A Guide to Safe Practice in Art & Design

7.1   Working in Metals

When engaged in such processes as forge-work, soldering, casting, welding and acid pickling, teachers should make detailed reference to British Standard BS 4163. In all these processes it is essential that the teacher is properly trained and qualified.

7.1.1    Metal Casting
7.1.2    Oxy-Fuel Welding
7.1.3    Electric Welding
7.1.4    Soldering
 

7.1.1    Metal Casting

When metal casting involves the use of polystyrene - the 'lost polystyrene' method - exhaust ventilation is essential. Polystyrene should never be cut with ordinary knives heated by application to a direct heat source. Cutting polystyrene with a hot wire generates phenylethene fumes. The cutter should be constructed to operate at an even heat, which is just sufficient to cut the material. It is safer to use a battery-operated cutter than one powered by a low-tension supply. Cutting should be carried out only in well-ventilated conditions, for example, near an open window. In casting with other materials, which may have residual water content, it is essential that the material is completely dry before molten metal is introduced. If not the risk of serious explosion is high.

Metal casting should not be attempted unless the teacher is properly trained and qualified and the conditions are appropriate.

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7.1.2    Oxy-Fuel Welding

Oxy-fuel welding and flame cutting should carried out only under the direction of a fully qualified teacher who has successfully completed an approved course of training.

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7.1.3    Electric Welding

Electric welding must not be undertaken in art rooms.

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7.1.4    Soldering

Here the main concern is the fumes that are released when rosin-based solder fluxes are heated. Consequently only rosin free solders should be used. Nevertheless it is still essential that this activity only takes place in a well-ventilated area.

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