A computer numerical control machine, commonly referred to as a CNC machine is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant innovations of our time. It’s an opportunity for innovators to design and cut shapes and configurations on a wide variety of materials that would otherwise be extremely difficult, if not impossible by hand.
But while highly efficient, a CNC machine user needs to use safety precautions to prevent accidents from happening. That’s why it’s critical for users to observe CNC router machine safety guidelines to the letter.
CNC Machine Safety Guidelines
Working with a machine that spins sharp bits at dizzying speeds like a CNC machine calls for utmost adherence to safety practices each time. That said, here are detailed CNC machine safety guidelines to help you and your team stay safe while using this powerful and highly versatile tool.
Before Using a CNC Machine
Before you use a CNC machine ensure you do the following:
Create a Safe Working Environment
Even if your CNC machine is brand new, you cannot maximize its potential if you’re in an unsafe or uncomfortable working environment. To create suitable working conditions, ensure the space you and your team are working in:
- Is spacious enough. This is essentially because you need to be at least six inches away from the router when it’s active
- Has adequate ventilation because drilling, cutting or machining work pieces may generate dust, and other toxic substances
- Is clean
- Has sufficient, non-glare lighting so you can have a clear view of what’s happening during routing
Wear CNC Machine Safety Gear
Creating a safe work environment is just the first step in CNC router safety. You also need to ensure you have the right gear on while working with this machine. Wear approved safety glasses to protect your eyes, and a dust mask because as noted earlier, CNC machining generates dust and other substances. If you’ll be using the machine for prolonged periods, wear earmuffs too.
Inspect the Machine
Before you turn on your CNC machine, ensure it’s in good working condition. Test the built-in CNC router safety mechanisms such as the emergency stop button and the safety mats to see if they’re working properly, and while at it, set them up. Check to see the electrical control panel is locked. Go through each of your lock out tag out steps.
Inspect the bits, and other parts of the router to see if they’re sharp enough and damage-free. Remember different CNC bits are used to route different materials. Double-check your router bit to confirm that it’s ideal for the application in question.
Check the speed too because using the wrong RPM for your router bit has the potential to not only damage your workpiece but also the bit itself, and in worst-case scenarios, the router. So, ensure you match the RPM to bit size.
You also want to examine the surface for cleanliness, and once you place your work-pieces, ensure they are well held down to prevent shifting during the routing process. Lastly, double check the tool data to ensure it is set correctly.
Safety Tips to Observe When Using a CNC Machine
A CNC machine may be automated but that doesn’t mean you throw all caution to the wind once you start it. Here are CNC machine safety tips to observe when using it:
Rout in the Right Direction<
You should always feed your workpiece against the bit’s rotation. Feeding it towards the bit’s rotation, also known as climb cutting is hazardous and may cause you to lose control of the router.
Keep-Off During Routing
Never attempt to make any adjustments to your workpiece while your CNC machine runs. Always turn it off whenever you need to adjust the work piece or change the bits. Keep your hands off the material until machining is complete, and if you must make adjustments, turn the machine off first. As mentioned earlier, you should be at least six inches away from it during the cutting process.
Never Leave the Room
Just because you’re supposed to keep your hands off during the cutting process doesn’t mean you leave the room. Although the process is computerized, a CNC machine may act up or break during the cutting process and when it does, you want to shut it down immediately to prevent further damage.
Never Force the Router
Another important CNC router safety tip is to avoid forcing the router through a cut because doing so will only damage it. If you detect any unusual vibration or noises, stop it immediately, and inspect it for bit damage.
Use the Appropriate Feeds and Speeds
Match your machine’s capabilities to the “sweet spot” feeds and speeds. Use heavy cuts only when you bits and material allows for it. A good feeds and speeds calculator can help you do that.
CNC Machine Safety Tips After You’re Done
Once you’re done using a CNC machine ensure you:
- Don’t touch the bit immediately as it might be hot
- Clean and lubricate cutting tools
- Remove chips or debris from the CNC machine
- Check for, repair or replace damaged bits
Shop Quality CNC Machines Today
Learning how a CNC machine works is just half the battle. You need to also learn and follow CNC machine safety precautions if you’re to reap its full benefits. Besides, following CNC router safety guidelines will also extend the life of your machine.
CAMaster’s range of CNC router machines guarantee utmost precision, enhanced efficiency and superb versatility.