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Your worst mistakes.


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#1 MatsNorway

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 17:33

Tell us about the biggest mistakes you have done on work or possibly in your private life. Try to keep it tech oriented. And any wife is as we know very low tech.

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#2 ensign14

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 20:12

I once thought I'd made a mistake.

#3 MatsNorway

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 20:19

Unemployed then?

"the ones that never does mistakes never does anything"




#4 Bloggsworth

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 21:37

I once fell off Paddock Bend...

#5 Magoo

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 23:07

We had an ethical crisis at work last week -- I displayed some ethics, throwing the entire operation into chaos. Things should be back to normal by mid-2Q, I expect.

#6 Spa65

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 01:37

I once read a definition of an expert as someone who had made every mistake possible in a particular field. I have often thought that contained a lot of truth.

I used to be viewed as an expert in a particular field of security. The truth was that I had worked in that particular specialised area longer than anyone else and was lucky enough to be in a position to be fed better information than those in other companies, due to the superior world wide coverage my company had.

More fickle fate than intellectual prowess, and easier to get away with as you get older. Made up for some of the unfairness and frustrations of earlier years, and a hell of a lot easier.

Des.

#7 Grumbles

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 11:16

Not really technical, but spectacular nonetheless...

Many years ago, when I was young and (more) foolish, I asked my wife what she'd like for Christmas.

"Don't get me anything, hon," she said, "I already have everything I need."

So I got her nothing, just like she said.

I can say with some certainty that I'll never, ever, ever, ever make that mistake again.



#8 munks

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 19:13

I once thought I'd made a mistake.


But you were wrong?

#9 John Brundage

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 22:09

Not really technical, but spectacular nonetheless...

Many years ago, when I was young and (more) foolish, I asked my wife what she'd like for Christmas.

"Don't get me anything, hon," she said, "I already have everything I need."

So I got her nothing, just like she said.

I can say with some certainty that I'll never, ever, ever, ever make that mistake again.


It could be worse. My wife wanted a new sink and toilet for one of our bathrooms. I gave it to her for Christmas....

#10 Bloggsworth

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 22:22

It could be worse. My wife wanted a new sink and toilet for one of our bathrooms. I gave it to her for Christmas....


And what did she give you, several weeks without....

#11 bigleagueslider

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 03:26

Biggest regret in my professional life was taking an entry level engineering job with a race team. I was young and I thought it would be my dream job. But the salary was low, the hours were extremely long during the race season, there was very little appreciation for all of the hard work, and there was never enough time to do a proper job of design. Didn't really learn much along the way either.

In retrospect, I would have been much better off financially if I would have spent those 2 years working in aerospace, where I would have earned 50% more money for much less work. :cry:

#12 cheapracer

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 07:24

I once thought Ensign14 was right.

#13 MatsNorway

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 07:41

As a mechanic apprentice i once thought that it was no way a fume extractor would be able to suck up crushed chips from the conveyor belt...."Steel is heavy compared to it area"

Boy was i wrong.. when we returned it looked like a vulcano... 10meters above the roof there was steel chips getting trown out of the pipe. Raining down around us.

My very relaxed "master" simply said to his boss that the fan is broken. So we never got any hassle for that one.

Edited by MatsNorway, 01 February 2012 - 07:42.


#14 ensign14

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 08:38

But you were wrong?

THANK you. About blimmin' time someone picked up the feed line. I guess I should never work in a double act...

#15 Tony Matthews

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 09:16

Not all British humour travels well.

#16 Greg Locock

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 09:33

The one that felt really bad at the time was taking a brand new prototype backwards through a barbed wire fence on the first day we had it.

Probably more stupid was another proto that I took for a drive, before my mechanic had checked it over properly. The rather expensive and unique diff hadn't been filled with oil before the car was delivered. It hadn't been tagged as empty either (SOP now).

There are others, sadly.

#17 Slumberer

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 14:45

Once I thought torque was more important than power...
(Or was it the other way around?)

#18 saudoso

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 15:00

I guess I was the reason for a guy's worst mistake. First week as an intern at InterGraph I was watching a system engineer converting an Interpro workstation from Architecture (Microstation) to Engineering (EMS).

The guy had to remove a bunch of software to make room for new stuff.

After the 3rd or 4th "rmprod something" I said: Why don't you just run "rmprod *"

The fool did it. Removed even the kernel. Took 2 days to get the machine back to normal.

#19 MatsNorway

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 17:22

hehe. Blindly thrusting other is fine way to throw cash out of the window.

I once did some cleaning on a copper mush press. it was about 4m long 3m high and 3m wide. the press pressed the water out of the working medium. in each corner there is a hydraulic cyl with 50mm piston rods or something. i was working for 3-4 days doing nothing but hammering the surfaces free for dried copper paste.

And when i got to the bottom of the machine i was unsure about the last plate. it had ears for lifting but it did not look like it was supposed to come up.

I asked a guy working there and he said "yea no problem"

So i mounted the hooks and started lifting it up.. .. And suddenly i became aware that the entire machine became elevated rather than just the plate. I took it right back down without saying anything or mentioning anything. Not a flinch in my face.

And the guy asked

"anything wrong?"

Me:
"No nothing"

And then he left.

I then proceeded to check the entire machine with pipings and all while i cursed the idiot for talking about stuff he clearly did not know.

The machine seemed good. And worked just fine as long as i worked there. Never told anyone at that job about it. Worst Shit hole i have ever seen anyway..

Considering there is only about about one handfull of factories in the world doing that stuff and that machine quickly becomes mega costly.



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#20 Ben

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 18:13

One occasion involving tyres being somewhere other than the racetrack I was at...

Ben

#21 kikiturbo2

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 18:56

The rather expensive and unique diff hadn't been filled with oil before the car was delivered.


a local mitsubishi service did this to my friends EVO, resulting in a worn ring and pinion.. They then proceeded to dismiss any responsibility based on a fact that the car had a non standard exhaust... :lol:

My worst professional mistake was leaving a peltier cooler running for the whole night, inside an electron microscope under vacuum, while peltiers' primary water cooling was switched off... In the morning, hey, whole half a million USD microscope full of water vapour... :o
Took me two days to clean the bugger..

#22 saudoso

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 20:01

One other big blunder I saw happen once: WTC here in São Paulo, CEO (I knew the guy...) gave an order top-down having the AC shut off at night during the Christmas/New Years period to save on the electrical bill.

Here in BR pretty much no one works those days, companies usually put most of the people on vacations. But it's still high summer.

Guess what? The huge Siemens switchboard underground got all fried up, one step from a big fire. I guess no money was saved with the stunt.

Edited by saudoso, 01 February 2012 - 20:03.


#23 Welby

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 00:11

I took a firm line on a safety issue early last year, fresh into the most senior position of my career to date.

No brainer for an Australian company working in the resources industry.

Unfortunately my employer was new to the country and didn't see it my way. I pressed the point into an early exit stage left.

Still not upset as to my call, but genuinly shocked as to the speed of my exit. ( mainly embarrassed as to my lack of exit plan ! ) :blush:



#24 chdphd

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 00:50

I once spent a summer working at the famous Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire. I thought I was going to be a front of house porter, as in fancy uniforms and taking in suitcases in for film stars. I ended up as a kitchen porter. Note to self: remember to fill in application forms better in future.

KPs do menial work. I ended up being in charge of the front of a massive dishwasher. I would organise the dirty plates into piles of similar sizes and load them into the front. A boon of the job was being able to play on two of the four golf courses they had at the time as often as I wanted. I did the 7-4 shift, so plenty of time for working on my handicap. Staff accommodation and food was pretty basic to say the least.

Jackie Stewart had a shooting school there at the time and we would often come across random clay pigeons. I used one as an ashtray for a few years, but it got lost in one of my frequent house moves.

Anyway, one day I had polished about 300 fine china dinner plates, ready for them to be placed in the large metal incubators they used to keep them warm prior to serving. They have to be polished well so they don't leave marks from any drops of water. So, I piled up all these lovely clean dishes on a trolley for moving them across the giant kitchen.

Little did I know, I had chosen the wobbly trolley. Within 30 seconds of putting my plan into action, the trolley wobbled and almost all of them fell to the tiled floor. What a noise! It brought about the attention of the head porter and thankfully they understood what had happened and the expense was written off. I have no idea of how much the crockery was worth, but they didn't dock it from my pay. It must have been quite a sum.

#25 cheapracer

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 03:36

My worst professional mistake was leaving a peltier cooler running for the whole night,


Reminds me, I was distributing Piranha Electronic Ignitions in Canberra and rig up a distributor and 4 spark plugs display so people could turn the distributor and the plugs would fire in sequence - left the bloody battery hooked up all night and arrived the next morning to a semi melted blackbox :lol:



#26 Canuck

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 05:49

Not mine but relayed by a former co-worker:
Loading a largish piece of stock into a fairly large NC lathe using the overhead crane. Lathe operator thought it wise to ensure the bar stock (24"'dia) was loaded straight and tight so fired up the spindle at a low speed before completely removing the crane straps. The straps wound up rather rather quickly (naturally) lifting the entire machine off the ground several feet before something gave way and the entire rig came crashing down, sending shockwaves trough the entire operation. He did what any sensible man would do at that point - went home and never came back.

My worst technical mistake?
- Running the milling head of a 9-axis machine into the lower turret at full rapid (beware the block skip) with a bunch of company honchos touring the shop. There was a brief moment of "hey, that turret hasn't mo..." before that most heinous of sounds in an NC shop.
- thinking "nah...theres no way that nut went down the open carb bore" and firing it up only to hear immediately that it had indeed managed to find it's way into a cylinder and back out again. That actually turned out not so bad.
- having my boss find out from my drunk and belligerent "business partner" that we were planning our own machine shop. That actually ended up well - got fired, re-hired elsewhere and made a proper career out of the gig, not to mention highlighting a serious flaw in my choice of partners.
-


#27 Zoe

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 17:19

Wouldn't it be a big mistake confessing your biggest mistakes on a public forum?;)

Zoe

#28 NTSOS

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 17:41

Ok....it was the summer of '65 at Irwindale for an evening match race between the '65 GTO Brutus funny car and can't remember the other car. CJ Hart paid Jim Liberman and Lew Arrington $500 for the race and appearance money.....which was a big deal in those day and the advance advertisement packed the place in anticipation of a great evening of funny car match racing.

I was the head Guppie (gopher, clean up kid) on Brutus and I was left alone to perform my guppie tasks and proceeded to clean up the car from a trip down from San Jose. Jim left a floor jack underneath the rear end to warm up the engine and transmission and I noticed that the front and rear tire sidewalls needed cleaning so I had a rag and dipped it in either nitro or methanol and cleaned the sidewalls, worked good........I also noticed that the Goodyear race tires were dusty and dirty, so I decided to clean the entire surface of the Goodyears compound as well.....really soaked them good and they were spotless!

First warm up run of the night, the Goodyear's immediately went up into clouds of smoke like I have never seen before and blew the engine completely....we are talking little pieces of rods and bolts through the pan and out the side of the block type blow up.....needless to say, the race track was a mess of parts and engine oil everywhere!

I have never seen Jim at a loss for words before or since, but he was desperately trying to explain to the dissapointed CJ Hart, whilst holding broken rod pieces and parts in his hands, what in the hell went wrong with Brutus as it never went up like that before.......of course I had never cleaned the tire's compound before either......needless to say, I maintained a very low profile for the rest of the weekend! :(

John

#29 saudoso

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 20:57

Wouldn't it be a big mistake confessing your biggest mistakes on a public forum?;)

Zoe

I did plenty personal mistakes, can't remeber many technical ones. At least ones juicy enough to deserve telling.

The personal mistakes I'll keep to myself, the technical ones I see as good lessons.

#30 Greg Locock

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 22:36

I did a fair bit of damage when I was an apprentice as well. The one I learnt from was when I was rebuilding engines that had seized on the dyno - I somehow wrapped the hoist chains around the carby and didn't check before lifting the engine. No Virginia, you can't lift an engine via the carbs. A certain amount of yelling and reference to idiots on their way to university ensued, but I survived. Incidentally that was the best placement I had in that year.

#31 seldo

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 12:52

I was an apprentice in the car business in about '64.
Just before I went home for the night I moved a car in the showroom (a Mk II Zephyr), then, as I was removing the keys from the ignition, I dropped them on the floor, and, as I retrieved them I noticed a loose wire hanging down under the dash with a bullet-head end-connector and an adjacent loose wire with a female connector......
They must obviously belong together......, so I connected them, and went home.....
I received a call a few hours later from my boss asking if I could rush into the showroom in downtown Sydney and sort out a problem - a FIRE!!!!
When I got there the fire-brigade was there and they'd cut the lock on the front door to gain access and extinguish the fire which had the potential to bring the whole 4 story building down...

#32 cheapracer

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 14:49

....a Mk II Zephyr


But did you lose anything of value?


#33 Magoo

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 16:50

Wouldn't it be a big mistake confessing your biggest mistakes on a public forum?;)

Zoe


Winner. Good to see someone around here has executive potential.

#34 faaaz

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 18:16

Raining heavily, thought I was some hero in the rain...Turned left into a street at considerable speed ( 4 am, empty road, industrial area). Huge oversteer, tried correcting but did not work, tried stamping the brake whilst accelerating, sort of worked..but by then the car was already sliding into a pole. Mounted the curb (full brakes at this point), but luckily the tyres dug into the grass somewhat because of the rain so the impact was quite small.

Ofcourse, right hand drive and oversteering turning left meant I was in the firing line. Lesson learnt, shall never do it again :|

#35 seldo

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 04:07

But did you lose anything of value?

hehe...No - fortunately it was more smoke than fire, but had the potential to be pretty ugly

#36 cheapracer

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 09:35

These oldies have been around for years but kind of fit into this thread ...

Hammer: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive car parts not far from the object we are trying to hit.

Mechanic's Knife: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing convertible tops or tonneau covers.

Electric Hand Drill: Normally used for spinning steel Pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age, but it also works great for drilling rollbar mounting holes in the floor of a sports car just above the brake line that goes to the rear axle.

Hacksaw: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

Vise-Grips: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

Oxyacetelene Torch: Used almost entirely for lighting those stale garage cigarettes you keep hidden in the back of the Whitworth socket drawer (What wife would think to look in there?) because you can never remember to buy lighter fluid for the Zippo lighter you got from the PX at Fort Campbell

Zippo Lighter: See oxyacetelene torch.

Whitworth Sockets: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for hiding six-month old Salems from the sort of person who would throw them away for no good reason.

Drill Press: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against the Rolling Stones poster over the bench grinder.

Wire Wheel: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar callouses in about the time it takes you to say, "Django Reinhardt".

Hydraulic Floor Jack: Used for lowering a Mustang to the ground after you have installed a set of Ford Motorsports lowered road springs, trappng the jack handle firmly under the front air dam.

Eight-Foot Long 4X4: Used for levering a car upward off a hydraulic jack.

Tweezers: A tool for removing wood splinters.

Phone: Tool for calling your neighbor to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack.

Snap-On Gasket Scraper: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog-doo off your boot.

E-Z Out Bolt and Stud Extractor: A tool that snaps off in bolt holes and is ten times harder than any known drill bit.

Timing Light: A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating grease buildup on crankshaft pulleys.

Two-Ton Hydraulic Engine Hoist: A handy tool for testing the tensile strength of ground straps and hydraulic clutch lines you may have forgotten to disconnect.

1/2 x 16-inch Screwdriver: A large motor mount prying tool that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end without the handle.

Battery Electrolyte Tester: A handy tool for transferring sulfuric acid from car battery to the inside of your toolbox after determining that your battery is dead as a doornail, just as you thought.

Aviation Metal Snips: See Hacksaw.

Trouble Light: The mechanic's own tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin", which is not otherwise found under cars at night. Health benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105-mm howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading.

Phillips Screwdriver: Normally used to stab the lids of old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt; can also be used, as the name implies, to round off Phillips screw heads.

Air Compressor: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty suspension bolts last tightened 40 years ago by someone in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, and rounds them off.

Grease Gun: A messy tool for checking to see if your zerk fittings are still plugged with rust.

#37 Magoo

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 10:51

These oldies have been around for years but kind of fit into this thread ...


Very droll. thanks for posting.

Thought I could hear Peter Egan so I looked it up and yes, he is the author.


#38 mariner

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 17:56

Cheapy , love the oldies, laughed a lot. The hacksaw one is so true ( unlike my hacksaw cuts)