Intro: Turn a Crutch Into a Bike Rack
I commute to work everyday by bicycle and I'm not crazy about arriving to the office with a soaked back. Plus I have to hang the shirt to dry which may or may not musk the room and my coworker who shares the space with me has to spray fabreeze all over my breathing space (chemicals, ewwww). So I decided to create a bike rack to remove the weight off my shoulders and solve all these life problems. Good.
So what do we make the rack out of? Something that looks strong and that is cheaply available. We all know that if you visit a thrift store you'll find a pile of crutches. This crutch I found in a dumpster, hopefully whoever had it before has healed and is living a wonderful life.
What materials did I use? Surprising very little
- a crutch
- some plastic pegs (screws would be better)
- a band saw
- metal cutting saw
- drill press
- scrap wood for the platform
- a few zip ties
Step 1: Cut Your Crutch!
Clamp the crutch down and begin sawing!
I made my cuts where the crutch begins to curve. I placed some tape to show as markers.
As you can see in the picure which part of the crutch is used for the horizontal platform (The side with the shoulder pad)
I ended up cutting the bars again since they were too long. I cut about 1 inch past the last setting holes. That way I wouldn't have aluminum posts being rammed into my legs yet have a nice long platform for the rear.
Step 2: Acquiring the Support Bars
With the horizontal platform ready, I needed some support bars. The second half of the crutch is basically three tubes drilled together. We need to separate these tubes and reuse them.
I wanted to cut the screws with the saw but my fellow coworker felt the need to use his muscle to rip the tubes apart. Along with the hoots and holler of the students and the overall excitement I gave my colleague permission to pull! And the aluminum ripped, just like envisioned. But it was awesome. Anyways, I ended up using a saw to cut the bolts that held the tubes together.
The middle tube, with the rubber cap fit perfectly in the horizontal platform. It wedged snugly between the should cap and the handle pad. Booya, no supplies required. I think you have to adjust the middle tube to the second longest setting (I bet all crutches are made differently so these settings will differ with each project)
Now I will use the remaining two tubes (The ones that curve) to use as supports. I first repaired the broken one (Thanks to hulk man) by lathing a piece of wood into a rod and shoving inside the tube, adding some gorillas glue and duct taping the pieces together. Hopefully it will last, this is a bicycle rack not a building support.
Step 3: Attaching the Rack Together
Now you can see the support tubes on the side (They are resting on the traditional rack holes), and the horizontal platform. The rubber handle of the rack is underneath the bicycle seat.
This is all good and dandy but the support tubes need to be attached to the platform. Now I used a drill press to drill holes into the tubes. They were 5/32 inch diameter holes about an inch from the ends. 2 holes on the top and two holes on the bottom. Make sure they are in proper alignment.
Then I shoved a 5/32 inch plastic rod in the holes and with a help of a mallet I got them in. Now the platform and the support tubes are together. I also stuck plastic rods in the support tubes into the holes of the bike frame (near the bike cassette) so that they were firmly attached.
Everything is sturdy except for the rubber handle under the seat. What do I do to attach it the bike frame? I used a zip tie and wrapped it about the rubber handle and the bottom of the seat post. I'm not sure how strong it is or how long it will last however its been quite sturdy after a few days. I'd prefer something else rather than having it hang there, all the weight on one zip tie doesn't seem strong. Perhaps using rope or something to make that attachment solid.
Step 4: Make a Shelf
As you can see the platform is now three tubes and everything is sturdy. Another challenge is now that it's quite tricky to lay anything on the rack without it falling through. Plus if it rains the water will still probably find a way to land on your back. So Go out and find some wood or plastic or anything really (something light, recycled, waterproof)
Cut the material so its flush with the crutch. I drilled 4 holes about an inch or two from the ends so that I could slip a small zip tie around the material the crutch. Very easy.
So there you have it. A cheap up cycled bicycle rack. This thing cost me little to no money. If I had a second run with this I would have used proper bolts and nuts instead of a plastic rod. I would also use something stronger than a zip tie to attach the rack to the bicycle right under the seat. And of course don't let any muscle men try to help you by using their sheer force.
Get out and go for a ride and take things with you.