Introduction: Gender Adapter for Weed Whacker

Over the years I have gone through a lot of 2-stroke lawn trimming machines. Each time the power head failed I would go back to Home Depot and buy another. I also bought extra attachments like a sidewalk trimmer, leaf blower and hedge trimmer. Those extra attachments were simply transferred over to the new head.

This past week I saw a click link weed whacker at Walmart for $80 with a 3-year replacement guarantee and without checking first, bought it. When I got it home and went to trim the sidewalk I realized that attachment had the reverse gender from what I had already accumulated.

This was my fault, I already knew there were 2 varieties of the Ryobi style click link lawn tools. The ones sold by Sears and Home Depot had reversed gender so you couldn't use the competitors products with each other.

Rather than buy replacement attachments, I decided to make an adapter.

Step 1: The Parts Needed

The closest fit for a steel sleeve is 1" emt. I have scrap pieces laying around, so I cut off a piece about a foot long. 1" electrical conduit is a little bit slack, so I used the rounded end of a ball peen hammer to dent the tubing to make it snug inside. This way I didn't need to split the pipe and use hose clamps to tighten it.

I needed to couple two ends of 1/4" square shaft together, so I used a hexagon threaded rod coupler. The inside threads were 1/4" x 20. I drilled out the center with a 1/4" drill bit and then broached the ends with a carbide made from a #2 Phillips speed bit. Most speed bits are 1/4" hexagon and inexpensive. I have plenty to spare. I held the bit in locking pliers and squared it off on a bench grinder then hammered it in to each end of the coupler to broach a square hole for each side. I didn't go all the way through with the broach because this would allow the coupler to slip off one end. If you have coupled PVC pipe you know the coupler has a ridge in the middle inside so each piece only goes halfway. Same idea.

Because both the tool and the head had spring loaded buttons, I drilled a hole for the tool and made sure it was secure, then marked the head shaft with a permanent marker 6 inches from its end to its button.

Then I assembled the set and aligned the tool and head so I could trim the sidewalk with the throttle down and measured back to where the second button hole should be drilled. With both ends buttoned down, I can't rotate the head once the pair are assembled. The line trimmer end that came with the new head had a screw clamp that allowed the pair to rotate, but the clamp is a permanent part of the tool end.

The adapter stays on the tool. Before I assembled the set I hammered the coupling down on the tool side shaft so it won't fall out when I take the pair apart. If I want to use other attachment I'll need to make a coupler for each in order to be sure it fits snug and the alignment is correct. With both ends buttoned at least it won't take tools to swap ends.

Comments

author
TomV4 (author)2015-06-20

Please, no gender reassignments for lawn tools. I can't take any more of this.

author
DavidN71 (author)TomV42015-06-20

Yeah, I thought about current events, too. Since this is male to female, I could name it "Bruce."

If someone from Sears is reading this let it be known that the practice of making your "Craftsman" branded stuff different is why I stopped buying from you decades ago. When I was a kid in the 1970's I bought only Craftsman hand tools if I could get them because of the lifetime guarantee. The last Craftsman straight shaft no-clutch weed whacker I got free because the fuel line was a size no one else used, it could be bought from Sears and no one else, so I modified the engine to accept standard fuel line. Having reverse genders on attachments of your brand of Ryobi lawn tools was a d!ck move, too.

author
mlaiuppa. (author)DavidN712015-06-21

Isn't Craftsman (and Sears) Kmart now?

I've got Craftsman screwdrivers but hesitate to buy anything else because I don't know if the quality is the same as before the takeover. Glad to know about this proprietary power tool stuff so I can avoid buying them.

author
DavidN71 (author)mlaiuppa.2015-06-23

KMart Holding Company bought Sears. So the holding/investment company owns both. Ryobi makes nice stuff, but they had to make it different to be sold by Sears. Home Depot has it's own rules, but I haven't known them to demand design changes that force users to return to Home Depot for parts. Sears used to run a parts center a few miles from where I live. I wasn't hard to get parts, but it made me mad that they altered designs from industry standards for the sake of forcing you to go back for service.

author
TomV4 (author)DavidN712015-06-21

I'll bet you had several other names for that tool when it required repair! Anyway, that's good, resourceful work there.

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