Are you tormented by seeing oh so tasty fruit that's out of reach? Miffed at seeing fruit go to waste because it's just rotting on the branches? Having a crisis because you'd just LOVE to put that fruit to use but just can't get to it? Fear not! You can make a simple and quick fruit picker out of things you may have laying around, or that you can stea-ah, borrow.
Step 1: Implements of Making
The thing you'll probably have laying around is a two liter bottle. If you're a crafty crafter, you'll likely have some long stick thing laying around, some screws, and tools that are good for cutting into other things, like boxcutters and saws. Screwdrivers are pretty essential, but then again, what are you doing with screws if you have no screwdriver? Try making some sense here.
Step 2: Messing With the Bottle
For illustrative purposes, I drew a line on the bottle showing you where I plan to cut. If you have a fondness for markers, feel free to do the same, but it's not really necessary. Just make sure that the notch at the neck of the bottle is wide enough for thin branches, and the body of the bottle has a hole large enough to accept whatever fruit you're going after. You may have some issues going after watermelons with this thing, but then again you could just walk up to it and pick it up. Again with the silly questions.
Step 3: Screw This.
I admit that I hadn't thought this one completely through. I knew I didn't want the hole for the fruit to dip too low so that the bottle would have as much stability as possible, but I also wanted to have the screws on the lower half of the bottle since the plastic is thicker there. That means part of the bottle blocking access to the screws, unless you have a very tiny screwdriver...
Step 4: Completion!
You should now have a fabulous fruit picker! Feel free to wave it around proudly while proclaiming how your civilization has now progressed to making simple tools.
Step 5: Execution!
This worked beyond my expectations. The neck of the bottle is stiff enough that I could tug down on the fruit and the stems would snap, the shape of the bottle made it pretty easy to slip between branches, and the pole makes for easy access to those fruit that dare defy you by growing out of arm's reach. In fact, I was so pleased with the ones I managed to get that I went back and screwed an extension to my pole since I had another piece of wood laying around. Beware, fruit picking can be addicting, I was tempted to add a third extension because trees have a bad habit of growing tall, but I might have to rein myself in.
If had free access to custom materials, I'd probably make a sturdier "basket" for grabbing the fruit, there were a few times where it collapsed and popped back out again when I was trying to get at some difficult pears. An extendable pole would be quite handy, or even a hollow pole that would let the fruit slide down to you, but that could be more unwieldy than the basket method, especially if a fruit got stuck.
In any case, I hope you enjoyed my first instructable!