Introduction: Oil Filter Strainer

Picture of Oil Filter Strainer

I like to change my oil at home, but I want to do it as eco-friendly and as safe as possible. I recycle contaminated oil containers, used oil, rags, and oil filters. The rags and filters are placed in a garbage bag and dropped off at the municipal hazardous waste facility. They need to be dropped off in a sealed container. I like to use big garbage bags, but these get very heavy with the oil filters and sometimes leak. I realized that if I strain the oil from the filters for at least a week, they become much lighter. I decided that I wanted to make a portable oil strainer, using reusable materials in my workshop. It can hold up to 3 oil filters at a time, which is just the right size for use in a normal home workshop.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Picture of Gather Your Supplies

This instructable may be built in a number of different ways with different tools and materials. Take note that I used materials that do not react or absorb oil.

For this project, you will need the following tools:

-Scissors, a box cutter, or a sharp knife.

-Needle nose, duck-bill, or lineman's pliers.

-A pencil, marker, or marking tool.

-A scraper/ scriber, a large needle, or a drill and drill bits.

You will also need the following materials:

-A jug or container. As long as it does not leak. If you use plastic, make sure it is #2 recyclable or a similar type that does not react with oil.

-Wire. I used 0.010 inch steel wire. Any metal wire found at a hardware store should work as long as it is thin and workable.

Step 2: Mark and Cut the Opening

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An opening should be cut in the top of your container. I chose to keep the handle so the excess oil can be drained from the bottom, and so I can move the jug around the shop without getting too messy. I also limited the size of the hole so that the filters are less likely to fall out if the jug gets knocked over. Mark your hole with a marking utensil and cut away the material. Make sure to recycle the excess material at your local recycling facilities.

Step 3: Poke Holes in the Container

Picture of Poke Holes in the Container

The holes should be only slightly larger than the wire. If the holes are too big, the oil may drain down the wires and out the holes. I marked a line from the bottom of the jug upwards so that my holes are at the same level. I also measured approximately 1 inch between holes. I put 4 holes on each short side and 6 holes on each long side. The higher the holes are from the bottom of the jug, the more oil you can fit in your jug. The lower the holes are from the bottom, the bigger the filters you can fit. I planned to fit 3 filters in the strainer at one time. I also have the option of fitting a large filter through the hole if I work on a larger truck or hydraulic system. Poke the holes using a scriber. You may choose to drill these holes or poke them through with something sharp and pointy.

Step 4: Weave Your Rack

Picture of Weave Your Rack

This is the tricky part. Keep enough tension on the wire for it to remain straight, while keeping it loose enough to not collapse the sides of the container. You can wrap the wire around two of the corners, in order to use one continuous strand of wire. I use the over-under technique on the wires in order to maintain the strength of the rack. When you finish, adjust the tension on the wires so that they are all straight. Bring the end of one wire over to the same side as the end of the other wire. Trim the wires to keep at least 2 inches on each. You will need this to tie the knot.

Step 5: Tie the Knot

Picture of Tie the Knot

There are many ways to tie the knot. I used the lockwire method. cross the two wires at the base and twist both wires clockwise until the end. You can use pliers to maintain a clean twist. Keep 6 turns and use side cutters to remove the rest. Now take the tail and fold it under itself twice. This technique will prevent you from getting cut or scraped from the wire.

Step 6: Using the Strainer

Picture of Using the Strainer

Place your oil filters in the container, upside down on the rack. Leave them in for at least a week. Collect them in a sealed bag and bring them to your local recycling facility. Use the handle to move the jug around your shop. You may place a rock or a piece of metal below the rack, in order to keep the jug bottom heavy so it doesn't tip over easily. Drain the excess oil into old oil containers and recycle it.

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