A Dozen of Our Top Homemade Tool Projects

A Dozen of Our Top Homemade Tool Projects

Have you ever made any of your own tools? It may be one of those things that you can’t fully appreciate until you do, but it really does deepen your relationship with the tool when it came from your own hand and not a big box store. Try it and see.

Here are twelve tools that we’ve featured on Make: that you can make yourself. Some of these projects, like the turned brass scriber for metalwork and the flatter hammer for blacksmithing, are the kind of tools that you would likely have by your side for the rest of your makery days. If you want to ease into homemade tool-making, try your hand at the flashlight from trash project (and then tell me that you don’t think to yourself, “I made this!,” every time you use it).

Make Your Own Shop Calipers

In this project, you make a set of clever wooden and metal shop calipers out of a shop ruler and a few pieces of wood.

Making Your Own Block Plane

blockplaneDavid Picciuto of Make Something fashions a lovely wooden block plane from (gasp) coconut palm.

Turn Your Hammer Into a Multitool

hammermultitool_1Easily turn your everyday hammer into a multitool that adds a ruler, bottle opener, 2 screwdriver bits, and a magnetic nail carrier.

Make a Flashlight Out of Kitchen Trash

trashlight_1Make this handy and handsome “trashlight” from little more than a soda can and a cereal box (and, of course, battery and bulb).

Upcycle a Microwave into a Spot Welder

spotwelder-620x412Long-time maker Matthew Borgatti recently completed work on a homemade spot welder, built from a scrapped microwave oven and a few other parts. This project is ambitious, and a tad dangerous, but the results speak for themselves.

Turn a Metal Scriber from Brass

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Turning your own metal scribing tool is a great first project to turn on a metal lathe. And a scriber becomes a go-to tool in any machine shop (and for many other types of making as well).

How to Make Your Own Rotary Tool Bits

dremelbuff_diy3Dremel tool accessory bits can be expensive, limited in selection, and they quickly wear out. Here’s a popular piece I did a few years ago on how to make some of your own.

The DiResta Ice Pick 2.0

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In this episode of DiResta, Jimmy creates a screw-on sheath version of his now-iconic ice pick. BTW: Jimmy will soon be offering a signed, manufactured version of his original ice pick on his website. I have one of his handmade ones and reach for it on a nearly daily basis. I will definitely be getting some of these as Christmas presents.

Blacksmithing Basics: Forge Your Own Flatter

maxresdefaultLearn basic blacksmithing techniques as you forge your own flatter hammer. Imagine how much pride and joy you would derive from daily use of a handsome tool like this that you forged and hammered out yourself.

How to Make Spring Clamps Out of Plastic Pipe

pvcclamp_4If you find yourself needing a lot of clamps for a workshop job, you can easily construct a handful by cutting down a length of plastic pipe into crude but effect clamps. As the shop saying goes, you can never have enough clamps. Here’s a quick and low-cost way to add lots of clamping power in your shop.

How to 3D Print Your Own Leather Tooling Stamps

leatherstamps_1Did you know you can design and 3D print your own custom leather tooling stamps? It’s easier than you think.

Build Your Own Router Trammel

ejwrmu2bmkxqlqkwIn this Make: Project, Sean Michael Ragan shows you how to build your own router trammel attachment for cutting circular disks from, or boring circular holes in, sheet stock.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn
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