficiency, and total versatility to help shops produce truly outstanding results with a fraction of the labor. Let the machine do the work.

Contact us today to give your next project a boost toward unmatched results.

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