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Exploding paper shredders?

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  • #16
    It happened to me this morning.

    Ok, so this happened to me this morning. This is a potentially very serious situation. I had trouble with the auto feed on my paper shredder a while back and disassembled the entire unit before I found that it had a clogged optical sensor. Cleaning it restored full function of my office shredder. Well after I came back from the long weekend I walked in my office to hear the shredder running. Not wanting to take the thing apart again I found a can of compressed air. Typical product around the office. After looking for potential flammability warnings on the can I proceeded to blow air at the sensor area directly into the feed area of the shredder. I then turned the unit on and KABOOOOOM! Right in my friggin face!!!!

    It was kind of like lighting a barbeque that has been running for a while with your head inside!

    At first I thought something in the shredder exploded because I had already confrimed the air is not supposed to be flammable. I don't know if it's just the perfect mixture of paper dust and oxygen or if they are actually using a flammable propellent and failing to label the can properly. In either case it caused a pretty big explosion that could have been really bad for me. There was definitely some paper smoldering inside the unit. The drawer that holds the shredded paper had blown completely out of the unit and much of my arm and facial hair has been singed off. It would have been funny if it wasn't so damned scary!

    Anyhow after further review of the back label it says there is a potential risk of ignition and to keep away from paper shredders specifically. One sentence in between a full paragraph about keeping away from children who may want to inhale the stuff. I had to read it line by line to find it. Too late now!

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    • #17
      Happened to me today!

      Had a double post. Sorry. Message didn't show up for several hours.
      Last edited by ENCXBG1; 09-03-2008, 01:16 PM.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by ENCXBG1 View Post
        The drawer that holds the shredded paper had blown completely out of the unit and much of my arm and facial hair has been singed off. It would have been funny if it wasn't so damned scary!
        I think I saw this happen to Wiley E Coyote once. After ascertaining that you survived, I'd probably ask you to do it again with a video camera rolling.
        Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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        • #19
          Exploding Paper Shredders

          Most shedders require light machine oil for lubrication in order to function properly. If you run a shedder for and extended period of time without lubrication the motor over heats. It can get hot enough that it can cause burns to your skin if you coming in contact with the motor or the cutting blades. This maybe what happen. There are internal safety switches on more expensive shredders to shutdown the shredder down if it gets to hot. I dont know what the set points are for the safety switches. Once the shedder cools down the shedder will function again. I would want to interview the operator about how the shedder was being used prior to the incident.
          Last edited by cubbie; 09-04-2008, 07:53 PM.
          sigpic
          When fire is cried and danger is neigh,
          "God and the firemen" is the people's cry;
          But when 'tis out and all things righted,
          God is forgotten and the firemen slighted.
          ~Author unknown, from The Fireman's Journal, 18 Oct 1879

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          • #20
            One logical explanation for this event with the aerosol air cans would be the propellant from the can being the fuel that is ignited. This is what causes bug bombs to explode in peoples' homes, despite the fact that many people think it is because they use too many. Just food for thought.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Taylor61 View Post
              This is what causes bug bombs to explode in peoples' homes, despite the fact that many people think it is because they use too many. Just food for thought.
              Mythbusters did an episode on the bug bombs. I didn't pay close attention but they couldn't recreate the exploding house until they used an ungodly amount of bug bombs. I think the warning label is for the rare event of "perfect storm" conditions or somebody using an ungodly amount of bug bombs.

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              • #22
                Here is the answer for exploding shredders?

                When you sprayed the canned compressed air into the shredder it was still enerized. Canned compressed air discharges from the can in liquid and turns to a gas very quickly. The liquid caused a small arc in the shredder. This ignited the propane propellant used to discharge the compressed air from the can. The propane is what caused the house to blow up in myth busters.
                sigpic
                When fire is cried and danger is neigh,
                "God and the firemen" is the people's cry;
                But when 'tis out and all things righted,
                God is forgotten and the firemen slighted.
                ~Author unknown, from The Fireman's Journal, 18 Oct 1879

                Comment


                • #23
                  I registered here just to let you guys know that I just had a paper shredder explode. A Royal VF810 I had purchased at Sam's Club about 3 years ago. It gets occasional use by my Safety guy. Yesterday, he went to shred a piece of paper and the shredder was running but would not feed. He pushed the reverse button to clear the shredder and an explosion occurred. A ball of fire came out of the shredder, singing his face and hands.
                  We are both trained accident investigators. After reviewing what had happenned, it appears that paper dust was ignited from a spark from the AC motor. The explosion bulged the lower paper container, blowing a small clear plasitic piece off. The shredded mechanism itself appears intact. The underside of the shredder is slightly blackened and the paper remains in the shredder mechanism are charred slightly.
                  Nothing unusual was ever put in the shredder and it has received normal maintenance as specified in the owners manual to include regular cleaning and oiling, using shredder oil. It had been about 3 months since maintenance was done and the shredder hopper was emptied the day before.
                  As I write this, the shredder is in my office, waiting to hear if the company or the US Consumer Product Safety Commision wants to examine it.
                  Doing alittle internet research (I Googled "exploding paper shredder"), I found 4 other examples of Royal model VF1000 exploding, one which resulted in injuries to a child. Emails and phone calls to the company have gone unanswered, but the US CPSC is very interested in the report I filed.

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                  • #24
                    not so sure about a paper shredder exploding, but MCAS Cherry Point's generals building burned down a few years back due to a paper shredder motor overheating and igniting the shredded paper in the bin over a holiday weekend inside a vault like room that was unable to be accessed... interested to see what the final cause of this will be...

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                    • #25
                      you should go for better paper shredder, there are many that work for long time without getting heated without making paper dust and noise. Do register a legal complaint against the manufacturer of your shredder.

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