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Dangers of machining carbon-fiber?

Discussion in 'SAFETY ISSUES & EQUIPMENT' started by The_Apprentice, Jul 12, 2017.

  1. The_Apprentice

    The_Apprentice Canada Active Member Active Member

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    There is a person on youtube who shows videos of himself making carbon-fiber jewelry rings to wear. In a lot of the steps he is cutting, and sanding carbon-fiber. Most of this he uses a lathe and drill-press for.

    While this looks interesting, I have seen more than one person exclaim shock at him for advocation of doing this. From what I understand, the dust from this material is extremely toxic, and has no use in a workshop. The carbon binds to anything, and everything, including lung tissue and stays there.

    Can someone correct me if I am wrong? The person who makes these videos hasn't made any responses on the concerns, and also has done quite a few other SAFETY violations when I watch him.
     
  2. strantor

    strantor United States Active User Active Member

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    According to the MSDS it sounds pretty benign (which is rare - they could make water sound deadly)

    https://www.tapplastics.com/uploads/pdf/MSDS Carbon Fiber Sheet.pdf

     
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  3. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    According to the various MSD sheets, toxicity of carbon fiber, either inhaled or orally ingested, is not known. Carbon by itself is rather inert. Inhaling large quantities over an extended period of time, as when mining coal, will cause black lung disease. As far as oral ingestion, carbon in the form of activated charcoal is uses extensively for removal of impurities from drinking water. I know that I have ingested my share in eating grilled brats, hamburgers, and steaks. I have also inhaled quite a bit of carbon in the form of soot from diesel engines and from smoldering campfire.

    I would be more concerned with the epoxy binders use in the carbon fiber material.
     
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  4. cvairwerks

    cvairwerks United States Active User Active Member

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    It's going to depend on the complete material make-up. We used some that is pretty mild before it's cooked. After cure, it's quite toxic...enough that we had to install high grade HEPA level vacuum systems to deal with dust from sanding and drilling it.
     
  5. woochucker

    woochucker United States Active Member Active Member

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    So I wear a respirator when sanding it.
    I vacuum it up after.
    The real danger is carbon fiber splinters. They don't disolve under the skin, and if they enter the blood stream they can and will kill you. They just don't degrade and white blood cells can do nothing to break them down.
    When they get to the heart the party is over.
     
  6. Wreck™Wreck

    Wreck™Wreck United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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  7. woochucker

    woochucker United States Active Member Active Member

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    I did not see that in the MSDS where did you find DMHO in the product sheets.
     
  8. The_Apprentice

    The_Apprentice Canada Active Member Active Member

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    Grrrrr.
    So this thread went pretty quick from pretty harmless... to really nasty (#*@!
     
  9. 4ssss

    4ssss United States Active Member Active Member

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    Reminds me of when I worked in a pre-sintered carbide shop. It was so dusty and dirty you needed to wear a Haz-Mat suit and a respirator. Every 3 months they'd bring in a Dr. to examine your lungs and the first thing out of his mouth after he checked you was he'd wish you'd stop smoking. Didn't make a difference if you smoked or not, the diagnosis was the same.
     
  10. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Dihydrogen monoxide, H2O, otherwise known as water.
     
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  11. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    My father-in-law lived all his life in the East Midlands in the UK. He told me that when he was young the doctors recommended smoking cigarettes to coal miners because the hacking and coughing would cough up the coal dust from their lungs.
     
  12. Wreck™Wreck

    Wreck™Wreck United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Try and keep up here, Dihydrogen Monoxide is in almost every product that you have ever used, it is deadly and should be banned from all consumer goods.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
  13. GA Gyro

    GA Gyro H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Was wondering when someone would get around to that reality:
    Di = 2 (x hydrogen)
    Mon - 1 (x oxygen)
    Or:
    H20... = water

    Sorry... that site must be a hoax.
    Or a goof that is afraid of their shadow.
     
  14. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I think it is actually meant to be satire. The point was to show how ridiculous we can get about "chemicals". Everything on the site is true if you think about it. It's how you spin the truth that makes the difference.

    In college, I had a chemistry professor that had previously taught at the Air Force Academy. They had a problem with ethyl alcohol disappearing. They relabeled it ethanol and the evaporation slowed but didn't stop so they relabeled it methyl carbinol and the evaporation stopped.

    It just depends on the spin.
     
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  15. Wreck™Wreck

    Wreck™Wreck United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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  16. JPigg55

    JPigg55 United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Your body is mostly made up of water and carbon (carbon based life form).
    I could see the "Fiber" part possibly being an irritant to your lungs, but the only health hazard I can think of would be the other materials used in carbon fiber.
     
  17. GA Gyro

    GA Gyro H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Yeah...
    This reminds me of a video that circulated around the AC and refrigeration business years ago...
    This intelligent looking (and attractive) lady was wandering around a public area asking folks to sign a petition to ban a refrigerant (freon) known as R-718... the video included about a half dozen folks that signed it.
    Then the second half of the video she explained to each one of them (probably edited, the explanation happened with the signing)...
    That R-718 was water... (true, R718 is water in a chiller).
    Folks said it still should be banned because of the damage it did to the environment.

    We have lost critical thinking...
    However at this point I probably need to quit...
    Because the discussion will go to politics...
    Have a different forum for that... grin!
     
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  18. atunguyd

    atunguyd South Africa Active User Active Member

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    True that your body is made up of carbon but the way that carbon exists and what other atoms it is bound to make a big difference.
    Example oxygen typically exists as O2 and is pretty safe to us (in fact you die without it) but O3 or ozone is nasty stuff and you really don't want to get anywhere near that.

    Carbon fibre as we know it is more than just the carbon fibres, I believe it there are polymers that are used to bind the fibres.

    Sent from my SM-N920C using Tapatalk
     
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  19. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    After reviewing multiple MSD sheets, it appear that the dust from machining is about as harmful as walking down a dusty country road. It is considered a benign irritant, but poses no immediate or long term health hazard other than minor irritation. The primary binders for the carbon strands or weave are vinyl esters or epoxies. Any slivers that might become embedded in your skin would be similar to a metal or wood sliver.

    As with working with any process which creates dust, it is always advisable to use personal protective equipment. However, in the context of the original post, I wouldn't be too concerned.
     
  20. JPigg55

    JPigg55 United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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  21. Eddyde

    Eddyde Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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  22. ferlum

    ferlum United States Active Member Active Member

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    As a young manual laborer I worked for two companies that made boats. Mostly worked with fiberglass but also carbon fiber and Kevlar.

    As another poster mentioned above, I'd be most concerned about the resin used in the composite. In my case it was polyester and sometimes epoxy, but there may be others that are used. Not sure how hazardous those are but it would be easy enough to find out.

    One thing to remember about carbon fiber is that is electrically conductive. And it makes a very fine dust when ground or cut. Get that floating around in your power tools and bad things can happen.
     
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  23. The_Apprentice

    The_Apprentice Canada Active Member Active Member

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    Ok, thanks for the input so far guys. Can't say I feel 100% confident about machining this stuff in my basement (yet). But I'll keep looking into it.
     

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