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Watch Out For That Tailstock Center!

Many turning centers, commonly called universal style turning centers, have the ability to do chucking work, bar work, and shaft work. These machines have horizontal spindles, meaning the workpiece is loaded and held in a horizontal orientation. With chucking work and most bar work, the tailstock is not used. It is usually retracted far out of the way. Our safety tip has to do with how you manually load workpieces when doing chucking and shaft work.

We recommend getting in the habit of holding workpieces when loading them into horizontal spindle turning centers from below. Never allow your hand to get behind the workpiece (grabbing it from the right end) during the loading process. While this may be okay for loading in chucking applications, when you're performing shaft work - and the tailstock center is in close proximity - your hand will be right in the way of the tailstock center if you grab the workpiece from its end.

As you know, most turning centers use foot-pedals to activate the chuck and tailstock - and with some machines these foot-pedals are quite close to one another. If you step on the wrong one by mistake, the tailstock will advance when you're expecting the chuck to close. And again, if your hand is in the way, you'll be seriously injured. If you always hold and support workpieces from below whenever loading them, your hand will never be in the way of the tailstock center.

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