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What is the purpose of the lathe chuck guard?

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  • What is the purpose of the lathe chuck guard?

    ....except to annoy the operator!

    My Asian 12x36 lathe came with a chuck guard which I admit I removed even though removing a safety device is very much against my best practices.

    So what is the purpose of these? They will not do much if a big workpiece works out of the chuck and they have to be disabled when using things like the face plate..

    Granted, they do prevent starting the lathe with the key in the chuck but thats about the only advantage I can see?

    I intend (just as soon as my next delivery of 'circular tuits' arrives) to make a 'lathe key safety switch'. The idea is that there will be a socket in which the key must be placed before the spindle can be started. Any thoughts?

    I suppose I could get cunning and remove the carriage mounted switch handle and replace it with a socket where the key would be placed to start the motor, but I hesitate in case it might lead to some situation where the motor was running and the key not there to turn it off..

  • #2
    They work well when the chuck nose pickes up a huge bundle of swarf from the bed and it wants to whip in arc.

    They also contain the oil or coolant that wants to scribe and arc from floor to (and across) the celing.

    Mine stays "up" most of the time. The prior owner disabled the switch that turns of the spindle and applies the brake if you raise it.


    • #3
      They must fit in the same catagory as Blade Guards on Tablesaws. Finding one still mounted on the machine is about as rare as snow in Miami. It happens but rarely.
      Forty plus years and I still have ten toes, ten fingers and both eyes. I must be doing something right.


      • #4
        Don't let OSHA hear you asking that question. They made our company build a guard around our DRILL PRESS spindle.


        • #5
          They pacify OSHA inspectors and give a false sense of security. The only lathe I ever got hurt on had one with functional interlock. Only YOU will keep you safe. Do not depend on such.


          • #6
            My 18X40 gap bee lathe had one on it when I bought it used.

            My buddy that owns a shop saw it and told me I might as well throw it away. "Nobody used those things" he said.

            I leave mine on to keep the oil from the chuck from getting on the wall behind the lathe. That wall serves as the screen for my 10 foot projection TV.
            I take it off when I run the projector because it obstructs the view.

            However, the guard does little to keep the oil off from me.


            THINK HARDER




            • #7
              I bought my Clausing from a trade school up the road about 30 miles. On the way home I lost my plexiglass chuck guard. I had rarely used one, but losing this one made me sad, as I too am safety minded. After unloading the lathe and getting it set up/cleaned/motor greased/etc. I found a plain 6 inch Starrett scale down in the motor compartment. This now give me an excuse to go back to the trade school "just to make sure" there were'nt any more components that went with the lathe that had surfaced a couple of weeks later. Anyway picking up a small handful of large carbide tools I mentioned to the instructor that my guard had blown off the trailer a few weeks earlier. He then proceeds to give me almost a brand new one. I am now happy.

              That was over 4 years ago, and to this day I wish I had the 6 inch Starret. (The tools werent that good either)


              • #8
                If you ever get a chance to bore some pipe/tubing at 300-1000 rpm, you will wish you had that chuck guard.

                We buy the correct inserts with the correct chip breaker to make nice little 6 an 9 shaped chips that break easily and don't get caught in between the boring bar and wall of the tube, so then they travel down the tube and get caught in the jaws which then sling them from wall to wall with considerable force.



                • #9
                  I assume their main use is to make sure the key is not in the chuck...

                  A foot brake is a much more useful safety device then a chuck guard...
                  Precision takes time.


                  • #10
                    The guard keeps the coolant from slinging off the chuck jaws onto you.
                    Not many HSMers use coolant.


                    • #11
                      My chuck guard is coated from cutting fluid and oil (from the spindle?)

                      And yea, keeps you from turning on the lathe with the chuck key in.. id say even if it just stops that happening once, it will pay for itself in new underware (And undented ways).

                      I would'nt say it protects you too much from the chuck itself, but I don't think it hurts any.
                      Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


                      • #12
                        Mine sits in place but I've removed the securing bolt.

                        1. So that I can use a hacksaw on bits in the chuck
                        2. So I can run the lathe with the guard open, since it operates the cut-out.

                        I keep it because sometimes I like to hide behind it when producing hot chips and also because if I slide it back into place and leave it open no-one can start the machine. Sometimes people visit my workshop with kids and those buttons are too inviting for little fingers.
                        Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

                        Denford Viceroy 280 Synchro (11 x 24)
                        Herbert 0V adapted to R8 by 'Sir John'.
                        Monarch 10EE 1942


                        • #13
                          I conned myself into building one for my 13" TurnPro. I thought it would be be useful and a safety feature. I spent a lot of time forming the 1/2" acrylic. In the end it was a waste of time. Mine has been useless. Being clear was no benefit what so ever. The oil made it so hazy, it was merely translucent. It has spent most of the past 2 years in the up position. I occasionally use it to hold back the slinging of coolant.

                          I think the verdict is, that a chuck guard is pretty useless and offers very little protection.

                          Do yourself a favor and see if your TV carrier has America One News Network (AONN). 208 on Uverse. It is good old fashion news, unlike the networks, with no hype, bias or other BS.


                          • #14
                            The guard on my 9x20 was fouling the rear tool post, so it had to go!


                            • #15
                              Mostly they are put there, by the company health and safety department, so you can't see what you are doing, which doesn't make it very safe does it.

                              Who says bureaucrats don't have a sense of humor.
                              The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                              Bluewater Model Engineering Society at

                              Southwestern Ontario. Canada