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How to Safely Use a CNC

CNC & Machining Workshop
How to Safely Use a CNC


UK electronic and mechanical store RS Components created this handy guide to operating a CNC in a safe manner, with a focus on operating a CNC you built yourself. Click the image to see it full sized. [via Bot Bench]

We’ve create a guide outlining some key safety considerations to help anyone involved in building a CNC machine. You should never cut corners when it comes to safety, so be sure to take the time to look at our guide as it may help avoid unnecessary risks and accidents. If you’re looking to build your own CNC machine, why not have a look at our range of switches that will enhance your safety? These include limit switches and emergency stop buttons.

26 thoughts on “How to Safely Use a CNC

  1. Bruce says:

    First piece of advice: “Always wear gloves.”

    I thought the rule around any rotating machinery was “never wear gloves.”

  2. Andy in Tucson says:

    “CNC” is an initialism for “Computerized Numerically Controlled.”
    I think you mean to say “CNC machine” or “CNC mill.”

    1. David Adams says:

      I’m seeing this a lot lately. When did CNC go from being an adjective to being a noun. There are all kinds of CNC equipment, not just routers and milling machines.

  3. Ryan Turner says:

    I’ve never seen a CNC operator wearing gloves before.

    1. Bruce says:

      Maybe it’s a case of, “warning: do not wear glove on remaining hand.”

  4. Harrison Rose says:

    Absolutely NEVER wear gloves while operating a CNC – or any rotary machine tool!!!!

    This is because a glove can easily get caught in the tool without you noticing, and can suck your whole hand/arm into the machine – before you even notice that you’ve touched anything. You are MUCH better off not wearing gloves – you have greater dexterity, you know exactly how fat your fingers are, and if you DO get caught, hopefully you just lose some skin, or just a finger.


    1. David Adams says:

      Yes! Specifically bench rotary tools. If you’re using an angle grinder, best to wear some gloves.

  5. John Honniball says:

    It’s also a little odd that they show the guy wearing all the safety gear in the first drawing, and then in all the other drawings, he isn’t wearing any of them.

  6. mUhAmAr says:

    When I was in my apprenticeship, we had to attend various instructions about accident preventions. As it was in a big company, Sulzer in Switzerland, the took it very seriously. Part of the prevention was to look at pictures where the accident happened already, some of them were were very terrible. I remember those pictures very well, specially the one where an arm was ripped of by a lath (yes, it was a big lathe) because the operator was wearing a sweater which was sticking out underneath his working cloth. The sweater was caught by the rotating part of the lath, the rest you can imagine! Or people being scalped by a drilling machine are not a pretty sight either. Never wear anything which can be caught by rotating parts of a machine! No jewellery (also no rings on your fingers!). If you have long hairs, wear a hairnet or something similar. Wear working cloth, which usually is designed to have accident prevention in mind! Wear safety goggles too! Wear gloves only when they have to protect you (angle grinders are fine) but not on machines with rotating parts!

  7. Trav says:

    The little picture on the page sows him wearing gloves, but if you follow the link in the article, it shows gloves to be used only when machine is not in use. I think the link needs updating.

  8. raster says:

    I saw an earlier version and we let them know about the glove issue… hopefully an updated version will appear soon.

  9. tactlesstati says:

    Hi guys,

    The glove issues have been clarified now. Have a look:

    Thanks for the feedback!

  10. John Baichtal says:

    I updated the image in the post, guys. Thanks, Tatiana!

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