Dangers in fabricating a do it yourself

Orchid Members

I have repaired, modified, and rebuilt high capacity hydrualic
presses. I did this for a living in a previous life. Hydraulic
presses are dangerous. As the press capacity gets to 50 tons the
dangers become very significant. I am talking about broken limbs.I
have worked with machines which used hydraulic presses in a portion
of their make up. These machines come under strict OSHA codes. If an
employe is indjured on a machine that is not built compliant to OSHA
codes, then the owner / manager could be taken to court. This is no
joke. I have rebuilt 50 Ton hydrualic presses retaining only the
pump, cylinder and name plate.

I would recomend that anything above 30 ton capacity hydrualic
presses should have guards in place to prevent flying projectiles
from striking anyone in case of failures. A guard should be both
efficent and easy to work with. Eye protection and a face shield
should be considered as vital for 20 ton machines. Electrical or Air
powered machines need to have a well considered tag out / lock out
proceedure. The 50 ton powered machine had broken a man’s leg when a
part being pressed flew over 10 feet, striking the victem who was
just walking by. The near by 100 ton press, no one would use.

These machines harness unseed and little appreciated forces to do t=
heir work. I would be hesitant in fabricating any press rated over
50 tons for use in the jewelry trade. However i would fabricate one
rated at 30 tons. It would be guarded and to code. I would also wear
protective lenses or a OSHA face guard. I am accustom to having
worked in an environment which could kill or cripple me. Please be
professional. It is easier than being hurt Journeyman AFL CIO
Millwright, URW Millwright, Steel Workers Millwright. 35 Years.
Still got a long way to go as far as being a jeweler of gemologist
But I likes it.

Respectfully ROBB
Disclaimer - I have no dog in this fight.


Thanks for weighing in with your considerable expertise. A lot of
metalsmiths, like myself, do a lot of DIY or buy something at Harbor
Freight and make it work without considering that we may be
endangering ourselves or others.

I didn’t consider it until I found out that I was going to be a
grandfather and my grandson would be living with us. I moved my
jewelry stuff out to the garage to get all of the pointy, toxic stuff
out of the house. I’m happy I did it in advance. My grandson is on
oxygen, he doesn’t need anything else toxic floating around in the

An unforeseen benefit from moving out to the garage is I am 10 times
more productive with having my bench, polishing, and lapidary in the
same room. Plus I can close the door and crank the tunes. I call it
my studio with the big front door. :slight_smile:

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado

More posts like this would be refreshingly welcomed on Orchid…thanks
for taking the time to educate people on the dangers of equipment
that is fairly uncharted ground in terms of jewelry making and art
metalsmithing. I agree wholly that guarding should be permanently
installed around the equipment at 50 or more tons. Way too often
industrial health and safety is overlooked and disregarded by
metalsmiths- and more often by those with no insurance coverage for
medical care, studio space, or tangible assets…Warranties cover the
products, not the users…Everyone should also consider getting an
OSHA handbook to at least be familiar with some standards of safety
with machines and chemicals…I keep the NIOSH/OSHA pocket guide to
chemical hazards near the extinguishers and eyewash
station,neutralizing bin, and disposable safety glasses and masks in
my studio.They are available from the US Dept, of Health and Safety,
or Dept. of Labor…not a thrilling read by any means- but you should
at least introduce yourself and employees to the .



Congratulations on the birth of your grandson and I hope his health
improves soon.

I naively started making silver jewellery without really considering
the safety aspects of having a studio in my family lounge, thinking
that my children were old enough (21, 17, 15 & 13). I didn’t even
think much about the chemicals involved (apart from using “safe
pickle” rather than sulphuric acid). That’s typical of a chemist -
at uni we were a bit blaze about the whole safety thing. Now I’m
thinking I need to take another look at my household insurance
policies too as that’s something else I didn’t take into account.