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Old 04-19-2020, 10:49 PM
AlpineYoda AlpineYoda is offline
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 274
Default Best injuries while building

Spent some time at urgent care today. Thankfully, it was a covid-free urgent care.

I was match drilling holes in the tail cone skin of my RV-10 build with my son today. Did about 300 holes with a high speed pneumatic drill through the skin into some stiffening bars. I had to hold the pieces in place with a hand on the inside, while I drilled from the outside. My son then dropped Clecos into each hole to keep everything aligned.

For the first 300 holes, I thought about the location of my inside hand every single time before drilling. Around hole 301, my mind slipped a little. The pieces kept moving and I had to try hard to hold it all together. I doubled the tank regulator pressure to get a faster drill speed to avoid the bit ?walking? along the metal. I pressed down hard, went through both pieces of metal like warm butter, and then straight through my index finger that was holding the pieces in place on the inside. Clean entry and exit wounds on either side.

It bled like nothing I?ve seen before from a #40 size hole, but I had some crazy glue in the hangar and was able to stop the flow. X-rays at the hospital showed that I missed the bone, missed the ligaments, and left minimal aluminum inside my finger. I might have some nerve damage, and I got a new tetanus shot, but it seems like I may have been really, really lucky to avoid major damage. I will post a photo on my EAA blog (below, since I cannot figure out how to post here) tomorrow.

I can?t be the only one to hurt themselves building. Any good stories out there?
RV-10 build blog --
Started 12/19/2019
Engine hung 1/9/2021
Panel hopefully coming in 2Q 2021

N1814T reserved with FAA
Donated Jan 11 for 2021, EAA and AOPA member
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Old 04-19-2020, 11:27 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 7,351

Welcome to the club. Hurts like he**, doesn?t it? I went well into my finger despite wearing work gloves. And I?m not the first.
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Old 04-19-2020, 11:35 PM
AlpineYoda AlpineYoda is offline
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 274

Yeah. And Tylenol and a couple of martinis aren?t helping at all.
RV-10 build blog --
Started 12/19/2019
Engine hung 1/9/2021
Panel hopefully coming in 2Q 2021

N1814T reserved with FAA
Donated Jan 11 for 2021, EAA and AOPA member
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Old 04-19-2020, 11:50 PM
JDeanda JDeanda is offline
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Ventura, CA
Posts: 235

Aarrgghh. I think you'd get a shorter list of mechanics who HAVEN'T drilled thru a finger. I think I've only done it once, and then not all the way thru. I've been bitten by band saws twice, fairly serious the second time but I'm OK. I stood up fast while working on a Pitts S2A once and banged my head on the trailing edge of a metal Hartzell aerobatic propeller blade. Went right to my knees and stayed there for a minute or two. Yeah that one really hurt. I'm not looking forward to more stories along this thread, it could get pretty gruesome if folks don't use a bit of restraint.
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Old 04-20-2020, 01:21 AM
N941WR's Avatar
N941WR N941WR is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SC
Posts: 12,887

Been there, done that. Right thru the mail on my ring finger. Not to worry, the nerve will grow back in a couple of years.

This is why I don't walk in my shop without putting on safety glasses. Stuff happens. (I have had more than one cleco come out if the pliers and hit my glasses.)
Bill R.
RV-9 (Yes, it's a dragon tail)
O-360 w/ dual P-mags
Build the plane you want, not the plane others want you to build!
SC86 - Easley, SC
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Old 04-20-2020, 02:13 AM
Hornet2008 Hornet2008 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: NSW Australia
Posts: 302

Your right index finger will survive a trip through the pneumatic squeezer. Whilst riveting tank baffles, stopped to wipe wet pro seal off the squeezer dies. Rolled the squeezer on the bench for better access and BANG. Hurt like nothing else, bled all over but wrapped it up with blue masking tape to stop bleeding and continued riveting. Lost the nail and feeling for some time but all good now about 5 years later.
RV-9 "Cloud tinnie"
Registered VH-EAB
Flying Phase 2
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Old 04-20-2020, 02:54 AM
daveyator daveyator is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: adelaide, south australia
Posts: 174

Probably not in the same league, but those cleco clamps can produce high pain levels and nasty blood blisters on those days when your not right on your game. Trust me.
An unplanned hole in your finger though....ouch. My sympathy.
The pain will subside with time, but I'm sure you'll still have the memory.
Cheers, DaveH
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Old 04-20-2020, 03:55 AM
Richard Connell Richard Connell is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 250

You only have to skin your shin on a low lying step weldment once before you wrap them in foam!
I?ve drilled a hole in myself too...:-(
RV7 VH-XRC Sold :-(
RV10 in progress.
Sydney, AUS
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Old 04-20-2020, 04:34 AM
Peter Costick Peter Costick is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 112

I did a similar thing to the OP, but with me it was through the wing spar into the palm of my hand. It didnt go right through but stuck in my hand. I was kinda stuck until I realised it was a reversing drill.

Not too much blood but there was some other stuff kinda hangng out. Pushed it back in, added a bandaid and continued working.
Peter Costick
Melbourne Australia
RV7A Flying, VH-SVN
2020 Donation Made
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Old 04-20-2020, 05:06 AM
RViator60 RViator60 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Southport, NC
Posts: 78

I can't say that I've had any major injuries...yet, other than scratches and small cuts. However, I can share a story I heard about a guy getting his finger pinched by a pneumatic squeezer, resulting in bone damage and ultimately loosing the digit. Since then, I have a lot of respect for the squeezer. You were lucky with your injury, but I imagine it must hurt like ****.
Marty Guinn
Based at KSUT, Southport, NC
- 1973 PA28-180 (N55087)
RV14A Build
- Started Sep19, Aft Fuse complete
- Wings and fuel tanks completed,
- IO390 ordered (Oct20 deliv)
- Hartzell 2-blade composite delivered.
- Currently working on fuselage
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