So, this past Earth Day, I wracked my brain, trying to think of a practical way to be a part of something bigger. I wanted to do something, anything, to be less of a problem, more of a solution. I brainstormed for hours while I should have been working. Finally, this is what I came up with. It is a small, self -contained 'kit' that is to be mounted on any stick up to 3/4 inch in diameter, making a convenient litter spike that, when not in use, can be put inside it's outer container for easy storage and carry. Another, slightly less Earth friendly reason to make and carry one of these, is, in a survival situation, this kit makes an easy to assemble spear or frog gig, for harvesting fish or small animals.
Here in Summit county, Ohio, we have readily available access to many, many hiking trails and state parks. As if the beauty of the parks, and the wonderful exercise weren't enough, the parks offer at least one other draw to get people out there, hiking. They call it the Fall Hiking Spree. Upon completion, the first year hiker receives a badge to commemorate the year, and a hiking staff to display it on. Annually, hikers are awarded a new badge for their hiking efforts, to proudly display on their staff. The dimensions of the kit are based on my own rewarded hiking staff.
Step 1: Material World
Here's the list:
1. 1 1 inch galvanized steel pipe. 3 inches long, threaded on both ends.
2. 2 1 inch galvanized pipe caps.
3. 2 1/4 inch bolts. 3 inches long. I used 1/4-20 bolts.
4. 2 eye-bolts. Here, again I used 1/4-20, for consistency, also so I would only have to use 1 size tap.
5. 2 hex nuts. You guessed it, 1/4-20.
6. 1 plastic bag. I used the one these parts came in.
2. 1/4-20 tap, along with the drill bit that goes with it.
3. Tap handle.
4. Bench grinder.
Step 2: Spike It.
What you want here, is to take your straight, 1/4-20 bolts, and grind the heads off of them. Then take the headless bolts, and sharpen them up to a fine point. Sharpen the side you just ground the head off of.
Be very careful not to damage the threads, and quench the bolt often.
Wear safety glasses, and be careful not to stab yourself. Also, bench grinders can and do throw things. Be very careful not to push the bolt into the grinder too hard, or relax your grip. I have seen bolts thrown through ceiling tiles.
Step 3: Do the 'tap' Dance.
Before we drill, I'd like to point out that I used my foot to brace my pipe and cap while I did the drilling. This is by no means the most efficient way to brace it, and by far is one of the least safe ways of doing it. I would recommend using a vice, clamp, or large pair of vise-grips. One could use a pipe-wrench to hold the pipe, considering it is designed to hold fast to pipes and the like. Above all, be safe. Hold your pipe with something solid, so it doesn't start spinning around and decapitate you. (Thanks NachoMahma)
First, mark a spot, as close as you can get to the center of one end cap. Then drill the hole, using the drill bit supplied with your tap. These bits are a tiny bit smaller than the size of the tap to leave excess material from which the threads are cut.
Next, mark two spots on your galvanized pipe. Each will go on opposing sides, directly beneath the threads at the top of the pipe. If that sounds completely unclear, please look at picture #3 on this page. You will make a mark exactly like this one, and it's mirror image on the opposite side. One on each end of the diameter line, if you like. Now, drill a hole through each mark, as shown in picture #4
Once we have our three holes, we can tap them.
Tapping a hole is a very simple process, however it takes a little patience, and a small amount of technique. If you have no idea how to drill and tap a hole, an excellent video on drilling and tapping can be found here:
Suffice to say, basically, you screw the tap into the hole, 2 turns and then back it out a turn. Use lots of lubrication. Here, I used vegetable oil. Any lubricant will do, but you must use some. Taps are made of very high quality steel, and are very sharp, but because of the grooves in each side, they are inherently brittle and very weak. I have drilled and tapped hundreds upon hundreds of holes, and I still break taps. Go slow and be careful. Because of the hardness of the steel, if you break a tap off in a hole, you will destroy several drill bits, and the hole you originally made, trying to remove the tap.
Step 4: Screw It.
Step 5: Put Your Toy Away.
Next, screw the spike in the hole but from the inside of the end cap. See photo #1.
Then, screw the end cap with the spike in it back onto the pipe. This leaves one end of the pipe open. Now, to put this in full storage mode, unscrew the eye-bolts, and drop them into the open end of the pipe. Add to that the extra spike we made, just as a back up. Now, take your plastic bag, and stuff it into the end. It's tight, but it fits. (That's what she said.) Lastly, screw on the second end cap, and you have your kit in fully stored mode.
Step 6: Deploy.
Take off the end cap without the spike.
Remove the plastic bag.
Dump out the eye-bolts, and extra spike. Put the extra spike in your pocket, in case you damage the first one.
Take off the second end cap with the spike screwed in it.
Unscrew the spike from the inside of the cap, and screw it in from the outside.
Screw the end cap with the spike in it back onto the pipe.
Place on stick, or staff.
Screw in eye-bolts until kit is tight.
Use the handle of the plastic bag to tie it to your belt loop.
Pick up garbage, and put it into your bag.
Step 7: In Summation.
Here is my contribution for this Earth day, all be it a small one.