Seeing as how this conflict of utility will ultimately make weight savvy Apocalypse survivors have to do the unthinkable and choose between carrying weapons or tools, it occurred to us what the world really needs are tools that can also be used to help take on a horde of Zombies.
Perhaps one of the more useful tools I have ever owned was a flat bar with a series of hexagonal cutouts in it. While minimally useful as a wrench because of its long length, it proved invaluable as backstop for holding nuts in place while I was tightening them down. Not to mention that when my wrench set was annoyingly missing just the size I needed, my hard to misplace flat bar always had me covered.
It therefore stood to reason that a Katana with a similar series of hexagonal cutouts would be valuable both for taking down Zombies/Mutant wildlife and complementing any set of tools used for post apocalyptic DYI projects. However, after a bit of research it became apparent that in addition to being expensive to make, “Katanas are notoriously high maintenance”* and at ApocalypsEV we hate the idea of high cost high maintenance (www.ApocalypsEV.com).
So seeking a simpler more affordable concept, we created the Mechanics Machete. It combines the Zombie fighting power of a machete with the utility of a set of wrenches. Also when using stainless steel for the blade, it eliminates the maintenance hassle of trying to keep the blade rust free.
Step 1: Parts & Geometry
So to save on time and add simplicity the Mechanics Machete was created to use the handles and sheath from a store bought machete. Specifically, it uses a Harbor Freight tools machete (http://www.harborfreight.com/18-inch-machete-with-nylon-sheath-94154.html), which is both affordable, and features plastic handles that won’t rot like wood ones can.
The blade profile needed to create the mechanics machete either by cutting the hexagon profiles in the stock 14GA carbon steel blade that came with the machete or, more preferably by cutting a new blade out of stainless steel can be found in the DWG file attached to this page. If you don’t currently have a CAD program installed to view/edit the DWG files, I recommend the free Draftsight DWG editor (http://www.3ds.com/products/draftsight/overview/).
The attached DWG includes the blade profile and hexagon cutouts for 9mm nuts/bolts up to 25mm nuts/bolts in 1mm increments. Due to the 1mm increments, this “Metric” blade also works with all major “English” nut/bolt sizes up to 1inch.
You can of course make your Mechanics Machete using any brand of off-the-shelf machete you choose. Just simply take off the handles, trace the blade on graph paper, and then draw it in some sort of DWG editor. Then when you have the profile drawn take the specially drawn sockets from the attached DWG and add them to your blade design.
If you plan to draw your own sockets, you should note that you can’t just draw plain hexagons as Laser/Plasma cutters typically don’t like to create sharp corners. So to fillet the corners without affecting the base “Wrench Size” you have to draw a 1.5mm(1/16in) diameter circle in every corner and fillet it into the hexagon with .75mm(1/32in) radius fillets. Also if you want to make a cutout for a 32mm sized nut, you can’t draw the hexagon exactly 32mm as such a perfect fit will most likely not work. Instead, you need to add .05mm to .1mm to the base nut size. The easiest way to figure exactly how much to add is of course to find a 32mm socket or wrench and measure it with a pair of calipers.