If you’re working in a workshop environment for machinists, you would be very familiar with swarf (also known as turnings, filing or shavings). Swarf refers to the turning chips of metal that have been through a metalworking process such as grinding, drilling, turning, or milling. Wood swarf is known as sawdust.
These metal chips can be extremely sharp and can cause serious injuries if not handled correctly, so it’s important to take care when they appear around the machine. It is also not uncommon for the metal shavings to fly off the machine by ejecting with great force and to travel several metres. Safety glasses should always be worn when working on this kind of machinery, safety gloves is also recommended to avoid creating cuts and splinters when not handled properly. When it comes to disposing and handling metal swarf, it may be compressed into bricks and can usually be recycled.