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Gary_Gough

Make it yourself [DIYs & Modifications]

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Repairs, equipment, entertainment, things do get forgotten or something unexpected comes along. Given minimal supplies what have you re-purposed to fill the gap?

To start this.. road side repairs.

1) Rock on a gravel road ( between Dillon and Buffalo Narrows ) punched a hole in the plastic fuel pump casing and drained the tank in 25 miles ( or less ). Supplies at hand, 5 litres of spare gas ( just lost 50 ). 50 Tire patch cords, compressor, wrenches week worth of water and food... No cell coverage, loads of trees so no huge pressure, but would like to get home.

Looked at the gas tank, pump etc. and found a dime sized hole. On the "why not" theory of roadside repair I decided to shove as many tire patch cords as I could into the hole to attempt to seal it. Took 5. Poured the 5 litres into the tank and started driving. Got to Buffalo Narrows, car up on hoist, and the patch is bone dry. Mechanic said "can't do any better right now" so 50 more litres, and refill the spare. Drive home.

2) Stopped for a stranded car. Owner has hood up and the engine "just stopped". Checked and no spark. Pulled the dist. cap and the whole plate with points is loose, pivot point was a rivet that wore through. Supplies in friend's jeep .. electrical tape, rusty nails, screw driver, pliers, hammer.

Bent a nail at 90 degrees, loosened capacator , shoved nail through rivet holes, tightened capacator to hold it. Wrapped tape over to hold it down and set the gap by "looks close". replaced the rotor and dist. cap. Car starts and runs. Followed to town at 100 kph.

Home made camp gear...

Easy "Spirit stove" .. Want to boil a tin cup/can of water but didn't pack a burner? Got an aluminum can, can opener/ knife, fork or pens or... and some gas line antifreeze, 99% isopropanol, Alcool? Here goes.. slice out the top of the can leaving the re-enforced rim. Cut off the top 2 inches of the can. crimp it every 1/2 inch with whatever tool is at hand. Cut off the remaining metal on the can bottom until it's down to apx. 1.25 inches. Check that the top fits level in the bottom so you can set a can etc. on it without tipping over. Set it on something that isn't likely to burn and is stable. Pour in 1/2 inch of gasline antifreeze and light. Set the can of water ontop. You now own a perfectly serviceable, reusable stove. Shut it off by placing an inverted cup, can .. over it. Once cool you can pour remaining fuel back into it's container.   Total cost, you won’t get your deposit back on the coke/beer/iced tea can, and maybe 10 minutes work.

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I am in disbelief that the tire patch cords held up. I picture them swelling slightly from the fuel to seal.

That's a new one for me..I am surprised the mechanic would not try to braze a patch of sheetmetal..

Flame and almost empty gas tanks have a way of making life too interesting, then there is the  liability..

Up by the Narrows, holy cow you are up there..'in the sticks' I think they call that..never knew why..

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I am in disbelief that the tire patch cords held up. I picture them swelling slightly from the fuel to seal.

That's a new one for me..I am surprised the mechanic would not try to braze a patch of sheetmetal..

Flame and almost empty gas tanks have a way of making life too interesting, then there is the  liability..

Up by the Narrows, holy cow you are up there..'in the sticks' I think they call that..never knew why..

Nothing to weld as the fuel tank and low pressure fuel pump housing are plastic. Even funnier on the cords, I was returning from a job so several hours driving south and fully expecting them to fail. Then bought a pump at a wrecker, and then never had the tank empty at a good time to hook it up. 3 years later car was retired due to everything being worn out other then the windshield, patch still holding :D

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Not really a car guy (spent most of my life in 5mil+ cities) but I too am shocked that tire patch cords would hold up so well. Not sure how comfortable I would be driving around with that set up!

Really love the "On the "why not" theory of roadside repair" descriptor. Literally spat out my coffee when I read that!

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Making charcoal. Handy stuff and while you are cooking anyhow... Pictures, tomato juice can, aspen, canned tomatoes can, .. assembly 2 pics. In the stove firebox. After the fire is out the contents of the cans. Last step is very important, put it into a sealed glass jar for a day. Just because the outside is cool doesn't mean it's not still burning when you pull it from the stove.

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Decided I should do a visual on that scrap can stove too, so I made another. Three cans, all suitable, opted for the largest. Measured by eye. Used a can opener because I'm efficient ( lazy ). Knife and scissors to cut. Crimping tools ( only needed three chopsticks ). Assembled. First lighting ( about .8 cm methanol ). low light hand held shot of the flame spread,  shut-down and a shot of the fuel ( was $1 / litre at Princess Auto on sale ). 

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Total cost. 30 mins work and a piece of cracked saw blade. Scraper edge on back ( 95 degree angle ). Grip usually is wrapped in nylon cord. Not stainless, but holds a good edge even after getting pounded through SOW 8/4 cable, makes a clean cut too :) Figured I'd post here as it's not pretty, just home made and gets used.

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Open area for inventors . On most of my trips I haven't used a tent, I like sleeping in a hammock ( no cross pieces, traditional Merida style ) and have found them to beat tents hollow in hot weather. Mosquito net sleeves work great and a tarp over a rope tied 20 cm above the anchors, with a few corner anchor lines and light rain isn't a big issue. Major storms do tend to overwhelm the tarp roof, but they are an issue for most portable shelters. If you are spending a bit of time in one place, a palapa ( posts supporting a thatched roof, and maybe thatched walls ) will solve that. Hammocks get you above the ground insects ( sand fleas, scorpions etc. ) and are about as cool as you can get without AC.  Cost for a 275 Kg rated "double" is only about $40 and they pack down to a 20 cm by 13 cm bundle at 500 grams.  A spare hammock and some rope is also a good way to keep food away from scavengers.

Now the invention part.  Winter camping.... It's not hard to put a sleeping bag into a hammock, esp. if you are practised using them, but the insulation on the bottom is crushed down to near useless ( same applies to ground use but add airflow ). I've used an old sleeping bag with the hammock strung through it, and that works better then nothing, but still needs work. Proper way to sleep in a hammock is diagonally , you end up flat with no pressure points, but a wrapped bag tends to line you up along the long axis. I've been thinking of quilting an old sleeping bag onto one side ( the bottom ) of a hammock and using a good bag in the hammock separately.  Anyone have any experience using them in -10 or cooler? 

One other issue, anchoring without killing trees. I've found one night in a hammock tied off to a spruce tree with 1/2 " line will ring the tree. Not a good thing unless you want to kill that tree. Anyone know of a good system to avoid that? Pretty much has to spread the load, stay in place, but not constrict.

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Cutting aircraft control cable. ( not for one you are flying in ) Stainless steel  1/8" aircraft cable is cheap, light, and very strong. Biggest problem for most people is cutting it. It's tougher then most tools, kills saws, tin snips, bolt cutters, side cutters..... and while a grinder will cut through it leaves a mess with razor sharp ends. So , here's how to do it. Cold chisel, brick or steel rail ( CPR main line works well ) and a hammer. The end doesn't so much cut as shatter , but the result is a neat flush end that isn't frayed.

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Open area for inventors . On most of my trips I haven't used a tent, I like sleeping in a hammock

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   This would be a fine place to prove "A picture is worth" etc. etc.

PJL _______________________________________________________________________________

            Why isn’t every great invention and discovery  ~~  Immediately recognized and rewarded?

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   This would be a fine place to prove "A picture is worth" etc. etc.

PJL _______________________________________________________________________________

            Why isn’t every great invention and discovery  ~~  Immediately recognized and rewarded?

Can do better..  http://www.hikinghq.net/hammock/hammock.html  Went looking to see what's being done after thinking about it a bit. I started using a hammock when hiking back in the early 1970s, pre internet, and just hadn't thought to look for others doing the same. ( I was also using a soft back pack for books, slide rules etc. back in university when everyone was carrying cases. Yep I was the weird one ). Anyhow that site has a ton of experimental and comparative info. and it turns out a few have already been trying under quilts and are in the pre-marketing stage. Kits and plans for now. What I just read hits a few of the same thoughts I had. Minimal changes to the hammock, multiple anchor points. It might be pretty easy with the old ( very cheap ) cargo net hammocks. Those things are sort of the cafe combate of hammocks, they work but leave a bit to be desired. With that wide open mesh there would be lots of places to tie to, and all you'd need is a modified bag with cord loops sewn through in a grid. Could also take the approach of making a bag with an integral hammock, then could address the fact that it would be nice to have an extra long bag underneath by actually making it that way.  I can also see a good case for a Hudson Bay blanket inside the hammock under a sleeping bag, and of course the old standard for cold weather, layers. Carrying a mass of wool blankets etc. will add up, but again what are you doing. No one is going to go walking through 1 meter deep soft snow for any distance, with or without a load. Snow shoes are a pain for long walks too, and if you are up to needing those, a sled will take the weight for packing stuff along.

Also am seeing straps for hammock anchors, makes sense and 3 meters of 2" cargo strapping , just held on by wrapping over itself, looks like a very low impact way to hang even on softwoods. Might add a velcro pad as a holder for before a load is applied.

Sometimes get in a rut just because of doing the same thing for so long. Ordered one of the new ultralight hammocks to try out, besides the old cotton ones are getting to have too many patched strings. :D

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Salvaging magnets, and making sure that old hard drive has nothing left to recover...

I keep doing these, takes a few minutes, so figured I'd post a photo sequence, 1) old drive, 2) two hidden screws, 3) cover off, 4) more screws out and heads taken past the disk. 5) magnets extracted, note there is a very small magnet in that yellow plastic piece too. 6) two magnets knocked loose.

The disk itself is ok for a wind chime, or source of aluminum for metal casting, along with the drive chassis and cover. Some nice sealed ball bearings in there too and electronics. B|

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Not sure this shouldn't be a new thread... but.... LIMITS TO USE and THINGS THAT CAN BE NASTY SURPRISES.

A few things we all take for granted have some hidden traps that can make them worse then useless under some circumstances.

To start with, butane ( lighters, stoves, torches etc. )  As you can see the vapour pressure of butane hits atmospheric at 0C ( 32 F ) so in practice it's mixed with some propane to raise the pressure a bit. If you are actually trying to use it in a cold environment there is a good chance you'll need to heat it up first. Even straight propane will drop to no pressure at -40, using a 25 Lb tank on a tiger torch often the first thing you point the torch at is the tank, to get some pressure up. Well at least if you live in Saskatchewan or North Dakota. Butane is fine for summer camping, and a butane lighter is probably going to work to build a fire after you've sunk you canoe at that last dip going through the white water and want to dry out a bit ( and celebrate saving the beer ). But real cold and maybe wet, like when you find the flow has moved under the ice and last weeks path wasn't the best choice, is also the time you don't want to improvise.

The propane ratio is kept low because the other condition ( left the lighter on the dash in Arizona in the summer ) would make for insurance claims.

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Starting a small motor at -40.. This is a modification that should be done before you need it.

Warning, any insurance underwriters should stop reading now and forget they even got this far. Go have a nice cup of mint tea.

Small gas motors now usually have a 'recoil" starter. A plastic reel with a return coil spring and a ratchet assembly to engage the flywheel when the rope is pulled from the reel, and rewinds with the spring as released. They work fine at room temperature and often shatter on the first pull at -40. Also the grease they are packed in might as well be cement at that temperature. So how to make the motor reliably start-able. 1920s tech to the rescue! . Take the recoil starter off, slice away the end and put the remaining housing back over the flywheel ( it directs cooling air at the engine ). Take a pully with an offset of 4 or 5 cm and bolt it onto the centre of the flywheel ( VW rabbit alternator pulley for instance. Drill and tap one or two small holes through and into the flywheel to lock them together.  Cut one or two slots into the outer rim of the pulley to hold a knotted rope.

To start the engine, place a rope with a knot outside the pully in one of the slots, coil the rest of the rope ( apx 1 meter ) around the pulley. The end of the rope should have a handle wooden dowel with the rope run through it and tied off for instance. Pull sharply and the engine spins ( same as the recoil starter ) but with much less resistance and so at a higher speed. when the rope reaches it's end it pulls out of the slot. This used to be how they were sold, but you do have an exposed spinning pulley, so if you try to grab it, it will hurt you.

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This is a great idea..

One question, though..the pulley has a slot designed to grab a rope or cord, so if i do this to my chainsaw, and slot grabs the drawstring on my parka it could pull said chainsaw up into my chest or face and maybe lose control of it ? I can see this working well, on a lawnmower or genset !

Thoughts?

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I did it to a gen set, left the end open, but in something like a chain saw I'd want to add a cover, maybe with a hinge and a locking catch. Usually the chain saws use light oil and an actual metal reel on the recoil because so many are used in -20.

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I like that Gary...i bet it is quiet and good on gas !

 

Yep, two stroke so if I forget and wind it backwards it still runs too. :P Does run a little better forward.  Just power enough to run power tools or a car warmer. 2.5 litre tank runs about 6 hours. One hand carry.

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