What's your best failure?

In the interest of learning and celebrating growth, I would love to hear about and see photos of your best failure. What project didn’t work? What was the biggest disaster? We’re going to feature a different failure every week on our Instagram account, so keep an eye out and send us your best!

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Sorry Phil! i’m new so I’m working out the kinks in my display name, but yes! I work at Inventables.

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bust of homer from http://www.123dapp.com/catch/homer/5232175
lost an x-v-wheel early in the finishing pass, then hte z-pulley nuts heated up and came loose, and I had to stop the cut.

going to mount it anyway. from a distance it sort of looks like his head is just covered with a scarf or something, so I’m going to pretend I wanted it that way and call it art…


That is awesome! It looks great actually.

Technically this is as bad as I got a picture of so far… the bit was too short so the collet ran into the wood and burned the rim as it cut out… I do not usually take pics of the fails… I will tho from now on lol since they happen pretty often around here…

I’m with you…but did it twice. Didn’t learn what went wrong the first time but I’m getting better at it!

In the early days, I found the limits of the stock spindle that came with the XCarve. V Wheels came loose, allowing the bit to dig deeper and deeper the further it travelled.

Spindle died, spindle shaft damaged with collet coming off, V wheel mountings damaged, bolts bent yada yada yada.

We did however, have the technology to rebuild it, faster, stronger, better…

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I don’t have picture but something messed up in G-code or sender and my spindle plunged into waste board. Broke off the bit and collect started to make hole in MDF and started smoking and by that time I came to my garage flames started.
I managed to put out the fire and everything is fine. I still have black circle of smoldered MDF on my waste board to remind me.
Now I don’t walk away from more than few minutes and I got myself extinguisher for garage.


This is back from my Shapeoko 1 days but I think it still counts. I don’t remember what I did wrong on the piece on the left, but for the right it started as a great looking halftone picture with a v-bit but went bad quickly because I didn’t tighten the collet enough and the bit dropped.

Bit came loose about 5 hours in on 8/4 walnut… Fortunately it dug in and buried itself right down through the waste board and into the table below, clearing the collet. The Xcarve just kept on going with no damage to any major structures…

I cleaned up the missing cut area as best I could, and one of these days I plan on filling it in with some sort of inlay.

I have literally filled garbage cans with my many X-Carve “oops”. I didn’t take pictures but I learned something about each and every event. I have come to think of them as my learning opportunities, thankfully they are happening less often than the wild west days of figuring this machine out.


Any project description that contains the phrase “I managed to put out the fire” gets my respect!


After filling the v wheels with sawdust to the point they couldn’t roll and destroying this project I added dust guards and just this week my dust boot finally arrived which has given me new failures to work out slowly such as new clearance issues on bits and clamps.


First time using google photos to share please let me know if it gives access to all my photots or only the intended file thanks :slight_smile:

@JamesMurray supposedly, NASA doesn’t have failures, they have have “events rich in learning opportunities”.

Learning a skill needs to be thought of in the same way.

I think it was Space-X that coined the term “RUD” = Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly when one of the early Falcons almost landed and then fell over and exploded at the last moment.

The project started out as a wall sign of Magic the Gathering symbols for a friend…only the middle symbol came out, so the board got cut up and now I have 1 drink coaster

I haven’t really had any impressive project failures and I don’t think I ever took a picture of the Z axis switch that underwent a RUD, but I have a nice collection of these:

The rest of the first 1/4" shank bit is still in the wasteboard waiting for me to use a plug cutter to remove it. Although the ball end mill on the right looks okay, you can see that the tip is coated in aluminum.

@RobertA_Rieke you’ve lots of nice bits of HSS to make some scribes and scrapers…

We used to braze or solder broken bits into pencil length pieces of copper pipe (or into a piece of ¼" or ⅜" solid bronze rod) and grind the tips into either fine point scribing pens or small flat or curved scrapers. HSS holds a nice point or edge and lasts well when scraping.

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I figure I’ll find a good use for them somehow, maybe for getting a kind of scratched finish on acrylic or something. I’ve also got a couple small v-bits that got driven into my aluminum touch plate, they work just fine as long as I tell Easel the bit tip is .020" or so.