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Droppy breaky sparky.resulted in a trip to Harbor Freight...

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  • Droppy breaky sparky.resulted in a trip to Harbor Freight...

    So I did a thing...

    Specifically I broke a thing.

    Some backstory here.

    During the February Ice storm / power outage, I had to use my fireplace for heat, meaning a lot of my lesser scrap woods got burned. Unfortunately I found that there were critters that got past my chimney cap and the related screen / mesh stuff and I needed to replace the mesh (Hardware cloth if you are interested). Well the hardware cloth had rusted to the top of the flue in places and I had to cut it off. Just a light touch with the angle grinder.

    Well me having butterfingers the day I did it managed to get to the top of my big ladder, and slipped my grip on the grinder, yelled to the person stabilizing my ladder and they slapped it away before it gave them a concussion, and the grinder went headlong onto the concrete patio. It looked okay, but it started sparking, and smoking, and apparently just decided that last bit of abuse was more than enough for my now, what is it 23 year old B&D angle grinder...

    Now an angle grinder is NOT a tool I use a lot, but when I use it, I more or less abuse it so there was NO WAY I was going to spend a lot on a grinder.

    So my choices seemed to be Harbor Freight and Northern Tool as they seem to carry the same stuff with different labels.

    I came home with the Chicago Electric 6 amp 4.5" angle grinder. The wheels from the B&D fit the way they should, and the stowage bag I have been using for years worked perfectly.

    All for $16.00 and change after tax. They had them marked down and took the coupon.

    I know, not much of a story, and I wish I had caught the fall of the old grinder on video, I am sure it looked funny.

    BUT it got me thinking, this isn't the first powertool I have destroyed doing something stupid.

    So far it has been.
    1. Skil Orbital Sander. Dropped from ladder and smashed to bits.
    2. B&D Orbital sander. Died in warranty but during COVID, no way to get warranty service.
    3. Mr. Heater Portable Buddy propane heater. Dropped on shop floor and smashed to bits.
    4. B&D Cordless drill dropped into the lake while working on a dock. VERY glad that was cordless!
    So what dumb tool destroying events have you had?
    Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.

  • #2
    Originally posted by dbhost View Post
    So what dumb tool destroying events have you had?
    --I don't remember how, but somehow my HF benchtop drill press took a header off my bench, landed upside down, and never ran again.

    --When we first moved overseas, I plugged my Makita battery charger into the wall and immediately found out it wasn't dual voltage.

    --I was using a heavy B&D cordless drill on a ladder, lost my grip, and it tumbled down the ladder like a Slinky and then snapped at the handle when it hit the floor. I repaired it with epoxy and duct tape and it worked well enough until I upgraded to the aforementioned Makita.

    --I was making a plunge cut with my Domino with the workpiece sitting on my cast iron tablesaw extension. I forgot to account for the plunge depth and plunged right into the tablesaw top. The bit ($$$) was destroyed but not before routing a Domino groove into my TS. Now whenever I use the Domino, I check the depth very carefully so I don't plunge the bit into my finger.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by atgcpaul View Post

      --I don't remember how, but somehow my HF benchtop drill press took a header off my bench, landed upside down, and never ran again.

      --When we first moved overseas, I plugged my Makita battery charger into the wall and immediately found out it wasn't dual voltage.

      --I was using a heavy B&D cordless drill on a ladder, lost my grip, and it tumbled down the ladder like a Slinky and then snapped at the handle when it hit the floor. I repaired it with epoxy and duct tape and it worked well enough until I upgraded to the aforementioned Makita.

      --I was making a plunge cut with my Domino with the workpiece sitting on my cast iron tablesaw extension. I forgot to account for the plunge depth and plunged right into the tablesaw top. The bit ($$$) was destroyed but not before routing a Domino groove into my TS. Now whenever I use the Domino, I check the depth very carefully so I don't plunge the bit into my finger.
      To quote Shaggy. Zoinks!

      You reminded me of another dumb one.

      My first Harbor Freight 18V Drillmaster cordless drill was dropped from my ladder while working on a ceiling fan in my living room / cathedral ceiling. 10' ladder, Hand was extended so tip of the drill was at about 14' from the floor, landed on an angle at the battery, and snapped the battery mount clean off the handle. I epoxied it back and used it for another 3 years before the battery died, and it was cheaper to replace the drill on sale with a new battery than just buy a battery, so in the electronics recycling it went...
      Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.

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      • #4
        I have repaired computers for years - desktops and laptops, screens, drives, WIFI cards, battery packs etc. I replaced the battery in my wife's 9 year old MacBook Air in January. My 4 year old MacBook threw up a warning last month that the 4 year old battery is defective. I ordered a replacement and then saw that on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most difficult it was a 5. I reviewed the steps and said I can do that.

        The parts and connectors in the MacBook were much much much much tinier than in the 9 year old MacBook Air of my wife's. My dumbness: Before disassembling step number 6 (or 7, or 8) place the non-conductive spacer under the battery contacts. I did, finished the 50 steps to take the old battery out; put in the new battery and forgot the non-conductive spacer in the first two steps in re-assembly. Poof - smoke rising! Computer gone! The SSD and whole computer itself is all on a single board about 2" by 5".
        Last edited by leehljp; 04-04-2021, 05:44 PM.
        Hank Lee

        Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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        • #5
          So, you want me to list the stupid things I've done that damaged tools. Thanks for narrowing it down so this doesn't take so long
          • I started young and this first one didn't so much damage a tool, but tools were involved. At the neighbors house we were putting .22 caliber ammo into a vice and smacking it with a hammer to fire it. Shot one of the garage windows.
          • Of course, cut the plastic ends off my BT3000 miter fence
          • Sawed through the fence of my MFT/3 -- It was too long anyway.
          • Dropped my Woodpeckers square so many times the corners are mushroomed. It is still square on the inside, but not the outside.
          • Dropped a Festool TS75 off the roof and snapped the base off of it. That is not covered by warranty.
          • Tried to sand drywall with a rigid 5" orbital sander. The Ridgid Lifetime Service agreement replaced the motor and the switch.
          • Dropped an Oak tree with a 40" base exactly where I expected to drop it. Did you know that a falling oak tree can pulverize the top three rows of a concrete retaining wall?
          • Hit a nail in some wood using my miter saw and the resulting kickback destroyed the blade, dust chute, blade guard, and my pride.
          • Used an old B&D circular saw with a masonry blade to cut landscaping blocks. The runout on the motor is now about 1/4 inch.
          • Forgot to switch my multimeter from Amps to Volts before testing and outlet and blew it up because one of my coworkers replaced the multimeter's fuse with a screw.
          • Finally, wanted to put a 220v heater in the garage, found the 10/3 wire under the house that went past the garage to the A/C assuming I'd never need the heat and A/C at the same time so they could share a circuit. Turned off the power to the A/C, cut the wire and welded my wire cutters shut. I then ran a new line to the garage and a new line to the dryer in the laundry room which just happened to stop working at that exact instant. I never did find where the wire that went to the A/C ran through the house.
          Chr's
          __________
          An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
          A moral man does it.

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          • #6
            LOVED IT CHRIS!

            Your 220V heater/AC/Dryer fiasco reminded me of my blunder when I was in Toyota City. Got under the house, Ran some 10/3 wire from the kitchen; we had a gas stove but the house was wired for 200V in case an electric stove was needed. I ran it a foot underground in some conduit to my 9 X 12 work shed. I had it wired so that I could use 200 or 2 - 100V 20 amp circuits.

            One thing I did NOT know was that only one grounding rod could be used and that was attached via grounding wire at the main circuit board in the house. I put in a 6 ft grounding rod in my shed and hooked it to the sheds box.I had flipped the house circuit breaker off during this time. I flipped the circuit breaker box off in the shed too. Then I turned that circuit line on in the house; Then out to the shed.

            Ready to flip and see how it works. Flipped the circuit breaker on and nothing. Less than 3 seconds LOML came running out of the house" WHAT DID YOU DO? The main circuit breaker tripped!

            I flipped the circuit breaker off of the shed, went to the main circuit breaker and reset the main circuit breaker.

            I called my electrician friend and asked him what I did wrong? He replied, You can't put two grounding rods and lines on one main circuit!
            Hank Lee

            Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

            Comment


            • #7
              I broke my 12" dual compound miter saw with a kickback that drove the blade into the housing destroying the blade, cracking the housing and casting in multiple places and rendering the saw useless.

              https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...t-broke-my-saw

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              Last edited by LCHIEN; 04-06-2021, 01:06 AM.
              Loring in Katy, TX USA
              If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
              BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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              • #8
                I was cutting an 8”x8”x” piece of steel with a jigsaw and when the cutoff fell on the floor it cut the cord partway through and blew the breaker. I saw sparks when it hit the floor, but thought that was steel on concrete. Switched saw on for next cut and no noise? Unplugged, examined things and discovered cut in cord, and black arc mark on steel cutoff. Reset breaker, repaired cord with solder and shrink tubing. That was about 20 years ago, saw still in use with same cord.

                I recently built some gates using composite fencing. I started out using my 40 tooth Dewalt blade on the BT3000. It worked OK for crosscuts, but got hot on rip cuts. Switched to a 40 tooth Diablo blade, same results. Bought the Diablo Trex blade and it worked great. Next project, I put the Diablo back on and it was burning the wood on crosscuts. It is about 10 years old, so I put the Dewalt back on. Same thing. Composite material dulls carbide blades? Doesn’t seem right. Called the local sharpening shop and they said it does dull them. Took them in and had them sharpened, no issues now.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by leehljp View Post
                  forgot the non-conductive spacer in the first two steps in re-assembly. Poof - smoke rising! Computer gone!
                  Haha! I did the same thing, but on my first PC almost 25 years ago and it was not tight quarters--just inexperience. Put a new motherboard in a new case but decided not to screw it to the standoffs in case I had to do something else to it. Fired it up and then watched a white hot LED get brighter on the board until it smoked. NOT AN LED! That MB was about a whole day's work after taxes at the time so it hurt. I was honest with the vendor and they overnighted a new one to me at no charge.

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                  • LCHIEN
                    LCHIEN commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yeah, those PC power supplies can put out 20-40 Amps at 3.3. and 5 V so they can smoke just about anything when shorted.

                • #10
                  Originally posted by Mike Ward View Post
                  I was cutting an 8”x8”x” piece of steel with a jigsaw and when the cutoff fell on the floor it cut the cord partway through and blew the breaker. I saw sparks when it hit the floor, but thought that was steel on concrete. Switched saw on for next cut and no noise? Unplugged, examined things and discovered cut in cord, and black arc mark on steel cutoff. Reset breaker, repaired cord with solder and shrink tubing. That was about 20 years ago, saw still in use with same cord.
                  Glad that it wasn't a total loss. When I was a kid, I was my Dad's offcut catcher/holder for any project he was working on. Sometimes he'd use me as a counterweight to sit on a board if he didn't have a wide enough span between sawhorses.

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