|Forum topic by RichardDePetris||posted 02-25-2014 06:01 PM||1496 views||0 times favorited||8 replies|
02-25-2014 06:01 PM
Just experienced a terrifying moment yesterday that I wanted to share with you. Before finishing up for the day, spend some time just hanging out at the shop for a few minutes to catch any potential dangers. In my case, I thought what I was doing was routine and ordinary, but it could have turned very bad and I consider myself fortunate.
I purchased a belt/disc sander a few months back. I normally use it to sand small pieces of wood and occasional metal grinding. The machine is well made in terms of materials, but it can pose a serious hazard.
Yesterday, I was flattening the back of some old plane irons on my belt/disc sander. One of them started sparking which is normal. I thought nothing of it and went on to the other grits of sanding on my bench. I started to smell something like heated plastic. It was sort of like the smell you get when you have a light bulb next to a plastic toy. I thought nothing of it until it started getting stronger and the smell changed into a fragrant burned pine smell. I looked around my shop and lo and behold I saw wisps of smoke coming from the rollers. I immediately unplugged it and carried it outside and started unscrewing it to find the source of the smoke. I saw a red glowing ember affixed to the plastic belt guard after dismantling the belt assembly. I hosed it down to ensure nothing else was burning and left it outside.
Apparently, the sparks from the back of the plane iron and perhaps some iron dust ignited leftover sawdust that was stuck to the plastic guard. This was definitely a check your shorts moment. I could have walked away and it would have caught fire, especially considering that plastic and factory grease. What makes the incident even scarier is that there’s no mention of this potential danger from the manufacturers manuals or online sources. I knew that you shouldn’t run the dust collector when sanding metal, but nothing about this particular scenario. Even Fire Marshall Bill would’ve been stumped!
The only general come away points from this experience is: make sure you just hang out for a few minutes to check everything out before turning out the lights and calling it a day.