b3ta.com qotw
You are not logged in. Login or Signup
Home » Question of the Week » Failed Projects » Page 5 | Search
This is a question Failed Projects

You start off with the best of intentions, but through raging incompetence, ineptitude or the plain fact that you're working in IT, things go terribly wrong and there's hell to pay. Tell us about the epic failures that have brought big ideas to their knees. Or just blame someone else.

(, Thu 3 Dec 2009, 14:19)
Pages: Popular, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

The Landrover
Back in the day when it was nearly impossible to buy new cars in New Zealand, but they permitted imports if the importer had owned the vehicle six months overseas, Australia was full of Kiwis with secondhand cars grimly holding on to them for the allotted time before they went back to the Shaky Isles. Lindsay McG was no exception. Turn his hand to anything, could Lindsay.

He bought a down at heel Landie and started working on it. New suspension and steering parts, partial rewiring, valve grind, repaint, he even sewed up a nice new canvas roof. All done in the bush beside his caravan in a construction camp in the middle of absolutely nowhere. The nearest dealer was 100 kilometres away. I gave him a hand now and then.

By the time he was finished it looked almost as if it were new. So a couple of weeks before his departure he drove 220 km to the nearest city to buy it a ticket on a ship.

While he was in the shipping agent's office some low life hot wired it and drove it away. He never saw it again. Bastards.
(, Mon 7 Dec 2009, 9:57, Reply)
Family life
Boy meets girl, fall in love, move in, two years later, beautiful little girl is born, two years later, get married, 8 months later split up.

An epic of a failed project.
(, Mon 7 Dec 2009, 9:12, 1 reply)
Just finished one actually
I've been a member for a while now. Quite a few years actually - looking back, since joining I've gotten married and had three kids. Back before the Legless and SpankyHanky eras, when the writing standard wasn't so high, I got a few QotW answers on the Best Of page at the end of the week, and once got a vid in the newsletter. I've also had countless laughs and general merriment from the many, many contributions of others.

I always told myself that one day I'd get around to contributing something back. Was it coincidence that last week I finally got around to opening a Paypal account and then this QotW comes up?

Maybe. But I've finally gotten off my ass and made a donation. Thanks B3ta.
(, Mon 7 Dec 2009, 7:08, 1 reply)
My game wasn't very successful.
The players created 'characters', who were warriors or wizards in a medieval-like fantasy world. They went on epic quests, against villains who turned out to be Rick Astley. I called it "fantasy rickroll-playing."
(, Mon 7 Dec 2009, 3:33, Reply)
Ah... The smell of fresh failure.
Today I forayed up onto the roof for the first time, to install Christmas lights. Having no outside outlets in our old place, we'd never put lights up outside the house before. This year I purchased a couple strings of solar-powered led lights. Amd I thought they'd be quite festive up on the roof. I went all out, and fashioned a rudimentary two-dimensional tree form out of some old moldings and lath, then headed up the roof with my toolbelt filled with wire, zip-ties, pliers, and (of course) duct tape.

Our roof is metal, and deceptively steeper than it appears, but I managed to get to the peak, then shuffled across to the (dissused) chimney. I noted that the North side of the roof was much more slippery than the South, it was not only still wet, even frosty in places, but slightly slimy with the fine green mold that tends to grow on anything that holds still too long on the island.

Anyway, I began by attaching the solar cell to the top of the chimney with some zip-ties, then stepped around to attch my tree. That's when I realized that now both feet were on the North side of the roof (saw this coming, didn't you). I'd like to say that the cliche'd slow slide off the roof while haplessly grasping anything that presented itself didn't happen - but it did. First I succeeded in stopping by grasping the tree, but my weight was too much for it's flimsy construction, and I fell over, slid off the roof, grabbed the patio umbrella I've been neglecting to put away, then levered myself over the porch rail and to the ground. Amazingly I survived with only a few bruises.

I've just been out to look at the remains of my handiwork. On my roof is now a lovely, twinkling white upside-down cross. Guess I'm gonna have to go up again and fix that somehow.

If I don't answer the QOTW next week, you'll know why.
(, Mon 7 Dec 2009, 1:50, 4 replies)
One from my dad
Many many moons ago, he was in the process of building a raft using plastic barrels (the big, industrial sort you see used by chemical companies - you can buy them second hand if you ask nicely). He wanted to see how much buoyancy they had. He did this by cutting the top off one of these barrels and demanding that his friend push him in the river. His friend, albeit with some degree of protest, complied. The barrel instantly turned turtle. His house keys, which were in his pocket at the time, are probably still at the bottom of that river.

He had to sit outside the house he was sharing with my mum for four hours, soaking wet, before she got back. We never let him forget.
(, Mon 7 Dec 2009, 0:45, 1 reply)
I Started writing a book 3 years ago.
Started writing a film 1 year ago.
And had an amazing idea for another film a month ago.

I've completed a third of the book.
The first film is currently just a basic storyline, main characters and about a 100 idea's scribbled down.
and the other film is still 'an amazing idea'.

However in due course they shall all be eventually completed where i will be told that there utter rubbish and it was all pointless.
But on the plus side i could always add it on my CV.
(, Sun 6 Dec 2009, 21:55, 1 reply)
Failed projects you say?

Several past relationships might fit the bill. Nuff said?
(, Sun 6 Dec 2009, 21:07, 2 replies)
Let me tell you how my friend Faye held Prodge X.
There was once a... wait, I've fucked it up. Nothing to see here, folks *whistles*
(, Sun 6 Dec 2009, 17:09, 1 reply)
CB Bicycle
On around 12 years old I had a CB radio that was used to communicate the most inane drivel ever to drivel out of a driveling 12 year old. Anyway...one day, for reasons best long forgotten (finding girls houses) I decided that it would be awesome to mount this on my bike and triangulate for the aforeforgotten reason (girls). Using the various finely crafted machining facilities, tools, and superior fabrication materials at my disposal (garage floor/side of coin as a screwdriver/scrap metal junk left around) I somehow managed to mount the CB between the handle bars.

Needing to obtain an battery and antenna proved no problem as my neighbor conveniently left one of each secured to his new car in his locked garage. One butter knife later and the garage side window lock was free...and so were the battery and antenna.

Now the bike I had had one of those impressively useless metal "book racks" on the back, you know the kind with the 400 ft/lb tension hold down spring, but the design and capacity to hold somewhat less than one comic book. To a twelve year old this is MORE than sufficient to support a 20 kg battery and antenna, and it did until...

Driving down a steep grass hill at full speed the front tire dropped fully and resolutely into a deviously unseen hole followed by "slow speed" of the rear tire, battery, and 8 foot antenna attempting to be the first to travel to the moon unaided by rockets but instead pivoting on the front axle, snapping the bike rack neatly on both aluminum support twigs, and nearly skewering, decapitating, and crushing me simultaneously.

I couldn't believe it! (Man was I dumb at 12.)

Was my mother at home to comfort me when I dragged my bloody body and this mass of metal wreckage back? No...but the neighbor was, and didn't that battery and antenna look familiar...
(, Sun 6 Dec 2009, 13:18, 10 replies)
Mat J's post has just tickled a memory bone.. www.b3ta.com/questions/worldoffail/post584511#answers-post-584571

My grandad was one of those tinkering types, you know, the kind of bloke who has a 'spare room' filled from floor to ceiling with wonderous, and bizarre bits of wiring, gadgetry and obsolete technology from yesteryear. A man with more hobbies that anyone should ever have, he made model airplanes, trains, boats, steam engines, loved his electronics, photography, and watched open university religously every Sunday (during the 80s)

He spent pretty much all of his life confined to a wheelchair after losing his ability to walk after a serious bout of Polio when he was in his early twenties. As a result, he practically lived in this room, much to the annoyance of my nan, he was constantly making stuff, breaking stuff and starting the occasional fire. Some of his misadventures include:

CB aerials, made from soldering a fuckload of catering size cans of beans, acquired from the college canteen. An old christmas tree stand did'nt escape either, that ended up covered in foil, and was used to support a dipole out of the bedroom window.

A 'rocket ship' made from a load of fireworks, this was tested in his old garage, sadly we only got one trial run, as it shot straight through the wall of said garage, and finished it's maiden voyage in the neighbours greenhouse..

Wireless speakers. After watching me and my friend messing about with some cheap walkie-talkies, he send me to the shop to buy 4 set, and a pile of batteries, which he then proceeded to pull apart, used one of each of the pair to send the signal, and the other to receive, stuck em to some speakers (small miniature walkman speakers - anyone remember them?) and had me and my friend walk all over the house with them to test the range. Crackly, and shite quality - but to a pair of ten-year-olds, these were the dogs bollocks.

He wanted to make a submarine out of an old bathtub that the council left in the garden after they refurbished their house, but nan would'nt let either of us near the canal with it.. oh well, I guess we'll never know the outcome of that one..

He had the michievious and playful mind of a child my old grandad, and I spent many years of summer holidays at his house, in that bizarre room of his, than I did playing out in the sun with my mates.

The smoke alarms in their house had no batteries in them, my nan gave up after about a week because his soldering iron kept setting them off. The carpet was littered with tiny silver balls, springs, resitors and off-cuts from cables, breadboards and balsa wood.

God only knows what he'd have come up with, had he have lived long enough to discover the internet.

Shortly after he died, our family were helping to clear his house - and I insisted on clearing that room personally, purely so that as each bizarre contraption was taken out piece by piece, I could sit there by myself and re-live each crazy mis-adventure one last time, chuckling like an idiot with tears running down my face, it's one day that will stay with me forever.

The best moment, however, was when I found an old dusty folder buried in his vast collection of notepads, and in it was a small collection of BASIC programs we'd written together when I was still in junior school. He'd kept them all, and even added little notes on how to improve them.

I miss you so much old man, and I look forward to setting fire to my house with my grandkids, much to the annoyance of my wife when its my turn - and my spare room is beginning to fill up with old PC cases, and wires already..

*wipes cheeks after sobbing like a girl*
(, Sun 6 Dec 2009, 11:58, 11 replies)
I tried to become an internet mogul
but everyone was very disappointed with hot-chicks-hairy-pussies-bitches-on-all-fours.com

(, Sun 6 Dec 2009, 6:44, 1 reply)
I had a friend who seemed to spend most of his time thinking up get-rich-quick schemes. For example:

"I'm going to buy an ex-police dog, you know, the kind that can sniff out pot, and just go for walks in the woods to find people's pot plants and steal them. I'll make a fortune."

But his best work: He found an old, probably broken car alternator, managed to somehow attach a lopsided bamboo rod and bit of cloth to it, and proclaimed it a "windmill." It was difficult enough to rotate manually, the wind was going to be much less successful. His plan was to put it on his roof, and rake in the savings on his energy bills. My reaction:

"Mate,* even if this thing worked, it would probably barely produce enough energy to power a lightbulb."

"Yes, but if I had 50 of these..."

* I am American, so of course what I really said was "Dude," but I'm trying to localize my story for all y'all across the pond.
(, Sun 6 Dec 2009, 2:50, 2 replies)
(pearoast from here)

My friend Joe and I were working on cobbling together an iPod dock from plans he found on the Internet. As part of this, we had to hook a power supply up to the dock connector. Alas, the one he was going to use didn't have the polarity marked, and he didn't have a voltmeter. A dilemma.

However, he did have a drinking glass, water, and salt. So I filled the glass with salt water and stuck the power supply wires in there. The wire that gave off more bubbles would be the electrode producing hydrogen, and therefore the negative wire.

I was pretty pleased with myself, until we tried it and observed the electrodes giving off roughly equal amounts of bubbles. After an embarrassingly long time, we read the back of the power supply again and saw the text "5V AC."

We went to Radio Shack and got another power supply. And a voltmeter.
(, Sun 6 Dec 2009, 0:31, 7 replies)
Another vehicle-related one
I worked in a car factory for a while, and it was a pretty decent job, but their dedication to Henry Ford's ideal of the people who built the cars being able to afford one was, shall we say, somewhat wanting. Fortunately, being an enterprising fellow, I came up with a plan: theft. Not driving a whole car off the lot, of course, but sneaking parts out in my lunchbox so I could reassemble them at home.

Do you have any idea how many parts go into a car? I'll tell you--a LOT. I was years getting all of them into my garage, and when I'd finally finished, it turned out that the car company had changed the way half of them fit together. Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't have been easier to just take up machining and build the thing from scratch.

Anyway, after a while, we got it running, so I guess it wasn't a complete failure. Looked a bit funny, though.

--J. Cash
(, Sun 6 Dec 2009, 0:13, 2 replies)
My mission
To get on the first page is always being hampered by
A) I live in the states and have fucking clue what the time difference is, nor do I care.
B) Internet pron
C) lack of anything funny or good.
D) this is taking too long and I've just realized this post sucks but instead of adding to another unfinished project I will post this.

Truly sorry for length.
(, Sat 5 Dec 2009, 22:20, 2 replies)
Pearoast...but from a while ago, so...
...(I'm *relatively* competent at this sort of thing.) I desperately want to get the sink taps and washing machine installed so we could wash some of the backlog of clothes that has built up - Got a 3 month old, colic-y baby? Splendid time to install a new kitchen...

So I get most of the pipework guts in, taps working and all is well. As with all these things, though, I have hugely underestimated the time needed to complete the job, and I have an appointment with the Pub.

...So I reel in at about 2am, and think, "damn it, lets get the washing machine working". First stop, a few holes in the cabinets for wastepipe - hmm, they don't seem to line up with the pipework. Never mind it's more Carol Smillie than Handy Andy, lets add a few more...it's under the sink, after all.

Eventually, I can feed the washing machine pipes through, and hook everything up. A triumph. Now for testing. Stuff my dirty clothes into the washing machine and set to "on". It's now 3am, gosh, I hadn't realised how tired and pissed I am. Perhaps I should just have a little rest on the kitchen floor?

5am. Something is wrong. I awake, naked, in about an inch of soapy water. Mercifully, with all the powertools near by, I haven't fused myself.

...the wastepipe from my sink has a nozzle to attach a drain from an appliance. This nozzle is blocked with a bright red plastic disk which says "Remove before connecting appliance"
(, Sat 5 Dec 2009, 22:11, 1 reply)
My coffee machine
Started making water out of the bottom. I decided to fix it.
It is dismantled. Leak located. Boiler disassembled, fresh o-ring installed. Success!

Now, how does the thing fit back together? And where do all those wires go?

Some caffiene to calm my nerves would be good
(, Sat 5 Dec 2009, 21:56, 3 replies)
Birthday presents
I'm great at giving presents. Receiving them? Not so much. Especially if they are vouchers.

You would think that there wouldn't be much to it. Yelp joyfully like a new bride being bent over the kitchen counter. Smile like a mong. Say thank you.

However vouchers require project-like planning and thinking after the gift giving. You have to take note of things, like the expiry date. My sister was not too pleased when I didn't end up using the beautician voucher she gave me because I was too late in making the booking. Fail.

This year I have a rather special voucher. It is for a tandem hang glide. I am much more excited about this one.

And yet so far it has been postponed twice because of weather conditions. Apparently it is not a good idea to fly when the wind will bash you back into the cliff, or when it is so soft that you could drop out of the sky.

Today is the latest re-scheduled date. I was well-behaved last night and didn't go out drinking as I don't fancy raining vomit from the heavens on the unsuspecting ("my god, Mavis. I never knew seagulls ate carrots.").

The voucher expires soon. Lets hope the wind is in the right direction. Wish me luck.
(, Sat 5 Dec 2009, 21:42, 7 replies)
Todays failure.
As I mentioned in a reply to Colonel Duculas chicken post on p3, I run an new organic chicken farm.
Just got a letter through today from the abattoir telling me that new rules are being enforced regarding traceability of stock, which I am not reasonably able to comply with, so they will no longer be able to deal with me.

Looks like the whole chicken farming thing was a fucking waste of time now too.
(, Sat 5 Dec 2009, 21:07, Reply)
I will do this!
I will take everyone's failed project on here, and do them all. On at a time. To completion.

5 pages? Already? Fuck it, I quit.
(, Sat 5 Dec 2009, 20:13, Reply)
I had an idea for a world-wide delivery system
for pictures of kittens, and pornography.

I was just a few weeks away from being able to go live, when someone else came out with the same thing but using computers instead of carrier pigeons.
(, Sat 5 Dec 2009, 19:32, 3 replies)
My good intentions
Almost always end up in pieces. You see, like Bloody Stupid Johnson of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, my creations very rarely simply fail. The almost invariably work, but have some fatal flaw. A selection of them is below:

The big hovercraft: This was actually a collaberation between my dad and I. We ended up with an enormous circle of wood and a woefully underpowered air compressor. I know what we did wrong though, and I've got mental plans for one that will actually work.

The small hovercraft: Made a noise like the saturn 5 taking off, but did work. As long as you didn't put it on water. If you did it would cover everything in a 10m radius in water. Everything.

Trebuchet: Built to about waist high out of bits of wood from the garage. It actually worked amazingly well, throwing pebbles over fifty metres. I decided to up the power by increasing the counterweight, but failed to realize that changing the acceleration of the stone would change the release point too. The stone fired straight up and nearly took my head off on the descent. I altered the sling length to account for that. In the wrong direction. On the second test it fired backwards and hit me in the bollocks.

Water balloon catapult #1: Built it from elastic rope and old seed trays. Pulled it back. Water balloon fell out and soaked my shoes.

Water balloon catapult #2: Built from the remains of the trebuchet mentioned above, but with elastic rope as the driving force instead of counterweights. Pulled it back. It broke.

Water balloon catapult #3: Fixed broken parts and added strengthening. Pulled it back. Let go. Throwing arm came up, hit stopper bar and smashed through the stopper bar, causing the entire assemblage to explode. Seriously, bits of stuff pinwheeing all over the garden. The water balloon covered about three metres. It didn't even break. Gave up after this.

Stilts: I already had one pair, but I wanted some slightly longer ones. Bought the wood, made the foot platforms etc. All was well. Strapped on the stilts. The bent, so I quickly took six inches off the height. They still bent. Another six inches off. This continued until they stopped bending. About a foot off the ground. It was only then that I thought to check the thickness of the wood... Turns out I'd asked for inch thick and got 3/4 inch. Not good.

The raft: Bolted together. It leaked constantly and rolled alarmingly. Used so much expanding foam to fix these problems that it was more foam than anything else.

The kitesurfing board: Took ages to make. It turns out that I bevelled the edges wrongly. It's next to useless.

The snowboard: I call it that, but it was a plank with the bindings from a mountainboard. Epic fail.

I might add more later if I can be bothered.
(, Sat 5 Dec 2009, 19:27, 2 replies)
Toy Box
As the nipper started to grow he managed to acquire toys in much the same manner as Imelda Marcos acquired footwear. This presented a problem space-wise, as there were only certain parts of our cosy three-bed house that we could secrete these toys away to. We needed some form of storage. Then my (now ex-) wife hit upon the idea of a toy box.

This presented her with yet another opportunity to peruse both the IKEA and Argos catalogues, dog-earing the relevant pages, and attempting to gain my interest by saying things such as "Ooo, this one looks nice and it's only £19.99". Sloblocks, thought I. Why should I have to fork out nineteen pounds and ninety-nine pence of my hard-earned sterling monies in order to secure an item that would allow me to hide away my son's toys when he wasn't playing with them in order to give my house a semblance of orderliness?

So what alternative did I have? Well, I knew we had some wood in the garage. I was going to be brave. I was going to be bold. I was going to attempt to make something...

Now, let me make it clear that DIY was not my forte. I seem to have sprung from a generation where DIY was as popular as Ian Huntley at a kindergarten, which was strange as the previous generation, my Dad included, would try their hands at anything home-improvement related. But to me, this was going to be my chance to prove my worth. Indeed more to prove to myself that I could actually do it. I had the tools for the job. I was going to create.

Things didn't get off to a great start when I made my first attempt at sawing into one of the pieces of wood and somehow managed to elbow myself in the Beadles. But unperturbed, I soldiered on. I had managed to put two sides together when disaster struck. Whilst holding part of the wood steady in the Work-Mate I managed to saw into my finger. Blood immediately began to spurt forth from the incision in the manner of a Sam Peckinpah film. I rushed inside the house, effusing a tirade of expletives. My wife, a nurse, took one look at my state of woe and advised a swift trip to A+E.

After a brief wait (God bless triage) I was seen to, the wound cleaned and bandaged and I was sent on my way. An appointment made to see a consultant a week later at the same hospital to check on the healing progress of the wound.

So a week passed and I made my way back to the hospital. I waited my turn and was called into see the consultant, an Asian gentleman. It was only when I noticed his name badge that it dawned on me who he was...only bloody former Indian spin bowler NARENDRA HIRWANI!!!.

Well, the state of my finger was relegated to the background as the conversation naturally leaned towards cricket, me being a cricketing fan. I asked him all about his debut Test against the West Indies where he took 16 for 137, with eight-fors in both innings. He seem pleasantly surprised with my knowledge on the subject although came across as rather modest about his achievements. I, however, was becoming rather carried away and said "when you took the wicket of Desmond Haynes LBW in the second innings, did the umpire raise his finger like this?" and stood up and raised my index finger.

As I did this, the fresh scab on the wound ruptured, spraying blood over his desk and onto his shirt. Stony-faced, he re-bandaged me, gave me a re-appointment date then asked me to leave. I didn't go back, and the finger healed.

And we ended up going out and buying a toy storage box...
(, Sat 5 Dec 2009, 18:18, Reply)
My mates famous landrover
Okay i know fuck all about cars - but i volunteered (with three of my mates) to get my mate Carl back on the road after he was depressed after breaking up with girlfriend.

On my friend Ste's advice (who is landrover tinkerer himself) , Carl picked up a very good avertisement and together they dreamed of the days they would drive up mountains and annoy members of the green party with their road-dodging antics.

His dream was shattered when discovered his 'bargain' £200 landrover was in fact a death trap. The chassis underneath was rusted to small buggery and was about to collapse. On top of that, he was too skint to afford road tax and insurance and basically needed to build it up in time to get it away from the rear of my friends flat (which was a public area and was thus within the councils right to tow the fucker).

So my mates and I, thought it would be jolly sporting if we would donate the following week to rebuilding the old beast just in time to get it road worthy again (where he could no doubt find some suitable land to store it until he could sort his tax etc..)

Okay, a little background about me and my friends, as mentioned i know fuck all about cars, let alone how to dismantle and repair a chassis (but i was there for morale purposes), then there was Carl himself (who desperately needed this as he was having a real hard time with his ex), Ste who had was more than slightly responsible for the mess so out of guilt and passion he was doing most of the work.... and then there was Colin. The guy who's land it was parked on (sort of). Colin is also extremely agoraphobic and suffered from anxiety attacks (despite being the strongest and biggest out of the group) - he was also the designated welder.

Anyhoo, to cut a long story short - Our rather inept A-team efforts were hampered by freak storms (in the middle of summer), my absolute lack of knowledge, Ste and Carl's slight land rover rivalry (who can unscrew a bolt the fastest? - type of thing) and on top of that, our chief welder Colin kept having panic attacks and vomiting and spent most of the time sat against the garden wall looking grey and wretched. It took us four days to get a new chassis (which left us with three days to weld the bugger and find storage for the vehicle).

We gradually made progress, with Ste donating new pedals, a clutch, gear stick andbrand new tires and we all chipped too for a decent chassis. By day five, we were getting frustrated though... Constant arguements, extremely hot weather, vomiting and anxiety attacks and general incompetence aswell as post-relationship depression - But cracked on, like the men we were and we finally finished it. A new paint job and all.... with 24 hours to spare before the council could legally steal it. Win!

Hurrah! So we did as we did... Me, Ste and Carl loaded up all the old useless parts into the brand new landrover and took it for a spin (Colin stayed indoors preferring his gloomy flat) and we dumped all the useless tires and what-not at the scrapyard.

It was brilliant. Carl was smiling from ear to ear and Ste had a sense of smug achievement on his face, and i was just happy that i'd been part of the project (offering cigs and frowning at metal).

That night we decided we would take it easy, leave the beautiful new beast behind the flat and Carl would get up first thing in the morning and drive it away before the council could tow it...

Yes everything was great.

So day seven arrives, Carl (i imagine) skips off the couch and steps outside into the crisp morning sunlight to find his behemoth was .............................................

......... Nope. It was still there.

But his ex had slashed his tires.

It got towed away about an hour later.


* Names changed for various reasons.

- Length? - long.
(, Sat 5 Dec 2009, 15:26, 1 reply)

This question is now closed.

Pages: Popular, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1