View Full Version : What to do when you haven't the right tool for the job?

Your Old Dog
07-01-2010, 08:26 AM
Found this link on Shop Floor Talk.com and it is extremely interesting and a bit humbling. We have so many tools/machinery to work with and yet guys turn out projects like this one with little more then ambition.

It's a 1 hour video, I only got to watch 40 minutes of it so far because my dog wants out and either I let him out or get the mop :D

Be curious to find out what you found interesting about his techniques. The first lesson I learned from him is that perfection isn't always necessary or wanted. How about you? What did you finding interesting?


07-01-2010, 08:30 AM
What do you do when you haven't the right tool for the job?

Why I borrow it, of course! :p

07-01-2010, 10:28 AM
Get a bigger hammer... Or a pair of Vise Grips.

Michael Edwards
07-01-2010, 11:11 AM
Make it.

Shop Made Tools (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=39202)


07-01-2010, 11:15 AM
Thanks for the link.

07-01-2010, 11:25 AM
That guy needs a bandsaw!

Your Old Dog
07-01-2010, 12:07 PM
That guy needs a bandsaw!

Giving that guy a bandsaw would be like giving the natives of the deepest jungle machetes when the neighboring tribes didn't have them! It could up set their economy if he had the tools most of us have in our shops.

I particularly like his measuring implements. Watch his chalk marks and how close and straight he cuts with the hack saw. AND THEN IT ALL FITS :D

I like that he over lapped the ribbon around the pipe before marking it. That insures that it's on there square.

I like how simple it was that he aligned up the 3.5" bearing in the 4 inch pipe.

Building the weldment up on the smaller pipe and then turning it to make it fit the bearing. Did you notice the lathe?

I may actually try to build his project if I can muster the ambition. I wonder if' I'd get bogged down in an attempt to be precise? :D

A lot to learn from this guy. I wonder if those open towed sandels had steel toes?

07-01-2010, 01:52 PM
That guy's tougher'n woodpecker lips. Tack welding w/bare hands to hold the parts. Eye protection? ...We don't need no steenkin' welding helmet!

Actually I have a lot of respect for such shade tree engineering and people who "make do" with what they have. In many ways I find that every bit as fascinating as some of the cutting edge production processes. I guess it just seems closer to home.

07-01-2010, 04:57 PM
I find it amazing. That is like the stuff I did when I started out, you just make due with what you have (I was 9 years old and I always wore a helmet while welding).

07-05-2010, 11:13 AM
Looks like some of my shade tree engineering. I learned early on tho not to weld to galvanized.
His method of dishing the blades should qualify him for Orange county choppers.
I liked the background music too. Thanks.

07-05-2010, 12:26 PM
Now I know exactly who made the stuff I see at Harbor Freight!


07-05-2010, 01:02 PM
Good golly Wally....

Clearly I need to go get one of those freakin wooden rulers....and chalk.

Interesting...for sure.

I would like to send this ol' boy one of my sawzalls.


doctor demo
07-05-2010, 01:35 PM
What an awesome video!

The first thing that entered My mind was John Stevenson's younger days, but then I realized that there were two flaws with that thought.
1) there was way to much floor space in the shop:eek:
2) Movie cameras weren't invented yet when John was young:D .

The other thing that amazed Me was the rough treatment of the bearings throughout the build, and the fact that they still function.


Liger Zero
07-05-2010, 01:41 PM
What an awesome video!

The first thing that entered My mind was John Stevenson's younger days, but then I realized that there were two flaws with that thought.
1) there was way to much floor space in the shop:eek:
2) Movie cameras weren't invented yet when John was young:D .


3) John was "young" back when they were assembling the planet, in fact rumor has it he's the reason for the famous Reversing Falls. Well, him... his work crew and several hundred gallons of a (then) recent invention called "beer."

07-05-2010, 02:31 PM
The other thing that amazed Me was the rough treatment of the bearings throughout the build, and the fact that they still function.

Think those were ABEC 9 bearings? :D

07-05-2010, 03:13 PM
I either modify an existing tool or make one. Last resort is to buy one. That rarely happens because I usually buy tools before I need them.

07-05-2010, 04:14 PM
Bpike your wrong its not like HF this really works even though a lot of us were cringing when we who know how to measure see what he does with almost nothing its amazing, I like when hes trying the bearings which are open and, then spinning them to show us that they do turn even though they were laying on the bench where he was welding and what ever else:eek: . Really liked the part when he welded the bar to the outer race of the bearing to make the eccentric connecting rod and it still turned. A true McGiver making something out of nothing to do something thats needed. Just my $.02 worth and I did watch the entire video and some of the others. :eek: :D

07-05-2010, 04:41 PM
It was painful to watch the video. What a hack job or was it a hack saw job :D

I think he's able to do a more precise job, but my guess is that he chooses not to because it doesn't matter. The weld that he does to build up the material on the shaft for the bearing has nasty looking inclusions but my guess is that it doesn't matter. The entire contraption has so much play that, that's the last thing that matters.

It's undoubtly has the optimal effort vs benefit ratio considering the market.

This video reminded me that I suffer from "do it right or don't do it at all" syndrome, as many others do. Sigh.

07-05-2010, 04:57 PM
IIRC this is one of many missionary type exercises to get potable water to remote places. Low tech is the tech. On the plus side, if all he needs is a vise, hammer, pipe wrench, and hacksaw to build a plunger pump, it can be done anywhere in the world, by anyone with a little training.

If he can build it with such simple tools, he can make replacement parts the same way when they crap out.:D

My guess is this is somewhere where labor is cheap, technology (like decent lathes and dies and bandsaws) expensive, and the end product (a windmill or water well) scarce in the extreme.

My time overseas taught me that leading edge technology is not always better in every case. I am still amazed at what some people can do/or have done with surprisingly few, simple tools.

07-05-2010, 07:16 PM
Many years ago when I was in the stationary generator business I got a 4 cylinder Kohler generator in that needed overhaul. It was a 1200 rpm water cooled 1940's vintage, it had came back from Baja Mexico. When we took it apart found that one of the pistons had been replaced with a hand cast one. Apparently someone had made an aluminum casting, as seen by the sand texture on the inside and had hand filed and shaped it to fit the bore. as well as hand cut the ring grooves (4 of them). So if need be I guess anything can be made to get things running. It ran fairly well altho since the other 3 pistons were cast iron things were a bit out of ballance. altho it did make 120 volts 60 cycles.

07-05-2010, 07:40 PM
amazing, reminds me of when I was a kid and the only tool I ever had a was a butter knife.

question, if this is an internet how-to video for those in the third world that will be building such and apparatus will they have access to high speed internet in order to get the instructions?

07-05-2010, 09:11 PM
Functional level of "technology" at many levels.

It is what you do and how you work when you need something to survive...how many reading these pages absolutely have to do what they do to survive? Sorry, not, "Is it a well paying job...?" etc. etc.
I am talking about the "If my child has no bread, do I steal it?" and if there is no water, someone or all our animals will die.
OT, could not help but think of "Milagro Bean Field War".

This man will never be "soft", he can not afford to be. I was, for a very short while, living where there were limited hours of electrical power since there was only so much to go around and just that detail changes one's perspective.

07-06-2010, 04:36 AM
I found it to be a very enjoyable video. It definitely reminded me that not all that one does is dependent on fancy tools, in ways it almost made me feel guilty.

Rarely if ever do I reach for a hacksaw, I go to one of the bandsaws, or if need be I pull out the sawsall.

Need a bearing, pull a new one out of the draw and mark it down for re-order.

Etc etc etc.

I also have a do it right attitude, and this has made me think it's quite possible that finding a middle ground (at times) is possibly a better choice than taking certain projects too far.

Time to go commit sideways (sleep) and later on I'm gonna ponder on this over some cold beer. Glad I'm on vacation or I'd be makin one hell of a mess at work tomorrow dealing with some long neglected problems :D

07-06-2010, 07:32 PM
I've done some limited small construction work in Mexico. Even though there was a Home Depot just down the corner, we didn't buy a box of new nails. We scrounged around on the ground and found a bent old nail and hammered it straight for re-use. Crummy old, warped boards for concrete forms were rented from somewhere. Rebar forms were wired together by hand. Even the wire was often scavenged from elsewhere.

It's amazing what you can do with a little when the need is really there.