I made this Instructable as an entry for the Remix contest. If you like it, please vote for me in the contest. Thank you.
I was searching across Instructables when I came upon Mr. Balleng's Fish Bone Knotless Gear Tie. I read through his instructable and loved the idea. I also had recently seen the new Remix contest open up, so I wanted to make an entry. I thought about the idea of the gear tie for a while and liked how it resembled an animal. I wanted to replicate that factor as well as some others (functionality, portability, etc.). So I toyed around with some other animals and settled on an elephant. It had a body shape that would work as well as the easy, iconic look of the animal. Having decided how to build it in my mind, I grabbed my camera, and got to work.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
This project was made entirely without power tools with the exception of a cordless drill, an angle grinder, and a portable belt sander. Even though you could still get by with only a corded drill, it would take a lot longer.
-cordless drill with a bit the same diameter as paracord
-angle grinder with a grinding wheel
-portable belt sander
-hammer and center punch
-small bar of steel, aluminium, or titanium
Step 2: Drawing the Template
The first step in making the elephant is to draw the template. I printed off this picture off the Internet, and drew it freehand onto computer paper. I made different holes and coves in the picture that would fit regular paracord so it could easily tie on. Then, when it was all drawn, I cut it out and used glue-stick to glue it onto an old piece of 1/4 inch thick mild steel. I found the steel in a trash pile for free and it was pretty rusty to begin with. (You can remove rust easily with WD-40, and a wire brush.)
I waited for the glue to dry and moved on to the next step.
Step 3: Drilling Holes
To drill the holes you will need a drill (obviously), and a bit with a diameter slightly larger than a piece of paracord. A drill press would work the best to drill the holes, but I managed with a simple cordless drill. It helps to add a small amount of oil to cool the metal and help it cut easier as well as eliminate any loud squeaking noises.
Step 4: Cutting Out the Shape
To cut out the rough shape of the elephant, I used a hacksaw with a metal cutting blade. I clamped the steel into my bench vise and sawed along the lines of the template. This step takes time to complete, and it helps if you saw slowly and steadily, adding oil again to cool the metal. The holes that we drilled earlier help cut around sharp corners.
Step 5: Filing/Shaping
After I cut the elephant out with the hacksaw, there was lots of sharp corners and burrs. I used a regular metal file and a rat tail file to shape the body and smooth the corners. By now, the template had fallen off, so I was working mainly on memory.
Once the filing was finished, I used an angle grinder with a grinding wheel to smooth off both the faces until they were shiny. Then, with a marker I drew the shape of the ear onto the elephant using the picture as a reference. After that was done I used my old Dremel tool to engrave a shallow groove along the line. This part is purely for looks and doesn't help the functionality of the gear tie at all.
Finally, to complete the elephant, I used a portable belt sander and flipped upside down to use it as a stationary sander, to remove any scratch marks from the angle grinder. Then I brought elephant inside and used a small amount of black paint to fill the ear groove so you can see it better.
Done! Hooray, now you can use it to tie paracord together in an endless amount of ways. It is a very handy and versatile gadget to own. The entire build took me about 2 hours but you could easily cut that time in half I you used power tools to save time.