Chuck guards are safety devices that protect workers from the excess
shavings, shards, tool bits and chips of material that may fly from
working machines and cause injury. They are simple curved pieces of
material that are attached to the machinery by a bracket and screws.
Chuck guards are used mostly on lathes, machines that spin at high RPM (rotations per minute) to form metal, wood and glass products. Lathes commonly use chucks, which are clamping devices used to hold the rotating tools and materials in place. In order to easily access the lathe, all chuck guards are attached to the chuck and are able to be swung or lifted away. Chuck guards are common items in manufacturing facilities and factories to protect workers around metal spinning, glass blowing, sanding and shearing operations. Chuck guards should be purchased in addition to protective goggles and clothing to prevent workers from being hit or cut with debris flying off the lathe, which is rotating at a very high RPM (rotations per minute). The debris, while usually small, travels at high speeds and is therefore considered dangerous to workers. Chuck guards are simple and effective solutions to the dangers of working with lathes. There are many other styles of machine guards similar to chuck guards, such as the lathe guard, milling machine guards and drill press guards.
Chuck guards are commonly made out of a clear thermoplastic material, often polycarbonate
, which is corrosion resistant, durable, shatter proof and able to withstand continuous high impact. These panels are a safer and longer lasting alternative to glass. Its transparency is very important so workers can still see the fabrication process going on behind it. Lathes that are hand-operated require clear chuck guards, while automated machinery doesn't need transparency and use chuck guards made of metal, commonly steel. All chuck guards, however, must be fabricated from material that is able to withstand continuous high impact. They are made from material that is thin and slightly curved, often from extrusion or a plastic molding process. Its size depends on the center height of the lathe and the diameter of the chuck, and can range from very small, for applications like candlestick making, to extremely large for pressure vessel fabrication. Larger chuck guards have a support bar to ensure it stays in place.