MacGyver Mind, 20+ Unique and Curious Solutions Created Using Simple Parts



Hi Everyone,

This instructable is chock full of solutions that I have found to mechanical problems using alternate materials.

I love the process of invention and repurposing parts and equipment. Here are some fun and funny, as well as practical solutions to making things work.

I am posting these as inspirational, and hopefully give others ideas of how to repurpose effectively. Thus they are short on details. Except the tumbler, which has a more comprehensive part list.

If you feel inspired, vote for me in the MacGyver Contest

There are Three Sections and related Videos.

Tool Hacks, some ways to make tools better than new and find functions that were never originally contemplated.

Featuring my cordless lathe, an improvised drill press handle, power saw improvements, an a 2" belt sander and Precision punch made from scrap parts.

Bike Hacks, three features of my kinetic sculpture racer that involve unusual part placement and usage

A bicycle work table and power takeoff made from crutches. The worlds shortest rear brake cable, 4 crowns and counting, and the shaky propeller drive revisited.

my most popular and least favorite video - too shakey ( i would post it later, but can't seem to edit it?)

Repurposing Simple Commercially Available Products To Make a Robust Tumbler

Last is my idea for a potato tumbler, we grow lots of potatos in oregon, here's one way to get the dust off of them. Here's how you can put one together with simple parts obtainable from your local big box or the internet.

This features a curious array of parts from salad finger bowls, to skate wheels, arranged in a simple tensegrity structure to create a robust tumbler that is low cost, easy to make, use and take apart.


Step 1: Tool Solutions Using Simple Methods

Here are some solutions that may help others with their projects.

How to drive a small lathe with a cordless drill

Creating a handle for a drill press from a bicycle crank

Creating a handle for raising and lowering the blade guard on a chopsaw from a wire.

A method for keeping small bandsaws from dropping their blades using a skate wheel

A 2" Belt sander made from VW Connecting rods, antenna tubing, a sink, a lawn edger and a motor from a treadmill

A miniature Precision Punch Press made from an old lumber mill part and a hydraulic truck clutch

Step 2: Bicycle Hacks PTO Table From Crutches and Kinetic Racer Solutions

Here are some fun bicycle hacks.

The Table is a design that can use any relatively straight wood, I used the crutches as they are the right length and strength, I had them and they work. The local Goodwill store always had a box full of them, and I wanted to find a novel reuse. The purpose of this design was to create a low tech workspace and power take off for a common bicycle. The rider could pedal and provide power for a tool mounted to the table.

The geometry of the crutches creates a very stable tripod base, the axle with the cogs and v belt mounts to the bottom of the table and converts the chain drive from the crank to a v-belt drive for the accessory.

This was a side project to the Multi Wrapper shown below

Kinetic Sculpture Racer Solutions.

Shortening the Brake Cable.

With such a long bike, the rear brake cable is very long and prone to dragging and generally is a problematic part. I resolved this by mounting a large brake lever on the chain tube, bent it slightly outward, and connected it to the rear caliper with a 6" cable, and actuate it with my heel much like a coaster brake.

Four Crowns and Counting,

In order to make the double top tube frame, I needed parallel brackets to go from the single down tube to the rails, fork crowns from old suspension mountain bikes provide exactly the right dimension and strength to created the frame. there are several other fork crowns in the frame at other points.

Propeller Drive

A little bit about the prop drive, Using a Propel commercial prop, the system takes power from the crank via a chain drive, (not shown) coupled to a Milwaukee right angle drill drive. What is show is the weed whip shaft and bearing assembly, the skeg and the front coupling. All this is to allow the bike to be ridden out of the water, with the prop spinning and the wheels under power.

Step 3: Robust Tumbler From Common Parts

This has been one of the fun and funniest projects I have pursued. Mainly, because I was able to find a series of very unrelated parts and put them together to make a variable speed motorized tumbler for potatoes or other materials with roughly a one pound payload capacity. The idea was to create a better tumbler than ones I have seen on the internet, and share the way to do it with others. Some basic parameters are that it be easy to clean and put materials in and out. All parts are easily obtained and the skills required are simple and involve only bending wire, sewing and drilling and cutting plastic.

The core concept that allows this design to work is the cylindrical screen held in place by two disks anchored to the ends of the box. Using the same physics as a bicycle wheel, but with a different configuration, the design allows a good sealing connection between the disks and the screen, and along the edges of the snap open door.

Parts you will need.

1 - 25 Gallon SW Black Tough Tote

2- Chip and Dip Trays

2- 13" x 18" Baking Trays

2 - Skate wheels with bearings

2 - Kitchen Sink Basket strainers

1 - Dewalt 1/4" 90degree angle drive

1 - BBQ Motor model FD-609A

10 - feet approx coat hanger thickness steel wire

2 - square yards of silk screen mesh of your choice

2 - one foot lengths of 3/16"diameter stiff but bendable wire

4 - tie wraps

1 - 1/4" hex x 3/8" sq drive adapter

1 - 1/2 hex socket with 3/8" drive

2 - 5/16 x 3" nc hex head bolts.

4 - 5/16 nc nuts

2 - 5/16 nc locking nuts

2 - boards 1" x 6" x 13"

1 - plywood board 1/4 x 6 x 19 3/4"

1 - spring 5/16 id x 1 inch long

4 - 1" x 1/4" x 13" wood strips

12 -7/8"" long wood screws

6- 1 1/2" long wood screws

Step 4: MacGyver Mindset

The thinking and strategies for enhancing your making experience with the added capacity to adapt parts for your needs.

Some important concepts to bear in mind:

KISS Keep it simple, the goal is to make it easier for yourself not spend the summer reinventing the wheel.

See what others have done. Hey isn't that why were here

Geometry, one key is finding parts with similar geometries and function in odd places.

Strength, it is critical in most applications to at least match the strength of the parts that are substituted.

Availability. Be sure you can get something before plan your project around it.

Be Creative and have Fun

if you feel inspired: Vote for me, Thanks

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