Turn Your Old Cooler Into A Portable Air Conditioner

A few years ago I was fixing up an older Jeep Cherokee XJ and when she was finally up and running a problem was realized.  It was June in South Louisiana and the Jeep’s a/c system was leaking Freon.  With no room in the budget for a/c repair or replacement I took to the internet to see what could be done for me to drive my baby without sweating bullets.

My first stab at staying cool was by purchasing the RoadPro 12V Tornado Fan.  Though it was pretty loud, the fan was quite strong and very impressive.  The conditions inside the Jeep were definitely improved, but I knew that I could do better.

Back to the internet I went, more specifically to YouTube, and this is where I found my second, and final temporary solution to my Jeep a/c issue.  I discovered that you can make a portable air conditioner using only a fan, a cooler, ice, and some PVC pipe.  I happened to have all three laying around so I was good to go.  Below are the tools I used to make my portable a/c and the steps involved in the build.

TOOLS

Jigsaw or Oscillating Multitool

Hole Saw

Electric Drill

Silicone Adhesive

THE BUILD

At the end of this article I have posted a link to the video that inspired my portable a/c build.  I put my own spin on the project by using different components than the one seen in the video due to the fact that it was what I already had on hand.

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Trace the outline of your fan onto the top of the cooler.
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Using a jigsaw or multi-tool cut out the hole for the fan.
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Using a hole saw or multi-tool cut out a place for your PVC pipe.

This is where the cool air will exit the cooler.  If this particular cooler had enough area on the lid to put a PVC 90 degree elbow on top I would have place it there, but I put the pipe on the side due to the smaller size of this cooler’s lid.  If you put your exhaust pipe on the side of your cooler do not put it too low, as the water from the melted ice could leak out through the exhaust pipe if it is too low.

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I used a rubber gasket and silicone to seal the exhaust pipe then added two screws for good measure.
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The silicone is really all that is needed to seal and hold the pipe in place.

Your new portable a/c is practically done.  Just place some ice in the cooler and the fan in its hole, plug it in, and enjoy the constant cool breeze.

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Your portable air conditioner is complete!

I will be the first to admit that this is not the sexiest contraption in the world,(it was not always this dirty) but it is literally a very cool project that is a lot of fun to complete.  I was skeptical at first but this thing rode in my passenger seat and worked great.  Believe it or not I actually had temperature readings in Fahrenheit ranging from the upper 40s to the lower 60s exiting the pipe.  The large variance in temperature was due to the amount of ice and type of ice used (packs vs. cubes).

Chances are you have everything you need to make your own portable a/c already laying around your house as I did, but if you do not but would still like to undertake this fun little project I have linked to some affordable components below.

48 Qt. Ice Chest

110V Fan

12V Vehicle Fan

Oscillating Multi-tool

Or you could just splurge for a store bought portable a/c unit like the Black and Decker 8000 BTU Portable A/C.

Here is the link to the YouTube video that inspired my own portable cooler a/c build.  Portable A/C Video

Thank you for reading.  Be sure to like, comment, follow tool-school.com and share this post on social media!  Have a great week!

Jake with tool-school.com

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15 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Handy Moms

I will go ahead and let you know that this is not a list of pink and purple tools for mom made by brands and companies no one has ever heard of.  This is a list of 15 legitimate tools and gadgets that any gender into DIY projects would benefit from having at their disposal.  I have bought tools for my own mother in the past that may not have been cute, but they are definitely reliable. All but one of these tools can be purchased for around $100 or less. So if your mom is not scared to get her hands dirty and tackle a project, read on.

1. Worx Cordless Hydroshot

Not as strong as gas pressure washers, but much stronger than a garden hose, the Hydroshot is a light and portable option for cleaning jobs around the house and shop.

2. Deebot Robotic Vacuum

This vacuum has made the lives of my wife and I a lot easier.  With three little ones running around our floors get abused daily, thankfully deebot shows them a little love every afternoon without either of us having to lift a finger.

3. Black and Decker 20 Volt Max Project Kit

This is a great all around tool kit to have around the house.  Complete with drill and battery, this kit has the tools needed to complete numerous home projects.

4. Aberg Best 21 MP Camera

The only thing better than a job well done is a job well done that can be shown off to your friends and family.  This camera is light, inexpensive, and has great reviews.  Before and after shots of projects are always fun to compare.

5. Worx Aerocart

The Worx Aerocart is the Swiss Army Knife of wheel barrows.  With all of the functions of a typical wheel barrow this tool also has added ergonomic and hauling capabilities that most do not.

6. Echo Dot

Get how-to and DIY information at the sound of your voice.  With all of the interactive capabilities of this little gadget you can play music, answer calls, and control your lights and thermostat without leaving the couch.  This thing is incredible.

7. Ion Tailgater

Play music, sing karaoke, listen to the radio, charge your phone, connect via blue-tooth, all things that can be done with this little speaker.  We actually have two at my house and bring them with us just about every time we go outside.

8. Black & Decker 7 1/4″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw

This is a sturdy little saw.  It can cut 2×8 lumber at 90 degrees and 2×6 lumber at 45 degrees.  It is more compact than 10″ and 12″ miter saws making it lighter and more easily transported from site to site.

9. Keter Folding Workbench

Rated to hold up to 1000lbs and folding up for easy transport and storage, the Keter workbench is a great work surface at home and on the go.  It even comes complete with compatible work clamps.

10. Tack Life 50 ft Laser Level

This level offers horizontal and vertical cross beams that will project from up to 50 feet away.  This is a must have tool for anyone hanging pictures, trim work, or baseboards.

11. Black and Decker Power Hand Saw

This is a very handy little saw that can cut anything from dimensional lumber to tree limbs and branches.  For “tweener” jobs that are in the middle of chainsaw and handsaw this tool works great.  It does not have the power of a chainsaw that may be intimidating to some, but still makes pruning and cutting a lot quicker and easier than going at it with a handsaw.

12. Keter Cool Bar

This 7.5 gallon cooler is great for outdoor gatherings and holds up to 60 cans or 40 bottles with ice.  The top is collapsible which allows for this to function as a closed cooler and there is a built in drain plug at the bottom of the cooler.  With three colors and two styles to choose from this would be a great addition to any backyard or outdoor function.

13. Bosch Compact Lazer Distance Measure

The Bosch Compact Lazer Distance Measure allows for accurate measurements without the need for a tape measure up to 65 ft (in reality it is probably more like up to 40 ft.).  The beauty of this product is that one person can get multiple measurements from one spot without the need for someone running around from point to point with the other end of the tape measure.  This tool allows measuring to be an accurate one person job.

14. Rockwell Blade Runner

If a small table saw had a baby with a jigsaw, this would be the baby.  The Blade Runner is a nice lighter duty craft and hobby saw that cuts through just about any type of material someone would want to cut.  The Blade Runner’s sub 15 lb weight allows it to be easily transported to and from different jobs and it sets up quickly and easily.

15. Husqvarna Automower

I will start by saying I believe all moms deserve this, but the ones that receive this must truly be special.  This is the only product on the list that is well above the $100 mark that I was trying to hover around and under.  This particular model is rated for about a 3/4 acre yard and is sophisticated enough to automatically cut your lawn every day of the week if you so desire.  There is some initial set up labor that is required to get this thing self sufficient, but once it is done you are golden.

For additional information, reviews, and pricing on the products listed in this article simply click the product picture or link and it will take you directly to the product on Amazon.

Thank you very much for checking out my site.  If you are a mother, have a mother, or know a mother that is a serial DIY’er I would love to hear about you/her and see some pictures of your projects.  Feel free to email me some pictures and info about your projects so I can post them on my site or contact me through my tool-school.com page on Facebook.  I hope that you all have a great Mother’s Day!

Jake

jakestoolschool@yahoo.com

 

Coolest Homemade Hybrid Ladder

Have you ever thought about what makes a tool great?  Chances are descriptions like reliable, consistent, easy to use, and convenient come to mind, but the ability to serve multiple functions across a wide variety of builds and projects is the one thing that can make almost any tool seem great.  Multi-functional tools are great, but tools that have multiple uses that you dream up and create yourself, now those are the best.

I have a large shop across the street from my house that was included in the purchase of our home.  I have always dreamed of having a large shop and truth be told, we more than likely would not have purchased our home and property had the shop not been there.  Eager as I was to begin my numerous projects in my new shop upon moving I had to complete some much needed set-up and maintenance first.  All of the light ballasts that were attached to the 14ft high ceiling were bad and I needed to install a storage platform to get all of my junk out of our new dining room.  So to kill two birds with one stone, I combined the projects and built this…….

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What is this you ask?  Simple, it is a ladder/scaffold/storage platform/lookout tower/elevated stage hybrid……..On casters.  Before I built this bad boy I knew that I would have to figure out a safe way to change the light ballasts so I quickly began to research rolling ladders and quickly realized that I was not able to spend the money for one at the time.  My next bit of research was done on scaffolding and I quickly found out that I would not be getting a scaffold either.  Lastly, I logged on to check out the price of 14 ft A frame ladders and started to sweat as I was running out of options and could not work in the dark.

After finding out I would blow my storage platform budget on an A frame ladder to change the ballasts a light bulb went off (my shop remained dark though).  I ran to my computer and googled giant wooden rolling platforms (not my exact search term) and to my surprise, nothing.  A few wooden scaffold builds were found on various sites and YouTube, but I could find no evidence of anyone being dumb enough to try and make an 8x8x10ft tall wooden platform roll.  So with no instruction or guidance from the world wide web of information I headed to the home improvement store to get the materials needed to make my dumb idea a dumb reality.

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A look at the platform structure underneath.

The platform build was a piece of cake, it is just an 8×8 platform framed with 2x6s with joists 16″ on center.  The legs are 4x6x8s and were physically tough to attach to the platform with no help and not being cemented or bolted for stability, but other than having to get creative when bolting the platform to them, it was not exactly brain-busting.

The mental strain came with trying to figure out how I would attach the heavy duty casters to the bottom of each 4×6.  I could not lag screw the casters to the bottom because the bolt pattern on the caster’s steel plate was larger than the bottom area of the 4x6s, not to mention I am certain that all the weight on the lag screws would only strip them out and split the wood quickly.  I needed a way to bolt the casters to something that could support the bottom of the 4×6 and then be bolted through the 4×6 posts.  Below was my solution.

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I went to my scrap metal pile and grabbed some 2×4 rectangle tubing and some 7 inch channel iron and went to work.  I cut the channel iron and welded two pieces of it together so that it fit snuggly around the bottom of each 4×6 then I drilled three bolt holes through each.  I then traced the caster bolt plate pattern onto the 2×4 rectangle tubing and drilled the bolt holes in the tubing.  I welded the channel to the top of the rectangular tubing, bolted the casters to the bottom, and installed my brackets onto each one of the 4x6s.

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I ran out of correct length bolts for the last bracket, that explains the eye bolt haha.

It has been a few years since I completed this build and I have plenty of junk piled up on my ladder/scaffold/platform, but it is holding up great.  I do not roll it around very often but every time I do it works great.  Changing the ballasts and bulbs at 14ft is a piece of cake when you have the comfort of a 64 square foot area to work on.

I am not suggesting that you attempt to recreate this build, but if you do or know someone that does here is some info and advice, I am not responsible or liable for any accidents, brace the crap out of it,  and please send me pictures when the build is complete.

I do suggest however, that if you are building a rolling  work bench, table, or  platform that is much closer to the ground, you check out these casters that I used for this project.  Each caster has its own brake and each individual caster is load rated for 1000lbs.  They have held up great and I consider them to be a steal at under $60 for all four.

For more product information, reviews, pricing, and specs on these casters click here. 

My ladder/scaffold/storage platform has served me very well and saved me money on having to both buy a ladder and build a storage platform in my shop.  I know that it is not beautiful, but it is super multi-functional, and that was the goal I was looking to achieve.  below are a few more pictures of the beast.  Thanks for reading.

Please be sure to like, comment, share on social media, and follow tool-school.com.

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Thanks again for checking out my site!

Jake with tool-school.com

Derelict Dagger: Make a Knife from Trash

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Before the knife pictured above became the knife pictured above it was an old lawn mower blade, some scrap aluminum rod, and old wood flooring.  Admittedly the knife is not perfect, but the whole is so much more than the sum of its parts.

Talking to my buddy that owns a lawn service one day he mentioned that he goes through a lot of lawn mower blades each year and instead of throwing the old blades in the trash he had begun to save them to use in various welding projects.  I was impressed to learn that he had some me in him by saving something hoping to later find a use for it and asked him if I could have a spare blade to make a knife with.  He brought me one about a day later.

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Lawn mower blades are hardened steel but are often frowned upon by knife-makers due to a lack of knowledge of the exact metal composition.  I am not a professional blade smith so I was just eager to have some metal to practice my skills with.  It made a clean, very sharp blade.

Since mower blades are already hard I did not heat treat the metal after shaping the knife, I just made sure to keep from overheating the metal when grinding, filing, and sanding the metal so I did not compromise the integrity of the metal.

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The handle is made from a one foot piece of old oak flooring that I pulled up during a flooring project a while back.  I should have thrown it away or burned it, but I knew a use for it would come to me some day.

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The process I used to make the knife was as follows:

  • draw knife shape on mower blade
  • use angle grinder to cut out rough shape
  • bench grind sides of knife smooth to get knife shape, constantly dipping knife in water to keep cool
  • File in edge profile
  • belt grind edge bevel
  • cut flooring to handle size/shape
  • drill holes into handle scales and knife tang (metal handle of knife)
  • apply epoxy to tang and wood scales
  • insert pins through handle scales and tang
  • peen pins to mechanically secure wood scales to knife tang
  • clamp and let dry

You can check out the tools used to make the knife using the links below.  In reality I just needed the angle grinder, files, and one belt sander to make it, but the other ones were convenient.

DeWalt Angle Grinder

Wen 1″ Belt Sander

Wen Bench Grinder

Chicago Electric 1″ Belt Grinder

Skil Drill Press

Round File

Flat File

I know that this knife would not win any beauty contests but it is very satisfying to know that I was able to turn things that should have been sent to the landfill long ago into something that looks good and has a practical use in this world.  It was not the first or last knife that I have made, but it was one of the most enjoyable.  With just a little time and patience you never know what you can do with an old pile of scrap.

Thanks for reading.  If you found this article to be educational, informative, or entertaining please be sure to like, comment, share, and follow tool-school.com.  Have a great day!

Jake with tool-school.com

 

 

 

6 Tools To Make Pressure Washing Easy

Residential grade gas pressure washers like the one pictured above have become very popular tools for homeowners in the last twenty years or so.  Typically pumping between 2 and 3 gallons of water per minute, and producing between 2000-4000 psi, a quality gas powered washer can be purchased anywhere from $250-$500 at most home improvement stores.  The uses for these machines are numerous ranging from house washing to paint stripping.  Though new washers typically come with all accessories required to go to work, below are six inexpensive accessories that will make your pressure washing projects easier, quicker, and more efficient.

  1. Spray Wand Quick Connect

The aluminum male nipple with the black plastic sleeve screws on to the threaded piece that your spray wand hose typically screws to.  The brass female quick connect threads onto the bottom part of the spray wand hose and connects to the aluminum male nipple that is threaded on the pump.  The purpose of these accessories is to not only make disconnecting the wand hose quicker, but also eliminates the need to screw and unscrew parts to remove the spray wand from the machine, greatly reducing the risk of stripping the threads on the wand hose and pump.

2.   5-in-1 Hose Nozzle

This 5-in-1 hose nozzle has worked great for me.  I built my own pressure washer a few years ago and only had a few tips for it that I ended up losing due to having nowhere to store them.  I figured I would give this 5-in-1 a try but I did not expect much from it.  I have been pleasantly surprised by how well it works.  It adjusts from 0, 15, and 40 degree spray angles and also has a soap and flush mode.  Adjustments are made by simply depressing the button on top and rotating the head to the desired spray mode.  It has all the functions that I need for my pressure washing jobs and has held up very well.

3.  Garden Hose Quick Connect

The brass part with the male nipple on the left in the picture simply threads into the threaded part of any garden hose while the part on the right threads onto the part of the pressure washer pump that the garden hose typically threads onto.  The piece that threads onto the pump does not need to be removed from the pump once installed, greatly reducing the chance of ruining any component of the costly washer pump.  To make this quick connect even more effective you can buy a hose to dedicate to your pressure washer that way you will never have to screw or unscrew a hose when pressure washing again.

4. Quick Connect Wand Extension

This quick connect wand extension gives you an extra 33 inches of reach for cleaning eaves, gutters, and high windows.  It is a great compliment to the fifth tool mentioned below.

5.  Gutter Cleaning Attachment

This attachment has a nice bend with two heads that shoot water to either side for blasting leaves, dirt, and debris from gutters.  Coupled with the wand extension above, this setup will allow you to clean gutters safely from the ground opposed to dangling off of a ladder.

6. Pivoting Coupler with Nozzle Tips

The pivoting coupler with quick connect and spray nozzle tips allows you to adjust the spray angle to wash those hard to reach areas.  Though I discussed my love for the 5-in-1 nozzle earlier, it can be helpful to have the smaller individual tips for times when you need to access areas in tight spaces.

For additional product reviews, pictures, and specifications as well as pricing simply click on the product link or picture in this post.

For a ton of great information and comparisons of pressure washer models and brands check out this article from bestdrillreviews.com.

Thank you very much for reading.  Please be sure to like, comment, share, and follow tool-school.com.  Have a great day!

Jake with tool-school.com

12 Affordable Tools All Homeowners Need, but Many Do Not Have

This is a short list of great tools that many handy homeowners have in their tool bag or workshop but may be absent from the bags and garages of the average homeowner.  It is always nice to have the right tool for the job and these tools can certainly make a project far less stressful.

  1. Kreg Rip Cut

This tool attaches to just about any circular saw and allows for very quick adjustments and rip cuts of boards and plywood.  Adjustable from 2″-24″, this great little device eliminates the need for chalk lines, straight edges, and steady hands to make many rip cuts in a short amount of time.  This thing was a life summer for my subfloor replacement project last summer and will be called to duty again this coming summer when the project resumes.

2. Submersible Water Pump

I have used this little fountain pump to literally bail me out on a few projects.  Removing water from a broken washing machine, an old hot water tank, and from a hole that kept filling with water as I was trying to repair a water line in my yard recently are three examples.  You may not use it often, but when you need it you will be thankful that you have it.

3. Wet/Dry Vacuum

I love my shop vac.  From home to vehicle to shop there is really nothing more that you need for cleaning up dust, water, and debris.  I can (and probably will) write an entire post about the usefulness of a wet/dry vac, it is an all around great tool.

4. Hammer Drill

Hammer drills like this one are really two tools in one.  They can be adjusted to function as a typical drill/driver or switched to hammer drill mode for a simultaneous drill/hammering action which allows the user to drill into brick, cement, and mortar.  A hammer drill is a must have tool for anyone with brick features in, on, and around their home.

5. Bench Vise

Bench vises come in a variety of sizes and styles and can range from $25 – hundreds of dollars depending on brand and type.  Regardless of size, a solid bench vise can make many difficult tasks easy by lending you a super strong third hand to grip materials.  From cutting, drilling, tapping, and threading metals to carving spoons as shown in this how-to article, a bench vise can be useful for just about any project.

6. Fire Extinguisher

I believe the need for this tool is self-explanatory.

7.  Electric Hand Plane

From trimming sticking doors to flattening lumber hand planes both manual and electric have a ton of uses around the house and shop.  You can learn more about the WEN brand of tools here.

8. Pancake Air Compressor

Inflating tires, pools, inner-tubes, and air mattresses are some very practical uses for a pancake compressor, but there are also a number air tools that can be purchased to use with these compressors as well.  I have a large stationary compressor in my shop but still own a small pancake compressor due to its convenience and portability.  They are powered by standard household outlets which make them great for cleaning tools and equipment around the house as well.

9.  DeWalt Angle Grinder

I specifically recommend DeWalt’s angle grinders because I have been burned by several cheaper angle grinders in the past.  I have put my Dewalt through hell and it has yet to let me down.  Angle grinders are great for cutting, shaping, grinding, and sanding metals and some wood working attachments are available for these versatile little tools as well.

10. Oscillating Multi-tool

I just added this tool to my arsenal about a year ago and have kicked myself for waiting so long to do so a few times since.  This thing will not only except a number of different blades and attachments that will allow you to sand and cut just about any material known to man, it will also allow you to do so in some very tight spots and at some very weird angles.  It is another one of those tools that made my subflooring job exponentially easier.

11.  Hand Riveter

Hand riveters allow for the fastening of many different thin materials and sheet metals quickly, easily, and without the need for power tools.  Rivets also come in aluminum which allows for a strong hold of materials without being susceptible to rust.

12.  Hand Truck/Dolly

From moving appliances, furniture and boxes in, out, and around the house to hauling bags of mulch and ready mix around the yard, a dolly can make life much easier.  It seems that I am called upon to help a family member or friend to move every few years and my dolly always makes the trip with me.  It is not an item that I use daily, but when I need it, I love it.

Thank you very much for reading.  For more information,  pricing and reviews of these tools simply click the link next to each one.  All comments, likes, follows, and shares are greatly appreciated.  Work safe!

Jake

Tool-school.com Mentioned as Top 21 Home Improvement Blog for 2018

I want to give a big thanks to bestdrillreviews.com for listing tool-school.com as a top 21 Home Improvement blog of 2018.  If you are in the market for a cordless drill check out their site for a ton of useful information and comparisons.

bestdrillreviews.com