The Shapeoko is a machine tool, and requires the same caution which should be exercised around any power tool. For its typical configuration of a trim router cutting wood and plastic, the same sort of safety gear advocated for the trim router is suggested:
- eye protection — safety glasses or goggles which are suitably impact resistant
- hearing protection — ear plugs or muffs, for long jobs doubling these up may be desirable. Hearing damage is cumulative and irreversible, so one should err on the side of caution
- respiratory protection — a filter or respiratory mask suited to the dust generated by the material being cut should be worn
- ensure clothing, hair, and/or jewelry cannot become caught in the machine, never reach into the machine’s working envelope while it is running — long sleeved shirts and pants and suitable footwear is suggested, when doing metal-working, gloves and an apron are recommended
- Use care when handling endmills, both to avoid being cut, and to avoid damaging them. Handling them with suitable gloves, or using a cloth to avoid contaminating them is recommended. Inspect them carefully before each use and ensure that they are securely held by the collet.
- Never leave the machine running unattended/unsupervised.
- Always inform someone before operating the machine and check in with them after successfully completing work.
- Safely dispose of milling debris — recycle or safely dispose of milling debris and dust, keeping in mind flammability, (potential) spontaneous combustion, and chemical considerations. Even natural materials can have surprising implications for disposing of them, e.g., walnut wood dust is aleopathic (inhibits plant growth) and an irritant to the skin and breathing tract and potentially poisonous to some animals in addition to the typical spontaneous combustion hazard which sawdust poses.