Several years ago I bought a huge shop vac at a thrift store. It would suck the paint off of a golf ball, but there was one problem. It was large, rather heavy, and had no wheels. This meant that you had to carry it around to use it, but the plastic handle on top was broken. So the vacuum wasn't the only thing that sucked... so did moving the vac!
One rainy afternoon in the shop, I decided it was time to remedy the problem by making a new handle.
This same process is an easy way to make a sturdy handle for almost any project and can be fabricated in any size you may require.
Step 1: What You'll Need:
- An appropriate length of electrical conduit (I used 1/2" here, but you can use any size that may fit your project)
- One BDH (Big Dadgum Hammer)
- Anvil: I had access to a vice which made the project easier, but your hammer may also be used with a convenient sidewalk edge or piece of heavy steel to collapse the tubing and bend the handles.
- Bender: I used the vise and my hammer, but you can use pliers, clamps, or some other method
- Drill:I also had access to my trusty drill press, but if you don’t, it is not too difficult to use a hand held drill to make your holes.
Step 2: Flatten the Ends
I started by taking a piece of the EMT tubing (electrical conduit) longer than would be required, and flattened about 3” of one end with a hammer. I left the same side of the tubing against the anvil (in my case the flat of my vise, but you could use flat sidewalk, etc.) and hammered it down so that the flat portion was offset to that side.
I then measured the length between the holes that would mount the handle and subtracted about 1 ½” from the total. I then transferred that measurement to the still-round portion of the handle to mark where the other end of the handle would need to be flattened up to. Be sure that you flatten the exact same side of the conduit as before. Flatten the tubing for the same length as the first end, from the mark you have made. Afterwards, the two ends are hammered flat and straight to each other.
Step 3: Bend the Tabs
Now, using a vise, clamps, or pliers, bend the flattened portions back at 90 degrees (or slightly more) as in the picture. Use a hacksaw or cutoff saw to rough cut the handle to a symmetrical length, if needed.
Step 4: Finish the Tabs and Drill the Mounting Holes
Determine the height needed for the sides of your handle, being sure to leave enough excess to be able to bend out tabs for the drilled holes. Once the height is determined and marked, using the methods you used for the first bends, fold the tabs out at 90 degrees to make the mounting tabs. Be sure the height distance is equal on both ends of the handle. Once done, center the handle and mark the location of the mounting holes and drill them to appropriate size.
Adjust the bends slightly if the holes do not line up perfectly. If you want to have a more finished look, you can do as I did and grind a radius on the tabs.
Step 5: Mount the New Handle
I know that this is a relatively simple instructable, but I have used this process a few times and the resulting handle works great, the cost is low, and by using just a very few tools and applying yourself for a short time, you can make a broken handle better than new!