View Full Version : Ever Drop a Finished Project?

03-07-2011, 05:11 PM
Think I'm gonna be sick.

Some of you may not know what a Star Wars light saber is, but my 10 year old grandson sure as heck does. Anyway, it's kind of like a 14" glorified candlestick. My grandson wanted me to make him a real one, but since I couldn't, I decided to make him an exact replica from aluminum. I turned it from real plans in two pieces. I had just finished polishing the upper half, and he asked to hold it. Next thing I know.... DINK... on the concrete floor it went.

Being aluminum, it was pretty well damaged, especially the thin rings that are turned throughout the piece. He teared up, and I told him no biggie, I'd have it fixed by the next visit. But I am bummed.

Yeah, it's wasn't a real spaceship part, but it WAS cool and shiny. I will try to repair it, but it won't be proper scale (the kid will never actually know until he's an adult), and I may have to just start over.

But this incident brings up a bigger question: have you ever ruined a part right after it came off the machines? How?

Did you cry? :rolleyes:

03-07-2011, 05:26 PM
It's called prototype testing. A 10 year old kid is going to drop it sooner rather than later. Now the trick is to redesign it so it is drop proof, or at least drop resistant.


03-07-2011, 05:33 PM

10 years old is far too young to be wielding the power of a Lightsabre. Luke was much older than that and even he had trouble.

Things are best the way they are.

May the force be with you.

03-07-2011, 05:55 PM
First off, where did you get the plans? That would be a cool project, though my granddaughter is only turning one this week, I have a little time. :D

Yes, I did drop a just finish project - at work. We were developing a new high speed spin necking machine for aluminum beverage cans. The tooling pack was made from aluminum and steel with the assembly being about 18 inches tall and 6 inches in diameter. Each one weighed at least 30 pounds and there were ten of them. I was pushing the cart through the shop, and one fell off after crossing a crack in the floor. :eek: Of course being the lucky sort it crushed the aluminum 6"-20 threaded end.... It really messed it up and took the shop quite a while to get it straightened out. Thought I was going to lose my job over that one.

In any case, your grandson will be thrilled with his new light saber and will always remember the cool gift!

03-07-2011, 06:05 PM
May the force be with you.That would be "May the farce be with you.":D

Drop finished parts, heck yes! All the time. I never have to worry about the damages because they go boing, tink, zing and disappear into a galaxy far, far away; never to be seen again.:mad:

03-07-2011, 06:08 PM
Dropped my straight razor (high carbon steel), the toe chipped off. I had to grind about 4mm short the blade, and re-lap it. This is because I didn't get around to machining the handle which is supposed to protect it, in time (forced to use it to shave my face for about a month without handle). Ironic, no?

Dan Dubeau
03-07-2011, 06:19 PM
Happens all the time around here. Usually followed by someone yelling "grooooouuuuund finish"

It also never happens over a rubber mat if your at the mill. it will fall an inch or so to the side. If it does hit the mat that will usually cause it to bounce on to the ground.

03-07-2011, 06:24 PM
Yes,I have done it,made me wish the shop had carpet in it.

I said a few sentences worth of profanity,then pitched the job in the scrap bin and started over.It's worse when ist's a finished part for a paying customer.:(

03-07-2011, 06:40 PM
[URL=http://s273.photobucket.com/albums/jj232/brockley1_bucket/?action=view&current=Platesforsockknittingmachine.jpg Dropped one of these onto the concrete and wrecked the edge. $^&%$^ Start again

03-07-2011, 06:46 PM
Dropped one of these onto the concrete and wrecked the edge. $^&%$^ Start again

Just prefix and suffix on your link, no spaces:

03-07-2011, 06:55 PM
Yes, I have dropped a few things and dinged them up. Aluminum certainly is not very forgiving that way.

I didn't cry, but I'm pretty sure I used a few choice words.

03-07-2011, 06:55 PM
Happens all the time around here. Usually followed by someone yelling "grooooouuuuund finish"

It also never happens over a rubber mat if your at the mill. it will fall an inch or so to the side. If it does hit the mat that will usually cause it to bounce on to the ground.
LOL we yell "concrete radius"

It's worse when ist's a finished part for a paying customer.:(Aint that the truth.
If I dont think the part will smash through my foot, I usually try and break the fall of the part with my boot.:p

PS I wanna see the plans for the light saber, or at least a picture.

03-07-2011, 07:01 PM
I had just finished turning an ALUMINUM part with a thin, .030 wall between O.D. and I.D.
Sure enough, I was polishing it up, and ......OOPS !!!
DING!!!!! Right off the concrete floor!! :mad: :mad: :mad:
It looked like a flat tire.
Luckily, the plug I used in the bore in order to turn the O.D. also doubled as a wedge to hammer out the flat.

old blue
03-07-2011, 08:56 PM
Yes, I dropped a 6" dia 3' long piece of stainless off from hilo forks that were
3' off the ground. It had a 5" dia bearing bore in one end, and yes it fell on that end.
It was about $700.00 worh of material and 2days labor.:mad:

03-07-2011, 08:58 PM
Yeah, I dropped a part in a big way. Spent 6 hours doing a NIMS test part to be certified as a NIMS (National Institute of Metalworking Standards) Instructor. Surface grinding part, spent 2 hours milling it out, four hours on the surface grinder hitting the Basic - split limit dimensions. All side ground, within .0001 all around parallel and perpendicular, slot in the part within .00012 on center by my Heightmaster gauge. Wrapping it up, dropped it on the concrete. Had a .005 to .015 break radius on the corners. The drop ruined the part, another 5 hours into making the part again.

Went out and bought some cushioned floor mats for each machine the next day.

03-07-2011, 09:07 PM
Worst EVAH was a 5' length of 2" hard chrome cylinder rod,I had just machined down to a 1-1/2" x 5" long shoulder and threaded on one end.

Dropped it only about 1" getting it out of the lathe chuck and dinged a chip out of the chrome:eek: :mad: :eek:

Not only was it a loss in labor ,but also about $250 in material.

I had 2" hard chrome pin stock in the shop for months after.

03-07-2011, 09:09 PM
Yeah, just a few days ago. Just finished squaring up an aluminum piece, sanded all sides on the surface plate, got rid of most of the machining marks - oops- slid right out of my hand and hit the floor. I usually do a bit of a dance to try and at least catch it with a foot, but often enough I miss.

Makes me feel sick when that happens. Not only that, but everytime it bounces from one corner to another and another- makes me feel sick all over again each time.

Had a piece of threaded rod laying on the surface plate last week. I had selected a section that was about as straight as I could get, then tweaked it with a BFH until it would roll as close to perfectly as I had the patience to get it I didn't bang directly on the threads, I ran a few nuts onto it, supported the two outer ones, put the high side up, whacked the center nut, tested, etc. Satisfied, I went on to something else. A while later I heard it start to roll- but I'm behind a couple of obstructions and couldn't make it over there in time. You know what happens next- both ends get the threads dinged up. Gahk!

Tony Ennis
03-07-2011, 09:38 PM
I think these things are the consequence of doing work. Sometimes gravity happens.

Tony Ennis
03-07-2011, 09:40 PM
Regarding the OP... fix the original any way you can. Then, use it as the master and make a mold using RTV rubber. Cast several resin light sabers using aluminum-filled resin. Now your grandson has a spare and his pals can have one too.

03-07-2011, 10:02 PM
I can relate ! I bought a nice old Bendix instrument for measuring relative humidity. It has two glass thermometers, and a small battery powered electric fan in a hard plastic case. It looks to be 1950s or early 1960s vintage. I took it out of a cabinet one day , about 5 years ago, to clean it up and get it operating. I dropped it, and it went tumbling down my concrete basement stairs, disintegrating as it went. Both thermometers broke, and the plastic case was broken into 3 pieces. Undaunted, I gathered up the pieces, and found two new glass thermometers that would work. Since then, however, I've managed to drop the instrument twice more, always on concrete, and always creating smaller and smaller pieces. I don't know why I keep breaking this particular instrument, since I don't usually drop things at all. I don't think I was ever meant to use this device , and at this point I'm wondering if I should bother to repair it again !

03-08-2011, 02:18 AM
Dropped finished parts, had parts slung off across the shop on the last cut (worst when parting off work), etc, etc.

I too have a 9 year old fascinated with Luke et al... Any info on the plans? a source?

The silicon rubber mold and Al resin copies sound like a great idea for camdigger Jr and his buddies...

03-08-2011, 03:39 AM
Good looking part you HAD there:D .
Looks like a pain to machine but what are they??

03-08-2011, 08:14 AM
I would bet we have all done something similar. But back to the op, the kid learned something valuable. You can try to teach it but experience is the best and most strict teacher of all. The best part of the entire event is that you re-assured him and in the end gave him something very valuable, trust, confidence and an example of understanding. Cant tell you how many parents I have heard yell at their kids instead for something similar. The kid already feels bad and the yelling just crushes them.

So, my story. I think I was 10 and dad just finished carving a wooden elephant for grandma's birthday. I had always wished that I could carve like that and I still do. I was carrying it from my mother to my grandmother and fell with it in the living room. Broke a leg off. I felt terrible but dad being dad told me he would fix it up like new. It really made me feel better because I was seriously bummed out.

In the shop - I remember making an acrylic tube with all sorts of grooves an features in it at my first machinist job. It was maybe the first item that I made correctly, polished just perfect and under the allotted time calculated for the job. The boss came out and was happy to see it done so nicely. I picked it up to hand it to him and I dropped it. As I tried to recover it on its fall to the cement floor, I swatted it and across the shop it went. Needless to say, it was a loss as it found its stopping point. Spent that Saturday making another. To this day I'm still sore about that.


A.K. Boomer
03-08-2011, 09:11 AM
Anyone else see the irony in the O.P. and the OP's handle "garagemark"

I mean its like Camdigger starting a post about accidentally chunking out a camshaft lobe with a chisel.

03-08-2011, 09:50 AM
As I don't know a lot about Star Wars, I'll explain this as best I can.

There is a book that was supposedly written by one of the characters (no clue which one) in kind of a diary form. This book sits in a compartment which in turn retracts and closes. You push a button on the top of the box and it starts flashing and making noises and the doors slowly open and the book then slowly rises up to level.

Anyway, inside the book in between pages (that have hand written notes throughout) is a bunch of "trinkets", things like the last coin of some kind, some kind of plan written on a napkin, a partially burned document of some type.... and a hand drawing of this light sabre- complete with theory of operation and functions. It was easily scaled, though it is kind of intricate and has much detail. Dropping it is not an option!

The whole concept of this book is kind of cool. Supposedly it is the last surviving documentation of the whole Star Wars thing. Like I said, I know little about it, but my grandson can rattle off names and places and dates.

Nothing like when I was a kid. We had cap guns.

edward miles
03-08-2011, 10:57 AM
Yes, as an apprentice in the early fifties this was expected. However, this was a new shop and the superintendant was an older European and when the shop was built he demanded the floor be six inch thick blocks end grain up. Many things hit the deck, but the only damage was the floor. Also it was a very comfortable surface to stand around on all day. I did not appreciate that fact till i moved on to another shop for a year on a concrete floor.


03-08-2011, 11:58 AM
About a year ago, I had just finished hot bluing all the parts of a home-built falling block. The parts were neatly spread out (i.e. strewn) upon my work bench. A blast of shop air cleaning off another section of the bench sent one of the smaller fiddly springs scooting across the bench to gently land in the garbage can. I'm sure the part wasn't hurt by the fall but I didn't realize what I had done until after I had taken the garbage out and to the curb.:mad:

03-09-2011, 04:22 AM
I once made a very small and delicate part out of Macor (machineable ceramic), and to make the last cut, I crushed it in the vise.

03-09-2011, 05:00 AM
Most of my parts are small.. So I drop them at nasua.. No damage to them really thankfuly. My floor leaves a very fine concrete radius.

Finding them again however.. Now that can be a problem.

03-09-2011, 11:26 AM
I drop all kinds of stuff....usually it's right about as I've finished the polishing...and the wheel snatches it out of my hand and bounces it off of 20 things before I get to go find it, then start all
Over again. Was down at the tool grinders the other day....brought one of my cylinder heads with to check the pilots that he made for me, and dropped the head on the floor....landed deck side down and put some nice dents in it.

It happens...move on