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Old 01-01-2019, 12:29 PM   #1
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So I almost cut my arm off with an angle grinder

I had taken the guard off to remove floor bolts, forgot to put it back on, and was using it overhead to take the ceiling panels down. I lost my grip when it got caught and it landed in my shoulder. Now I might have to sell the bus to pay for the medical bills.

PSA don't be a dumbass like me!


Anyway, do y'all have advice about getting the ceiling panels off without major injuries? Other than "put the guard back on" because I don't think I'll have the arm strength to hold that thing any time soon and also I'm just not ever putting it over my head again. I tried tapping the rivets with a drill and it works for the slightly rusted wall panels but the ceiling enamel makes the drill bit just bounce around. Maybe I can take it off with a wire brush.

Anybody near Asheville want to come give me a hand? I'm scheduling friends as spotters for the next time I pick up a power tool.
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:32 PM   #2
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Ouch!!! The are bad enough with the guard in place. Without it...they are seriously dangerous.


Glad it didn't land a little higher...like on your jugular.
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:41 PM   #3
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Yeah. I'm recognizing that I have absolutely no idea how to use power tools safely, despite all those YouTube "how I did ____in my bus" videos I've watched. I think I need a safety course.

Hey I do have a respirator though!
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by elliot_peas View Post
.. tried tapping the rivets with a drill and it works for the slightly rusted wall panels but the ceiling enamel makes the drill bit just bounce around. Maybe I can take it off with a wire brush.
Sorry to hear about your learning experience, that is a tough lesson, but glad you passed, or survived as the case may be; and glad that you are not giving up. It would be a shame to waste such a expensive lesson.

I love to help neighbors but I'm afraid that's a little far, sorry.

as far as dealing with the enamel, YMMV, but I would try hitting them with a good center punch chisel, wear good grade safety glasses, to break and chip the enamel to get at the metal rivets. Hit right in the center. The center punch will also provide a depression to guide the drill bit, and start with a sharp small drill and them step drill.
Good luck, and don't be a stranger.
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:58 PM   #5
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as far as dealing with the enamel, YMMV, but I would try hitting them with a good center punch chisel, wear good grade safety glasses, to break and chip the enamel to get at the metal rivets. Hit right in the center. The center punch will also provide a depression to guide the drill bit, and start with a sharp small drill and them step drill.
Good luck, and don't be a stranger.
Center punch chisel is a taper I whack with a hammer, right? That sounds helpful. Especially with safety glasses. And maybe chainmail.
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Old 01-01-2019, 01:06 PM   #6
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I know, I know you're gun shy with the angle grinder right now.....I assume you were using a cut-off wheel? Try using a flap wheel. I dunno how well it would work for grinding down rivets, but it's worth a shot. A lot less sketchy IMO than a flimsy cut off wheel.
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Old 01-01-2019, 01:15 PM   #7
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I was using a bigass metal cutting wheel. Would that flap wheel not just take a bigger chunk out if I drop it on myself? I'd been slicing the metal panels from inside the rivet lines (like cutting the crust off a slice of bread) using the wheel I had put on it to get the bolts off the floor. Might try a flap wheel on the rest of the wall panels when my arm strength is back. Thanks!

Edit: attached a picture of the wheel I had on the grinder. Bad bad bad.
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Old 01-01-2019, 01:47 PM   #8
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Ouch!

Flap wheel would be a lot less dangerous than that blade you were using. You would just abrade the rivet heads off if you were using one.

It would still be no fun to drop one one yourself, but it would not slice like the other one.
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Old 01-01-2019, 01:52 PM   #9
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Sorry to hear about your injuries. I work with all kinds of cutting tools and they all scare the crap out of me.
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Old 01-01-2019, 02:24 PM   #10
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Hope you heal soon! I used a grinding wheel on my cut-off tool to get rid of the heads of the rivets when I took down our ceiling. Certainly safer than a cutting wheel and more aggressive than a flapper wheel.
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Old 01-01-2019, 03:25 PM   #11
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That wheel is overpriced and overrated buy the manufacturer.
The flapper wheel is more for smoothing metal than cutting it.
even if you have a clear shot with a thin cutting wheel they are going to try to grab towards the end because the grinders is already at an angle. with or without a guard.
For 4" grinders you don't have the option to buy a cutting wheel with a nut already built into it a thicker grinding wheel you do.
The thicker wheel is cupped and made for steel removal and are built with are without nuts. the thin cutting wheel is made for flush cutting something.
Make sure the wheels bought meet or exceed the RPM of your grinder.
Use your grinders supplied side handle at all times no matter how awkward?
Glad that's all you got and don't let it stop you.
Almost lost a welder 4-months ago cause of a 9" one?
180 stitches from his mutts to the back of his neck cause it caught in his clothes.
Make sure your grinder shuts off the second your finger lets off the switch. There a lot sold to the homeowner that doesn't.
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Old 01-01-2019, 04:09 PM   #12
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Use a grinder to grind a flat surface to the rivet, then center punch and drill.
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Old 01-01-2019, 04:39 PM   #13
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My angle grinder definitely doesn't have a brake when I take my finger off the trigger. That would be wonderful. I absolutely made the mistake of just letting myself get used to a bad habit by having the guard off. Thanks for the reminder about the handle too. I don't think I'll have the arm strength to hold the grinder overhead again any time soon - I severed my bicep. I'll need a technique that allows me to rely mostly on my right arm or gravity

Holy crap I hope your welder is ok, that's terrifying.
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Old 01-01-2019, 05:31 PM   #14
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how to take out rivets...

the first tool you will use is called " automatic center punch" Look it up. You can use this one handed. then drill the center of rivet out. Or the head of the rivet. go watch videos about removing rivets air craft related. when you finally watch so many videos you are sick of it. the go out to the bus an do it.

good luck, I hope you are wearing eye protection to crap out of your eyes. How about hearing, huh? what did you say? see my point.

have removed thousands of rivets on all kinds of different stuff..... drills, punches, never a grinder, chisel,

william
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Old 01-01-2019, 05:46 PM   #15
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the first tool you will use is called " automatic center punch" Look it up. You can use this one handed. then drill the center of rivet out. Or the head of the rivet. go watch videos about removing rivets air craft related. when you finally watch so many videos you are sick of it. the go out to the bus an do it.

good luck, I hope you are wearing eye protection to crap out of your eyes. How about hearing, huh? what did you say? see my point.

have removed thousands of rivets on all kinds of different stuff..... drills, punches, never a grinder, chisel,

william

This is good homework, thanks! I at least did have good ear protection on, a respirator & safety glasses. And leather gloves. Just not a chainmail shirt.
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Old 01-01-2019, 07:13 PM   #16
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The only time I ever took the guard off my angle I had an accident. Lucky for me it was the grinder that was hurt and not myself.
Glad you didn't cut it off! Happy new year!
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Old 01-01-2019, 09:32 PM   #17
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Sorry you had an accident. From what I've read here the easiest way to take out rivets is with an air punch and chisel if you have access to a large air compressor.
It would be safer than working overhead with a grinder.

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Old 01-01-2019, 09:38 PM   #18
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Sorry you had an accident. From what I've read here the easiest way to take out rivets is with an air punch and chisel if you have access to a large air compressor.
It would be safer than working overhead with a grinder.

Ted
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:18 AM   #19
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.... And leather gloves. ...

be careful with leather gloves, loose shirts etc, around spinning tools. sometimes the gloves will catch on the tool and pull your finger or arm or you into the tool and change a simple scratch into a much bigger problem.

Leather gloves were design to protect you from blisters and splinters when using a shovel or ax. A high spinning, high power electric tool can catch the leather and pull your finger in. They can change a cut in the skin into an amputation.
You never see a machinist wearing leather gloves. Maybe thin, easy to tear nitrile ones but not heavy leather gloves.

Don't be afraid, just respectful. Knowledge is power if you think about it.
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:58 AM   #20
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be careful with leather gloves, loose shirts etc, around spinning tools. sometimes the gloves will catch on the tool and pull your finger or arm or you into the tool and change a simple scratch into a much bigger problem.

Leather gloves were design to protect you from blisters and splinters when using a shovel or ax. A high spinning, high power electric tool can catch the leather and pull your finger in. They can change a cut in the skin into an amputation.
You never see a machinist wearing leather gloves. Maybe thin, easy to tear nitrile ones but not heavy leather gloves.

Don't be afraid, just respectful. Knowledge is power if you think about it.
Huh. I was using leather because of the sparks & metal shards flying from the grinder. You think nitrile would be a better idea?
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