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MetalLab 101

General Safety Considerations


Mandatory:

  • Safety glasses (provided)

  • Closed-toed shoes

  • Remove dangling jewelry

  • Tie back long hair


Recommended:

  • Hearing protection (provided)

  • Particle filter mask or dust mask

Curriculum


Basic Shop Layout

  • Welding booth

  • Grinding area

  • Communal Use Areas/Tools:

    • Tables

    • Hand and power tools

  • Metal rack (organized by shape)

  • Waste streams: Garbage vs. steel/aluminum/other metals all separate

  • PPE, bits and other consumable available at the front desk


Safety Review

  • (Note: Minors 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult who has taken the class)

  • Hand out the following: earplugs, safety glasses, respirator (optional)

  • Point out the following safety equipment:

    • Fire extinguisher (mounted near bathrooms)

    • Fire exits

    • First aid kits located at front desk

  • Metal shop appropriate clothing:

    • Long sleeved shirt

    • Full length pants which fit over your boots – to stop hot metal/sparks from getting into your footwear

    • Clothes should be made out of natural fibers. Do not wear synthetics as they melt to the skin

    • Closed toed shoes (preferably leather)

    • Long hair, drawstrings and shirt tails/sleeves tucked in/ tied back,

    • Safety glasses at all times in shop, hearing protection recommended

  • Main causes of injury are:

    • Sharp metal edges

    • Sparks

    • Heat and flame

    • Arc Flash

    • Electric Shock

    • Fumes

  • Remind students about safety gear required (safety glasses, closed toed shoes, hearing protection, no loose clothing)

  • Hands are never close to cutting/drilling/turning mechanisms

  • ALWAYS unplug and de-energise a tool before servicing it/changing bits or blades

  • In most cases, blade/bit should reach full speed before touching material

  • Ensure participants turn tool off before passing off to next person

  • Point out location of eyewash station


Tool Tutorial

For each tool, explain:

  • Name

  • What it’s used for

  • Parts: on/off switch, etc

  • Important safety guidelines/WAYS IT CAN HURT YOU

  • Dry demo - show mechanism with tool off

  • True demo on a test piece

  • Everyone in class gives a test run (optional for experienced class members)

  • ---Explain Lockout Procedure---


Manual/Mechanical Tools

1. Name: Brake (main one)

  • What it’s used for:

    • Forming sheet metal into predetermined angles/profiles

    • 14 gauge max (gauge tool attached to roller)

  • Parts:

    • Locking castors

    • Blue arms - control clamp

    • Die - can be removed for bending boxes, etc

    • Welding Gases

    • Control arm

    • IMPORTANT: nut to lock heavy yellow counter weights from falling

    • Blue know at back to adjust where corner/edge of break sits; distance from the line should reflect thickness of material

  • Important safety guidelines :

    • Watch your feet when moving!

    • Lock wheels when using

    • Keep fingers clear of ram

    • Never let yellow counter weights free-fall!

  • Dry demo - show mechanism with tool off

    • Clamp piece

    • Loosen counter weight nut and move

    • Slowly lower yellow counter weights down

      • Always keep a hand on yellow counter weights if nut is loosened

    • Bend past angle you want, because metal will spring back a bit

      • Can test on scrap piece, measure with protractor, and then set counter weight nut as a stop

    • Put counter weight nut back up as high as it will go when not in use

  • True demo on a test piece

    • Note: use a protractor or machinist square to get desired angle

  • Everyone in class gives a test run (optional for experienced class members)


2a. Name: Shear (plus roller & brake)

  • What it’s used for:

    • Cutting thin sheet metal (16g Max)

  • Parts:

    • Blades, guide, control arm

  • Important safety guidelines:

    • Keep fingers away from blade

  • Dry demo - show mechanism with tool off

    • Show 1" marked lines - good to square piece to

    • Clamp longer pieces in so they don't shift when cutting

  • True demo on a test piece

  • Everyone in class gives a test run (optional for experienced class members)


2b. Name: English Wheel

  • What it’s used for:

    • Forming sheet metal into radiuses

    • 16 gauge max

  • Parts:

    • Rollers, adjustment knobs (top and back), control arm, rod benders (may give tighter radius than the bench-top rod bender)

  • Important safety guidelines :

    • Keep fingers away from roller, shear and brake when turning the handle, as all move

    • Careful when moving - quite top heavy

    • Communicate if 2 people using together

    • Don't drop anything if you take a roller out (small parts inside), and use 2 people

      • Might take roller out of you roll a complete circle/tube, etc

    • Black knobs (top) adjust gap between rollers to fit thickness of material - material should be sandwiched snug (tighten knob if it doesn't feed in)

    • Black knobs (back) adjust for radius

    • Thicker metals may need a few passes, starting with larger radius and tightening with each pass

    • Reverse piece and put through to bend any parts that have remained flat (e.g. first part)

  • True demo on a test piece

  • Everyone in class gives a test run (optional for experienced class members)



3. Name: Universal bender

  • What it’s used for:

    • Bending tubes and rod

  • Parts:

    • Clamps, handle, indexing pin for angles

  • Important safety guidelines:

    • Keep fingers clear of pinch points

    • Clamp to work bench

  • Dry demo - show mechanism with tool off

    • Clamp to bench

    • Adjust black handle/knob at back for material thickness - thicker material needs more room to bend

    • Set angle using indexing pin (if incorrect, use scrap piece and measure with protractor)

    • Don't push too hard - if there's a risk of bending the handle, use a diff tool to bend your material

  • True demo on a test piece

  • Optional, since they just tried the bigger one: everyone in class gives a test run (optional for experienced class members)


Hand Tools


1.  Name: Grinder

  • What it’s used for:

    • Cleaning/finishing/removing material

    • There are different disks/wheels for different purposes and materials

  • Parts:

    • Wrench, guard, how to change disks

  • Important safety guidelines :

    • Clamp material to work table

    • Be aware of where the sparks are going

    • Do not remove guard

  • Dry demo - show mechanism with tool off

  • True demo on a test piece

  • Everyone in class gives a test run (optional for experienced class members)


2. Name: Bench Grinders (x2)

  • What it’s used for:

    • Cleaning/finishing/removing material

    • There are different disks/wheels for different purposes and materials

  • Important safety guidelines:

    • Pinch points

    • Don't cross-contaminate - Steel on the steel grinder and Aluminum on the aluminum grinder
  • Dry demo - show mechanism with tool off

  • True demo on a test piece

  • Everyone in class gives a test run (optional for experienced class members)


3. Name: Disk/Belt Sander

  • What it’s used for:

    • Smoothing/shaping/finishing

  • Parts:

    • Disk, Belt

  • Important safety guidelines:

    • Dust extraction

    • How to avoid piece flying away

    • Metal will get hot

    • Keep hand clear!

    • Hold small pieces with locking pliers

  • Dry demo - show mechanism with tool off

  • True demo on a test piece

  • Everyone in class gives a test run (optional for experienced class members)


Machine Power Tools

1. Name: Cold Cut Saw

  • What it’s used for:

    • Cutting stock down to size

  • Parts:

    • Table, blade, vise, guides, how to move guides

  • Important safety guidelines :

    • Start saw in up position

    • Never cross hands

    • Fingers never within 6” of blade

  • Dry demo - show mechanism with tool off

    • Right blade for the right metal

    • How to cut: rectangle, angle, round, square stock

    • Slow medium pressure, sparks = excessive pressure

    • Angle cuts

  • True demo on a test piece

  • Everyone in class gives a test run (optional for experienced class members)


2. Name: Drill press

  • What it’s used for:

    • Drilling in metal

  • Parts:

    • Bits (signed out at front desk), chuck, speed adjust, bed/table (how to raise/lower)

  • Important safety guidelines:

    • Secure piece to table with clamps

    • Keep hand clear of bit!!

    • Never start with bit touching piece

    • "Peck" in and out of piece

    • Go very slow with metal, to keep heat down

    • Don't drill into table!

  • Dry demo - show mechanism with tool off

    • Clamp securely

    • Center punch with screw to align start - bit can wander

    • Grease/coolant -wax tube (better than WD40)

    • Pilot hole – move up in 1/8th inch increments to let chips escape and tool cool down

    • Let tool do the work - don't push too hard

  • True demo on a test piece

  • Everyone in class gives a test run (optional for experienced class members)


3. Name: [Horizontal] Bandsaw

  • What it’s used for:

    • Cutting stock down to size

  • Parts:

    • Blade, guides, vise, coolant, hydraulic gauge with dial (adjusts feed rate) and lock-off valve (will hold saw/stop from moving), feed rate (2 is a good feed rate; looks like it's barely moving)

  • Important safety guidelines :

    • Keep hands far from blade!

    • Let saw stop before grabbing anything too close

    • Careful not to let it flip over when saw is in top position

    • Pay attention to dial before you flip lock-off valve up (make sure saw won't fall quickly!)

    • Make sure piece is supported if large

    • Watch for coolant flowing out back - put bin under to catch any drips

    • Blade still spins when saw is turned off - let it stop completely before putting hands anywhere near

  • Dry demo - show mechanism with tool off

    • How to raise/lower throat

      • Can get in the way of the cut if not adjusted for larger material

    • How to clamp material

      • Clamp narrowest side

    • Feed rate adjustment (~2 is good, aluminum especially needs slower bc it melts/sticks to blade)

    • Coolant (should be just dripping off blade, not pouring)

      • Keep switch on all the time - will automatically start when saw starts

      • Look at flow tube for bubbles/foam - add a few L of water if low (staff only))

    • Blade tension - don't change (staff only)

    • Blade speed - don't change (staff only)

  • True demo on a test piece

  • Everyone in class gives a test run (optional for experienced class members)

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