Ever mysteriously 'lost' a part whilst machining?
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  1. #1
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    Default Ever mysteriously 'lost' a part whilst machining?

    I was cleaning out the cabinet of a Hardinge lathe I just bought and these 7 little motor armatures rolled out from under the timber tray in the base. There was a gap at the back edge just small enough for them to fall down. I bet it was a real mystery at the time and it got me to thinking how much trouble the machinist got into for 'losing' seven completed parts and what he had to do to get out or cover it up?

    armatures.jpg

    Anyone here ever lost a part in a similar way only for it to turn up later or never at all?

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    I have an infestation of "Shed Fairies" in my workshop, they hitched a ride to my workshop in nymph form in a shipment of lathe tools. They cause most of the missing item problems I have.....

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    Many times, one of the most annoying were some 12 BA x 5/8 one size smaller hex head bolts for a model I was building, I needed 8,made 9 gooduns - @0.051'' dia they were a f'kn nightmare.
    I dropped two and after 1/2 hour searching with magnets and god knows what, couldn't find either, so made another,.....and of course ruined one fitting them

    Those 2 lost bolts only surfaced 3 years later when I moved the lathe!

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    Many times for me, too. For example, about two years ago, a neighbor asked me to make a cable termination for the shifter on a classic Dodge muscle car. The original one was steel about 0.60 inch in diameter by about 0.70 long and was probably silver soldered onto a 0.90 diameter cable, which had broken at this termination. I made a replacement with two setscrews to clamp the cable -- probably took, maybe, 45 minutes at most. All done -- went to look got the original and couldn't find it! The 45 minute good deed cost me another three hours looking for the missing piece -- swept the floor around the lathe and mill, dug through the chip tray on the lathe, cleaned off the work bench between the lathe and mill, went through trash cans. Gave the new piece back to the neighbor apologetically saying I had misplaced the original. The missing piece kept bugging me. About three months later, there it was sitting on a table out in the open about 30 feet from where the lathe and mill reside -- how it got there I have no idea!

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    You guys must be younger. I spend a lot of time looking for parts that I am holding in the other hand. Then, what really is bad, I set a beer down the other day and then couldn't find it. Ain't old age wonderful?
    JR

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    Quote Originally Posted by JRIowa View Post
    You guys must be younger. I spend a lot of time looking for parts that I am holding in the other hand. Then, what really is bad, I set a beer down the other day and then couldn't find it. Ain't old age wonderful?
    JR
    I might walk around looking for my glasses (with them propped up on my head), but I haven't got so bad that I can't find my beer.

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    IME, Blanchard Machine Company was the worst about installing ghosts that steal pieces.

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    I've done it my whole life. I'm constantly looking for stuff I just had. The biggest one I can think of is the Arturo Glass.

    Around 1983, at the scrapyard, they dragged in a 76 Monte Carlo which had been extensively customised by a member of the Latin American community so as to ride more closely to the ground. One of the roof's side windows, even, had been treated to an application of artwork. I was smitten, and upon removing said glass paid 10 cents a pound for it and took it home to my parents' house where I resided at the time.

    Naturally, the Arturo Glass, as it came to be known, became a very popular conversation piece for some years. Whenever there was a gathering of friends it could be counted on for some laughs. Then, one day, I noticed I hadn't seen it in a while....no one could find it and from time to time I'd search for it but never could locate it. After a couple decades it was assumed 'accidentally thrown out'. Damn.

    So about 2 months ago I was helping my mom move some heavy objects around the garage (yes I had moved out by now) and - hot damn! - there was the Arturo Glass where I had slid it behind an old steel filing cabinet one day. The instant I saw it I remembered putting it back there....I just forgot it for 25+ years.

    So now I have been reunited with the Arturo Glass and offer it here for your viewing pleasure, shortly before I plan to contact the Smithsonian to see if they might be interested.

    arturo.jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails arturo-lr.jpg  

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    My biggest problem is dropping things. Once they get past my knees, they're gone.

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    Biggest problem is finding things that I stored "right where I could find it"

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    I'll try to make a long story short. We had a repeat job that needed the bore and key way masked before hard anodize. We would run 1000 and ship 250 every month. The masking needed to be painted on with a special masking our vendor used, it was expensive and time consuming. I decided we would do the masking in house to save time and money. This was a family of parts that ranged from 3/8 round up to 3-1/2 inches and we were making thousands of them.

    The bores needed to be very clean before the masking was applied so it would stick well and we tried many things including me bringing a few loads home to the dishwasher. My wife was not happy but at the time we only had one baby at home and hardly ever used the dishwasher. Anyway it didn't work out and we ended up leaving it to the vendor.

    At the same time we were going through a growth phase in the business and we were having trouble keeping track of things. Orders would end up short due to parts lost in set up and production, tools were misplaced and damaged even shop travelers would go missing. In short we were disorganized and it was costing us a lot of money and headaches.

    At the time I had about 15 people working in the shop and I held a company meeting. I was pretty upset and let it be known, I was determined to fix the problems and everyone needed to get on board to help or get out.....I was serious. This same day one of these jobs came up short 100 pieces, I lost it and reconvened the meeting, I use these missing parts as an example. I once again chewed everyone's ass out.

    Fast forward a few weeks and it's Thanksgiving one of the few times we use the dishwasher at home. My wife opens it up and asked me what I want to do with the 100 parts in there.

    The first day back at work I held a meeting, told them about the missing 100 parts being found and said sorry.

    Make Chips Boys !

    Ron

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    Quote Originally Posted by Weirsdale George View Post
    About three months later, there it was sitting on a table out in the open about 30 feet from where the lathe and mill reside -- how it got there I have no idea!
    That baffles me, has happened to me more than once. I'm assuming I'm a sleepwalker and do this to myself in my sleep.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SAG 180 View Post
    I have an infestation of "Shed Fairies" in my workshop,
    I'm pretty sure that they don't appreciate it, but is it even legal to refer to employees this way? I mean... umm. Oh.

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    Had a hardened steel spring-loaded button go flying. I listened and heard where it landed across the shop, but could not find it. Found it some weeks later. It had hit, ricocheted, and rolled back under the bench I was working at. Never thought to look down at my feet. I put it in a bag to reuse once the soft replacement I made wears out. Don't ask me where I put that bag.

    Bill

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    Something that I was unaware of is the fact that most springs especially miniture are made of "Concrete Soluble" material drop them on a clean concrete floor never to be seen again.

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    "You guys must be younger. I spend a lot of time looking for parts that I am holding in the other hand. Then, what really is bad, I set a beer down the other day and then couldn't find it."

    I spent 20 infuriating minutes looking for my house keys one day twelve years or so ago, was late for work. Finally found them in my left hand.

    My favorite lost beer story was a few decades ago, when I was a starving musician in an indy hard rock band. We practiced at our guitar player's trashed loft "apartment" in an old building downtown. The brew of choice was Carling's Black Labels ($1.99 a six pack). Being in Alabama in July with no AC, it was sweltering, even after dark. We would show up for practice with a couple or three six packs and commence playing and drinking beer. After an hour or so, all the beers were at 100 degreesF, same as everything else in the room. This guy would drink about 3/4 of a cold one, and then sit the it down close by and grab another cooler one. It was always just a matter of time until he reached and grabbed the one he had set down 3/4 empty.... but a week earlier and hadn't thrown out... and take a big lumpy, mold laden, cigarette butt fermented chug off it. He would turn green and start gagging and I'd just double over laughing. "It's not funny," he would say. "Oh, yes it is!" was my reply.

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    Embarrassing, but I have lost a sample part. It was a shaft the size of a flashlight.
    I was looking at it and taking measurements.
    Someone called to ask me about another project and material.
    It took me 45 minutes to find it.
    This is just the latest incident.

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    They get sucked to a black hole with all the halve of the socks pairs.

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    Talking of things lost, but this time in another way, read some time ago that at the Rolls Royce aero engines works in Barnoldswick, there is a canal that runs right next to the works, a very convenient place to lose all the jobs that went slightly wrong, until they came to dredge the canal some years later. The scrap man made a mint!

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    Not machine related but still a fun story to tell...

    One night I locked up the walk-in vault at the pawn shop and me and the one employee were getting ready to leave for the day. He stops and starts searching his pockets, and I ask "lose something?" He says yeah just a minute and starts looking all over the shop. Under the counter by his work station, shelves, just everywhere he could look. He doesn't find anything.

    So I ask if he needs to look in the vault, and he says that must be where they are. So I unlock the vault and we go in and a quick search he still doesn't find anything. So I get the bright idea to take out my phone and call his number. His phone goes off and we hear it ringing in his pocket. I said, "Hell you had it all this time." We start laughing and then he stops and has the damnedest look on his face, "G-damn it I am looking for my keys not my phone!". We finally found the keys under a chair after a few more minutes.


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