In this weekly video, I am fabricating a belt guard for an air compressor.
Normally, I don’t sweat things if my air compressor goes out.
That’s because I have several electric grinders. 4 and 4 1/2″ 90 grinders, straight grinders, Dewalt, Milwaukee, Ryobi, Makita, and even a Harbor Freight straight grinder that will hurt you if you are not extra careful.
But my welding shop is inside a machine shop with CNC equipment. And when the air goes down in a CNC machine shop, they are not going to make any parts.
Shop air to a CNC machine shop is almost like electricity is to a welding shop. Without it, you are dead in the water.
A nearby shop offered an old air compressor that had been in storage outside in the laydown area.
It runs, but has no belt guard and that is kinda dangerous.
So this is Part 1 of a 2 Part Video on fabricating the belt guard.
50 years ago, no one would have got excited about no belt guard on a compressor.
Well today, things are different. What we viewed as normal 50 years ago, we cringe at as terribly unsafe in this day and time. Sometimes it goes too far.
For example, I had a comment on a video a few years ago about grinder guards. One fella ranted that in 30 years of work, he had never used a grinder without a guard and had no tolerance for anyone who made excuses why they had to remove the guard to get in a tight area.
He must not have worked in the same universe where I work because I have been in all kinds of areas where a grinder guard completely prevented any reasonable access.
I am all for safety. But common sense has to be part of the equation, too.
When common sense dies, unrealistic rules are made by unrealistic people. People who think all risk can be removed from the work area.
The only way all risk can be completely removed from a job is to just not do anything.
It used to be a common joke on construction jobs to stop working when the safety man came around. That way, you couldn’t be written up for a violation.
I even worked one place where every vice had to have rubber washers on each side of the handle because someone once got a blood blister from the handle.
I am not saying that is right or wrong. I am just saying.
Ever see the photograph of construction workers having lunch on a beam at the Rockefeller center building in 1932? Today, It evokes gasps. It makes some people just cringe to see all those men up so high in the air with no safety restraints. Yet no one on the beam seemed to be cringing at all. No safety belts, no harnesses, no hardhats. Just a bunch of men having lunch on a beam that happened to be hundreds of feet high.
Alright… Enough of the rant. Lets move into the welding project.
So before we get this air compressor piped in and up and running, I am going to fabricate a belt guard so that nobody accidentally sticks 5 fingers in and only pulls out 4.
Here is how I am approaching this:
- get dimension between centers of pulleys and radius of pulleys
- use plasma cutter to cut 4 inch strips and 1 inch strips from left over 16 ga carbon steel sheet metal
- use circle cutter attachment to cut radius lip pieces that are 2 inches larger radius than pulleys to allow for adequate clearance.
- clean all the edges with a 4 1/2″ grinder flapper wheel for tig welding
- roll 4 inch wide pieces using pvc pipe and whatever else is available for a mandrel
- make end pieces first, clamp in place according to distance between pulley centers
- mark and cut pieces to fill in the gaps.
- tack weld every 2 inches or so and then weld out.