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It's nice to have the right tool for the job, but sometimes you need to make do with what you got.

Show off your ingenious, interesting, or just plain sketchy DIY tools and the stories behind them. Maybe it'll help somebody else down the way, or at least be good for a laugh.

Here's my collection:


First is the ubiquitous carb sync bottle manometer made out of empty 5 O'clock vodka bottles and some window caulk. Saved up the first three bottles until one particularly hard to remember weekend after which I swore off the stuff. Ended up buying the fourth fifth just for the bottle and poured it all out.


This ones harder to guess. It's a 21mm damper rod tool for my front forks made out of 5/8" threaded rod and grade 8 nuts from Tractor Supply filed down with an angle grinder. Was lucky enough to get the first damper rod loose by just compressing the fork and cranking on the bolt. Otherwise I would have had nothing to reference while I built this.


A custom machined pilot air screw adjuster made out of a 5/16"-18 bolt turned on a lathe then milled to make a 1mm wide by 1mm deep driver. The lathe jaws crushed some of the threads, which handily holds the nut in place to act as a handle.

Why go through all the trouble of machining what is essentially just a screwdriver? Because nobody makes a screwdriver with such a small base diameter but such a thick blade. I tried using a normal screwdriver, but quickly stripped the brass heads off of these screws which cost $15 a pop. I ended up buying an entire new (used) rack of carbs for $90 instead. Ouch.

Despite the machining this is actually the only tool that cost me $0.


This is a $30 a/c condenser I pulled out of a junkyard. I screwed some hoses and air fittings onto it to cool the air charge going into my air compressor's tank. I use the air compressor to soda blast parts, but since this demands so much air the compressor runs non-stop and gets heat soaked which prevents the moisture from condensing out of the air until it expands in my blasting gun. By cooling the air first the tank can act as a crude water trap so my soda gun doesn't gum up.

This was actually a huge pain in the ass which cost a small fortune in fittings, so a much better idea would be to buy a 50' air hose and coil it up into a bucket of ice water. But it looks cool, so there's that.


This is one of those wooden ramp kits you can get in Tractor Supply for $20 plus whatever the wood costs you. I use it to get my bike and kegs into the house. Originally I didn't have any reinforcements and the ramps would flex nearly an inch under just my own weight so I had to place a log underneath them to support the weight of the bike. Since the log wasn't very round, the ramps would walk away from each other as they were used. I just got around to buying some more wood and angle brackets to act as joists and now they're solid as a rock.

Considering the wood and fasteners bring the total price close to $60, it would have made more sense just to buy metal ramps. If I were to go this route again though, I would have gone with the 2x12 kit instead of the 2x8 kit. They also get very slick when wet, so I was thinking of getting some spray adhesive and a bag of play sand for a not-slip coating.



Looking forward to see what you guys have built!
 

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I'm liking this thread, and the pictures you've already posted!

I'll see if I can make some pictures to add a couple things later in the week.
 

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Nothing complicated or too time consuming to make.....

for removing o-rings from the inside of the quick connect fuel fittings on my Road King.



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An alternative carb synchronization tool, it’s a differential manometer made up of just hoses and a chunk of wood that I found sitting on my neighbors scrap/ burn pile.
The operating fluid is dihydrogen monoxide, colored with food coloring from the kitchen. I discovered over the winter that this unit can not be stored in the garage and used below 32f because of this operating fluid’s viscosity increased greatly at that point but every tool has restrictions for use so that’s acceptable.
The secret is the hidden parts, two restrictors in the lines that also serve as couplers between the black and clear lines. These were made out of a special high tensile plastic rod with a tiny hole drilled though each of them, I don’t recall the exact size but it was one of my smallest number drills, #55 or so. The special high tensile plastic rod was liberated from its former use as a load bearing member of a highly secure storage facility.
Yes, I stole one of my wife’s plastic coat hangers from her closet. But I used it to synchronize her carbs so it was ok.



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I was very safe while handling the dihydrogen monoxide. I borrowed the safety doggles from my Rottweiler. :)


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