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Over the years I've done a lot of things that didn't work out well, and I try learn something from them  hoping to avoid similar problems in the future. I think ibles  needs a place to share these 'educational moments'  to help others avoid pitfalls and to console with laughter anyone who is sitting amidst the ruins of their own project.   So here's the  place to share.    I'll go first...........

My first dramatic failure at about age 8 - Gluing glitter onto balloons. Not a good idea. The glue popped the balloon (I think it was 'airplane glue' ) The result was glue and glitter everywhere (including in my eyes) and a lot of unhappiness.

Then there was the hot glue surprise -  Using a glue gun to close drip irrigation holes in a garden hose.  It plugged the holes and worked just fine in the overcast cool spring weather. Then a rare sunny day  heated the hose, and all those plugs melted and the holes started jetting water.  I hadn't realized how hot a green hose in the sun could get.

And I have made some just plain stupid moves - like spending hours pulling all the shreds of paper out of the toothed wheels on the paper shredder.... you know how they get sucked inside.  After getting it all clear I thought I might as well lubricate the thing with spray silicon stuff.  So far so good. And then I was so excited to see how it much better it would work, I turned it on.  Flash of flame, slightly singed eyebrows, and a TOTALLY dead smoking shredder.  Ummm.... it's really worthwhile to let solvents totally evaporate before turning on electrical things.

Discussions

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Toga_Dan

4 years ago

jr high school biology. we used lamps with open flame to illuminate slides on the microscopes. someone managed to singe their hair, of course.

was there not $ for electric lamps? or did they not think of that?

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Toga_Dan

4 years ago

my first powertool was an ancient dremel mototool. drilled into my hand somehow. fortunately the bit was no wider than a pinhead. One learns at those moments not to repeat the experience when graduating to more horsepower and bigger bits.

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bravoechonovember1

4 years ago

i was trying to flatten a railroad spike with a hammer and a blow torch

i heated the spike with the blow torch and hit it with the hammer and the extremely ho spike flew up and hit my knee

luckily the end that hit my new wasn't the side i had the blow torch on and only left me with a scab

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gizmologist

4 years ago

Hooking up 50 volt diodes to household AC... They exploded like tiny firecrackers! My mom never trusted me after that...

Soldering a circuit board inside a plastic case: Went fine until I smelled burning plastic. Ruined a nice case.

Standing behind a car when my husband was taking the suspension apart: A spring shackle flew right into my face at high velocity... My glasses saved my eye. I still have that broken pair of glasses!

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Downunder35m

4 years ago

If I had to write down all big failures of my experiments I would have to write a book LOL
Some two highlights from the past:

1. I built a nice tesla coil with some engeneering friends.
Started out as a tiny 30cm coil but being us we wanted to see how big we can go and went crazy.
The giant had a coil of a bit over 1.6m in lenght and needed some serious juice to just get a little spark going.
During the first full power test we realized two things....
A) It is not really advised to test a big tesla coil that theoretically can produce over 1 million volts in your garage!
The arcs were pretty and hit everything, was light elm's fire everywhere.
Once happy with the deadly ozone levels we turned it off to get some beer.
B) A beer after creating thunder and lightning tastes sooo much better if you did not deep fry every single piece of electronic that was plugged in during your tesla experiments ROFL
TV, PC, Stereo, Fridge, Lamps they all died a hero's death...

2. Creating your own Nitro Glycerin is easy enough with basic chemical, or at least it was during my teen years before all fun was banned thanks to terrorists.
Was fun to see tiny drops make a nice bang and a lot of smoke.
Since no bad chemicals were present anymore - what could possibly go wrong??
Turned out someone forgot about the side effects of the stuff for your body.
What works great in tablet form if you have heart problems works even better if you absorb the stuff through your bare skin.
Heart rate was going nuts, dizzy and literally feeling like I finnished two bottles of bad scotch.

And don't get me started on my early rocket and fireworks experiments LOOOOL

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KitemanDownunder35m

Reply 4 years ago

A friend at school tried to make nitroglycerin, stole the chemical from the school lab, and managed to dissolve his dad's shed roof - he figured the sloping roof made an ideal way to pour the chemicals together without being too close to the mixture...

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Downunder35mKiteman

Reply 4 years ago

At least smart thinking in one way LOL
I wonder how impressed his dad was with the mixing skills ROFL
Although I have to admit:
Being short on money for lab ware I used discarded ultrasonic welding tubes and HPL lamps as my heating and mixing jars after cutting them open with a diamond disk on a dremel.
My luck was that I was too scared of breaking the massive glass cylinders so I wrapped them in a big towel before my first cut.
Told me that there are things with a lot of pressure inside and other with a strong vacuum....
Wrecked a few tubes before I found a way to cut them open without exploding in my hands.

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Kiteman

4 years ago

I've had numerous accidents over the years - electric shocks, fires, exploding sinks, falling through ceilings...

The most dramatic failure in recent years was an experiment in pulse jets that became a flaming missile ricocheting around the shed (that was salvaged as my "Accidental Cannon" instructable) but the biggest failure had no drama at all - I spent several days researching and building a "Kelvin's Thunderstorm" electrostatic generator that did not produce a single volt, since it turns out that cheap pine is a better conductor than you might think.

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tomatoskins

4 years ago

Hahaha that shredder story is great! Most of my hiccups have been with cutting a board too short or breaking something on accident. I once accidentally launched a 2 stage model rocket sideways once the second stage went off however high up in the air it was. That was a long walk to retreave my rocket from someone's backyard.