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Tired, in a hurry, don't do what I did - bad accident - end mill defeated finger.

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davidpbest

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#1
This happened to me on Thursday night (two days ago) about midnight. Let this be a warning to others.

This was the setup - 3/4” end mill running at 1500 RPM. I had just squared off the end of the small stainless steel part, ready to do the same operation to the next part in the 8-part run. With the spindle still turning, I loosened the vise, reached around behind the cutter to remove the part (very stupid), and in a flash, my finger was grabbed by the clockwise-rotating end mill which pulled the finger through the 4mm slot between the side of the vise and the rotating end mill.

IMG_6244.jpg

The result is shown below, taken in the ER about an hour later. If you're squimsh, DO NOT click on the photo. I lost a lot of blood and was pretty weak, thankfully my daughter was home and got me to the hospital pronto, not sure how I could have even called 911 alone. The end of my index finger was basically put through a meat grinder, and the last digit bone was crushed into pieces. The fingernail and tissue below it were badly severed and ultimately removed completely in the ER. Joints and tenons appear to be functioning, and nerve damage appears confined to the inner right side of that finger. Not clear what the longer term prognosis is, but I'm expecting the last digit on that finger will have to be amputated.

This was a stupid accident. I was tired, wanted to finish the job and got in a hurry. Lesson learned: turn off the machine before putting your hands anywhere close, and if tired or in a hurry, stop and come back tomorrow.

IMG_6526.jpg
 

jocat54

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#2
David I am so sorry this happened to you. Hope you heal fast.
I did basically the same thing several years ago--except it was a wood router table.
 

mikey

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#4
We all get tired and distracted, at which point the alarm bells in the back of our heads start to go off. I've learned to listen to them but tomorrow is another day and I might not listen - thanks for reminding me to pay attention. I hope all goes well, David, and my wishes for a speedy recovery.
 

Pmma-Granville

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#5
At my workplace I rout out a lot of acrylic stuff, held down only by double sided tape! Sometimes it starts pulling off when the cutter gets blunt so I hold it down with my finger, won't be doing that anymore!!!
Hope it heals up well, specially if that's your main nose picking finger!!
 

dieselshadow

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#6
David, I'm very sorry man. A bad day in the shop shouldn't have such severe consequences. But this is a huge reminder that reality says otherwise. Please, don't get angry with yourself. This will only be fruitless. Sharing your mistake with us was a very constructive thing to do. I hope you recover quickly.
 

core-oil

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#7
Sorry to learn of your accident David, your sharing it with us was a brave thing to do,, It is easy to say "iwould not be so stupid", And go out to the shop and do something equally unfortunate, Many years ago I had my little finger caught up in a tool, Again due to be ing tired and letting my guard down, In my case it was a slotting machine I should have known better as in my home town many years ago a turner was killed by the self same style of machine, (Only larger) As the years roll on I am more and more aware of how my reflexes are much slower and tiredness comes on quicker,

So now I tend to play more on my smaller machine tools, You take care & I hope you heal soon.
 

kvt

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#8
Hope all heals up well. Thanks for sharing, I had the tip of one finger almost removed with a router bit while making custom Tung and Groove Planking for an old horse trailer years ago. It took a long time for things to settle down afterwards. But it reminded me to be more carful and take a break, parts can be replaced, and jobs can waite to be finished, other wise it may be even longer delay on completing the job.
 

Bill Gruby

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#9
Oh man, that looks awful. Thanks for posting the warning. I wish I could say it doesn't look that bad, but dammit it does. That will hurt even after it has healed. Bummer.

"Billy G"
 

Eddyde

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#10
David, sorry to see that happened to you. I empathize, I lost the end of my left ring finger 10 years ago, doing a similar thing, reaching behind rotating cutting tool... except it was an industrial panel saw withe a 14" blade... I was very lucky as it could have been much worse. I recommend finding the best hand surgeon in your area. The hospital I initially went to wanted to amputate the past the last knuckle but I listened to a friend and got a second opinion. They were able to graft tissue from my pinky to reconstruct the tip of my ring finger made a huge difference.
I hope you heal quickly and with little pain as possible.

Eddy
 

oldboy1950

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#11
sorry for your troubles David, i hope you heal fast and well.
thank you for posting this as a warning to the rest of us machine operators .
Dan
 

Bill W.

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#12
David... All of us get careless sooner or later, thanks for the "eye opener" to remind us that things can go horribly wrong in an instant.
Get well soon. Bill W.
 

coherent

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#13
I've cut myself on an end mill that isn't even turning so I can imagine how something like this can happen in a flash. A vivid reminder to make sure any machine is powered down and stopped before making any adjustments or getting your hand near it. About 25 years ago I was removing and emptying the grass catcher on a gas powered mower with it running... My daughter came out with a trash bag and I was momentarily distracted and my hand entered the grass chute opening. I'm lucky and still have the hand and my fingers, but it looked a lot like yours (same hand, same finger). It's number one on my list of stupid things I've done in my life, but ever since then I'm extremely careful around any machine (not just lawn mowers lol). I imagine you will be too! A tough way for you & me to learn a lesson, but could have been much worse.

Hope you heal fast!
 

FOMOGO

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#14
Yes, hope you have a good outcome with the finger. As said, could have been anyone of us, and always good to be reminded to avoid those situations we all encounter from time to time. All the best, Mike
 

mzayd3

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#15
Hope you heal quickly. I've done something similar on the table saw. Unfortunately, even after 10 years it still hurts.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

wawoodman

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#16
I had a finger whipped around between a v-belt and pulley. Like everyone has said, it only takes a millisecond of misattention.
 

cathead

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#17
David, I'm sorry you had a bad experience. This could happen to any of us so we all must remain attentive.
Yesterday I watched a Tubalcain video and he made specific mention to shut off the machine between operations.
Big end mills and fly cutters can be particularly hazardous.
 

woodchucker

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#18
Good luck, it will be years before you don't have a fuzzy feeling in your finger. And your nail bed is probably destroyed and your nail will never grow right. But You Have Your FINGER.
 

jim18655

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#20
Sorry for your pain. I lost the end of the middle finger on my left hand with the clamp on a paper cutting machine. End of day, in a hurry to get the blade changed before my sift ended, looked over at my future wife and wham! Multiple things I did wrong. Bandage and splint was good for a laugh for several weeks. I hope it all works out well for you.
 

rwm

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#21
Ouch. That looks terrible.
I have a feeling it will heal up fine. I'll bet you can keep the distal phalanx. But please let us know how this turns out. We all know we are one second away from being in the same boat.
Regards
Robert
 

Ken from ontario

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#22
David, I'm sorry to see that but I hope you get back to your shop as soon as you are physically fit to do so,in my experience ( I had similar incident with a router) this type of injuries leave a deeper scar mentally and you reach a point that you are physically healed but mentally you need to psyche yourself to get back to the scene of the accident, the longer you wait the more hesitant you'll feel.
I hope you are a fast healer and thank you for reminding us that complacency can sometimes be painful.
 

master of none

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#23
Hey David,I can't say any more then what's been said except I'm sorry it was you that delivered the message of the importance of safety and clear headed in the shop that picture will stay with me for a long time and hope you heal well and soon .
 

jim18655

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#25
That should be printed and hanging near every machine in the shop.
 

buffdan

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#26
I can only imagine the throbbing pain.... Groan :(
Sorry for you.
I hope it heals quick.
 

quickcut

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#29
Wow , that looks really sore, How did you manage to take the photo?, That would really be the last thing on my mind. Going to show that to my son , Hope it heals quickly.
 

Groundhog

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#30
... I recommend finding the best hand surgeon in your area. The hospital I initially went to wanted to amputate the past the last knuckle but I listened to a friend and got a second opinion. They were able to graft tissue from my pinky to reconstruct the tip of my ring finger made a huge difference....

Eddy
I had my left big toe almost totally removed and the 2 next to it were (and are) missing (not machine related - I hit a cop car on a Harley and yes tequila was involved). Lots of pressure to just remove the 1/4 inch of meat left holding my big toe on and be done with it. "A 10% chance of it working", they said. However, I got very stubborn (normal attitude for me when drinking tequila) and refused to agree. I figured we could always take it off later but at least give it a try. It was about a year and a half of living with a super, super sensitive toe, then back to normal. That was in 1980. I've gotten a lot of good use out of that toe since then. It has enabled me to do things I would have missed without it.

So I agree with Eddyde. Don't lose the finger except as a last option. I'm sure you would miss the finger more than I would have my toe. And the toe decision was one of the best I've made (and the only good decision made when plastered on tequila!).
 
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