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Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Darwin award
From: Robert Bastow <>
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 16:23:14 GMT

I watched an apprentice try to clear chips out of a 7/8" dia hole he had just
tapped on the bar (capstan) lathe. It screwed his middle finger in to the hilt
and, as he went down on his knees, and a split second before it twisted his
finger off, the guy on the next machine wacked the clutch lever down to stop the

Then, with a wicked look in his eye, and against the wimpered protests of the
entrapped youth...he moved the lever slowly over to "reverse"...and let it go
with a BANG!!

The kid arched over the lathe bed, screaming...more in fright than his
finger was slowly unscrewed from the hole.  "Wassermatterwidya?" asked the old
hand as the kid howled his protest. "yer wanna go to the Ambulance Room with a
twenty foot bar on yer finger?"

Sure enough, he had a perfect 7/8"-55deg.Whitworth form thread on his finger. No
blood..didn't even break the skin..hellish sore for a couple of days
though...and a lifetime lesson!!

Robert Bastow

From: Robert Bastow <>
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: 5C collet gripping range
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 1999 19:48:54 GMT wrote:
> >
> > I do buy the camlock pins though..Special order by MSC from Bison.
> > Threads are standard 7/16 -20
> >
> > teenut
> Why do you buy the camlock pins? I made a set for a chuck that didn't
> have any. It was not difficult, even for a rookie like me.

Good question Mike, I agree with you, making the lock pins is not difficult and
the techniques you outline would work fine!

Except for one tiny detail.  8^)

Camloc bolts are kinda like the "Jesus" bolt on a helicopter..The only thing
between you and a sudden demise!

When I lived in Canada, a guy was killed in a shop just up the road from my
shop, by a chuck that came off a 12" lathe and hit him in the chest.

The subsequent inquiry showed that the chuck was hit by the toolpost, and that
sheared the one remaining good lock bolt (one was missing, and one was cracked.
That one good bolt had done its job, so far as they could discover, for five or
more years until Murphy decided it was time.

 Then it killed him!

Frankly, it's not the machining that makes me hesitate..but the raw material and
the heat treatment, that concern me.  I will happily heat treat knives and tools
all day long by "guess and by golly" and by the intuition borne of years of
practice.  Most give stirling service..but occasionally one is a bit brittle and
fails.  Not of awesome consequence, make another, try a different tweak on the

But I will frankly admit, machines scare me enough I still have all the bits I
need.  I do not have the equipment or skills to heat treat Camloc pins..!  So I
will buy my Camloc pins from a reputable supplier.

Hey, nothing is perfect..they may still fail..but at least my widow will know
who to sue!!


From: (Don Wilkins)
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Update: (Was: Removing aluminum rod stuck in rifle bore)
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 14:43:04 GMT

On Wed, 8 Dec 1999 17:37:47 -0800, "David Berryhill"
<> wrote:

>Well, I finally got the cleaning rod out of the bore.  I also removed the
>pencil that was stuck in there as well (yes, a pencil!).

Now you just went and ruined a good thread which should have been good
for at least another couple weeks.

>I was going to use lye to dissolve the aluminum but someone suggested
>original formula Tap Magic.  Evidently 1,1,1 Trichlor eats aluminum too.

Trichlor as such is not going to eat aluminum. If it is a bit acidic
though either by an additive or by standing around on the shelf too
long, etc. it can contain some anhydrous hydrochloric acid. This can
dissolve a tad of aluminum or iron (or a few other metals) which can
catalyze the decomposition of the trichlor and dissolution of

I suspect what you had was a good degreaser saturated with HCl. You
might have been able to smell it (not pleasant).

Trichlor is/was commonly used in degreasers. One of the protocols was
to monitor the acidity. If it got high one had to reduce the acidity
or replace the trichlor.

That sets the stage for a plant manager who failed to do so.

We had a plant that made electric clocks. Lots of laminations for
electric motors, large machine shop with lathes, etc., machinist's
tool boxes, a complete assembly line, an inventory of finished clocks
and so forth.

One evening the degreaser went critical. Unfortunately trichlor heats
when it decomposes so a vapor of trichlor and HCL gas filled the
factory. Every piece of metal in the building was degreased and

I was sent to the site to provide some help and the only thing to do
was haul out the scrap. Those nice little wooden tool boxes machinists
have for their prized tools were permeated with the gases so that
every single metal tool in the locked boxes was ruined. The inside of
every desk drawer got the same treatment. The paint on the lathes had
turned from green to blue and of course the lathes also were ruined.

This is one of the worst disasters (without fatalities) that I have
ever seen. I asked the plant manager how he stopped the reaction and
his reply "I just dumped it in the river". (over 500 gallons of

<Thread ruining commentary on success story deleted> :-)

Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Most dangerous or scary tool in your shop?
From: Robert Bastow <"teenut"@>
Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 01:31:45 GMT

That is too close to the dark side for me!  I bear the scars of a sheet (4 x 8 x
1/4") of waferboard that my 5hp Powermatic Tablesaw decided to toss at me.  I
still consider that a relatively safe operation if you take all the right
precautions.  It was my fault that on this occasion I omitted to do this and I
paid the price.  But I still feel I have, by choice, a control over the machine
next time.

Ripping on a radial arm is too close to a deathwish..those suckers can pull you
in or come down the board at you..either way too fast to duck! Your options of
control are limited every time to too few.



eberlein wrote:

> Ripping a narrow cut on a long board with a radial arm saw is my least
> favorite activity!!

Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Most dangerous or scary tool in your shop?
From: Robert Bastow <"teenut"@>
Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 01:41:58 GMT

Yeh!  Buffers!!

I have a big Burr King and I fitted the optional ten inch buffer to it ..One
Time!!  With 1 1/2 HP on tap I decided it could kill me in a heartbeat and ever
since..slow as it may be..I use nothing more than six inch buff on a 1/4 HP otherwords, In a pinch I can stall it by Hand.

The big bugger would take (whatever) round the buff and chuck it at you HARD! 
Figure out the peripheral speed on say a 1 1/2 pound-15" Bowie blade!!

No thanks!  I LIKE Fingers!!


william thomas powers wrote:

> Buffers!!!!  They hunger for you and plot against you.  I know of more
> knifemakers with buffer stories than anyother item in the shop and we're
> talking forges, triphammers, grinders, etc.
> Of course having to buff a nearly completed blade doesn't help...had
> a friend who was a professional swordmaker who built an *underpowered*
> buffer with a spring loaded belt---if something went *wrong* he could stall
> the motor or slip the belt rather than have it control him!
> Thomas

From: Robert Bastow <"teenut"@>
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: oxygen bottles
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2000 00:18:48 GMT

In a "previous life" I was Senior Overseas Representative for T.I Chesterfield
Ltd..a Division of Tube Investments Ltd, and one of the worlds largest
manufacturers of high pressure gas cylinders.

I did at one time, have all the calculations and figures at my fingertips..but
that was several lifetimes ago.

Suffice it to say, that a rough rule of thumb, is that a 240 Cu Ft Compressed
Permanent Gas (Oxygen, nitrogen etc..) Cylinder contains roughly the same
explosive power as a 25lb Howitzer shell!!  "Torpedoing" horizontally 300 yards
through a couple of factories, across a crowded freeway, Mall Carpark (including
a dozen or so cars) and flattening a gas station..WITHOUT HURTING ANYONE!!! is
just one of the repertoire of gas cylinder antics!!

I have seen, and had to help investigate, some NASTY CG "accidents" including
one that involved scraping the remains of eight men off the INSIDE of a concrete
blockhouse in Kuwait...three days after the blast and in temperatures well over
a hundred degrees!!

The FUNNIEST (albeit NOISIEST) incident was in Enid Oklahoma, where we built a
brand new cylinder manufacturing facility.  As part of the start up, and to
begin manufacture, testing etc of PG cylinders,before the huge Loewe Forge was
commissioned, we imported 3000 open ended cylinder "Shells" from the UK.  These
are forged from billet, open ended cylinders, about 9" diameter with solid
forged base and a wall thickness of IIRC 0.215"..each one about 6 feet tall.

These were all stored in vertical ranks, by heat and lot number, in the 400,000
square feet Enid Facility..there to await finishing by spin forming the neck,
heat treatment, machining etc., etc.

One day a forklift driver backed into the end of the serried ranks...

I sat in my office and listened for the best part of 30 minutes as row after row
of the worlds biggest wind chimes "dominoed" and bounced and clanged and
clattered and reverberated..The Forklift driver walked out of the building and
never came back.  No one was hurt..but there may have been a few who were brain
dead after that enormous clatter.

Then they had to sort them all heat and lot number...and stand them all
in rows again!  THIS time with anchor blocks and chains and...



> Jon Elson <> wrote:
> >Remember the story a few replies ago about the exploding oxygen bottles
> >in Houston?  Presumably, those bottles were stored right side up, and had
> >to flip over before they were in a proper attitude to take flight!  Whew, I
> >wouldn't want to be anywhere near where these things were flying through
> >the air like Scud missiles!
> >

From: Robert Bastow <"teenut"@>
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: oxygen bottles
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 02:12:50 GMT

Bob Chilcoat wrote:
> I've told this story before, but it's worth a brief repeat.  A gas analysis
> company down the road from where I used to work tried to vent a large silane
> cylinder that had been contaminated with nitrous oxide in their parking lot
> late one night.  Silane is a hypergolic gas that bursts into flame in the
> presence of AIR, and nitrous is a great oxidizer!  They apparently had close
> to a stochiometric mixture in the cylinder.  The blast killed all three of
> them, including the one who managed to get inside the building on the other
> side of a concrete block wall, and left a 15 foot deep crater in the tarmac
> parking lot.
> Bob

That is a very similar incident to the one I mentioned a couple of days ago.

A brand new cylinder exploded in the storage area of (IIRC) Kuwait Oxygen,
killing the employee who was sampling it.  The Chief Engineer had a similar
cylinder brought into their Concrete Block House where another seven, high
level, officials of the company, gathered around as he cracked the valve to
sample it.  The Cylinder, a European spec. 300 cu ft 3000 psi, lightweight
nickel steel example, filled with Hydrogen and contaminated (again IIRC) with
oxygen and chlorine..(They had been filled at the local desalination plant) did
not "Burst"..


The resultant carnage can only be imagined!!

As these were brand new cylinders that *I* had sold to them only a couple of
months previously, they, of course, pointed the finger at us, and left
everything EXACTLY as was for several days, until I could fly out with
Technicians and organize an independent consultant etc., etc...

After several days in 100 plus temperatures I leave the rest to your

Eventually the culprit was proved to be contamination, NOT faulty cylinders.  We
were exonerated, and the rest of the cylinders were taken out into the desert
and used for target practice by the Kuwaiti Air Force..

I got an order for a thousand, new, replacement cylinders!! And a "Stench
Memory" that remains with me to this day!

Life goes on!


From: Robert Bastow <>
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: opinions wanted: toolposts
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2000 03:52:36 GMT

"DoN. Nichols" wrote:

> Typically, the
> tools which I will need for a given project ride on top of the lahte
> headstock, and the rest are stored in a toolbox (until I make a rack for
> them.)

Or until one of them kills you!

I have several "traytop" lathes in my my honest opinion the manufacture
of such lethal features should be banned by law.  It has taken a while, and
several educational, "Come to Jesus" meetings with my employees, but they all
now understand that I will instantly fire any man I find with tools on the top
of his lathe headstock.


Safety first.  I once had to help pack a man's ear in ice before rushing him and
his ear to hospital.  Luckily the flying micrometer hit a little left of center,
so it didn't kill him.

Secondly...Any Machinist worthy of the name knows that a heated micrometer is
not likely to give an accurate reading.  I know how I would feel about giving
work to a a customer..if I toured it and saw such bad practices being


From: Robert Bastow <>
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Noboby got killed ...or my crew broke a bigger part than your crew
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2000 01:25:06 GMT

Tom Gardner wrote:

> It sounded like gunshots!  After the shootings in Boston, there were people
> running for cover!

The biggest, loudest, scariest crack -up I ever personally witnessed (and wet my
pants by) was in the UK at the plant of a Gas Cylinder Manufacturer.  Though
many cylinders are now made by spin forging from solid drawn tubes, the best
method was then, and remains, the solid forging from a cubical steel billet.

The process involves first heating the billet (about 9" cube for a 250 cu ft
cylinder)  This is placed in a vertical Hydraulic Forging press of some 15000
ton capacity and the billet transformed by "Back Drawing" to a hollow cup of
about 2" wall thickness in one massive downstroke.

Next, the hollow, still yellow hot "Cup" is transfered to a horizontal push
bench of about 10000T capacity, placed on a solid steel mandrel and pushed
though a series of ring or roller dies to iron down and extend the hollow wall
to a thickness of something under a 1/4".

As the mandrel pushes it is held in check against bumping and surging, by a
counter pushing cylinder of about 5000T coupled to the main carriage via a LARGE
cast Iron "slipper" held with a couple dozen or more one inch or larger, high
tensile bolts.

One day the bolts sheared under "full push"!!!

Freed from it's constraints the slipper shot out the end of the bench, destroyed
its 3" diameter safety barrier, sheared through a 16" diameter 5000PSI Hydraulic
Main, shot the length of the forge shop, destroyed a BIG fork-lift truck and
flattened a 12 foot cubical stack of cut billets waiting to be loaded in the
furnace.  The slipper broke into "many" pieces while a column of white,
hydraulic fluid blew a hole through the roof some forty feet in the air.



Within half a day the company had called in "Metal-Stitch" from Sheffield, the
slipper was stitched back together..probably stronger than new.  New bolts made
and fitted, a new hydraulic main fabricated and the line was back in operation.

Ruffled feathers were smoothed..everyone changed their underwear and production
went on.


From: Dave Baker
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Date: 26 Jul 2001 14:11:37 GMT
Subject: Re: What coolant is recommended when you're milling the tip of your 
	index finger off?

I do quite a lot of light grinding on my mill despite what it does to the
bedways. The mill is so old though I doubt if anything I can do to it will ever
make it much worse. I have to use a ruler to measure the play in the jibs
rather than a dial gauge :)

I have a couple of 6" x 1/2" grinding wheels in different grades mounted up on
3/4" arbors which run in the collet chuck. The main use is for grinding the
tips of valve stems and the occasional tappet shim etc. Of course you always
hold the workpiece securely except for the day when you're in a tearing hurry.
One day instead of mounting a chuck on the bed to hold the single valve stem I
wanted to grind I thought I'd just hold the head down flat on the bed by hand
with the stem vertical. Of course as soon as the wheel grabbed the tip it
pulled the valve over sideways and as it pivoted on its head the tip had
nowhere to go except up - sadly, in the up direction there was a grinding wheel
in the way just at that moment !

The valve stem proved to be rather stronger than a 1/2" grinding wheel which
promptly exploded all over the workshop at 2,500 rpm. I was peering right in
close at the valve tip just then as I gently wound the knee up to start the
cut. When the bits had stopped bouncing off the walls I was pleasantly
surprised to note that all of them had missed my face. I could tell this by the
absence of blood and the fact that I could still see the milling machine :)

I tend to take the time to mount up a chuck now even for a single valve stem

She never compromises,
Loves babies and surprises,
Wears high heels when she exercises.......Meet Virginia.

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