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plasma torch mishap...

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  • plasma torch mishap...

    I did something really stupid today and would like to share my story in the hopes that it persuades someone else to be just a tiny bit smarter than me....

    I burned the living crap out of myself today with my plasma torch. Yup. The plasma torch itself. Not some hot metal, not a cup of coffee...I shot the pilot arc from my plasma torch right through my long sleeve shirt and into my forearm. Trust me when I tell you that it hurts. I don't recommend it. So here's the dumb part...

    The annoying safety lever that always seems to get in the way and slows you down....well I disabled mine because it gets in my way and slows me down. Like the guard on a grinder. So I was cutting and grinding and moving and shaking to get this job done that slid into my shop this morning. I went to move the pile of tools and stuff now occupying my work space to make room for more tools and stuff. I was also done with the plasma cutter and was attempting to put it away. So I grabbed the torch cable and pulled it across the welding table, it hung up on who knows what, flipped over, hit the bench vise, which in turn pressed the trigger for me (me and that vise are gonna have words...) the torch flew at me like a guided missile and I blocked, I parried it...with my left forearm, but not until it charred my flesh in the blink of an eye. Didn't smell good, didn't feel good. Still doesn't feel good.

    So the moral to the story is....

    The safety lever on your plasma torch has a place. And that place is to keep those pesky bench vises from paying you back for all the times you beat the daylights out of it with a hammer. Don't disable your plasma torch safety lever.

    The end.

  • #2
    Vises and vices have that in common.

    Dude, not many people are smart enough to instantly cauterize their puncture wounds. Good for you!


    • #3
      Keep a close watch on it, burns are easily infected. Followed with that must have hurt and I bet it's going to leave a scar. Any chance you have a picture of the damage to share?


      • #4
        Sorry to hear that ryan, glad it wasn't worse though


        • #5
          And like many nasty occurrences, it happened in the blink of an eye. I hate that safety thing on the torch too but have had or seen too many close calls over the years to allow myself to disable it. I don't know how long the high frequency stays on to initiate the plasma field for the pilot arc but I can tell you from hard experience with both a defective grounding system in a radio transmitter and a stupid act by yours truly with a medium-power airborne radar unit that burns are one thing but high frequency burns take the pain to a whole new level. I remember a small burn on my thumb that hurt for weeks all the way to my shoulder! Hope you can avoid infection. Thanks for posting, Ryan. You may save someone else some pain.


          • #6
            Just like the guard on your grinder, it’s there for a reason.
            Lincoln Idealarc 250
            Miller Bobcat 250
            Thermal Arc Hefty 2 feeder
            Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52
            Torchmate CNC table


            • #7


              • #8
                I got it wrapped up nice and clean with a sterile bandage. It hurts, so the way I figure it, that's good when it comes to a burn. I'm gonna take the dressing off this evening and have a peek.

                Just like the guard on my grinder, which I took off because I needed into a tight spot, and that dadgum safety device was just in my way. One day I was upside down plasma cutting on something and having to manipulate that safety lever on the plasma torch was in my way, so I spent a few minutes removing it so I could save a few minutes, and some aggravation, on the job. It's completely my fault. It was a stupid thing to do. Yesterday I got in a hurry and we all know how many times being in a hurry has got someone hurt. I'm lucky it was my forearm. It could have just as easily been my eyeball.


                • #9
                  let's see some gore! lol
                  HTP Invertig221 D.V. Water-cooled
                  HTP Pro Pulse 300 MIG
                  HTP ProPulse 200 MIG x2
                  HTP Inverarc 200 TLP water cooled
                  HTP Microcut 875SC


                  • #10
                    Just another prime example of Mr. Murphy and his ever present ability to remind us of the fact that if it can go wrong, it will! I nicked myself with a flapper disk yesterday, so none of us are alone when it comes to Mr. Murphy and safety as a whole.


                    • #11
                      Ever wet yourself over a welder?......
                      Started by Coalsmoke
                      12-09-2015, 05:37 AM
                      (Original post)

                      This may have been around already but I just stumbled upon a really nice pipeliner conversion on youtube. Just about had to go have a moment by myself!

                      Of course now the real problem is trying to resist buying another redface and "borrowing" my neighbour's little diesel tractor!

                      ************************************************** **


                      Here's a previous post to Coalsmoke's thread which may have some bearing on this topic.

                      Hope you are doing better and will finish your Helga project.
                      Be safe - we need you expertise and advice.

                      Thankfully my pants were dry but not for long........................

                      Burnt hands


                      04-13-2016, 10:18 PM

                      Don't do this at home (or in your shop)

                      I will share my stupidity for all to laugh at and perhaps learn from.
                      Most of my work is tig. Stainless and alum with some carbon steel.
                      Last summer I was doing about 95 pieces of 065" wall stainless.
                      Got lazy and decided to rest the tig torch on my lap while swapping in new parts.
                      Worked for a while then when I thought I was in a rhythm and getting a good production rate, I got sloppy.
                      Left the tig torch in my lap as before and clamped the next piece in the fixture but bumped the foot pedal by mistake.......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                      And of course the tungsten was in the most painful location.................
                      Luckily this was just a jolt but I learned very quickly - please be careful with any voltage.
                      Miller Dynasty 350, Dynasty 210 DX, Hypertherm 1000, Thermal Arc GTSW400, Airco Heliwelder II, oxy-fuel setup, metal cutting bandsaw, air compressor, drill press, large first aid kit, etc.

                      Call me the "Clouseau" of welding !


                      • #12

                        That would suck.


                        • #13
                          I read somewhere experience is a good teacher. I heard some where that a good teacher shares his experiences. And if your feeling pain, it means you still have nerves being affected from the experience. First degree burns are the outer ring of second and third degree burn depth.
                          Keep a watchful eye on the healing.


                          • #14
                            Ever have a zip disc shatter while your cutting with your grinder? I have. Without a guard there, it's not nice.
                            Lincoln Idealarc 250
                            Miller Bobcat 250
                            Thermal Arc Hefty 2 feeder
                            Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52
                            Torchmate CNC table


                            • #15
                              Never had one fly completely apart, I bet it was quite a shock. I had a piece of wire from a stainless wire wheel lodge itself in the knuckle of my hand the other day. Shot right through the glove. Felt awesome.