Don't Try These at Home

  • Don't Try This at Home

    These days, more people are looking to save a few dollars by doing things themselves. Along with a slower economy, the availability of a sea of specialized DIY websites and upbeat TV shows guiding the novice through everything from quick fixes to the most complicated from-scratch builds, have fueled the do-it-yourself boom. Though DIY-ers often have high aspirations, lack of knowledge and high ambition are the main causes of DIY accidents. Photo Credit: andymangold
    DIY-ers Be Warned
  • DIY-ers Be Warned

    With more people taking on projects on themselves, the number of DIYers in over their heads has grown. In fact, handyman services and some contractors are increasingly going after a long-overlooked segment of the home-improvement and repair market: fixing people's botched projects. The DIY-er’s disgrace has also become the subject of busy web traffic and popular TV shows. The blog, There, I Fixed It, features user-submitted pictures of their own “epic kludges and jury rigs." Its viral slideshows are also good for a few laughs. Our list of blunders goes beyond home improvement and comes with some serious messages about safety and common sense. Photo Credit: lachlanhardy
    DIY Car Repairs
  • DIY Car Repairs

    Car needs body work? Duct tape, plywood and recycled license plates could do the trick. Door locks broken? Weld on a chain latch and padlock it. These makeshift fixes make a funny picture, but if car repairs are not done correctly, the results can be deadly. In Plymouth, England, Alex Pye had changed the worn rear-wheel bearings on his his 1993 Volkswagen Golf the night before his car swerved off the road and hit a tree, killing his 21-year-old girlfriend, Rachael Ward. The police vehicle examiner said the rear offside wheel-bearing had collapsed after being over-tightened during assembly and caused the accident. Pye was not charged with any wrongdoing. Photo Credit: cjc4454
    DIY Electrical installation
  • DIY Electrical installation

    Owning electrical tape and a few extension cords doesn’t make you a qualified electrician. Faulty wiring can lead to serious consequences. Four people died in a house fire in Paterson, N.J., this year after the place had been sited for numerous electrical violations. Apparently, the wiring in the house had stopped working, and the landlord allowed the tenants to use extension cords to supply power to their rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The extension cords were overloaded, and eventually caused the fatal fire. Photo Credit: davef3138
    DIY Home Theater Installations
  • DIY Home Theater Installations

    Propping your flatscreen TV up with a platform of children’s building blocks or suspending it with rope lashed to an exposed beam makes for a silly slideshow, but the potential risk of injury is no laughing matter, especially when kids are around. Improperly secured TVs have caused injury and death, with as many as 10,000 children treated in emergency rooms each year due to furniture and television "tip-over" accidents. Photo Credit: buglugs
    DIY Plastic Surgery
  • DIY Plastic Surgery

    In 2008, a 48-year-old Korean woman, Hang Mioku, had been addicted to plastic surgery for 20 years when she decided to take matters into her own hands. Using a syringe given to her by a plastic surgeon for silicone injections, she began injecting cooking oil into her face and neck. Her face became enlarged and grotesquely deformed. Mioku underwent several surgeries to remove the foreign substance from her face and neck. Similarly, in 2009, a 54-year-old California woman injected liquid silicone that she purchased online into her lips and checks. Her face became red and swollen and she is also undergoing several surgeries to have the damage corrected. Photo Credit: yanivba
    DIY Brain Surgery
  • DIY Brain Surgery

    In 2000, a 29-year-old Englishwoman named Heather Perry attempted to cure her chronic fatigue syndrome by trying the ancient surgical technique of trepanning – basically drilling a hole in one’s skull in the effort to release pressure and improve brain function – a practice that is illegal in Britain. She enlisted the help of trepanation enthusiasts in the U.S., including Peter Halvorson, who drilled a hole in the front of his own skull to increase "brain blood volume." Perry traveled to Utah and performed the procedure on herself, assisted by her American cohorts, with a local anesthetic, a surgeon’s knife and a drill.  The procedure was filmed for 20/20. However, the drilling ruptured the membrane protecting Perry’s brain and she was rushed to the hospital. After fully recovering from the procedure, she claims her health has improved because of it. But the Americans were convicted for practicing medicine without a license and received probation. Photo Credit: yoyona
    DIY Airplane
  • DIY Airplane

    Flying your own homemade airplane? It's more common than you might think. Back in 1928, Bernard Pietenpol wanted to build a plane that was affordable and easy to construct for an amateur enthusiast. He designed and built the AirCamper, which flew using a car engine. The same plane can now be built for less than $2,000, and there's a small cottage industry devoted to selling plans. The aircrafts are for the most part relatively safe, but this year a man was killed when his small Pietenpol Air Camper crashed while landing in Arizona. Photo Credit:  Clara S.
    DIY Dentistry
  • DIY Dentistry

    The English are infamous for having less-than-perfect teeth, and with changes to the national dental care contracts, more British citizens have been taking matters into their own hands. Some reports say up to one in 10 people in England have tried to pull out a tooth by using pliers or a piece of string tied to a door handle. In 2006, a man spent three years super-gluing his loose crown into place every couple of months. Photo Credit: danoxster
    DIY Nuclear Reactor
  • DIY Nuclear Reactor

    OK, so this one might not be a disaster, but the potential is there. Mark Suppes is a web developer by day and, by night, part of a growing community of fusioneers — amateur scientists who are building homemade fusion reactors with the noble hope of solving the world’s energy problems. Suppes is building his reactor in a rented warehouse in Brooklyn, N.Y., on a mostly residential tree-lined street. He is the 38th independent tinkerer in the world to achieve nuclear fusion from a homemade reactor, according to Fusor.net. Thankfully, fusion reactors sound more volatile than they actually are, and contain no dangerous materials. Also, the risk to Suppes’ neighbors is minimal. Photo Credit:  Timm Suess
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