I've been using this uncomfortable, hard to use crank for several years simply out of laziness., but I finally got an idea for a simple solution to fix it.
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Step 1: Find a Bike and Take It Apart!
But it is not going to waste. The first thing to be recycled is one of the crank arms. It fits almost perfectly onto the height adjustment shaft, It's made of nice tough steel, and it's shiny! Who could ask for more?
Step 2: Cut the Crank to Size!
Step 3: Find a Handle!
I drilled an appropriate hole in the crank arm to accept this knob. When you drill through the hard metal, be sure to use a sharp bit, plenty of lubrication, and take it slow. Also, use a vise or other strong holding thing. Holding onto it by hand is a recipe for disaster. The drill press actually ripped it out of my vise and threw the crank arm across the room. Gave me quite a scare...
Step 4: Attach It!
Remember to use loc-tite on the nut so that it doesn't come off when you spin the crank.
Step 5: Install It!
I'm very pleased with how this turned out. It doesn't look out of place and it is nice and sturdy. Quite comfortable and natural to use as well.
It stood up to being thrown by a drill press and I'm sure it will be able to last at least as long as the rest of the machine.