Adding locked switches to machinary

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diyfiesta

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Hello,

I'm planning/building my first dedicated space as a workshop. I'm organising my thoughts around the electrics and lighting and will be hiring an electrician for advice and the work. However, in my experience though, I've had mixed advice when things are outside their usual day to day.

I'd like to add a mechanical keyed switch/isolator to each machine with a blade for safety (to stop kids accidently switching things on). I'd be happy to have a single switch or one per machine. Probably covering a startright table saw, chop saw, band saw and eventually things like thicknessers but nothing outragous.

Is there any general advice, experience reports that will help me design my shop (things you wished you'd considered) or even to be able to speak to the sparky and convey what I want. I've seen things like this MK Metalclad Plus 20A 1-Gang DP Metal Clad Key Switch which I assume I could just put inline per machine but as I say, a few pointers to get me started would be much appreciated.

Just to restate - I'm not planning on doing any of this work myself, I want a professional in but I also want to be able to sense check their advice and be comfortable with it.

Cheers,
Toby
 

deema

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Having an isolator on each machine is good practice, these have holes in them to allow a padlock to be used when in the off position. When my kids were young I added in addition a 100A isolator before the distribution board that was mounted high up as an extra deterrent. This allowed me to switch and lock off all machines with a single switch. The lights and 13A sockets were is a separate consumer unit.
A disappointment in my life has been that I have 3 boys and none of whom would be seen dead in my workshop when they were growing up, no interest what so ever, so the isolator was a complete waste of time!!
Im my workshop I still have isolators on all machines for my own precautions, I isolate machines before changing blades etc.
 

Peter Sefton

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It's a good idea to have isolation on your machines, I have rotary isolators on all my machines, they are usually lockable with either a padlock or just a cable tie.


Cheers

Peter
 

deema

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Thanks Droogs, all good, but the MIL is very unwell, in and out of hospital requiring 24/7 care. I’ve been supporting my wife which is important. I’ve not as a consequence been near the workshop much, or indeed had much time for other things.
 

Sideways

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In my limited experience, key operated switches like the MK or the industrial M22 equivalent use rather poor quality locks that don't inspire confidence The mechanical element, not the electrical aspect. Neither very robust nor very durable.
I would tend towards a red and yellow isolator switch as Deema has described and Peter has pictured, then pair this with a padlock.
If it needs one, long hasp padlocks are widely available to suit. Just google "lock out, tag out".
I can imagine wanting to leave a ring main turned on the workshop to power battery chargers and thermostat controlled frost heaters, etc
There is a convenience and reassurance about having all the machines fed from one isolator that you can just turn off on the way out of your shop, but unless your machines are small enough to run off 13A plugs from a common circuit, that won't be easy to set up.
 

Spectric

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Think back to school days in the metalwork shop, the teacher would turn on a main switch so the machinery could be used. This also had many E-Stops in circuit so the teacher could always use one if something went wrong.

I want a professional in but I also want to be able to sense check their advice
You need an electrician not a domestic installer!
 

baldkev

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I am not an electrician.... but i fitted a rotary isolator on my supply pre machines. Whilst looking for one i stumbled on a thread on an electrical forum ( an argument ) about these rotary switches. The cheap ones ( like mine ) apparently cant handle lots of on/ off as the current apparently damages the contacts. They are designed for emergency use ( apparently ) and the expensive ones are designed for constant use. Again, just what i read.
 

TheTiddles

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Kids don’t accidentally switch things on, they intend to, they may not understand the implications of it and that’s the danger.

I run everything off a fused spur and that’s a standard 13A one and it’s at the far end of the garage, so (at the time) one of the neighbour’s kids would have to go to the far end of the garage, make that switch and then another one on the machine, all without me noticing, I thought that was caution enough.

Other than physically locking switches there’s not much you can really do to eliminate them being switched on, personally I’d go for teaching them what they can and can’t do and when that applies. When they’re small the biggest hazard is the head-height cast iron tables
 

Cabinetman

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And it’s not just children, I knew a lady through business once whose husband had a lathe in the shed and one day when he was away she thought she would have a go – he obviously made it look easy, the next thing she knew the chisel had gone over her shoulder and embedded itself in the wall- scared her witless, definitely wouldn’t go near it again. Ian
 

Trextr7monkey

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I ran school workshops and as mentioned above used to embed health and safety and self preservation into anyone coming through the door. We would kill all power at the end of the day and lots of stop buttons and everything fitted with NVR switches but one day something very strange happened.
The school had taken in some international students just before 6th form as a stepping stone to a UK university. While announced as mathematical geniuses inevitably they soon appeared in the workshops having never worked with their hands previously we had pointed out that pupils coming through the school had lots of work shop experience and had built up skills and safe working practices and these older students were a real risk .
There was a prep room housing circular, RAS, big bandsaw etc which was for staff use only -imagine our shock to see a smiling guy walk out having ripped a board in half unsupervised. He had observed a technician at work and classed himself as a fast learner!
 

Woodbee2

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I’m in the process of having my 4th Workshop wiring installed for light and power (single phase only).
I was a School and College Technician for over 20yrs and each Workshop had its own big Master Switch, to control the power to all the machines, leaving the lights and mains sockets on. In addition, each machine also had its own lockable isolator switch.
In practice it was only necessary to lock the main switch, but very useful being able to lock off individual machines if for instance, it needed emergency work, or changing cutters/blades!
As a consequence, my ‘new’ workshop will have a new Master Switch, so I can turn off ALL the 13amp sockets, but maybe 4 will be on all the time near my bench, to plug in chargers etc overnight.
The reason is .....I’ve got 2 very inquisitive Grandsons (10 & 6) who have been ‘drilled’ NOT to touch things.....I can leave the Workshop open having turned the power off to ALL the machines, so I can rest easy and not worry!
SAFETY HAS TO BE FIRST IN EVERYTHING WE DO.
PS Keep the first aid kit up-to-date and well stocked! It may seem an extravagance...but if you need it....it needs to be readily visible and accessible...for yourself or others in the event of an accident.....AND..... have you considered a First Aid Course....well worth it! Do you know what to do IF......?
Please take care everyone, you don’t get a second chance if fingers, eyesight etc gets lost, or compromised.
 

diyfiesta

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Thanks all, and thanks for narrowing down the type of isolator that would be appropriate.

I agree that teaching kids about how to behalf is super important but it doesn’t hurt to put some physical obstacles in place!

Next job to find a sparky that can actually find time for the job!
 

akirk

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I recently rewired my workshop - there are two plug circuits - one with red plugs and one with white - all machinery is plugged into a red plug and that circuit goes through a rotary isolator as shown above - turn and all machines are off… the white plugs then run everything else including air filtration / the tv / the music / the WiFi / the wine fridge (all the important things!) which continue to run…
 

Retire2004

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I recently rewired my workshop - there are two plug circuits - one with red plugs and one with white - all machinery is plugged into a red plug and that circuit goes through a rotary isolator as shown above - turn and all machines are off… the white plugs then run everything else including air filtration / the tv / the music / the WiFi / the wine fridge (all the important things!) which continue to run…
Hello,

I'm planning/building my first dedicated space as a workshop. I'm organising my thoughts around the electrics and lighting and will be hiring an electrician for advice and the work. However, in my experience though, I've had mixed advice when things are outside their usual day to day.

I'd like to add a mechanical keyed switch/isolator to each machine with a blade for safety (to stop kids accidently switching things on). I'd be happy to have a single switch or one per machine. Probably covering a startright table saw, chop saw, band saw and eventually things like thicknessers but nothing outragous.

Is there any general advice, experience reports that will help me design my shop (things you wished you'd considered) or even to be able to speak to the sparky and convey what I want. I've seen things like this MK Metalclad Plus 20A 1-Gang DP Metal Clad Key Switch which I assume I could just put inline per machine but as I say, a few pointers to get me started would be much appreciated.

Just to restate - I'm not planning on doing any of this work myself, I want a professional in but I also want to be able to sense check their advice and be comfortable with it.

Cheers,
Toby
Hello,

I'm planning/building my first dedicated space as a workshop. I'm organising my thoughts around the electrics and lighting and will be hiring an electrician for advice and the work. However, in my experience though, I've had mixed advice when things are outside their usual day to day.

I'd like to add a mechanical keyed switch/isolator to each machine with a blade for safety (to stop kids accidently switching things on). I'd be happy to have a single switch or one per machine. Probably covering a startright table saw, chop saw, band saw and eventually things like thicknessers but nothing outragous.

Is there any general advice, experience reports that will help me design my shop (things you wished you'd considered) or even to be able to speak to the sparky and convey what I want. I've seen things like this MK Metalclad Plus 20A 1-Gang DP Metal Clad Key Switch which I assume I could just put inline per machine but as I say, a few pointers to get me started would be much appreciated.

Just to restate - I'm not planning on doing any of this work myself, I want a professional in but I also want to be able to sense check their advice and be comfortable with it.

Cheers,
Toby
Keep it "simples" . For all (critical)machines run from a 15 amp socket, fix a wooden block near the socket(s). Cut a transverse groove in the block the same width and depth as the plug with 3 holes at bottom of groove to accept the 3 pins. Fix a hasp and staple across with a small padlock to secure the plug. Tudor
 

akirk

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Keep it "simples" . For all (critical)machines run from a 15 amp socket, fix a wooden block near the socket(s). Cut a transverse groove in the block the same width and depth as the plug with 3 holes at bottom of groove to accept the 3 pins. Fix a hasp and staple across with a small padlock to secure the plug. Tudor
sounds far more complicated - one isolator switch to turn off all machines - couldn’t be much simpler!
 

Retire2004

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I’m in the process of having my 4th Workshop wiring installed for light and power (single phase only).
I was a School and College Technician for over 20yrs and each Workshop had its own big Master Switch, to control the power to all the machines, leaving the lights and mains sockets on. In addition, each machine also had its own lockable isolator switch.
In practice it was only necessary to lock the main switch, but very useful being able to lock off individual machines if for instance, it needed emergency work, or changing cutters/blades!
As a consequence, my ‘new’ workshop will have a new Master Switch, so I can turn off ALL the 13amp sockets, but maybe 4 will be on all the time near my bench, to plug in chargers etc overnight.
The reason is .....I’ve got 2 very inquisitive Grandsons (10 & 6) who have been ‘drilled’ NOT to touch things.....I can leave the Workshop open having turned the power off to ALL the machines, so I can rest easy and not worry!
SAFETY HAS TO BE FIRST IN EVERYTHING WE DO.
PS Keep the first aid kit up-to-date and well stocked! It may seem an extravagance...but if you need it....it needs to be readily visible and accessible...for yourself or others in the event of an accident.....AND..... have you considered a First Aid Course....well worth it! Do you know what to do IF......?
Please take care everyone, you don’t get a second chance if fingers, eyesight etc gets lost, or compromised.
sounds far more complicated - one isolator switch to turn off all machines - couldn’t be much simpler!
Hi akirk,
In your suggestion I assume when you refer to red and white plugs that you actually mean 'sockets' ( the male part that is fixed to the wall)? An isolator switch as you suggest would render all machines inactive which diyfiesta may not require if he wants to use a machine when children are present! Regards Tudor
 

Retire2004

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Hi akirk,
In your suggestion I assume when you refer to red and white plugs that you actually mean 'sockets' ( the male part that is fixed to the wall)? An isolator switch as you suggest would render all machines inactive which diyfiesta may not require if he wants to use a machine when children are present! Regards Tudor
Hi akirk,
In your suggestion I assume when you refer to red and white plugs that you actually mean 'sockets' ( the male part that is fixed to the wall)? An isolator switch as you suggest would render all machines inactive which diyfiesta may not require if he wants to use a machine when children are present! Regards Tudor
EDIT. Sorry male part should read female (that fits to wall)
 

Bingy man

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I got these - see picture- while I was working as a gas engineer and find them really useful in preventing accidental turn
ons and meddling / curious hands . I’ve tried to find them online but no luck . They are simple and lockable. The square one is designed to go onto a single socket or spur by slacking of the securing screws and sliding the box into place and then you just nip up the screws .
 

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