View Full Version : Does material change size or disappear and reappear?

David Powell
04-19-2013, 01:19 PM
Yesterday I went looking for some 3/16" AF hex, brass or steel, in my " storage system," but found only 1/4" material. Today I went looking for some 1/4" AF hex, brass or steel, but so far have found only 3/16" material. I do not think I am crazy, my helper is on holiday, so I cannot blame him,my store room is dark and untidy so I might not spot what I need immediately. Is it possible that the material picks up my brainwaves, hates the idea of coming out into the shop to be machined and somehow changes size, or maybe just disappears when I open the door looking for a specific size? Does this happen to other people? Is there a " CURE " Regards David Powell.

04-19-2013, 01:32 PM
Its not just me! Hooray i am not crazy!!!

04-19-2013, 01:40 PM
Happens to me with wrenches all the time. I need a 7/16" and all I can find are a hundred 9/16". When I need the 9/16", the drawer is full of 7/16". It's a conspiracy!


04-19-2013, 02:10 PM
Heck it's anything made of metal, ANYTHING I need becomes completely invisible until I no longer need it due to using something else or just giving up-then there it is plain as day!

I missed my true lot in life as I have a natural talent as a magician, I can stand in one spot and without even trying I can make tools or other items completely vanish!

Jaakko Fagerlund
04-19-2013, 02:18 PM
Turning down 120 mm diameter rod to 30 mm, just because there was nothing smaller. When returning the stub piece left, found a nice length of 30 mm bar tucked under some channel iron...

04-19-2013, 02:20 PM
I have the same problem! I have an elderly friend who jokingly talks of the "little people" who come into his shop at night to play tricks on him. Sometimes I think he's serious.

Forrest Addy
04-19-2013, 02:30 PM
It's learned behavior. They get is fronm coat handers and unmatched socks.

04-19-2013, 02:31 PM

I suspect that is the case for car/house keys and eye glasses!

04-19-2013, 02:47 PM
I had three small pieces of ally under the jaws of my chuck to protect a finished suface.
I finished machining, undid the chuck and one piece stuck to the jaw, one piece fell in the chip tray and the last piece vanished from the universe as we know it.
that was a week ago, I've cleaned the lathe five times since then and its still not turned up.

little men are real!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


04-19-2013, 03:22 PM
Its part of a set of laws, one of which is if a socket is dropped while working on your car, it automatically rolls to the centre of the vehicle!

04-19-2013, 03:31 PM
I have at least a half dozen or more tape measures. I can never find one when I need it. If by some miracle I DO find one, it disappears again as soon as I lay it down. So far I haven't had one vanish while I'm actively taking a measurement with it, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

04-19-2013, 04:01 PM
Its part of a set of laws, one of which is if a socket is dropped while working on your car, it automatically rolls to the centre of the vehicle!

In my experience it seems to always fall directly into the bottomless hole that is standard equipment on all cars.

04-19-2013, 04:50 PM
I have at least a half dozen or more tape measures.

Ditto. My most frustrating problem isn't losing something I had yesterday or last week--it's losing something I had in my hand 10 seconds ago! I usually don't admit this, but after looking for ten or fifteen minutes, I've thrown up my hands and gone to the freaking hardware store to buy another freaking tape measure.

Of course, when I get home, I set the new tape down next to what? A tape measure.

04-19-2013, 06:04 PM
Wire coathangers will breed in a dark closet, never heard of any hanger cannibalism:rolleyes:

04-19-2013, 06:16 PM
Stevie did it! My brother had an invisible friend when he was young. Stevie was always up to something. My brother passed away 10 years ago and Stevie has lived in my workshop ever since. He constantly moves my stuff, tape measures are his favorites!

04-19-2013, 06:28 PM
I think any sufficiently large concentration of metal, particularly small, precise objects, causes a local gravitomagnetic anomaly which results in closed loops of spacetime into which those objects are drawn, only to reappear after a number of loop transits dissipates their usefulness...

Dave H. (the other one)

04-19-2013, 07:37 PM
You guys don't know how good you make me feel, or maybe you do.
I am forever setting a tool down somewhere to go a do something else, then spending 15 to 20 minutes looking for it.
I guess the worst one was when I was looking all over for a tool in my box when I had it in my hand.

04-19-2013, 07:49 PM
And I thought losing my glasses on the top of head was bad -
thanks guys, I feel less senile now!
Now if I could only find that piece of 1/2" stock I know I have.

04-19-2013, 07:59 PM
i have found that material size and means of measurement are never consistent, accordingly they change size and calibration at any time. There is nothing you can do for this - it just happens.

04-19-2013, 08:24 PM
I have an uncle who makes things disappear....Is he a magician?.....No, he's a kleptomaniac......

04-19-2013, 08:35 PM
It is a real phenomenon. There is even a medical name for it, Visual Agnosia.

agnosia [ag-no´zhah]
inability to recognize the import of sensory impressions; the varieties correspond with several senses and are distinguished as auditory (acoustic), gustatory, olfactory, tactile, and visual.
finger agnosia loss of ability to indicate one's own or another's fingers.
tactile agnosia inability to recognize familiar objects by touch. See also astereognosis.
time agnosia loss of comprehension of the succession and duration of events.
visual agnosia inability to recognize familiar objects by sight, usually due to a lesion in one of the visual association areas. Called also object blindness and psychic blindness.
visual-spatial agnosia (visuospatial agnosia) lack of the ability to analyze and orient using visual representations and their spatial relationships.

I have been badly afflicted all my life. It is worst when I am looking for something I set down just a few seconds ago. It must be from all the brain damage I have from not breathing.

04-19-2013, 09:37 PM
I play squash. Renewed my kit three years ago. I have one shirt, one pair of shorts and one pair of socks. One squash bag and no sports socks in my sock drawer. Been planning to get another pair of socks - now where did I buy those with that insignia on the side ?

Well, the other day, when I came to unload the dryer, two pairs of squash socks. Identical. Onviously I've got a sock-anti-matter dryer. Or again, it may be the washing machine. I need to do some experiments.

I don't know if it'll work with single socks, turning them into pairs again. If so, I'm hiring it out.

What annoys me is when small parts I've made disappear, like those bolts with half the head filed off, and the special spanner I'm sure I made last year to reach the clamp nut at the back of the mill table.

04-19-2013, 09:37 PM
I've been breathing my whole life and regularly put things down and can't find them 10 seconds later. Think it's called "old timer's" disease.


J Tiers
04-19-2013, 09:47 PM
You guys don't understand........ While you are NOT in your shop, those things are making little legs for themselves, with which they run away into dark corners, and scoot around behind you to sneak into the places where you just looked.

Not only that, they will "skootch over" so that others of them can get into places where they "just can't be", because you haven't moved that stuff for two weeks.

You've probably seen those little legs around the shop, they look EXACTLY like swarf......... perfect camouflage.

04-19-2013, 09:57 PM
It is a real phenomenon. There is even a medical name for it, Visual Agnosia.

My wife calls it Male Refrigerator Blindness.

I wish it were just the refrigerator.

04-19-2013, 09:58 PM
You guys don't know how good you make me feel, or maybe you do.
I am forever setting a tool down somewhere to go a do something else, then spending 15 to 20 minutes looking for it.
I guess the worst one was when I was looking all over for a tool in my box when I had it in my hand.

Plus 10 on that! I feel a lot better knowing others share the same misery as I do.

Misery loves company, you know.

04-19-2013, 10:03 PM
Its part of a set of laws, one of which is if a socket is dropped while working on your car, it automatically rolls to the centre of the vehicle!

What? No, your lucky.

Last time I droped a socket into an engine bay, It ended up *inside* the chassis structural members.
I only found it through blind luck by poking my extendable magnetic grabber thingy into the drain holes in the bottom of the chassis beams.

04-19-2013, 10:11 PM
Once again it is good to know it's not just me. Last night I dropped an allen wrench on the floor - I heard it hit the floor - but it wasn't there! I looked from every angle - almost wearing out the knees of my pants. Finally I found it - it had bounced and slid between boxes of bandsaw blades on a low shelf.

How about the gremlins that rob used machines of parts that are of no use without the machine itself.

04-19-2013, 10:30 PM
Its part of a set of laws...

Yes it is, Max. Here is an article on another one:


It explains a lot of things that happen around the shop.

J Harp
04-19-2013, 10:37 PM
I vote for the gremlins. The miter gauge for my grinder disappeared. I searched high and low for it for two weeks, even cleaned the basement, and couldn't find it.

Made a new one, took quite a while, had to figure out how to do it and make tools to make tools. Anyway I finished it one afternoon, next morning I was into something else and needed some 4d or 6d nails. I started digging through a 5 gallon bucket of assorted boxes of nails and screws, had to go clear to the bottom of the bucket to find the nails I needed. There at the bottom of the bucket was the miter gauge which I had looked so long for.

04-19-2013, 10:54 PM
Its part of a set of laws, one of which is if a socket is dropped while working on your car, it automatically rolls to the centre of the vehicle!

I had to replace the evap in a '99 Town and Country minivan. The whole dash comes out, but there are 3 nuts on the engine side of the firewall. The space to fit your hand down there is about 90% of that required to do so. I dropped all three nuts and a socket. Mirrors and flashlights from the top and bottom. No sign of them. Finally went to Ace and picked up 10 spare nuts, and lost a couple of those, too. Never found any of the stuff that dropped.


04-19-2013, 11:24 PM
Lost a small brake part while assembling drum brakes. Went to town to buy a kit with many excess parts. Put kit away and would not feel so bad if there was 1 kit with needed part there, but, there were 2 kits there. OUCH!

04-20-2013, 06:27 AM
The last time I dropped a socket into the engine bay it went right down to the road, rolled into the kerb and fell down a drain!


04-20-2013, 09:30 AM
Boy this post is sure a double edge for me. The sad part is just about everything listed here has happened to me (some a lot more than once). The good thing is Im no alone in this, as I had just accepted the fact it was somehow mostly my fault (old-timers, bad memory etc) and a little bit of "strange science" that I dont even want to think about (gremlins, black holes etc).
Being totally serious here .... I was seriously thinking about making a "Shuttle tool set" where EVERY tool was tied to a belt of some form, that way I couls always find the tape measure of caliper I just put down 3 seconds ago, because it would be teathered to me. (had a old fall harness that I was going to use but of coarse cant find the damn thing).

Well, makes me feel better to know its not just me, so I continue on using some tricks I have learned along the way in the form of "Shop Laws" that i dont fully understand.

Law of Temporal Flux

This law states any time your concentrating on a project stage in the future (what i need to do next) you will create a temporal distortion around you and impart it to any object you are touching (the smaller the item the more flux imparted to it). Once the item is put down it moves "out of phase" with you and seems to vanish.

Solution - buy multiple tools, especially tape measures that seem to amplify the effects due to its coiled nature.

Law of Amalgamation

This law states if an object (usually metal) falls into (or near) metallic objects with a large surface area (swarf) the item can under the right conditions fuse with the other metal making it appear to vanish and never bee seen or found again.

Solutionn - Haven't found one

Law of Distorted Probability

This law states that when something deemed "not good" has a very low probability of happening, its odds go up exponentially over time. So if the odds of a flying swaf chip passing through a 0.5mm gap in your full face safety glasses are 100 million to 1, the odds will become 1 to one after 5 minuits. This law also extends to things like a tap of drill breaking in a piece of work where removal is virtually impossible.

Solution - if you don't think it can happen, get ready for it happening

04-20-2013, 12:13 PM
A little farther down the road on the same subject.
It sure gives you a big lift when, maybe even years later, you find something you think was long gone.
Years ago I had nice brass plumb bob I used while building my boat. It disappeared so I went out and bought another plane steel one thinking the brass bob
would show up soon after. No such luck.
Years later after moving a couple of times I was going through some cans in a box of, what I thought was junk, and there it was.
I remember feeling pretty good that day.

David Powell
04-20-2013, 04:28 PM
After reading about all the things which have happened to others I have realised that not all of them have happened to me, yet ! Given the prospect for further adventures outside my control I have ordered more tea bags( Nowadays when things go south I usually go and have a cup of tea and play with the cat for a while-- I used to get angry), and I promise to be kind to the little men who move my tools around. Regards David Powell.

J. R. Williams
04-20-2013, 06:09 PM
I have a digital caliper at my mill tool bench and a similar unit at my lathe bench. Why do they always seem to be in the same place when I am at the other place? I looked all over the shop one day for a small part only to discover it was in my hand. It has to be AGE related.

04-21-2013, 04:51 AM
I've experienced most of the phenomena listed in this thread -- the tape measure post really struck a nerve, and I'm sure I own 20 of the dratted things. I suspect in my case it's related to an ever-dwindling supply of functional neurons. This suspicion is reinforced every time one of my daughters or granddaughters comes to visit with a handful of brochures advertising "nice places" they've found in the way of retirement homes. Usually I stop their spiels by mentioning the idea of leaving all my worldly riches to the local synagogue or animal shelter or the Red Hat Society.

Let's see what I can misplace tomorrow ...

04-21-2013, 05:10 AM
I needed to pull the cover off our air compressor today. Screws were 3/8 heads, so I go to look for a 3/8 socket and wrench. I find the only socket of that size, and it's 1/4 inch drive. No problem- grab the 1/4 inch ratchet. But the ratchet doesn't catch no matter how I turn it. Piece of crap- . There's every bloody size of inch and metric socket in the 3/8 drive set except for a 3/8.

But there was an adapter, so I click it all together and got it done.

Recently I misplaced my plastic head hammer. I looked everywhere I never use it, plus everywhere I do use it. I looked in all the same places at least three times. I also lost a 6 inch C clamp. Finally I need the clamp and must find it. I did not find it that day. Friend comes by and need some little job done, and the part I need to use to do it is right behind where I stand at the lathe. I turn around to get it and there's the C clamp holding the plastic hammer to the bench.

Times like these your mind seems to go through a disbelief of some kind- probably a self-preservation reaction. It's like- you spent all that time looking right at the thing you were missing, and didn't see it- best deny it in some way so you don't go crazy-

04-21-2013, 10:08 AM
I literally tore apart my shop looking for a new roll of Duct tape, a large roll that had only a few inches removed. I needed it badly but after a few minutes of looking for it finding it became an obsession just because I was so POed that it was "lost" in the first place! I normally keep all my rolls of tape on pegs in peg board which covers most of my shop walls but each item has it's own location, maybe not always the same peg but the same section of board anyway. Of course that's the first place I looked but no luck, I searched everywhere to no avail even going inside my house to ask my wife if maybe she had borrowed it but still no luck. After a while I decided to let my blood pressure return to normal and just used some electrical tape I had (wonder of all wonders it was where it was supposed to be!) and just forgot about the Duct tape telling myself it will turn up somewhere. About a week later I went to the peg board to get my hacksaw and when I lifted it from it's peg the roll of Duct tape stuck slightly to the handle and was pulled off it's peg then fell to the floor, the damned thing had been on the board where it was supposed to be all along! The hacksaw handle was hanging down over the roll but in fact had barely covered it at all, no way could it have been considered concealed by any stretch of imagination. The fact is it was in plain view but I guess when I looked at it all I saw was the stinkin hacksaw although the roll of tape was so obvious it might as well have had a flashing light on it! I have no doubt that shop objects have the uncanny ability to turn themselves invisible when they want and only reveal themselves when the fun is over, I bet shop tools hang there at night and swap stories about all the fun they had during the day.

04-21-2013, 01:47 PM
I like "Male Refrigerator Blindness" a lot better than "Visual Agnosia". I never had a problem finding the beer though.