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Careful With the Flammables!

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kev74

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#1
I took my mini mill to pucker-factor 11 the other day.

I bought a cheap chinesium insert type cutting tool for the lathe from ebay, which turned out to be a lot closer to 5/8" than the 1/2" advertised. No problem I thought - I'll just trim a little off the bottom. So I chucked it up in the mill and started whittling a bit off with the carbide face cutter.

Not being a stickler about speeds, things were going a little fast. As I was marveling at the perfect surface finish on the part I was cutting, I noticed the pretty red sparks mixed in with the chips. They looked like little laser beams scattering over the work bench. I was mesmerized. It was glorious!

Things were looking good, except for the sparks, so I thought I'd finish the cut before I slow things down. About half way through the cut, something caught my eye. There was a little chinese food soup container with about 18 inches of flame shooting out like a fountain. At that moment, I remembered the bullet heads and powder from my "oops" reloads that got pulled and got temporarily moved from my reloading bench. While looking for something to smother the flames, I saw the bucket of mineral spirits I use for cleaning parts...with an open top...about a foot away from the fountain of fail. The plastic handle on one of the cheapie wire brushes was burning like a birthday candle. OH POOP!!!!

The gun powder burned for about 5 or 10 seconds - it felt like 10 minutes. The mineral spirits didn't catch. The part turned out well.

Lessons learned:

1. Treat the mill like the welder - all the flammables get put away before it gets powered up.
2. My old water can type fire extinguisher might not be up to the task considering the possibility of flammable liquids in the shop and garage. A couple of dry powder ABC extinguishers are on order.
3. Don't take shortcuts. Clean up from one project - at least in the immediate work area - before starting something else, even if its just a quickie.
4. Don't be stupid. Open trays of gun powder might not be the best idea.
 

mikey

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#2
Cracked me up, Kev! Thanks for the wonderful story and the wise safety reminders.
 

kvt

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#3
My wife even liked that one, Reminded me that I need to get a couple of those.
 

Dredb

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#4
This was a long time ago, I wouldn't do anything like this now. I needed a small quantity of lead shot, I can't remember what for, I decided to cut open some 12 bore cartridges. I extracted the shot, tipped the powder into an ash tray and discarded the cases. Then I went away for a few days. When I came back, I sat in a chair, lit a cigarette, filthy habit, I don't do this anymore! Nor do I put combustibles in ash trays!
 

ELHEAD

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#5
I took my mini mill to pucker-factor 11 the other day.

I bought a cheap chinesium insert type cutting tool for the lathe from ebay, which turned out to be a lot closer to 5/8" than the 1/2" advertised. No problem I thought - I'll just trim a little off the bottom. So I chucked it up in the mill and started whittling a bit off with the carbide face cutter.

Not being a stickler about speeds, things were going a little fast. As I was marveling at the perfect surface finish on the part I was cutting, I noticed the pretty red sparks mixed in with the chips. They looked like little laser beams scattering over the work bench. I was mesmerized. It was glorious!

Things were looking good, except for the sparks, so I thought I'd finish the cut before I slow things down. About half way through the cut, something caught my eye. There was a little chinese food soup container with about 18 inches of flame shooting out like a fountain. At that moment, I remembered the bullet heads and powder from my "oops" reloads that got pulled and got temporarily moved from my reloading bench. While looking for something to smother the flames, I saw the bucket of mineral spirits I use for cleaning parts...with an open top...about a foot away from the fountain of fail. The plastic handle on one of the cheapie wire brushes was burning like a birthday candle. OH POOP!!!!

The gun powder burned for about 5 or 10 seconds - it felt like 10 minutes. The mineral spirits didn't catch. The part turned out well.

Lessons learned:

1. Treat the mill like the welder - all the flammables get put away before it gets powered up.
2. My old water can type fire extinguisher might not be up to the task considering the possibility of flammable liquids in the shop and garage. A couple of dry powder ABC extinguishers are on order.
3. Don't take shortcuts. Clean up from one project - at least in the immediate work area - before starting something else, even if its just a quickie.
4. Don't be stupid. Open trays of gun powder might not be the best idea.
I take it you were using smokeless. Might not have been so lucky with black powder.
DAVE
 

brino

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#6
Darn!, no video?

Geez, I am glad you're alright!
....lesson learned and even shared.

-brino
 

ttabbal

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#7
"fountain of fail" lol

I'm glad you were not hurt and had no other damage.


Made me think of my own fountain of fail. I make amateur rockets and motors. I had some scrap propellant to burn off. I had it what I thought was a safe distance away from everything, used a remote starter to set it off.

I ended up with a 10 foot pillar of fire that looked like I'd opened a gateway to hell.

Thankfully it only lasted a few seconds and nothing else caught. I have reevaluated my safe distance and quantity for disposal.

I did have an extinguisher and a water source. But with that height it would have been difficult to extinguish a secondary fire. Lesson learned. And with the worst consequence of having to explain the scorched concrete where it burned through the aluminum pan I had under it, to the wife. Even still, got off lucky.
 

mikey

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#8
Wow, a real-life October Sky episode, @ttabbal!
 

Superburban

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#9
Glad things turned out ok. Always good to remind us to take a look around. Too many times we get busy, and go to do something quick, and forget about safety. I know I have an angle that works overtime watching over me. I tend to do first, then ask myself why the heck I did that.


While we are on the subject, I just found this the other day. Kidde has recalled almost every plastic handled fire ext they made, going bake to 1975. Looking around, I have 5 on the list, and have not checked the ones in my storage sheds. Look at the list, they even cover other brands made by kidde, so it will benifit one to check all your extinguishers that have plastic handle/valve assembly's.

https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/k...astic-handles-due-to-failure-to-discharge-and

I prefer CO2, for the primiary extinguisher, then have the dry chemical for a backup.
 

ttabbal

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#10
I didn't know about the extinguisher recall, so thanks for posting that. I bet I have at least one that needs replacing.
 

Dredb

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#11
I take it you were using smokeless. Might not have been so lucky with black powder.
DAVE
Right! It was smokeless, bit of a misnomer really because there was a considerable amount of smoke.
 

Scruffy

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#12
A old friend of mine has muzzle loader hunted for a least 45 years.
Last fall for some unknown reason he used a ball puller to remove a ball and then put the wad and powder in a ash. Tray!!few minutes later put a cig. In same ash tray .not good burnt the crap out of a couple of his fingers.
I’ll never no why, this guy is really safety conscious. He was in his shop.
Ron
 

KBeitz

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#13
My closest call... I was welding in my shop... Lifted my helmet to
check my weld. The floor was wet. I was thinking I left the water on.
Thought I would finish welding before I checked it out. Then I smelled it...
GAS!.... Here a hot bead of weld rolled 40 feet across the shop and
came to stop under my plastic gas can. If I would have lowered my
helmet and struck the rod I bet I would not be telling this story.
No more gas cans in the weld shop... I did two things that I should
not have done. One I shut the welder off... Two while running out
of the shop I snapped on the fan switch. Got lucky... Nothing happened.
 
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