Monday, January 18, 2010

A Cautionary Tale

I was reminded of this story from decades ago while I was rigging an electric chainsaw motor for a bench test; securing it in my woodworking vise so its start-up torque reaction could cause no trouble.

One day at work, one of my co-workers didn't show up in the morning. I soon got the story from my boss of what had happened to him.

It seemed he'd been repairing an electric lawnmower the previous evening. He had it upside down on his workbench, unsecured. He hit the switch to start it, and start it did. The torque reaction of the motor and blades sent the mower careening off the edge of the workbench, the blades raking his thigh as the mower descended. From what I was told of the aftermath, the words 'cut badly' don't begin to describe the injury he sustained. I can't recall if he ever returned to work, but I don't think I was there much longer after that. (The place was a hell hole, but I digress.)

Anyway, there's a story to take to heart and file in your 'don't let this happen to you' folder. The start-up torque reaction of powerful universal motors is a force to be reckoned with. Never be lackadaisical about protecting yourself from it.

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