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$19,000 Mistake with a 4" Makite

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by gcwred, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. rainh8r
    Joined: Dec 30, 2005
    Posts: 792


    About 25 years ago I went to buy a 389 Pontiac engine from an ad. They owner had his arm in a sling and I thought he had broken/twisted something and didn't think of it much until everything was loaded and ready to go. I asked what happened and he explained that he was using a grinder that turned about 5,000 rpm when the 2,500 rpm rated, job-supplied disc exploded, severing the nerves and tendons in his left arm. The damage was permanent-the sling was forever. I'd been using grinders without guards for years and never checked the rpm rating of the discs until then. I haven't forgotten that.
  2. tdoty
    Joined: Jun 21, 2006
    Posts: 821


    The only injury I've gotten has been removal of the skin from a couple of finger....and it hasn't happened with one of my grinders. Did I mention I always use the guards? None of my employers grinders have the guards (they aren't even anywhere to be found), so I bought a Metabo for the work box, and they paid half. The guard is even gone for the 7" and 9" grinders! Almost as scary is watching some of the other guys using cut-off wheels on a right angle die grinder :eek:

    I've had plenty of stupid accidents in the shop, that's why I make sure the guards are on the grinders.

    Sucks that you got hurt. I hope all of the guys who have posted about their grinder accidents make a full recovery!

    Tim D.
  3. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    from colorado

    For your own good, it might be a good thing for your soul, to re-think that. Something other than the lack of gloves most likely contributed to your injury. There are situations where I won't wear gloves because they hamper my grip. Holding on to a grinder/whizz-wheel is one of those cases. I prefer rosin to enhance my grip and if I were to wear gloves with a grinder it would be snug fitting leather gloves, which offer minimal protection from that spinning disc. Cumbersome gloves substantial enough to stop that flex-disc spinning at 12k rpm would be humungouis! Just because you didn't have gloves on at the time don't necessarily mean they would have minimized your injury.
    Accidents are rarely caused by one single circumstantial component. It's my guess, and that's just a guess mind you, that at least two, possibly more, circumstances contributed to your injury, along with at least one distraction from the task at hand.
    I have had a whizzwheel get away from me, can't explain how it happened after the fact, but I'm guessing I lost concentration, because if I'm holding on like I mean it and I'm concentrating on that, they just don't get away. I had one get away that got me, once. Now I hold on to it with a death grip and if the wheel hangs up it is ripped from the mandrel into bits and pieces, but come hell or high water I dont lose my grip! But that diligence came AFTER I had let one loose and it cut through my boot and into the ankle bone. On cold days it's a reminder, like an old football injury can be.
    No additional equipment would have stopped it. Actually I'm lucky it was a cheap-ass Harbour freight, it it had been a Mackita or a Dewalt it would have chewed deeper into the bone!!

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it don't prevent accidents as long as people are put into the equation.
    I am retired, worked in Aircraft and Automotive Maintenance all of my productive life. I never have had a supervisor direct me to violate an extablished safety procedure. Had a lot of ass chewings to the contrary. Monday morning quarterbacks never have won a ballgame. For me, I blame myself when I fuck up, because I've tried it the other way, tried to transfer the blame a couple of times when I was younger, only to realize that I didn't have peace of mind until I admitted to myself that it was a me-issue, not a they-issue.

    Sad fact is, somebody reading this, sometime in the future, is going to lose his grip on a whizzwheel,(angle grinder) and do serious damage to his person. They are most likely the most dangerous handtool I use, even with the guard installed, in the hands of the unaware. I consider them as dangerous as a loaded 12 guage with the hammers pulled back.
    I don't use them in front of my grandson, don't even want him to know what they do. I lock mine up so that he cant get to them and he will never be allowed to use one unless he sneaks out in the garage and breaks into the toolbox.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  4. Hawaiianstyle
    Joined: Jul 8, 2009
    Posts: 114


    This cut off wheel lodged straight in the drywall when blew.

    Attached Files:

  5. Ruiner
    Joined: May 17, 2004
    Posts: 4,145


    Guys, get those damned welding gloves off your hands while grinding...that's what my former employer supplies for us, and the fabric inside of them will FUCK YOU UP...BAD...fabric and spinning components equals broken fingers and mangled hands, which is why I refused to wear them and used the grinder with a 6" 80 grit sanding disc with no gloves...had I had a choice of gloves, I'd use cowhide/deerhide gloves (which is what I use in my own shop)...when I got injured I only had the task in hand at mind, I was being careful with what I was working on (it was held in a vise and positioned exactly how I needed it), the sanding disc caught, the grinder barrel rolled and the disc caught the top of my left ring finger at the knuckle by the base of my hand and opened it up a half inch wide, 1 inch long and to the bone the entire was a freak accident, and gloves may not have prevented it at all, but I damned sure wasn't about to use the WRONG gloves for the sake of wearing gloves...again, welding gloves are for welding, NOT grinding...any gloves with fabric in them are NOT for grinding...
  6. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    from Sacramento

    Nasty big gash for sure, but damn, $19,000 to stitch that all up!? What a ripoff!
    For 19k you should get to kick the Doc in the nuts before you leave.
  7. FoMoCoPower
    Joined: Feb 2, 2007
    Posts: 2,490


    I had a sanding disc come apart on me the other night. A piece flew off and whacked me in the leg,hurt like hell and left a nice bruise. I think I got lucky.

    *Note to self* Buy regulator for compressor so tools do not operate at 150psi!
  8. Daddyfink
    Joined: Jan 27, 2007
    Posts: 463


    After a local shop owner lost and eye to a grinder, I have made sure all my stuff is in check! Shields, Goggles, Gloves and all the safety stuff that comes on the tools!

    Sorry about you accident, but, it could have been worse, way worse.
  9. J&JHotrods
    Joined: Oct 22, 2008
    Posts: 549


    Holeeey shit. So, the disc grenaded BEFORE it went into your arm? Damn.
    FWIW, I usually stick with norton, milwaukee, even dewalt cutoff wheels, but I have a about 20 dewalt cutoff wheels in the 4 and 4 1/2 and already had a few disintegrate at full song. No more dewalt discs for me.
    Gloves of choice? Good ol' leather gloves.
  10. Sphynx
    Joined: Jan 31, 2009
    Posts: 1,142

    from Central Fl

    I was working in my shop at the house yesterday using a cut off wheel and it bound up and sounded like it exploded it didnt but let me tell you it makes you have a whole new respect for a tool when you see a picture like that I try to always use safety equiptment but shit happens:eek:
  11. fortynut
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,038


    We're all gladiators in the garage coliseum of life. Cut up and battered and bruised, we loose fingers, thumbs, limbs, eyes, eyesight, and hearing. And, if able, we listen to those who have, shudder and make promises to Vulcan or whatever deity is appropriate --- that we'll do better and be better, and sutured back together, taped up, healed, scarred, stumps to prove our grit, and game as fighting cocks or drunk cowboys, we get up and dust ourselves off and go back for another dose 'cause the name of the game is gittin' 'er done. Satety is for a reason. The best way to learn it is not by experience. I lost the end of my finger when it got stuck between the platten of a stand up disk grinder and the guard. A bit of luck with a plastic surgeon put the scar under the fingernail he coaxed back. The first time I visited his office, he was behind his operating table with a syringe that had a needle on it that looked about a foot long. He made this horrible face that made him look like Fu Man Chu, and he said, "We have our ways to make you talk!" It was all downhill after that. Be Prepared is not BS.
  12. cm30
    Joined: Jan 5, 2007
    Posts: 156


    I also had a fight with my grinder. I took the guard off to get in a tight spot and sure enough it kicked back , attached on to my pants just below my goodies. Not realizing that it hit me in the hand between my fingers leaving a 2" gash .I tried to turn it off but because it was binding i could not move the switch . It tripped the breaker and i had to unwind my pants longjons and boxers from the blade and i was off to the hospital with a duirty rag around my hand and a hole in my croch . lucky all i cut was my fingers!!! Let me just say i put that guard back on and hold on to that grinder with a death grip.

    Hope you have a speedy recovery
  13. lowsquire
    Joined: Feb 21, 2002
    Posts: 2,564

    from Austin, TX

    I use a 5" grinder nearly every day, for at least the last eight years, heres my take on it.

    If you take the shield off, you deserved it. Idiotic .If there is so little clearance around something you are grinding that you need to remove the shield, you're using the wrong tool for the job.

    wear a leather glove on your free hand, not the one holding the grinder,you need that one bare for control. you are highly unlikely to get your fingers anywhere near the blade on your holding hand.

    Use Brand name discs and flap wheels, they cost more for a reason..they are better,safer,last longer and in the long run,are cheaper.

    Hope you heal up ok.
  14. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,792


    I made one that expensive last summer without the use of power tools at all. I was working on the undersideof the roadster body, which was up on stands (no, I know what you're thinking, and that's not what happened!) on my utility trailer. I was cutting some sheet metal with snips, and there were several scraps, little sharp speary things, you know how they coil up, littering the trailer bed. I was cutting another piece with snips, and slipped or something, and my right hand came down onto one of those little spear shaped scraps.

    I knew it was gonna be bad when I had to pull it out with pliers. Turned out to have nicked the artery, my ulner nerve, had to have reconstructive surgery and the whole deal.

    The good news was, the guy fixed my Carpal Tunnel problem as long as he was rooting around in my hand, so I guess it wasn't a total loss.

    Be careful out there...

  15. mink
    Joined: Oct 4, 2007
    Posts: 1,305

    from CT

    Ya the three grinders i have all have there gaurds missing and i have had my close encounters like 2 exploding wheels so far . I find my self using the sawzall more offten
  16. Ruiner
    Joined: May 17, 2004
    Posts: 4,145



    Hopefully the photo works...that's what happened to my hand...
  17. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 27,549


    I'm very sorry to read about your misfortune, but it does serve as a warning to others. Hope you have a full recovery, and follow your doctors advice.
  18. nutajunka
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,466


    Was at a sale the other day and they had a bucket full of used cut-off and grinding wheels and the guy next to me said you should grab them, then I remembered when I had an old one go off like a grenade inside a empty interiored car I was working on. Between the noise and the shock of it will stick in your mind for awhile. Came out of it with out a scratch. Luck was on my side that day!
  19. A couple of months back, I was telling my guys how, in 40 years of construction work, I had never injured myself with a power tool. Next day I ran my skilsaw through my right thumb and lost a major amount of meat, nerves & blood. No bone cut thankfully. I will never brag again ever.. Still very tender to touch but has healed nicely with hardly a scar...
  20. Thanks for the reminder, I get a little stupid---and your Thread, showing your "thread" was a timely reminder. :eek:

    Now hurry up and get back to work :)
  21. bsmdeuce
    Joined: May 9, 2006
    Posts: 90


    I had a similar accident in my garage about 6 months ago. I didn’t have a guard on my grinder ether and the stupid on off switch. I grinder kicked back and cut me rite above the knee. I had to get 16 stitches and was off work for a week. I really sucked. So I feel you. I now use a grinder with the guard and a Patel switch. Thank
  22. I too hope you make a full recovery...

    Take heart, at least you were being creative when it happened-a fellow I work with was simply closing his garage door one day from the inside and one of the garage door springs came loose somehow under load and lodged itself deep within his forearm...Three operations and a year of PT later, he still cannot move all of his fingers.
  23. Hey_Pauly
    Joined: Oct 1, 2007
    Posts: 330


    Thanks for your honesty, get well soon.
  24. C. Montgomery
    Joined: Dec 18, 2003
    Posts: 1,010

    C. Montgomery

    Metabos are awesome..
  25. Ditto the comments about a paddle switch grinder! I use a cutoff wheel on a Bosch 4 1/2" for everything, and I mean everything. Have for 10 years now. I hold it in my left hand and make sure the only thing in the line of fire is the tip of my index finger on the switch. I've had a few blow, but I try to be very careful about not getting it into a bind or side loading it.

    It's still like Russian roulette, and you can't let your guard down for a second...
  26. mtlcutter
    Joined: Oct 6, 2007
    Posts: 364


    Ruiner is right you guys have got to use the right gloves when grinding. THIS SHIT WILL FUCK YOU UP IF NOT KILL YOU. If you are using gloves while using a mill, drill press, or lathe, put down your tools, turn around and walk out of the shop. DONT RETURN TILL YOU PULL YOUR FU#%ING HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS!!!!!!
    I was working will a lathe that 3ft chuck by 20ft way bed. YA! Fucking big. like a dumb ass, put my had up to my spinning piece to check my finish. REALLY F_ING DUMB. a bur grabbed my finger, yanked my hand toward the machine then proceeded to rip a deep groove down my finger. NOT GOO STUFF. The point is that if I had been wearing a glove it would have grabbed the glove and my hand and pulled my entire body into the machine at 3000 rpm and made me a human bone and meat dispenser tied to a lathe.


    ps glad you didn't get hurt too badly
  27. SquashThatFly
    Joined: Nov 24, 2005
    Posts: 723


    THE BEST gloves ive ever worked with...Mechanix Fabricator. I wear mine every day at work. I just wish my boss would pay for them. They have saved my hands on numerous occasions. Super durable, just the right amount of protection, and when they finally break in, you dont even know theyre on.

  28. bushman
    Joined: Nov 17, 2008
    Posts: 25


    Darned cut off wheel split in two and ran down my leg missing my p....r by an inch and doing nasty damage to my left leg along the way. I always always wear gloves, but a word of advice, plus also never wear shorts in the workshop or non steel toed boots. Got in habit of also wearing a cap as it has saved my head some nasty cuts. Peak of cap also gives some warning when getting too close to hard objects. Safety glasses have also saved my bacon. Hearing protectors not only protect from hearing loss, but allow me to work longer on a project. Good quality grinders run smoother and cooler which helps save my wrists and hands from aftervibe.
  29. I've had them shoot pieces off and stuff and they kick back, I've had that happen enough I'm particular about what angle I go at stuff with and try to go sideways with it as opposed to sticking it out straight in front of me.

    Even then I got a big wire cup brush for the grinder that vibrated so much it was hard to hold after a while (a 4") and it threw a lot of bristles. One ended up embedded in my leg, through my pants, where I discovered it hours later wondering why my thigh was sore right above my knee.

    The grinder finally died the next time I went to use it, the cord shorted in the end of the housing somehow and burned right off it. (On the bright side, the 3" brush I got is much easier to control).

    But it does make me wonder if I can take the stops out of the switch and put a spring in it.
  30. f100kid
    Joined: Jul 5, 2009
    Posts: 73

    from So-Cal

    it happenes to me while cutting a bumper bracket on the 69 my dad said it was fine as long as i had on saftey glasses . . . those damn safety glasses didnt help with the three nasty scars on my left knuckles. I saw my bones and though cool and then the pain came and i almost threw up. My mom said a week later i should have gotten stiches but it was to late now.

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