Tuesday, September 14, 2021

About Yesterday

I mentioned on Sunday's post that I had received the tooling to machine the crankshaft.  After I finished putting up that post it seemed like as good a time as any to put the faceplate on the lathe and set up to work again.  

Let me note first that the people who make these accessories never include instruction sheets.  I think their view is that if you're using a lathe you should be professionally trained and you should know how to maintain or upgrade it.  I also wouldn't be surprised if not including instructions might have some aspect of trying to protect themselves from spurious lawsuits.  

Now, I'm fully self-trained and take responsibility for myself, and there really didn't seem like many ways to put it on incorrectly.  It has three bolt holes on the back which match with three through holes on the mounting plate that's standard on the lathe.  I put the first bolt in, went to rotate the two plates to put in the next bolt and quickly found it wouldn't turn.  There was interference between a different bolt on the lathe and the faceplate. 

That bolt (a metric M8?) has two nuts on it, putting that spring under tension.  It sticks maybe 1/8" inch into that cavity in the casting.  The bent, black sheet metal you see on the left and top edges is holding a clear plastic "lathe chuck guard" that is supposed to keep your fingers away from the chuck but really only seems to catch oil the chuck may sling.  A closer look showed that when the guard is down, the faceplate will rub on the plastic and I'm sure eventually (a few minutes) will wear through it.  A note on the faceplate's product page says, “This faceplate will not fit with the plastic chuck guard in place.” 

I'm going to gloss over me looking at the lathe and trying to figure out how to remove that for several hours when the answer is visible right there in that picture. 

All I had to do was unscrew the two nuts on the right end of the interfering bolt and then the cover just slides off the bolt, followed by unscrewing that bolt into the left side of the lathe.  That's when I set things up to hurt myself.  

This is the faceplate, lathe dog, crankcase blank and all.

Overall view.  Look closely on the left slide of the cut away area midway down the bar.  You can see I used a parting (cutoff) tool.  It's a 1/16" (.062) thick blade and because I know that's going to bend sideways under slight side forces, I minimized the amount that tool sticks out of its holder.  Trying to stiffen it. 

I'm not completely sure how it happened, but I think I put my right hand on top of the tool holder (that large hex nut along the bottom of the picture) and let my finger stick out forward a little too far.  The bar was spinning and it whacked my finger.  It took out almost all of the fingernail and nail bed, and we figured it was time to go to an urgent care place.  The doctor there said the end segment of bone in that finger was broken and they don't treat "open fractures."  They told me to go to an ER.  Where I sat for 3-1/2 hours, never talked to or saw a doctor, never really had anyone look at it closely, then had a nurse leave a blood soaked and hardened gauze pad on it, wrap some self-adhesive gauze around the finger, and refer me to a hand surgeon.  We got home around 10PM last night.   

I'll see the hand surgeon in the morning. 


  1. OUCH!!
    Damn buddy, that's gotta be throbbing like a sick chicken's ass!
    Good luck with the Doc.

  2. You didn't mention which finger, but... Ahh geez that must be smarting. I hope it's not a serious problem and hopefully means simple fix. Most important, I hope you don't have lasting damage.

  3. And you posted pictures of the machine..
    I'm familiar with damage to hands,,I hope you heal up okay.

  4. Sorry to hear that , SiG.
    Hope whatever needs to be done is minor and a short recovery.

    Be well and good luck.

    Whitehall, NY

  5. Oh No! I am sorry to hear about your accident. I was thinking you had a good reason to miss your Monday post.

    Lathe accidents are no joke. Do NOT do a google image search for “lathe accidents”.

  6. I'd refuse to pay the ER bill for the exceptionally poor treatment, and the treatment you _didn't_ receive. To not even clean the wound before re-wrapping it is far below any acceptable level of care. That encourages infection.
    I'm guessing right hand, which obviously will impact your guitar licks. Sorry, my friend. Find a well-respected, recommended hand surgeon, and make sure you feel comfortable with him or her before agreeing to any surgery.

    1. [Ouch. Re-reading your post it's somewhat obviously the right hand.]

  7. Lathes are arguably the most dangerous machines in a machine shop. They bite and don't care who or what

  8. I want to thank you all for the concerns, and update where things are now.

    I saw the surgeon this morning, and everyone there thought the way the hospital ER treated me was pretty appalling. The surgeon got me set up for surgery tomorrow, to do what the ER should have done Monday night. It's outpatient, I'll get local anesthesia, and she'll clean out the area where the fingertip was folded away from the rest of the finger. Then try to ensure the nail bed grows back.

    I've joked many times that with all the power tools I've used in my hobbies all my life, it's surprising I have 10 full-sized fingers. I'm still going to have 10 complete fingers but one is going to have an ugly nail. BFD.

  9. I am sorry you had that happen. I will be praying for a quick and complete recovery.

  10. OUCH! I've been pretty lucky over the years. Had a few puncture wounds, but never had a chunk get removed. I'm with Phil, that's gonna hurt.

    Hope you get well soon.

  11. Oh, man, sorry. I sympathize 100%. I was an early adopter of having fingers reattached (rt hand, index and middle) at age 14, and then got my hands crushed at 17. Handsburger.
    I skimp on PPE far too often, but I don't pick up anything much larger than a pen without gloves on.
    Your surgeon sounds confident, so hopefully the limited nosepicking ability will be a brief one. They can do amazing work and if you play your cards right you might be able to open beer bottles with your fung nail.

    1. Thanks for the laughs in that second paragraph.

      The thing about PPE is that anything that makes your hands a tiny bit larger increases the chances of getting them pulled into the work. They advise against wearing gloves when working on a lathe.

  12. Hang in there SiG. As we , in the trade, are aware, it only takes an instant. I hope the hand surgeon you chose does a great job.

    Regarding gloves, long hair, sleeves, loose T-shirt etc. All major no-noes around lathes. Many are unforgiving to say the least.

  13. hoping all goes well and a return to complete functionality

  14. Here's to a speedy recovery!

  15. It hurts just describing it. Moving parts WILL kill you if given even a PART of a chance.
    One place I worked had the machinist hogging out a load pin, made of Rockwell 4140 steel. And wen I say hogging, he was cutting 150 thou at a time. It blew up on him and he spent three weeks in the hospital, and was back to work in four. We took up a collection to buy him body armor...

  16. Did the ER count you as a covid case?