22 Mar 2023

Six CNC routers safety tips you’d be dumb to ignore

There’s no doubt that for many of us, getting a new CNC router is exciting. With your mind racing at the endless possibilities of what new products you’re going to create, or how it’s going to optimise your workflow, you’re well within your right to have a spring in your step and a grin on your face. 


However, one of us has to step up and be the sensible one here – because your new piece of equipment can also come with considerable health and safety risks. 


As one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of CNC routers, here at VWM, we want to ensure that you have all the information you need to use our CNC machines safely and effectively – without putting yourself at risk. 

With that being said, here are some of our unbeatable safety tips to keep in mind when working with CNC machinery…

Know your machine and what you are purchasing

First things first – before you even begin using your CNC router, it’s important to take the time to learn about its various parts and functions. 

A great place to start is to ensure you understand how to operate the machine and the various safety features. This includes identifying the emergency stop buttons, safety guards and light beams.

Ask yourself:

  • Does the CNC router have a safety cage? 
  • Does it have Class 2 Light Beams fitted to the loading area?
  • Does the machine have the relevant safety relays fitted to operate the emergency stop circuits?

If not, you’re putting yourself and your employees at unnecessary risk whilst operating the machine. 

We also always recommend familiarising yourself with the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance and safety protocols. We tend to believe the age-old adage is true – fail to prepare, prepare to fail. 

Wear appropriate safety gear

Secondly, once you’re familiar with the instructions manual and the basics of how your machine operates  – it’s always a good idea to check if you’re wearing appropriate safety gear. What do we mean by that?

  • Safety glasses/goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris
  • Ear protection to reduce noise exposure and protect your eardrums
  • Gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges and rotating parts
  • Keep your workspace clean and organised.

Next, whilst it may seem obvious, a cluttered workspace isn’t a safe workplace. Not only can workplace clutter lead to tripping and falling, but it can also obstruct your view of the CNC machinery, increasing the risk of accidents. 

Ensure that your workspace is clean and organised and that there are no objects in the way of the machine’s movement – as this will allow you to operate the machine safely and efficiently!

Use proper tooling

With so many variations in CNC tooling, and so many tools looking very similar to one another – using the incorrect tools for your job is an easy mistake to make. 

However, using the wrong tools will not only result in lower quality work, but it’s also likely to damage the machinery and increase the risk of accidents.

As well as ensuring you’ve selected the correct tool for the job, you’ll want to ensure that it is properly secured within the machine. Loose tools can cause the machine to vibrate or malfunction. Not ideal! 

Keep your distance

When the CNC Machine is in operation, keeping a safe distance from the machine is important. Don’t lean over the machine or try to reach into it whilst it’s running, as this can be extremely dangerous. 

It’s wise to keep a safe distance from the machine to let it do its job – whilst ensuring you’re close enough to intervene if something goes wrong. 

Additionally, you must ensure that you do not leave the machine unattended while it is running. If you need to step away from the machine for any reason, then turn it completely off and wait for it to stop before you leave. This protects you in the rare instance that the machine malfunctions or causes an accident whilst you’re away. 

Follow proper CNC router shutdown procedures

We know how it goes. The fun part is over, and you have another list of tasks and responsibilities to carry out. You’re rushing to finish up and just want to flick the ‘off’ switch and get on with your day. 

Not on our watch! 

When you’ve finished using your CNC machine, it’s essential to follow proper shutdown procedures. This ensures it is safe to use the next time you require it. This includes turning off the machine, disconnecting it from the power source, and properly storing any tools or materials. 

What are the risks of using your CNC router incorrectly?

  • Flying chips and airborne dust
  • Damage to hearing 
  • Damage to eyesight
  • Cuts and injuries
  • Hair / Body parts getting stuck in moving machinery

If you’d like more information on getting a new CNC router for your business or workspace or are just looking for some friendly advice – then get in touch with our Lancashire-based team here at VWM on 01282 870077 or drop us a message here! 

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