For much of the past couple decades I have worked at employers who had machine shops. I was regularly in those shops making parts for work, or on occasion after hours for myself. All of the little parts I need for the many projects that appear here on Darker View.
My current employer does not have a machine shop leaving me no way to make parts for telescopes, electronics projects, or even little repairs around the house. Neither do I have space for a machine shop in the house. Fortunately another, more recent solution is inexpensive and quite capable, additive manufacturing.
With aluminum shavings flying about I was enjoying an after work session in the machine shop.
Making the heavy cuts to rough out the part I needed to remove a lot of material with a boring bar, I was cutting hard. The tool was also getting bogged down with aluminum sticking to the steel tool, to prevent this I was using a little machine oil while cutting. Predictably things got hot and started smoking, no problem, just stop and let the metal cool as I watched a streamer of smoke waft up from the spinning part.
Then the fire alarm goes off.
A moment of disbelief ensues, this had never happened before, and this was certainly not the first time I had created a little smoke in the machine shop. Nothing to do but call our facilities manager and let him know that I had just set off the fire alarm, not that he could mistake the loud ringing in the background of the phone call.
I also realized that earlier that day the fire alarm company had been about, replacing old sensors on the alarm system. This had to be related. With my phone call complete I joined everyone else outside. Admitting responsibility led to a round of good natured joking at my expense… Yeah, I will hear about this for a while.
Fire alarm reset everyone went back to work. I hope my disruption of the night crew preparing to observe was not significant. It was still quite light out and observations had not yet begun. I returned to finish the part, this time carefully not creating any smoke in the process.
The next day I found out what really happened. It had been decided to replace the heat detectors in the machine shop with smoke detectors. To my mind not a great decision, they will get set off. It is not a question of if, but when and how often. I just find it amusing that this occurred the first day. No worries, I expect it will get fixed. The same person who made that decision gets the phone call when the alarm goes off. Sufficient motivation to deal with the problem I expect.